Trees today, forests tomorrow

By Sara Davis, EarthCorps

How does a forest benefit people and nature, and what can we do to ensure that it has an even bigger impact – today, tomorrow, and into the future?

This is a question that EarthCorps continually asks as we plan forest restoration projects.

Take a look at Discovery Park:

Stretching 534 acres, Discovery Park is an urban oasis for Seattleites to escape the daily grind. Many of us love the park because it’s a place to run, hike with friends, see stunning views of Mount Rainier, and relax on the beach, but the forests and trees in Discovery Park have the potential to provide the city so much more.

Trees improve air quality and mitigate the effects of climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide and storing the carbon as the trees grow.

Trees improve water quality by absorbing water that contains pollutants that might otherwise get into our water supply. 

Trees reduce soil erosion by slowing the speed of rain falling on the earth so the water has less energy to displace soil particles, and the deep roots help secure the ground in place.

Discovery Park has a fascinating history. If you’ve been there, then you know that it’s closer to becoming a sustainable forest again, but there is a lot of work still to be done.

In many areas of the park, invasive plants like Himalayan blackberry have grown into thick walls that prevent native trees from growing. In other places English ivy is blanketing the forest floor and weighing down trees. Unfortunately, these invasive plants do not provide the same ecological services to sustain our city that mature trees do, and they prevent trees from growing. 

The City of Seattle turned to EarthCorps to help transform the park into a sustainable forest.

Over the past two years, EarthCorps crews and volunteers have put 63 acres of Discovery Park into restoration. We’ve done that by removing acres of blackberry, ivy, and other invasive plants, and replacing them with 12,000 plants that will grow into a mature forest.

Healthy, thriving, native trees will ensure that Discovery Park is around for future generations to enjoy, and will help keep our city sustainable. 

You can help! EarthCorps believes that everyone has a responsibility to steward the planet. We invite the community to help us care for our forest and join us at a volunteer event.  

Sign up to volunteer at Discovery Park on our volunteer calendar.