Speak out for the trees

Where is your favorite tree? Tell your story on the Forest for the Trees Storymap!

Artist Katherine Wimble Fox and SoCoCulture (the South King County Cultural Coalition) 
announce an open call to the public to contribute to the crowd-sourced, online, interactive Forest for the Trees Storymap. Participants locate their favorite tree or trees on a map and upload an image and story of their tree. Forest for the Trees is meant to inspire stewardship and awareness of our tree neighbors, attunement to nature, community sharing, and attachment to place. It will also become a record of the social value of trees in South King County communities. 

This mapping project is funded by a Tech Specific artist grant from 4Culture. It is a component of SoCoCulture’s Engaging Trees Initiative, and for autumn 2018, SoCoCulture is planning a tree-centric speaker series, supported by the Port of Seattle’s Airport Community Ecology Fund, to encourage further participation in the project. Nonprofit partner support is provided by Pacific Bonsai Museum and the Highline Historical Society.

Why Trees?
As developers eye South King County’s plentiful undeveloped parcels, with chainsaws at the ready, residents stand to lose cherished trees. The loss would be immense, as people depend on the ecosystem services trees provide as producers of oxygen, shade, food, habitat, carbon storage, clean air, and clean water. In recognition of the ecological and economic value of trees, King County has pledged to plant 1 Million Trees by 2020, and communities across south King County are initiating tree canopy surveys to map current canopy coverage from the air.

Down on the ground, trees provide a social value as well. People benefit from the presence of trees, finding beauty, silence, respite, solace, shelter, fortitude, and camaraderie. They are inspired by trees, responding with physical play, storymaking, placemaking, and dreaming. Most people can recall at least one memorable experience involving a special tree or group of trees, and can tell a story about that experience.

Who Can Participate?
The Forest for the Trees storymap project is fully inclusive: anyone can contribute a story in any language about any tree that matters to them (past or present) anywhere in the world. Outreach activities and programming aimed at increasing participation will be carried out in South King County, WA.

As South King County communities are steadily becoming more culturally diverse, Forest for the Trees is a way for newer communities, too, to make their mark on the map, by introducing them to plants to facilitate familiarity and personal connections to existing trees.

How Will Stories be Collected and What Will be Done with them?
The public can navigate to sococulture.org/engaging-trees to:   

  1. Locate their tree on the map;
  2. Upload an image of their tree, and 
  3. Upload a story about their tree.   

Because the storymap can be publicly accessed anywhere via smartphone, people can explore stories and contribute to the map at the site of their tree. Contributions to the map are public and will be stored on ESRI‘s (the maker of the Storymap app) server. Stories will accumulate on the Storymap for all to read and explore.

Programs
To further strengthen the connections between people, place, and trees, and to encourage more contributions to the map, selected partner organizations will organize public programs in autumn 2018. The programs will be posted online at sococulture.org/calendar.

About Katherine Wimble Fox
Katherine Wimble Fox is driven by the belief that experiential awareness can bond people with place, connect communities, and support environmental sustainability. Her artwork converges on the intersection of art, environmentalism, and history through feminist practices defined as those that underscore participation, pluralism, embodiment, and contextualization. Katherine has collaborated on site-specific outdoor art installations as a founding member of the Unearth Collective, plus landscape architecture projects with Hapa Collaborative, site-specific art installations with Haddad|Drugan LLC, and currently works as the Communications Manager at the Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way, WA. She holds a Master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Washington, a post-baccalaureate graduate degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a B.S. in Forestry & Wildlife resources from Virginia Tech.

About SoCoCulture
The South King County Cultural Coalition (SoCoCulture) consists of local arts, heritage and botanical organizations that have joined forces to promote a vibrant cultural life in South King County. SoCoCulture provides advocacy, collaborative marketing, and professional development opportunities for its members. To learn more about SoCoCulture’s Engaging Trees Initiative, visit: sococulture.org/fomenting-a-pro-tree-movement-in-south-king-county

About 4Culture 
4Culture provides funding and support for the cultural work that makes King County
vibrant. Arts 4Culture funds individual artists, artist groups, and arts organizations that
provide access to art experiences for all King County residents and visitors.

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