Soil ScientistSeattle, Washington
Tree Planting Brought New Neighbors Together
When young professional Kate Kurtz bought her new house in a northern section of Seattle, she had no friends in the neighborhood and no trees either. When she learned of a partnership between the city and local nonprofit Seattle reLeaf, Kate and five of her neighbors took advantage of the program and planted new yard and street trees.
Three years later the trees are thriving – and so are the relationships developed during the project. "This tree program not only gave me shade along my street and in my yard, but it connected me with my neighbors," says Katy, a soil scientist.
Today, these friends enjoy block parties and have conducted other campaigns that benefit their neighborhood, including tree planting in a traffic-slowing island. In spearheading projects like the one in Kate's neighborhood, Seattle reLeaf pursues its goal of increasing the city's tree canopy and developing stewards of the urban forest.
With an estimated 67 percent of the canopy on private property, working with home owners is an essential component. Were it not for Seattle reLeaf's partnership with the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Kate would not have had the same chance to plant trees and develop friendships right outside her front door.