KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Standing under the thick canopy of green, you wouldn't think the Juanita Woodlands needs more trees.
On the edge of Lake Washington, the Juanita Woodlands is 40 acres of dense vegetation sandwiched in the middle of neighborhoods, O. O. Denny Park, Big Finn Hill Park and St. Edwards State Park. It's a crucial area of eco-connectivity.
"If we didn't have the woodlands, there would be a big break there," says Teresa White, Vice President of the Juanita Woodlands Project, a major focus of the Denny Creek Neighborhood Association.
Over the last decade, the association successfully fought off the sale of the woodlands to developers. But now the fight has shifted to preserving it for future generations.
As they stand today, towering Douglas firs are susceptible to health problems like root rot.
"Like a lot of urban woodlands in the Seattle area, there is a significant amount of disease in the trees," says Denny Creek Neighborhood Association President Scott Wilson. "That's why, when we have winds storms, these Doug firs blow over. They just don't have enough holding them in the soil anymore."
There is a plan to stop all that -- one that relies on neighbors and volunteers getting involved and taking responsibility for the eco-system they live in.
Armed with tools provided by King County and saplings donated by a local nursery, volunteers will be out Saturday morning planting hundreds of young trees and clearing invasive species.
Last weekend, 50 volunteers took up shovels and planted 900 birch and Oregon ash saplings, each marked with a ribbon. The new species gives the woodlands a variety of trees and will invite new wildlife.
"Hopefully when we go back to these spots in 10 or 20 years, they will look a lot different," says Wilson.
Red signs dotting along Juanita Drive and Holmes Point Drive call more neighbors to action. It's a cause both Wilson and White hope local schools will play a role in heading into the future.
"There is a way for humans to live in conjunction with the environment," says White.
More volunteers are needed for Saturday's event. The group will meet near NE 118th Place and 76th Place NE at 9 a.m. You can also visit the Denny Creek Neighborhood Association website for more information. Volunteers should bring warm clothes and sturdy shoes.