Led by a broad coalition of partners, Earth Day South Sound has the goal to plant a healthy tree for every child in Pierce County this year — that’s 210,000 trees.
Today, April 22, is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. South Sounders are encouraged to go outside and hug a tree, snap a selfie (following coronavirus safety measures that are in place), and share it on social media with the hashtag #southsoundtreehug or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to the current COVID-19 social restrictions, the South Sound community has been coming together to celebrate, plant, and care for trees individually and with online support. The goal is to get all the trees planted by April 21, 2021.
“Trees are an enormous benefit to our city,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. “Increased tree canopy is linked to better health, safer neighborhoods, and social equality. As we spend more time close to home or taking social-distanced neighborhood walks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the importance of having a beautiful tree canopy across all of Tacoma’s neighborhoods is more necessary and evident than ever.”
Earth Day South Sound kicked off the online campaign at the beginning of April. There, people can make a pledge to volunteer, adopt a tree, or share a tree story.
Earth Day South Sound will continue until April 21, 2021. Events like mulch parties, tree-related arts, sharing stories, and more are being planned.
“A year of trees is more than just planting — it’s about access and connection to nature, learning, sustainability, and equity,” said Park Board President Tim Reid. “And having fun, too. These are all core values for Metro Parks Tacoma.”
Earth Day was established in 1970 and helped support a worldwide approach to environmentalism.
“We’re in a time of massive change for both our society and our planet,” said Ryan Mello, executive director of Pierce Conservation District. “Now is our chance to mobilize and commit to actions that will protect both for future generations. We don’t have any time to lose. Planting or caring for a tree, and sharing our stories, are actions we can all do, right now, to help the Earth and ourselves.”
Thousands of trees will be sourced by the Tacoma Tree Foundation to support this project. “We all need trees,” said Sarah Lowe, the executive director of Tacoma Tree Foundation. “They give us food, clean air, shelter, clean water, livable temperatures, and physical and mental health. They’re vital in slowing climate change. Trees are also beautiful and play a big part in our culture and imagination.”
More information can be found at earthdaysouthsound.org and on Facebook and Instagram: @earthdaysouthsound.