Planting Trees to Restore the Urban Forest

Planting Trees to Restore the Urban Forest - Mini Doc #101

Aaron Sawatsky-Kingsley is the city forester for Goshen, Indiana. The city has a goal of planting 2,000 trees a year to achieve 45% canopy by 2050.

Video Transcript

Goshen, Indiana is trying to plant 2,000 trees per year. Aaron is the city forester.

Aaron Sawatsky-Kingsley: Cold snap in the winter, maybe a little late getting in the ground in the fall — it’s a shame. I mean, this is a beautiful tree that we grew in our nursery. This is probably a five-, six-year project that we pruned, we watered, you know? We have visions of what it will be out here along US 33 in 50, 80, 100 years, and it’s not going to be this one. So that is sad. It’s a loss. 

The city’s canopy goal is 45 percent canopy, and that will double where we are right now — we’re at 22.3 percent. By mid-century, 2045, we want to be at 45 percent.

If you guys all moved away from your homes for like five years, what would be there when you came back?

Child: Trees.

Aaron: Trees would be growing. Where we live, they just come up. Because we live here in a forest, this means that we are forest people. We’re forest people. Have you ever thought about that before?

Child: No.

The urban forest helps modulate home temperatures, which saves Goshen $409,000 per year. 

Aaron: My understanding of the Creator and what it means to be a true follower of Christ is inextricably intertwined with this work.

Yeah. How’s that look to you from that angle? That looks good. A little wiggle to it. It’ll straighten up.

We are on this planet because we are of the planet. That’s the message of the Christ that I claim.

Co-worker: Yeah. That really looks good.

Roots from the urban forest soak up excess water, which saves Goshen $438,000 per year.

Aaron: I think about all the trees that are in town along our streets — big, beautiful trees that are doing all this incredible work — and nobody has any idea who planted those or cared for them or did any of that work. Nobody has any idea. 

We talk about the Lorax speaking for the trees. Well, I think it’s the other way around. The trees are going to speak for us. They’re going to speak for us. 

So, it’s the trees and the people that make the urban forest. So I like to think that we’re raising them together as playmates, as colleagues, as friends.

Whoa. That was a chipmunk. That was awesome. Who was more scared: us or the chipmunk?

Children: Chipmunk!

Older man: So the ginkos are doing all right?

Aaron: Yeah, yeah. So, I mean, I forget how many I dug up from there last year. It must have been a dozen of them.

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