Planting Trees to Help the Future

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, along with volunteers, are working forward to a future where trees are healthy and plentiful.

At a December volunteer event, 10 employees from Columbia Bank helped the park’s horticulturist plant 260 native trees around the parking lots.

“In the 13 years I’ve worked at Northwest Trek, this is by far the worst year I’ve seen for tree loss,” horticulturist Jake Pool said in a Northwest Trek Wildlife Park blog post. “Just this month, we cut down 225 dead trees to keep people safe when they drive in the park or take a tram tour through the Free-Roaming Area.”

Trees are dying due to the climate shifting which makes the trees more susceptible to diseases like laminated root rot that naturally occur in forested areas, Pool explained.

“Once the trees are gone, it becomes harder to establish new trees,” he said in the blog post. “Trees rely on each other, work together, and share nutrients. It’s all part of the ‘Wood Wide Web.’ They are interconnected by the fungi. You need to have both established trees and new trees for them to have the best chance to survive.”

Pool said 1,000 to 3,000 trees are added to the park each year, but because of uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, far fewer were planted this year. He hopes to get more volunteers out in 2021 to plant as many trees as possible.

Groups or individuals that would like to volunteer to help plant trees should email volunteers@nwtrek.org for 2021 planting events.

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