REALTORS® Devote Day of Service to Tree Planting Initiative

Armed with garden picks and shovels, a couple dozen volunteers and affiliate members from Seattle King County REALTORS® devoted a day of service in Issaquah to plant trees. The event at the 730-acre Cougar/Squak Corridor Park marked the 11th annual TREC (The REALTORS® Environmental Council) project, a stewardship initiative of SKCR.

Volunteers worked under the supervision of Christine (Tina) Miller, project/program manager who oversees the volunteer program for King County’s Department and Natural Resources and Parks. She was joined by other parks personnel.

Over the course of several hours, SKCR volunteers planted 15 different species of trees and shrubs, including cedars, Douglas fir, Big Leaf Maple, Sitka spruce, Bitter cherry, and Oregon Ash. Shrubs included redosier dogwood, twinberry, salmon berry and ninebark. The parcel where REALTORS® worked was once a campground, evidenced in part by lots of gravel from former RV parking pads, one-time fire grates, and other camping-related debris.

Located in the “Issaquah Alps,” the park protects the headwaters of a salmon-bearing stream, and features deep forests, wetlands, wildlife viewing, and hiking trails. It combines land King County has owned since the 1990s with a 226-acre parcel it purchased in 2014 with help from The Trust for Public Land.

The project is part of King County’s 2015 Strategic Climate Action Plan to plant one million trees by 2020, including 80,000 this season. The Climate Action Plan aims to reduce carbon pollution and to prepare communities for the impacts of a changing climate.

King County Parks relies on citizens to maintain, improve, preserve and protect the 200 parks in unincorporated King County that encompass 28,000 acres of open space, Miller told the volunteers. “Our volunteers’ time, energy and commitment are key ingredients in protecting and preserving King County’s valuable natural heritage and recreational assets,” the department states on its website, also noting, “Trees store carbon and contribute to clean air and water, healthy habitat for salmon and other wildlife, and more livable communities.”

David Crowell, SKCR’s director of governmental and public affairs, said the goal in forming TREC was to bring together REALTORS® and the community to help preserve healthy, natural habits to enhance our neighborhoods. “Like those who helped get this open space established and expanded, we believe public parks offer many recreational, environmental, cultural and social benefits that enhance communities and our quality of life.”

In past years – and regardless of weather conditions – volunteers ranging in age from 8 to 87 have cleared non-native invasive vegetation, planted native trees and shrubs, and spread mulch at parks and open spaces around King County. Areas served include parks and open spaces in Auburn, Bellevue, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kirkland, Renton, Seattle, Shoreline, and Tukwila.