New Kinnear Park tree signs encourage environmental stewardship

Students from John Hay Elementary School helped spread mulch in Lower Kinnear Park on April 14.

Nestled in Lower Kinnear Park on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill stands one of the largest big leaf linden trees in Washington state. In the past year, the tree conserved enough energy to heat or cool a house for one week. It intercepted the equivalent of 13 people’s annual water consumption, and it reduced atmospheric carbon equal to a car’s six-day output.

Informational tree signs were placed in Kinnear Park earlier this month.

The more we know about trees and wildlife, the more motivated we become to take care of them. This April, Seattle Parks and Recreation, in partnership with HBB Landscape Architecture and the Friends of Lower Kinnear Park, placed 16 informational signs around Lower Kinnear Park to teach the public about an urban forest’s quantitative environmental benefits, tree species and growth patterns. The signs were sponsored by a grant from the City of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment.

HBB Landscape Architecture Landscape Architect Aaron Luoma helped design the signs. He said the goal was to teach people about the environmental benefits of trees by making comparisons to things in their everyday lives. Luoma had the signs spread throughout the park to motivate people to explore new areas.

“People enter and exit the park in different ways and seeing a sign might encourage exploration,” he said.

To celebrate the new signs and our commitment to environmental stewardship, Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Friends of Lower Kinnear Park and HBB Landscape Architecture hosted a group of students from John Hay Elementary on April 14 in the park. Seattle Parks staff talked to the students about taking care of plant beds before the students helped spread mulch throughout a newly planted area. Afterward the students took a tour of the park and its new educational signs.

“We’re always happy to have kids here in the park,” said Senior Gardener Rose Brittenham. “It’s nice to have activities for them.”

The new signs will be in the park throughout the summer and will be removed in late September or early October to protect them from the fall and winter weather.