MLK Day of Action in a Wintery West Eugene
Justice was top of mind for everyone at the West Eugene Martin Luther King Day planting on Saturday January 20th. The event had been postponed from earlier in the week because of the winter storm that brought ice, frigid temperatures, downed trees, and power outages. Luckily by Saturday, Eugene had thawed out enough for three crews of volunteers to plant 25 trees in their community.
“It was cold, but everyone was so excited and kept up their spirits,” says Eugene Director Erik Burke.
After a week of harsh winter weather, people were excited to get outdoors. The planting started at Berkeley Park in West Eugene, a high priority planting area. Spurred by a call to do something for their community, all three crews traveled to their planting sites on foot rather than in cars. The intimate events that our Eugene team hosts create an atmosphere of connection that is perfect for the MLK Day holiday.
Much of the conversation that day was about the winter storm and the hardships people either avoided or endured depending on how lucky they were.
“Downed trees aren’t just a tree maintenance issue or a climate change issue,” Erik says. “It’s a justice issue. Trees that don’t receive proper care are more likely to fail. If we want everyone to have access to the benefits of trees, we need to make sure that tree care and maintenance is available too.”
Just like we do at every planting event, we highlight how planting trees is just the beginning. Tree care and community stewardship is the path to long-lasting trees, whose benefits increase exponentially as they mature. Planting is climate action worthy of a day of service. Caring for trees and communities is a daily practice.