Group takes first steps toward planting 10,000-trees

Courtesy Kyle Horvath

Courtesy Kyle Horvath

Carson City has joined with many cities across the country in a new commitment to add more trees to the capital city's urban forest.

The "quantitative tree planting program" was undertaken by a local volunteer group, Friends of the Urban Forest, said Kyle Horvath, one of the group's founders, who also serves on Carson City's Shade Tree Council.

The Friends have taken on a five-year initiative called Canopy the Capital: 10,000 Trees, Horvath said. The goal of the program is to encourage residents to improve the health of their urban forest in capital cities across the nation.

The goal did not fit the parameters of the Shade Tree Council, so the Friends group was formed to specifically take on the challenge.

"Educating the community on appropriate tree species, and thus increasing the diversity within the urban forest, is an exciting aspect to the program," Horvath said.

With co-founders Gianna Shirk, Tom Henderson and Jed Block, Friends of the Urban Forest have outlined their five-year campaign based on a "right tree, right spot" philosophy.

"There are a number of cities around the country doing this. Sacramento is planting 5 million trees in 20 years, but I have a family here, and this is where I live, so I thought, 'Why not do something cool for the city?" Horvath said.

Momentum for the campaign started last weekend at the Fulstone Wetlands Park, off Northridge Drive and Russell Way, Horvath said.

With grant money awarded by the Nevada Division of Forestry's Urban Forest Fund and help from honor students from Eagle Valley Middle School, the Friends planted 30 cottonwood tree saplings in the wetlands area.

"The grant gave us an opportunity to choose a location, and we actually had requests for trees in that area, so that was pretty exciting," Shirk said.

Members of the Carson City Parks Department supervised the activity, and members of the community also got involved. "You have to start somewhere," Shirk said. "Cottonwoods are the only native tree to the valley floor, so it's really cool to have 1-30 trees be native."

The Friends will be fundraising and promoting their project throughout the winter in order to be ready to start planting next spring.

"All trees planted from here on count. If you plant a tree, we would love to know about it and record it," said Horvath.

For those who need help selecting a tree, the Friends have compiled a list that takes into account the planter's needs and the site.

According to Arboriculture research, a healthy forest of 10,000 trees can retain 10 million gallons of rainwater a year, Horvath said.

"This, compounded with all the other benefits an urban forest bestows on our naturally arid environment, is what motivates this group of volunteers to go out and plant trees."

Shirk said the group has a presentation it used to get ideas from cities like Sacramento and Boston, who also have taken up the commitment.

"This goal can help us cool our city and reduce energy costs," Shirk said.

For more information or to donate to Canopy the Capital: 10,000 trees, send an email to canopythecapital@ or follow the blog at


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment