The Land Trust’s tree planting project also intersects with its ongoing efforts to restore salmon habitat along the length of Judd Creek (Courtesy Photo).

The Land Trust’s tree planting project also intersects with its ongoing efforts to restore salmon habitat along the length of Judd Creek (Courtesy Photo).

Scientists say planting trees way to fight climate change

The Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust has plans to plant 5,725 trees around the island by May 2020.

The news around climate change can consume us with feelings of fear and guilt. The science is overwhelming and the headlines are depressing, so it’s easy to believe that nothing we do personally can ever be enough to make a difference.

However, a recent article from The Associated Press, “Best way to fight climate change? Plant a trillion trees,” offered some optimism. Swiss scientists authored a study saying that planting at least 1 trillion trees is a more effective — and cheaper — way to fight climate change than cutting car emissions or becoming a vegetarian. It sounds like a simple solution, yet it’s also overwhelming.

Smaller-scale efforts are easier to wrap your head around. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to plant 2 billion trees in this country over the next decade. Closer to home, King County is already planting 1 million trees as part of its 2015 Strategic Climate Action Plan to reduce and offset greenhouse gas emissions by 80%. With each smaller iteration, the project seems more possible.

Here at home, the Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust has plans to plant 5,725 trees on 63 acres around the island by May 2020, beginning with a community tree planting event on Saturday, Oct. 19.

“The Land Trust is working on ways to connect our community stewardship to the global effort to combat climate change. One of the most effective ways to do this is by working together as a community to plant trees,” says Land Trust Director of Development Erika Carleton.

Abel Eckhardt, the Land Trust’s stewardship director, secured a $35,000 grant from King County for the tree planting project. The plan includes under-planting 58 acres of watershed adjoining Vashon’s four major creeks to help those areas transition from aging alder forests to long-lived conifer stands that will absorb more atmospheric carbon.

Land Trust crews and volunteers will be planting a combination of bare-root and potted native Western red cedars, Douglas firs and grand firs along more than 58 acres in the Ellisport, Mileta, Shinglemill and Judd Creek watersheds.

The tree planting project also intersects with the Land Trust’s ongoing efforts to restore salmon habitat along the length of Judd Creek from its source in Island Center Forest to the estuary in Quartermaster Harbor. Judd Creek is Vashon’s most productive salmon spawning creek, and the trees will provide much-needed shade for desirable salmon spawning habitat.

The plan also calls for reforesting the cleared area of the 5-acre Busch property acquired by the Land Trust in 2017.

The Busch property is the site for the Oct. 19 community tree planting event with the Land Trust. The group has already completed numerous projects.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to noon, followed by soup and socializing, according to Carleton.

Three hours of tree planting is a start of a community effort that can make a substantial difference and turn feelings of fear and guilt into a sense of accomplishment.

Vashon Nature Center’s Salmonwatchers are counting salmon in Vashon’s streams. To see the results of this count go to

Monday, Oct. 7

Vashon Nature Center’s Scientists in Schools program kicks off with a stream bug and watershed health unit at McMurray Middle School.

Thursday & Friday, Oct. 10 and 11

Vashon Nature Center’s BeachNET forage fish surveys

Help VNC scientists monitor for forage fish eggs at three beach restoration sites in Maury Island Aquatic Reserve. No experience necessary but must be able to walk 1/4 mile on the beach. Contact Maria Metler at for more info or to sign up.

Saturday, Oct. 12

Vashon Audubon Birding Field Trip

Join us to see birds on the island. Please note 9 a.m. start time. Drop-in, free and no experience necessary. Bring binoculars and scopes if you have them and wear walking shoes or boots. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Carpools encouraged and can be arranged at Ober Park.

9 to 11 a.m. Meet at Ober Park Park & Ride.

Saturday, Oct. 19

Land Trust Community Tree Planting

Help fight climate change by joining our Community Tree Planting event at the Busch property in the Judd Creek Preserve to launch the Land Trust’s largest tree-planting project ever. Drinks, snacks and soup provided. Register with Erika at

9 a.m. to noon at 20811 111th Ave SW

Thursday, Oct. 24

Land Trust Book Group

“Selection is An American River”: From Paradise to Superfund, Afloat on New Jersey’s Passaic by Vashon Island resident and New Jersey native, Mary Bruno.

6:30 p.m. at the Land Trust Building

Saturday, Oct. 26

Ancestor Feast

Connect with community at Camp Sealth to honor our ancestors. The event includes stories, song, and clay work for all ages. More information can be found at

4 to 7 p.m. at Camp Sealth

Friday, Nov. 1

Vashon Audubon Calendar Launch

Come get the newest Birds of Vashon Calendar and support Vashon Audubon. Event hosts will be showing all the photos submitted — about 350 photos from about 30 photographers — and will have the 2020 calendars for sale.

6 to 9 p.m. at the Land Trust Building

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