The dawning of a new year compels many of us to take a hard look our habits and behaviors, and then to set new goals to pursue what we believe will make us better people in the year ahead. Resolutions are most often personal: lose weight, eat healthy, stay in better contact with friends and loved ones, or try a new hobby. These are all worthy pursuits, but how about investing energy into New Year’s resolutions that make a difference to trees in your community—and which might help you too.

Suggested resolutions for 2015:

  • Take a child to a local park, forest or natural area and explore the environment with him or her. Unsure where to start? Search for a nearby nature center, natural area, or state, county, or city park that offers interpretive signage or guided activities.
  • Attend at least one public meeting to better understand how your community operates. It’s a good way to learn what others believe are issues of local importance, and it can help you strategize how trees might be included in community projects and activities.
  • Arrange a friendly chat, perhaps over coffee or lunch, with a local developer, business owner, home-owner association president, or other stakeholder in community forestry. Learn which issues, struggles, opinions, or feelings about trees are important to them. Ask how you can help them to incorporate trees successfully in their work in 2015 and beyond.
  • Write articles, blogs, or letters that champion the importance of trees in your community, and encourage others to become active tree stewards where you live.
  • Donate to, become a member of, or volunteer for an organization that supports healthy community trees and forests. To get you started in Washington state, consider organizations such as:
    • Conservation Districts (statewide), Friends of Trees (Vancouver), Earthcorps (Seattle), Forterra’s Green Cities Partnerships (Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Kirkland, Redmond, Kent, and Puyallup), The Lands Council (Spokane), the Mid-Columbia Forestry Council (Tri-Cities), Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust (I-90 corridor), Plant Amnesty (Seattle), Washington State Extension Master Gardeners (statewide), or the Yakima Area Arboretum (Yakima).

Or simply…

  • Plant a new tree every month! Or the equivalent, twelve trees sometime during 2015. By volunteering at community planting events, you’ll not only meet, but likely exceed that goal.

Together, let’s resolve to make 2015 a banner year for community trees.

Happy New Year to all of our readers.

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