As part of a continuing effort to support educational outreach related to tree planting and care and the city’s tree-planting efforts, the Puyallup City Council recently accepted a $5,500 grant from the Pierce Conservation District’s Green Partnership Fund.
“This will be a lot of fun to implement,” said Chris Beale, associate planner and certified arborist for the city of Puyallup.
Beale said the grant will be carried out across a three-prong approach and will implement a program called Puyallup NeighborWoods.
One of the most visible parts of the impact from the grant will be the planting of trees near highway off- and on-ramps — part of a collaboration with the state Department of Transportation.
“This is a partnership with WSDOT to make a gateway to the city,” Beale explained. “We certainly see that as a low-hanging fruit to improve the city’s urban forest.”
The WSDOT partnership is the third-prong. First and foremost, Beale said the grant will help support a homeowner education outreach to begin in the fall. Beale said a 2011 study on tree coverage in the city will be revisited to see which residential areas need more coverage.
Homeowners in these areas will be targeted with mailers inviting them to a workshop where they will learn about the value of trees in regards to improving property values, community aesthetics, water quality and infiltrating stormwater to reduce flooding.
“At the end of the educational workshop, homeowners will receive one to three free trees,” Beale said.
The free trees, Beale said, will not be the flowering or fruit variety. Rather, the species will be evergreen like a Douglas fir or cedar and other shade trees.
A final prong, Beale said, will be school-based education.
“We will work with the Puyallup School District to provide targeted environmental education opportunities for kids kindergarten through twelfth grade,” Beale said.
Melissa Buckingham, a spokesperson for the Pierce Conservation District, said Puyallup has received several other Green Partnership Fund grants in the past. Buckingham said the fund distributes up to $100,000 each year to support jurisdictions, schools and universities and community groups with conservation projects. The fund started in 2007 and the grant period runs from May through April. Buckingham said the grant is highly competitive.
“We typically get three times more than what can be granted out,” Buckingham added.
Andrew Fickes: 253-552-7001 andrew.fickes @puyallupherald.com