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Outside » Outside Features

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Worthy Brewing to host the Forest Revival Concert to see more trees planted and forests restored

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Pioneer nurseryman John Chapman (1774-1845) might be buried in the duff of history if he wasn't better known as Johnny Appleseed. Best remembered for his planting of wild apple trees wherever he traveled, Worthy Garden Club, the philanthropic arm of Worthy Brewing, has invoked Johnny's folklore to seed Operation Appleseed by pledging $1 million toward planting 1 million evergreens and hardwoods—not apple trees—across Oregon.

"Now more than ever, as the forests burn and the usually pristine Oregon air turns toxic, we need to plant more trees," said Roger Worthington, owner of Worthy Brewing. "Oregonians want to do something, pitch in, roll up their sleeves and volunteer to help restore the forests, the lungs of our precious and hurting planet."

By garnering donations from the public, Project Appleseed aims to plant 2 million trees—double its initial goal. - GRANT TANDY
  • Grant Tandy
  • By garnering donations from the public, Project Appleseed aims to plant 2 million trees—double its initial goal.

Worthington's call to action was ignited after a public presentation by Dr. Bill Ripple, distinguished professor of ecology at Oregon State University, at Worthy Brewing. Ripple's talk focused on his research about trends in climate change and the importance of carbon reservoirs, better known as forests.

"Operation Appleseed began with one grandiose but achievable goal: to plant 1 million trees in Oregon," said Kody Osborne, executive director of Worthy Garden Club. "In order to achieve our dream, we leveraged $1 million as seed money to support tree planting projects from various nonprofit and governmental groups all around the state."

This initiative supports reforestation efforts on public and private lands from the High Desert across the Cascades to the Coast Range. Working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, several watershed councils, soil and water conservation districts, land trusts, and numerous other partners—including the Oregon Natural Desert Association, Discover Your Forest, Portland Audubon, the Arbor Day Foundation, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Trout Unlimited, and others. Worthy Garden Club is providing the funding for the plantings, while the host partners organize the boots on the ground, planting stock and equipment for the work parties.

Volunteers gather for a tree planting party at the Ten Mile Creek Sanctuary. - GRANT TANDY
  • Grant Tandy
  • Volunteers gather for a tree planting party at the Ten Mile Creek Sanctuary.

"As our public lands face new and daunting challenges from climate change to mega fires, we need our communities to come together to support these amazing places," said Rika Ayotte, executive director of Discover Your Forest. "The Worthy Garden Club has set an incredible example by initiating Operation Appleseed, which will fund essential reforestation efforts from here East of the Cascades all the way to the Oregon Coast."

The project's first-year target of planting over 500,000 native trees and shrubs was partially derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which postponed many volunteer work parties. In addition, the recent rash of wildfires across the state raised another setback, causing the cancellation of other planned volunteer projects.

To date, volunteers and staffers have planted over 135,000 trees on 221 acres in the Willamette Valley, Central Oregon and Portland Audubon's Ten Mile Creek Sanctuary outside of Yachats.

"We had volunteers from Worthy Garden Club, Worthy Brewing, Hoopla Creative, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, The Gear Fix of Bend, Oregon State University, Wintercreek Nursery, and some neighbors in the area," said Osborne. On average, an acre of Pacific Northwest forest sequesters about 4.74 tons of CO2 per year, capturing carbon from the atmosphere that otherwise would be contributing to climate change.

Project Appleseed volunteers have planted more than 135,00 trees as part of the project thus far. - GRANT TANDY
  • Grant Tandy
  • Project Appleseed volunteers have planted more than 135,00 trees as part of the project thus far.

To draw awareness to Operation Appleseed and raise additional funds to plant more trees, JuJu Eyeball, Bend's tribute band to The Beatles, will headline the Forest Revival Concert at Worthy Brewing Oct. 2. Guest speakers from the Forest Service and Discover Your Forest will be on hand, as well as representatives from partnering organizations to accept donations and sign up volunteers. The partnership is hoping to double down on its commitment and raise enough funding through public donations to plant 2 million trees. Worthy also plans to donate a large percentage of sales of their Tenmile dry hopped lager toward Operation Appleseed, as well.

"Simply put, human beings have unfortunately had many adverse effects on the natural world we all love," added Osborne. "So, it's time we all pitch in and do what we can to reverse some of that damage and plant seeds of hope for current and future generations."

For more information about Operation Appleseed, visit operationappleseeds.com.

Forest Revival Concert
Fri., Oct 2, 6-9:30pm
Worthy Brewing
495 NE Bellevue Dr., Bend
worthygardenclub.com
Free & all ages


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