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Oswego Lake Watershed Council will host the first Tree Summit on Saturday, Oct. 5

PMG FILE PHOTO  - The Tree Summit will focus on the importance of preserving trees and what trees mean to the community. Curious how to maintain the health of trees? Ever wonder about the strategy that goes into planting those earthy behemoths? Or the efforts citizens engage in to preserve the trees they already have?

In October, Lake Oswego residents will have the opportunity to learn how to mitigate the effects of climate change — in their own backyard.

The Oswego Lake Watershed Council, the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network, the Mountain Park Homeowners Association and 14 other neighborhood associations have collaborated to lead the Lake Oswego Tree Summit from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Lake Oswego Methodist Church, 1855 South Shore Blvd.

"We don't want it to be negative in any way, so we are working really hard to keep it positive but an opportunity to learn and share ideas in a fun, interactive setting," said Stephanie Wagner, president of the Watershed Council.

Over the last 15 years, Wagner said, Lake Oswego has lost hundreds of Douglas fir trees through development.

"I think the biggest pressure is houses are becoming so much bigger, so what are we doing that encourages people to save trees?" Wagner said.

The goal of the Tree Summit is to have a community discussion around the benefits of trees and what trees mean to the community.

One of the outcomes Wagner hopes the meeting will spark is for the community to start working proactively with the City to continue to save trees and think about what they want Lake Oswego to look like in the future.

"None of the trees in the city are much more than 100 years old. There are a few, but it takes a long time once those are planted to have them get that big, so we want to be strategic in how we manage our trees in the city," Wagner said. "There's been a Climate Action Plan adopted by the City and one of the parts of the Climate Action Plan that the Oswego Lake Watershed Council is taking on is to actually plant more trees just to increase the biomass in the city to help with carbon dioxide."

Wagner said she hopes this event will get community members thinking about the effects trees have on the climate and what areas need more trees planted.

During the event Wagner will lead the discussion on the benefits of trees, Zsolt Lehoczky, grounds manager for Mountain Park, will share the Forest Management Plan for the Mountain Park area and the final part of the summit will be facilitated by Lake Oswego resident Dan Vizzini.

Wagner said she hopes the summit will continue in the coming years and the leaders of the summit can eventually provide an annual report on the state of the forest in Lake Oswego, the condition of the trees and if they've made progress toward the short-term goals for the following year that they hope to develop after the meeting.

"They (community members) should come to the event to learn and to start thinking about how they as citizens can contribute to the aesthetics and the functionality of Lake Oswego's urban forest," Wagner said. "I don't think we want to tell people things as much as learn what ideas other people have at this stage."

Summit attendees will also learn more about the efforts being made to inventory trees. For more information on the event, visit oswegowatershed.org and to register, visit http://bit.ly/2kqfRMw.


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