Brian Loomis and Michelle Moch browse for a live Christmas tree from Adopt A Stream on Tuesday in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Brian Loomis and Michelle Moch browse for a live Christmas tree from Adopt A Stream on Tuesday in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

These holiday trees can liven a salmon’s home as well as your own

Adopt A Stream Foundation is selling native trees. Return them after the holidays, and they’ll become critical fish habitat.

EVERETT — Some Sitka spruces have a little more personality than others. The beauty of adopting a wild, living tree for the holidays is more about its purpose after New Year’s.

“The types of trees we plant are the kind Mother Nature has been planting,” Adopt A Stream Foundation Director Tom Murdoch said. “… These guys are special trees.”

Adopt a Stream is selling hundreds of potted trees native to Western Washington, including western red cedar, Sitka spruce, Douglas fir, western hemlock and grand fir. Customers are welcome to keep the trees, Murdoch said, but many choose to return them after the holidays. Adopt A Stream plants them near a salmon stream.

The trees are available at the Northwest Stream Center until Dec. 18. They cost $40, $60 or $100, depending on size. The purchase includes a 2022 membership to the Adopt A Stream Foundation. Visitors can book an appointment in advance online.

Susan LeDeuc, a repeat customer, bought a Sitka spruce Tuesday. She plans to put the tree in front of her house, with little red balls and a bow to match. LeDeuc said she likes her tree’s unusual texture. It didn’t look like the other spruces.

“It’s beautiful,” LeDeuc said. “I haven’t seen one like that before.”

Yehsook Han, the nonprofit’s accountant, said she adopted a tree for her own home. Han decorated it with her kids and plans to return it next year. It isn’t difficult to care for, Han said, and the nonprofit sends people home with instructions.

A spruce tree available for purchase from Adopt A Stream in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A spruce tree available for purchase from Adopt A Stream in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Murdoch and the nonprofit’s ecologists also use the trees as an opportunity to educate visitors about watersheds and the importance of the vegetation near streams, called “riparian zones.” (Less than 1% of people know what a riparian zone is, he likes to say.)

“Everybody wants to help out the orca and everybody wants healthy salmon runs,” Murdoch said. “We try to inform everybody who comes here about what a riparian zone is, what its functions are and how beneficial these things are going to be.”

Larger riparian zones mean healthier streams, Murdoch said. They provide food, shade and cover for fish and other wildlife, as well as reduce erosion in waterways. The Adopt A Stream Foundation’s restoration projects help create healthier streams, improve water quality and grow salmon runs.

“I know everyone wants a white Christmas, but we’re all about the green Christmas,” senior ecologist Walter Rung said.

A variety of species of live Christmas trees is available at Adopt A Stream in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A variety of species of live Christmas trees is available at Adopt A Stream in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The Adopt A Stream Foundation intends to use the trees people return for an upcoming restoration project in Marysville. The nonprofit wants to plant 100-foot buffers on about 3 acres along Allen Creek, Rung said.

Restoration ecologist Nicole Vandeputte is managing the project.

“We’re planting the buffer to try to decrease the pollution, because trees are good at filtering out pollutants,” Vandeputte said. “… We’re just trying to restore the area.”

The Department of Ecology and Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife are helping fund the project. Vandeputte said the entire project will take 1,100 to 2,000 trees.

Katie Hayes: katie.hayes@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @misskatiehayes.

Katie Hayes is a Report for America corps member and writes about issues that affect the working class for The Daily Herald.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Registered nurse Estella Wilmarth tends to a patient in the acute care unit of Harborview Medical Center, Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, in Seattle. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is deploying 100 members of the state National Guard to hospitals across the state amid staff shortages due to an omicron-fueled spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Inslee announced Thursday that teams will be deployed to assist four overcrowded emergency departments at hospitals in Everett, Yakima, Wenatchee and Spokane, and that testing teams will be based at hospitals in Olympia, Richland, Seattle and Tacoma. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Past the omicron peak? Snohomish County’s COVID cases declining

Hospitalizations are still a concern, however, and infections in Eastern Washington and Idaho could have ripple effects here.

Funko mascots Freddy Funko roll past on a conveyor belt in the Pop! Factory of the company's new flagship store on Aug. 18, 2017.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Despite Arizona move, Everett leaders expect Funko HQ to stay

The toymaker is closing Everett warehouses. But a recent “HQ2” expansion has the city confident Funko will remain rooted here.

Lynnwood Public Works employees on the snow plow crew sit in front of one of the city's two plows that will be named based on results of an online public vote. (City of Lynnwood)
Lynnwood snow plow names: Snowbi Wan Kenobi, Plowy McPlowface

They got the two highest votes in an online public survey by Lynnwood Public Works.

2021 survey results from the State Broadband Survey for Snohomish County. (Washington State Department of Commerce)
$16M grant to speed up broadband to north Snohomish County

In Darrington and elsewhere, rural residents have struggled to work remotely during the pandemic. A new project aims to help.

Police looking for Mukilteo bank robber, seeking tips

The man appeared to be in his late 20s or early 30s, white, slender, about 5-foot-8, with dark blond hair.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Everett in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Woman’s foot burned in south Everett apartment fire

Everyone escaped the fire that scorched a third-floor unit Monday night.

Michelle Roth is a registered nurse in the Providence Emergency Department on Sunday, January 23, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Nurses face burnout as hospital staffing shortage continues

‘It feels like there has been a mass exodus in the last two to three months.’

Christa Meyer, residential physical therapist in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, plays Wordle daily. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
What in the world is Wordle? It’s an online game C-R-A-Z-E

Solving the daily five-letter brain teaser in six tries is the latest social media obsession.

Police: Everett man left family member with life-threatening injuries

An Everett man, 23, was in jail on $100,000 bail after being accused of confronting women and attacking a relative.

Most Read