Is there such a thing as ‘tree month?’

 

October is Urban and Community Forestry Month (aka tree month), and for all that trees do for us, it’s only fitting that we return the favor.

This is the eighth year Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has officially proclaimed October as a month dedicated to trees. To celebrate, the state departments of Enterprise Services (DES) and Natural Resources (DNR) are collaborating to plant 100 new trees on the Capitol Campus between October 2019 and April 2020. DNR will buy many of the trees, and DES will plant and maintain them.

The DES/DNR partnership dovetails with the 100-themed “Centennial Challenge” issued by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) in recognition of the organization’s 100th anniversary. NASF is a non-profit organization made up of state foresters from across the country and exists to support the states’ delivery of programs, such as urban forestry, that promote responsible management and protection of forests on non-federal lands.

Trees serve as living, breathing assets that make our communities healthier, cleaner, and more vibrant. A healthy tree canopy scrubs the air of pollutants, absorbs stormwater runoff, attenuates noise, buffers winds, conserves energy, provides wildlife habitat and beautifies the landscape. With plenty of moisture and crisp, cool weather, autumn is a great time to adjust the saplings to their new home.

The first of the new trees on the block will be planted in conjunction with an event to celebrate Urban Forestry Month on the Washington State Capitol campus on Friday, October 18th. The public is invited to join the event in Olympia at noon, at the corner of Capitol Way and Sid Snyder Ave. S.W.

Fall is a wonderful time in Washington as our trees and forests reveal the natural magic of their fall colors. Washington’s native deciduous trees, such as bigleaf maple, cottonwood, aspen, birch, and the western larch, specialize in shades of yellow fall colors, whereas our urban forests, planted with many non-native trees, paint our cities and towns with hues of orange, red and purple that stir the human spirit.

Throughout the month of October, DNR’s social media feeds on Twitter and Facebook will feature tree care tips, suggested trees to consider planting, and info on the many benefits of trees.

Trees are a gift to us all, so come out and join us on the 18th to celebrate.

Happy Urban & Community Forestry Month!