Hilltop Park is a green dot within a concrete-gray landscape. This 7.4-acre park is the only park in this Burien neighborhood and sits less than a half-mile of two low-income housing developments. According to American Forests’ Tree Equity Score map, it scores 56 out of 100 possible points, which ranks 33 out of 38 census blocks measured in Burien.
63 percent of neighborhood residents are people of color. 51 percent of neighborhood residents live near or below the poverty line. In Burien, only the neighborhoods below 20% people of color measure tree canopy above the city average. This is a trend with urban tree equity we see repeatedly across South King County and the entire state.
This project is a prime example of collaborative action that has ripple effects extending well beyond Hilltop Park. The grant funding provided by DNR – our first UCF grant of what we hope are many awarded to a project centered on environmental justice – helped a dozen middle and high school students gain first-hand, hands-on knowledge and experience with environmental restoration. They cleared thousands of invasive blackberry bushes and planted hundreds of trees, creating a legacy that will last for generations.
Programs like this are one way DNR strives to empower the next generation of forestry professionals. We’re seeking an $8 million investment in urban forestry from the Legislature this session. $2 million of that would allow DNR to work with Youth Conservation Corps to establish a statewide program of work focused on tree planting, restoration, and urban forest maintenance.
SPEAKERS LIST (As of 2/15/23):
|Speaker (confirmed speakers are bolded)||Titles|
|Hilary Franz||Commissioner of Public Lands|
|Sofia Aragon||Burien Mayor firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Mia Su-Ling Gregerson||33rd District WA House Representative|
|Project leader(s) and student participants|
Additional stakeholders invited include representatives from King Conservation District, City of Burien, Port of Seattle, and Highline School District.
(add lines as needed)
|1:30 PM||Attendees and media begin arriving|
|2:00 PM||Press event begins with opening remarks by Commissioner Franz|
|2:00-2:30 PM||Remarks by speakers, with time on the back end for catch-up or interviews|
|2:30-3:00 PM||Short walk-and-talk presentations by project staff and students. Opportunities to inspect project work, interact with students and gather B-Roll|
|3:00 PM||End of event|
Communications Manager, Forest Resilience Division
Washington Department of Natural Resources
(360) 764-0854 – Mobile