There are many programs around the nation, where trees are planted in memory or to honor our veterans.
I think that we could replicate such an idea in Shoreline. In fact, Shoreline does not have a "Veterans Park" yet. What a great way to honor our veterans and remind everyone of the sacrifice and dedication they've shown by risking their lives and working for America's ideals.
Why not a program here to honor veterans by planting trees? In Los Angeles, for instance the group Veterans for Trees recently started a tree planting program in Frazier Mountain Park.
In Kentucky, 7000 trees have been planted in a Fayette County, Veterans Park in a partnership with local businesses.
And here's a story about a Vietnam Veteran, Geoffrey Steiner who has planted 100,000 trees near Cushing, Minn despite debilitating Lyme disease.
In Denver, a program is ongoing to train veterans as Urban Foresters. Most likely, there are veterans just returning from recent service who would like to have this training. With a little creativity, a similar project could be launched here. Of course, it's best to plant trees thoughtfully, with consideration on how they will fit in when grown, and how the location fits the type of tree. Many organizations can give advice on how to place the right kind of tree, such as the WNPS (Washington Native Plant Society.)
Planting Trees for Veterans could yield benefits for everyone.
Perhaps there have already been such planting programs in the Shoreline area.
Let us know if you are familiar with one, old or new.
This story from the Denver Post -
DENVER AND THE WEST
Denver tree program trains veterans to be urban foresters
UPDATED: 05/26/2010 09:03:42 AM MDT
Desert Storm cap planted on his head, Dan Higginbotham installed free shade trees Tuesday in front yards along Zuni Street, hauling mulch and watering the roots.
"It's nice to have work," the veteran of the 1990s Persian Gulf War said.
Higginbotham and six other homeless veterans are part of Veterans City Canopy, a new program that is training them to be urban foresters.
"It's a wonderful trade to get into because nothing stops growing," said Dyana Lynch, an Army Gulf War veteran.
The initiative was recently launched by Veterans Green Jobs, a Denver nonprofit that helps homeless veterans get the skills and experience to join the green-jobs economy.
The program has a contract to plant free shade trees in homeowners' front yards as part of Greenprint Denver's The Mile High Million program, which aims to plant 1 million trees by 2025. Over the next five growing seasons, 35 vets will plant 4,600 trees that will shade homes to reduce energy usage and lower energy bills.
"We're the pioneers," said Frederick Sales, a veteran who years ago studied soil sciences and forestry at Ohio State University.
Last week, as part of their field work, they practiced planting trees at local elementary schools.
"The kids came out and helped," Sales said. "They were really on it. Kids can really dig holes."
Crew members had two weeks of classes, during which they studied tree biology and tree planting, along with basic math and computer science.
On Tuesday, they hoisted bags of mulch and shouldered shovels and rakes.
After planting the first two trees, they huddled and decided how many they planned to plant per day.
Forty, they agreed.
Sara Davis, program coordinator for The Mile High Million tree initiative, offered suggestions for best-planting practices.
So did John Arigoni, Veterans City Canopy's program manager, who is also working to find future employers for the
"We're trying to get a large gathering of landscape contractors throughout the city and state together to give them more information about this program," he said, noting that there are tax benefits and wage supplements available to businesses that hire veterans.
Lynch said the best part of the program is "learning from experienced people."
A former diesel mechanic, she's excited to be getting a start in the new green economy.
"The more trees we plant," she said, "the better for the environment."
Colleen O'Connor: 303-954-1083 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Homeowners interested in ordering a free tree should call The Mile High Million at 720-913-0681.
Landscape contractors in Denver who are interested in hiring these veterans should contact John Arigoni at 720-236-1309, or e-mail email@example.com.