ACE Green City Partnerships

Healthy forested parks and greenspaces have the power to strengthen neighborhoods, provide safe access to nature, and offer numerous valuable benefits to the environment. Without a coordinated effort to restore and care for our forests, we are at risk of losing many benefits these forests and natural areas provide.

Photo by: Jim Avery

ACE Green City Partnerships

In 2018, with funding from the Port of Seattle Airport Community Ecology (ACE) Fund, Forterra began establishing new Green City Partnerships in SeaTac, Burien and Des Moines to restore and care for our local urban forests. This process includes:

  • Assessments of current tree canopy cover city-wide and forest health conditions in parks and natural areas (complete)
  • Community outreach and engagement to guide project prioritization and implementation (complete)
  • Developing a 20-year plan for restoring forests and increasing the number tree canopy across the three cities (complete)
  • Implementation of on the ground projects and volunteer programs to organize local neighbors and community groups to plant trees, remove invasive plant species and meet restoration goals (ongoing)

Healthy Forest Benefits:

  • Improve air and water quality
  • Reduce stormwater runoff and erosion
  • Buffer noise
  • improve property values
  • Create habitat for wildlife
  • Improve mental and physical health
  • Convert carbon dioxide to oxygen and reduce global warming


Green Burien Partnership Urban Forest Stewardship Plan

Green Des Moines Partnership Urban Forest Enhancement Plan

Green SeaTac Partnership Urban Forest Enhancement Guide

ACE Forest Steward Field Guide

What’s in a partnership?

Photo by: David Ka


In our network of 13 Green Cities and one Green County (and growing), each city’s individual program relies on a network of individuals, organizations, staff, and volunteers. All partners are essential for the success of the project.

Our three Green Cities Partnerships in SeaTac, Burien, and DesMoines are no exception. These Partnerships include:

Port of Seattle– In its work, the Port of Seattle has recognized a need for additional support for three of its neighboring cities impacted by airport operations. In our three cities, the Port of Seattle has provided the seed funding for the Green Cities Partnerships in Burien, SeaTac and Des Moines through its Airport Community Ecology Fund.

Cities– Each city is assisting in the development of its own Green Cities Urban Forest Enhancement Plan tailored to their mission, vision, messaging, and capacity. City staff are involved in everything from planning to implementation and planting of trees and will continue to support the work of these long-term plans.

Forterra – a regional nonprofit with a mission to act with immediacy to protect, enhance, and steward Washington’s most precious resources—its communities and its landscapes. Forterra’s Green City Partnerships are dedicated to creating healthy, livable cities by stewarding our region’s urban trees, forested parks, and natural areas. Forterra has launched Green City Partnerships in 13 cities and Snohomish County across the Puget Sound region. Forterra guides planning and  coordinates stewardship activities in SeaTac, Burien, and Des Moines.

Green City Partnership – Green City Partnerships bring together community members, local governments, businesses, schools and nonprofits to improve quality of life and connections to nature by planting and caring for trees in forested parks, natural areas, neighborhoods, and other spaces throughout the city. To date, Forterra has launched nine Green Cities Partnerships, including Seattle, Tacoma, Kirkland, Redmond, Kent, Everett, Puyallup, Tukwila and Snoqualmie. The Green City Partnerships combined have logged over 1 million volunteer hours since 2005!

Other key partners play an essential role in defining the goals of the partnership, volunteering in their community, offering their expertise, and increasing canopy cover by planting trees in their yard or patios:

  • Global to Local /Community Liaisons
  • Highline School District
  • Elected Officials
  • Non-profit and Community Groups
  • Businesses
  • ACE Small Matching Grants Recipients
  • Religious Groups
  • Youth Groups & Clubs
  • Landowners
  • Individuals like YOU

NEW: Tree Walks!

From city streets to local gardens, trees are an integral part of the landscape in our urban lives. They define the places we spend our time, adding beauty, providing benefits, and contributing to local cultures. But how often are you able take the time to notice the trees around you?

We’ve created three online tree tours that will walk you through spaces like the SeaTac Botanical Garden, Des Moines Beach Park, and downtown Burien. You can view the maps on your phone or print them out at your local library, and then use the tour to guide you through the walk from tree to tree. You’ll learn how to identify different species by the leaves or flowers, and the role these trees play in their environment. Along the way, take the time to stop by other plants, have a picnic, or visit some local businesses!

All three tours are accessible for people of all ages and you can do them on your own or with friends and family. You can also do the walks in any season, or even multiple times a year to see the way trees change with time!

So if you’re looking for a fun activity to do outside, take a tree walk today!