We Grow It Forward

Western Red Cedar seedlings planted at SJU.

The St. John United Green Team has just adopted 100 young Western Red Cedar seedlings!

We feel blessed to participate in Grow It Forward, a nonprofit that welcomes volunteers every fall and winter. We’ll be nurturing the trees for future planting at habitat restoration sites. Please take a look at SJU’s “foster trees,” now in the SJU parking lot. 

People & Cedars

To many Pacific Northwest Native American tribes, the Western Red Cedar has long been considered a tree of life.  People relied on these majestic trees, up to 125 feet tall with massive trunks, living nearly 1,000 years.

The wood of cedar trees was shaped into weather-resistant longhouses, dugout canoes, buckets, and watertight bentwood boxes.  The bark of the cedar was woven into hats, rain capes, mats, fishnets and all kinds of baskets. 

Native Americans also took advantage of the antifungal, antibacterial, and immuno-stimulant properties of cedar.  Foliage was brewed into teas and tinctures to prevent or treat arthritis, colds and other ailments.  People chewed the tree buds for toothache or sore throat.

Cedars in our Ecosystem

You probably know that trees absorb carbon from the air and store it, improving earth’s atmosphere. There are many other ways that trees—especially evergreens like the cedar—benefit the planet.  As just one example, forested riverbanks and wetlands are needed by salmon for migration and reproduction.  Over the years, the loss of trees along these waterways has eliminated shady spots, and has reduced areas where water flow and silting were slowed by roots.  This means both salmon swimming upstream to spawn, and baby salmon making their way downstream, are deprived of crucial rest areas and clear water, cutting survival rates. 

Other animals and plants are helped in myriad ways by the presence of trees.  The SJU trees will be planted with other vegetation to simulate natural forest growth where it can do the most good.  We trust that our 100 cedars will make a difference in restoring critical habitat.

Green Team members Dave Favour, Mark Lee, and Barbara Reid plant Cedar seedlings.
Photo by Heidi Favour.

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