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Worthy Garden Club, partners plan to plant a million trees

KTVZ file

Over next three years in Deschutes, Willamette forests, private land from C.O. to coast

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Worthy Garden Club, along with its coalition partners, on Tuesday launched “Operation Appleseed,” a campaign to plant a million trees in three years throughout the Central Oregon and coastal regions to support habitat restoration efforts and help mitigate climate change.  

Seeded with a $1 million investment from Worthy Garden Club, the philanthropic arm of Bend’s Worthy Brewing, the coalition is a partnership between Worthy Garden Club, Discover Your Forest, High Cascades Forest Volunteers, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, McKenzie River Trust, and Audubon Society’s Tenmile Creek Sanctuary in order to accomplish Operation Appleseed’s goal of planting a million trees in the next three years across the Deschutes and Willamette national forests and private lands statewide.   

“Climate change is happening at an accelerated pace, with clear and disastrous impacts,” Worthy Garden Club President Roger Worthington said in a news release announcing the effort. “We’ve organized a strong team of experts, both public and private, who are committed to restoring damaged forests, as well as hope, one tree at a time.”

Throughout this three-year commitment, Operation Appleseed’s efforts will support reforestation activities on both private and public lands in a range of habitats, from recently burned hillsides to restored floodplain forests. Utilizing a diverse array of native trees and shrubs, Operation Appleseed will focus on creating a vibrant fabric of vegetation that will support local ecologies and create viable and sustainable impacts. 

“We are so thankful for the work of our partners at Discover Your Forest and Operation Appleseed for this contribution to our restoration efforts on the Deschutes National Forest,” said Holly Jewkes, Deschutes National Forest supervisor. “This partnership allows us to accomplish post-disturbance reforestation efforts following the Milli and McKay fires, as well as restoration in the Whychus watershed.”

According to Rika Ayotte, executive director of Bend-based Discover Your Forest, “This donation from the Worthy Garden Club is an inspiring gift to our national forests.  On the Deschutes National Forest alone, this funding will restore 1465 acres and the planting of 250,000 trees.  Discover Your Forest is proud to be a part of this partnership and to live in a community where people like Mr. Worthington are stepping forward to support our public lands.”

According to Joe Moll, executive director of the McKenzie River Trust, “Dozens of organizations work day in day out on habitat restoration in the Upper Willamette Basin and the central Oregon coast. Commitments like this from the Worthy Garden Club give us the confidence to take on larger projects that achieve greater impact.”  

We’re thrilled to engage our community in stewardship of our backyard playgrounds,” said Alyssa Archer, executive director of the Springfield-based High Cascades Forest Volunteers. “This partnership will support the planting of more than 430,000 trees on the Willamette National Forest, and we are honored to be part of this joint reforestation effort.”

Tracy Beck, Willamette National Forest supervisor, said “We’re grateful to Worthy Garden Club and High Cascades Forest Volunteers for bringing Operation Appleseed to the Willamette National Forest! This is a great opportunity to do some important planting in recent burned areas and to help our volunteers and communities connect to their public lands. “

Paul Engelmeyer, manager of the Audubon Sanctuary, Wetlands Conservancy lands and chair of the MidCoast Watersheds Council said they welcome the opportunity to partner with the Appleseed project: “We have tree planting opportunities within our Midcoast watersheds - Salmon River, Siletz, Yaquina, Alsea, Yachats and Ten Mile Creek to improve riparian habitat for salmon, and water quality as well as storing carbon. The co-benefits of this effort creates a ripple effect in our communities for current and future generations.”

“In Oregon's high desert, streams and rivers sustain the health and vitality of our communities and offer an irreplaceable buffer against the impacts of climate change. With this inspiring and timely infusion of support from the Worthy Garden Club, ONDA volunteers will be able to plant more than 20,000 native trees along waterways in the John Day and Crooked River basins of Central Oregon,” said Ben Gordon, program director for the Oregon Natural Desert Association, “We’re doing everything we can to ensure that these waterways and the wildlands that surround them are resilient in the face of the changes to come.”

Fact Sheet / Questions and Answers

Operation Appleseed 

November, 2019

Operation Appleseed is an initiative of the Worthy Garden Club, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, the philanthropic arm of Bend’s Worthy Brewing Company.  

Worthy Garden Club’s mission is “to teach our community to respect and protect the beauty of our planet. Through ties with educational institutions and local environmental groups, we are able to participate in important natural science research and deliver those results to the public. Our mission is to showcase the wonders of the planet (and beyond) while emphasizing the need to protect this special place we call home.”  

Under this initiative, Worthy Garden Club is committing $1 million toward the objective of planting a million trees in the general region between Bend and the Oregon Coast, and projects identified by the Oregon Natural Desert Association.  Project partners, and their currently identified projects under Operation Appleseed, include:  

  • Deschutes National Forest:  
    • Operation Appleseed will initially fund replantings primarily in the Milli and McKay Fire areas on the Sisters Ranger District. 
    • In total, the Deschutes National Forest intends to plant 274,840 trees over approximately 1,465 acres over the next three years. 
    • Restoration efforts will occur in the Wychus watershed where road decommissioning and revegetation efforts will improve watershed health and wildlife habitat. 
    • Partnerships with local volunteers and schools will get the community involved in these important restoration efforts. 
  • Willamette National Forest:
    • Reforestation of lands along Aufderheide Highway, including the Terwilliger burn at Cougar Hotsprings, and the area near Cougar Crossing at the head of Cougar Reservoir.
    • Reforestation of lands burned over by the Jones Fire, outside of Eugene and Springfield;
    • Reforestation of burned over lands from the Whitewater Fire, on the edge of the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, including the Whitewater Trailhead area, a major access route into the wilderness.
    • Planting of more than 7,000 trees and shrubs as part of the South Fork McKenzie Watershed Restoration Project.
  • Bonneville Environmental Foundation:   BEF will evaluate and fund tree planting projects identified by non-profit watershed councils and other groups engaged in local forest restoration work on non-Federal lands in the general region between Bend and the Oregon Coast.
  • Audubon Society – Tenmile Creek Sanctuary:  Paul Engelmeyer will coordinate with WGC and the Midcoast Watersheds Council at multiple scales - on riparian restoration opportunities at the Worthy Garden Club Tenmile parcel as well as the central coast landscape. 
    • This area includes the Siuslaw National Forest and five major basins - Salmon River, Siletz River, Yaquina, Alsea and Yachats/Ten Mile.  This landscape is approximately 1ML acres. 
    • Working on public as well as private lands will not only improve water quality for  ESA listed coho salmon but for local coast communities. 
    • The key co-benefit to this project is carbon storage for future generations. 
  • Oregon Natural Desert Association:  ONDA will use the Worthy Garden Club support to mobilize 500 volunteers to plant more than 20,000 native trees. This work will cover more than 45,000 acres in the John Day and Crooked River basins of Central Oregon.    

Why Trees?

A wide range of academic analyses suggest that planting trees is one of the most effective and impactful things we can do to slow the rate of climate change.  

  • With regard to a study published in Science magazine this month: “Our study shows clearly that forest restoration is the best climate change solution available today and it provides hard evidence to justify investment," senior study author and ETH-ZürichProfessor Tom Crowther said, as BBC News reported. "If we act now, this could cut carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by up to 25 percent, to levels last seen almost a century ago."
  • According to a proposal by National Wildlife Federation, Nature Conservancy, and America’s Forests:
  • “The U.S. forest sector is already delivering significant carbon mitigation through forests and forest products, which currently offset almost 15 percent of annual U.S. carbon emissions. Given that federal forestlands can be efficiently aligned with carbon goals at scale through policy mechanisms, this portion of America’s forestland base offers a uniquely compelling pathway to increase land sector carbon mitigation. The 193 million-acre National Forest System alone encompasses approximately a quarter of all U.S. forests. These lands provide a net carbon sink in forest sequestration and forest products equivalent to 113 million metric tons of carbon per year, equivalent to taking more than 24 million cars off the road. Absent large-scale intervention, however, these carbon and climate benefits are at serious risk. “
  • “Scaling up the pace and extent of restoration and reforestation on National Forest System lands offers the greatest single lever for quickly advancing large-scale forest carbon mitigation activities in the United States. Skyrocketing expenses for fighting wildfires have led to a serious degradation in the capacity of the U.S. Forest Service and its partners to implement forest restoration at landscape scales.“
  • “Impacts from drought, pests, disease, and wildfire are exacerbated by a changing climate, and an estimated 80 million acres of national forest lands are now in need of restoration, including five million acres in need of reforestation. If conducted in a climate-informed manner, restoration and reforestation of these lands can enhance carbon sequestration and reduce emissions from escalating forest mortality and wildfire.”
Article Topic Follows: Environment

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