Laurelhurst Park3

Redwood Grove to be Planted in Laurelhurst Park

Fieldbrook redwood

The ten saplings awaiting planting are only about 18 inches high now.  Yet locked away in their genetics is towering potential.  They’re coast redwood trees, cloned from California’s iconic giants.  They will be planted in Laurelhurst Playfield as part of an effort to expand the redwood’s footprint around Puget Sound.  Laurelhurst Elementary School students from three kindergartens and three 3rd grade classes will be planting the trees on Nov 17, 2017 at 9 AM.



Laurelhurst Park site where grove will be planted

Seattle is one of 30 communities that is receiving redwood saplings through the program Moving the Giants to Puget Sound.  More than 300 of the redwoods will be planted in the region as part of the effort.  The work is a way to preserve the genetics of the redwood tree and its environmental value.  It’s also preserving the experience of stepping into a redwood grove, which is akin to walking into Nature’s Cathedral.


The saplings came to Seattle from California via the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, a Michigan non-profit dedicated to preserving the world’s old-growth trees.  After Archangel crews snip cuttings from the tops of existing redwood trees and stumps, the cuttings are taken back to Michigan where they are cleaned and treated to promote growth and readied for planting.

 Each of the saplings is an exact genetic copy of its ancient “parent” tree.  Two of the Laurelhurst saplings came from the Fieldbrook tree, a massive redwood that measured about 32 feet across at it base.  Although the tree was felled in 1890, its stump still produces sprouts.  If the Fieldbrook tree were alive today, it would rival the General Sherman tree as the largest tree on earth.

The redwood trees will be planted by 24 kindergarteners and third graders from Laurelhurst Elementary which is just across the street from the park where the trees will be planted at the corner of NE 45th St and 45th Ave NE. 

Climate Justice Ambassadors from Plant for the Planet visited the school on Nov 13 to make a presentation to an assembly of kindergarteners and third graders.  The students were so excited.  It was so much fun. 


Four Climate Justice Ambassadors from Plant for the Planet play the role of the Lorax from Dr. Seuss.  Three kindergarten and three third grade classes from Laurelhurst Elementary respond enthusiastically.
Laurelhurst Park Planting Day arrives, 11-17-17

140 school children from three kindergartens and three third grade classes stream across the bridge from Seattle’s Laurelhurst Elementary School to Laurelhurst Park. 12 children from grades 2-3 team up with 12 kindergarten buddies to plant trees while the other 100+ children have a scavenger hunt.

Down the leaf-covered hill come the children to the planting site in Laurelhurst Park. The small redwood giants-to-be are ready for planting. What a perfect Fall day! The children have been anticipating this day since learning about the tree planting project a few days earlier.

Shovels enough for each group of 2-3 students to plant one of the ten redwood trees.

A chance to put two of those shovels to work. Two Laurelhurst students, together with a volunteer, are busy preparing a hole for one of the redwood saplings.

Voila! A giant-to-be is in the ground.

Another hole is being dug by a group of five Laurelhurst students.

This rich soil is alive with earthworms, as this young student is happy to display.

At the far end of this oval-shaped grove two more trees are being planted.

A third-grade student at Laurelhurst Elementary in Seattle helps tie this redwood sapling to its stake with help from Matt Stemple, Seattle Parks arborist.

Taking a moment to enjoy a sense of accomplishment and imagine how big this tree will become some day.

A third-grader and his kindergarten buddy get ready to plant another tree.

First let’s remove the tree from its pot so we can see how the roots are doing.

The roots are looking pretty good, eagerly awaiting their new home in Laurelhurst Park.

Another pair of Laurelhurst students getting ready to plant a tree.

With a happy outcome of one more redwood tree planted.

Here’s a tree whose roots are ready to find a home in Laurelhurst Park soil.

And now they have thanks to these willing helpers.

One more hole to dig.

Laurelhurst students stake a tree they just planted, assisted by a helpful parent.

And add some fencing to protect this young redwood sapling.

Of course posts need to be pounded in to secure the fencing. Then we’re done.

When all ten of the redwood trees are planted and surrounded by protective fencing, the children who were on the scavenger hunt are invited to join the planters to celebrate the new grove of redwoods in Laurelhurst Park.

Six classes of Laurelhurst students form an unbroken chain encircling the 80 ft long x 40 ft wide oval grove and join together to recite the “Be Like a Tree” poem to bring the Planting Day activities to a close.

I wish to acknowledge Alexa Stanton for her marvelous video and photographs and also Mary Alison Haskin for her exceptional photographic contributions.  A heartfelt thanks to both of them.