FREE SPRUCE TREES
In an attempt to offset the bird habitat and landscaping losses due to the Spruce Bark Beetle infestation in Anchorage, The Anchorage Audubon Society has purchased 10,000 White Spruce seedlings which we will GIVE AWAY FOR FREE beginning on May 25. We will need a LOT of help from volunteers in order to distribute these trees in the shortest possible window.
It will take years for these seedlings to provide the lush spruce habitat we have lost in Anchorage, but there’s an old saying in the forestry business: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is Now.”
Here’s everything you need to know about this project.
THE TREES THEMSELVES
LIMITS ON TREES
Since we are the ANCHORAGE Audubon Society, our primary focus is Anchorage itself. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to re-forest the entire Kenai Penninsula or The Valley. Our goal is to replace lost habitat in Anchorage’s neighborhoods.
This map shows trees that have been lost in one small West Anchorage neighborhood area. Each red dot is a lost location for breeding, nesting, feeding, and roosting for urban birds.
Our intention with this Tree Giveaway is to replace this kind of habitat within Anchorage yards and neighborhoods. We cannont possibly provide enough seedlings to re-forest tracts of land that have lost 10, 20, or 50 Spruce trees. Our hope is that we can help re-establish small clumps of 1, 2, or 3 trees in yards throughout Anchorage.
Although we would like to be able to re-forest vast tracts of Alaska, our available resources limit us to providing many small clusters of habitat throughout Anchorage. We would appreciate your understanding of our lack of a multi-billion dollar budget.
DISTRIBUTION LOCATIONS & SCHEDULE
Distribution locations and dates will be posted here as they become solidified. Our first distribution will be on Thursday, May 25 at Anchorage Audubon's Westchester Lagoon Potluck.
It is our intention to distribute 2-3 trees to each household. We would like to spread the new habitat throughout Anchorage rather than to re-forest a few large tracts of land.
On Friday and Saturday, May 26-27, we will have tables at Saturday Markets and other centrally located sites. We will also distribute to groups that have taken Large Orders from their members, neighborhoods, etc. We will not be able to deliver small orders due to the logistical challenges. Seedlings for individuals must be picked up at one of our distribution sites.
The following weekend (June 3-4) we will hand out seedlings at the Potter Marsh Discovery Day celebration, The Anchorage Garden Club Plant Sale, The Wildflower Garden Club of Alaska Plant Sale, Saturday Markets, and other locations to be announced. All seedlings are FREE.
WE DESPERATELY NEED YOUR HELP
We will need many volunteers to help man our distribution sites during the last week of May and the first week of June. We will be requesting that help as the distribution sites and times are solidified.
WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW in another area. We would like to pre-arrange large orders for seedlings. We need as many people as possible to take pre-orders from your neighbors, friends, families, co-workers, school groups, church groups, service club members, community councils, neighborhood Facebook groups, Next Door groups, etc. Take their orders, be sure to take their email addresses so you can coordinate delivery later, and let us know how many seedlings you can distribute. When the seedlings arrive, we will get them to you and you can hand them out to your group. It's like a Ponzi Scheme with no money involved.
The trees that have been lost in Anchorage are White Spruce (Picea glauca) and we have ordered White Spruce seedlings that will be approximately 12 inches tall. They are not bare root, but they have a minimum amount of soil attached to the root plug. This necessitates that they be planted as soon as humanly possible after they are picked up.
The seedlings are coming from a nursery in Minnesota because there are no White Spruce seedlings currently being grown in Alaska, and they are not from any recognized subspecies.
The seedlings have been frozen into dormancy all winter, and will only be removed from cold storage when they are shipped to us. We will have a window of approximtely 7 days from arrival until they have to be watered or cared for. We hope that swift distribution will eliminate the need for any meticulous care on our part.
It is critical that you be able to hand them out quickly before they dehydrate. Timing will be everything if the plants are to thrive. We are hoping to get as many orders for 100 or 200 seedlings as possible. If you can help in this regard, please contact W. Keys at
If you have a group that is sponsoring a large gathering of people during the last week of May or the first week of June, and if that gathering can be a distribution center for Free Trees, please let us know about that as well.
For large group orders, email:
For all other inquiries, email:
UPDATED DISTRIBUTION SCHEDULE
This Schedule will be updated & revised.
Please check frequently
SAT, JUNE 3: South Anchorage Market O'Malley Rd. & Old Seward Hwy. 9:00--2:00
Spenard Market Chilkoot Charlie's Parking Lot. 9:30--2:30
Anchorage Farmer's Market. 15th & Cordova. 9:00--2:00
Potter Marsh Discovery Day, Potter Marsh parking lot. 11:00am -- 4pm
Anchorage Garden Club Plant Sale. (Tentative) 3734 W 35th Ave. 9:00--5:00
Paddling Fun Day. Goose Lake Park. 10:00-3:00
SUN, JUNE 4: Alaska Mill & Feed 11:00-3:00
Our supply of trees WILL RUN OUT this weekend. Please arrive at your preferred distribution site early to increase your chances of receiving your FREE TREES.