Starting this month, thousands of native tree seedlings will start being planted in public and private lands across Oregon thanks to Operation Appleseed, a new initiative with the goal of planting one million trees across the state to support habitat restoration efforts and combat climate change.
Seeded with a three-year, $1 million commitment from Worthy Garden Club, the philanthropic arm of Worthy Brewing, Operation Appleseed is supporting reforestation activities from the Cascade Range to the Willamette Valley to the Coast Range, with a focus on high-need public and private lands recovering from fire, deforestation and water quality challenges.
During the project’s first year, more than 512,000 native trees and shrubs will be planted on almost 3,000 acres on 27 project sites that extend from the high desert east of Bend to the Oregon Coast. The plantings will help restore four fire-affected sites, including the Milli and McKay Fire Scars and the Jones and Whitewater Creek areas in the Willamette National Forest. Plantings at other sites across the state will improve habitat conditions for more than seven miles of streams and rivers.
“Climate change is wreaking havoc on communities and natural areas, and the need for reforestation and the creation of healthy ecosystems in Oregon has never been greater. Luckily, there’s something we can all do about it: Plant a tree … or a million,” said David Blair, executive director of Worthy Garden Club. “Trees are natural superheroes. They improve air and water quality, expand natural habitats for wildlife and help curb climate change through carbon sequestration. Planting them is one of the best — and easiest — things we can do to make Oregon more resilient, and Operation Appleseed is committed to revitalizing forests across the state, starting now.”
“Pacific Northwest forests can capture and store more carbon per acre than any other major forest type on the planet,” said Kody Osborne, director of environmental affairs at Worthy Garden Club. “An average acre of forest in Oregon will sequester about 4.74 tons of Co2 per year. When mature, Operation Appleseed’s 2020 plantings will offset the annual emissions of an estimated 1,400 Oregonians.”
2020 Operation Appleseed Partners
Operation Appleseed is working in partnership with a robust coalition of environmental organizations. Its 2020 lead partners include:
- U.S. Forest Service
- Seven Watershed Councils (Coast Fork Willamette, Long Tom, North Santiam, South Santiam, McKenzie, Siuslaw and MidCoast Watersheds)
- Two Soil and Water Conservation Districts (Lincoln and Siuslaw)
- Two land trusts (McKenzie River Trust and the Wetlands Conservancy)
- Additional partners: Arbor Day Foundation, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Discover Your Forest (Deschutes National Forest), High Cascades Forest Volunteers (Willamette National Forest), Oregon Natural Desert Association, Portland Audubon, Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory, Trout Unlimited
Funding from Operation Appleseed is supporting planting projects through these organizations. Additionally, the partners hope to attract more donors to their projects with the goal of doubling tree planting targets and funding wildfire prevention measures.
“Thanks to our partnership with Operation Appleseed, we are able to amplify our work at Green Island, our largest protected property and one of the best remaining opportunities within the Willamette Valley for preserving and restoring a dynamic and ecologically diverse river system,” said Joe Moll, executive director of the McKenzie River Trust. “This area is a critical area for protection and restoration within the lower McKenzie Watershed, and we’re grateful to Operation Appleseed for its critical support.”
To learn more about the planting projects and for individual donation and volunteer opportunities, visit operationappleseed.com.
What exactly is Operation Appleseed?
Operation Appleseed was established in November 2019 with an ambitious yet achievable goal: to help restore Oregon’s damaged forests and mitigate climate change by planting one million trees in three years. The project is the brainchild of Roger Worthington, founder and owner of Worthy Brewing in Bend, Ore. Seeded with a three-year, $1 million commitment from Worthy Garden Club, the philanthropic arm of Worthy Brewing, Operation Appleseed is planting the trees with a robust coalition of environmental organizations.