My Favorite Tree - the Garry Oak

Monday, June 17, 2024

Garry oak in the Miyawaki Urban Forest
Photo by Sally Yamasaki
By Sally Yamasaki

It’s been about six months since I helped plant the Miyawaki Urban Forest at the Shoreline Historical Museum and I have had a moment to reflect on what it has meant to me so far.
Last December, I helped plant a tree, a (čaʔadᶻac) Garry oak, Washington’s only true native oak, in the Shoreline Historical Museum Miyawaki Urban Forest on their Planting Day. 

The tree is just starting its life, but from the twig I planted 5 months ago to now, I can see beautiful deep green leaves that have emerged.

This tree is my favorite tree.

This Garry oak is so special partly because I helped plant it and it holds the hope of a healthy future for the earth to me. Garry oaks sequester carbon, and they are drought tolerant so as the earth continues to warm it will be able to survive. They are also important because they are a keystone species. So many other parts of our environment are dependent on them.

I worry about climate change and what will become of the future for my children, and their children. As a result, I recycle, try to walk as much as I can, and vote for things and people who support climate action.

Those things are good, but there is a difference in how this tree makes me feel. Whenever I go to visit it, I see how much it has grown, look to see if it is doing well or if a bunny has nibbled on it, and imagine how much bigger it will become in five, 10, 20 years. 

Although it does not ask me in words, as I sit there looking at the progress in its growth, it is almost as if it too is checking in on how I am because, invariably after a visit to the tree, I feel grounded as if I had a moment with a good friend.

On Saturday, June 29, 2024 starting at 5pm, the Miyawaki Forest Friends have a Forest Celebration planned at the field at the Shoreline Historical Museum, 18501 Linden Ave N, Shoreline, WA 98133

 It is open to the public and it will give all of us a chance to visit or revisit the Forest that we planted together in December and at the same time listen to a program of drumming that is sure to help us all celebrate the Forests summer. 

For more information click here.


Anonymous,  June 17, 2024 at 7:51 AM  

Sally. What a charming essay on the Garry Oak. I will need to buy one I think. The Miwuk forest is such a wonderful dream and watching it grow a fulfilling reality. Thank you for all that you think and do.

Anonymous,  June 17, 2024 at 7:52 AM  

I mean Miyawaki

Anonymous,  June 17, 2024 at 11:10 AM  

Shoreline's Miyawaki Forest gives us climate reassurance, too. We'll look for a sign saying 'Garry Oak'.

Anonymous,  June 17, 2024 at 12:32 PM  

Climate change have you worried? Walk the path through the Miyawaki Forest, read the labels in English and Lashootseed, and imagine the good plants are breathing into the atmosphere - and your own soul.

Anonymous,  June 17, 2024 at 1:52 PM  

That is such a great tree and a beautiful tribute to native plants of the Pacific northwest. Also a great host for pollinators.

Anonymous,  June 27, 2024 at 7:40 AM  

Very charming words on he Garry Oak!

Anonymous,  June 27, 2024 at 1:17 PM  

Thank you. Truly appreciate your comment. Hope to see you this Saturday.

Anonymous,  June 27, 2024 at 1:18 PM  

On this Saturday's June 38th event starting at 5 pm we will have docents in the Forest who can answer any questions!

Anonymous,  June 27, 2024 at 1:19 PM  

Thank you for sharing the joy that helping the earth can feel.

Anonymous,  June 27, 2024 at 1:21 PM  

Yes! I learned so much about the Garry Oak from volunteering with the forest - museum. It helps so many other species as well as us! It's the tree that keeps on giving.

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