Published November 1 2023
Volunteers also plant trees at Bannerwood Park for Arbor Day
The city continues to support the addition of essential tree canopy, giving away 800 free trees to residents Oct. 20 and 21. With the help of 55 volunteers, the city also planted more trees at Bannerwood Park during an Arbor Day event Oct. 21.
Amazon gave Bellevue $35,000 for the giveaway, and volunteers from that company and Microsoft helped hand out trees. About 400 residents applied for free trees during the summer.
The tree giveaway involves residents in a long-term effort to reach a target of 40% tree canopy here by 2050. To meet that goal, it is estimated that 75,000 trees will need to be planted in Bellevue over the next 30 years, or approximately one tree per Bellevue household.
The city handed out 700 trees in 2021 and 1,000 last year. For the Tree Giveaway program, the city offers up to two trees (from a long species list) per resident and up to 20 to community organizations. Staff provide instructions on the best trees to plant for the location and how to plant them.
A tree giveaway will take place again next year, with applications becoming available in the summer.
People who want to help with future tree planting and park conservation projects in Bellevue can participate in a Stewardship Saturday project or volunteer to join the Bellevue Naturalist program, now recruiting for the class of 2024. All environmentally related volunteering opportunities are available at Volunteering. People can volunteer to be neighborhood tree ambassadors in December.
On top of trees’ many benefits for Bellevue’s environment, research has shown people who live near trees generally experience less stress, have lower prevalence of certain health conditions and mental illness, do better in school and have more community connections.