Leading a local community in appreciating, understanding, and protecting birds and their natural habitats.


Canopy Connections


Canopy ConnectionsCanopy Connections is a project by Seattle Audubon working to document, map, and enhance Seattle's urban forest habitat for birds and nature.

Urban habitat provides the foundation for sustaining wildlife populations and creating healthy landscapes for people. Urban habitat can be a small city lot or an entire park. It can be created by a single individual or an army of volunteers.

The type and quality of urban habitat determines what birds and other wildlife might be seen. Canopy Connections seeks to improve urban habitat and form critical connections among people, birds and habitat. The next time you pass by a tree, think of it as a part of urban habitat, or living space, for birds and other wildlife. Even still-standing dead trees, called snags, provide habitat for a number of different animal species; woodpeckers and other birds eat the insects that live in snags, and chickadees nest in the cavities made by woodpecker foraging.

The urban forest is a critical element of the urban habitat. Trees clean our air and water, reduce urban flooding, prevent soil erosion, provide food and homes for our wildlife, and soften the harsh urban landscape dominated by buildings and pavement. Trees make our neighborhoods walkable and healthier. Trees inspire us and our children.

To find out how you can help grow and enrich our urban habitat, learn about the three phases of Canopy Connections:

  • Tree Census and Inventory
  • Urban Forest Advocacy
  • Neighborhood Activities




Seattle Tree Map: A Tree Census and Inventory

This is an online tree mapping project for the City of Seattle. This project will help citizens learn about, inventory and promote trees in their neighborhood. Canopy Connections relies on citizen scientists like you to record local tree data which contributes to a city-wide, collaborative urban tree map. Our goal is to map and inventory the urban forest, taking into account overall health and size of canopy cover. Think of this as a ‘census for trees’—an exciting and engaging opportunity for anyone to directly assist with urban forest conservation.

The City of Seattle has a goal of 30% tree canopy cover by 2036. Seattle Audubon analyzed aerial photographs from 2009 and 2011 to determine tree canopy cover for Seattle.

Seattle Tree Map

Add, edit, and explore the trees in your neighborhood! Ready to get started? Read our Tree Mapper Field Guide and learn everything you need to know to survey Seattle's urban forest.

Tree Conservation Tools and Resources






Urban Forest Advocacy

The Urban Forest Stewardship Plan (UFSP)establishes the City's goals for tree canopy cover and includes guiding principles and recommended strategies and actions to foster an ethic of community stewardship, increase the health of the urban forest, and meet Seattle's goal of 30% canopy tree coverage by 2037.

The Seattle Urban Forestry Commission (UFC) was established in 2009 by the City Council and approved by the Mayor. The UFC is charged with providing advice to the Mayor and City Council concerning the establishment of policy and regulations governing the protection, management, and conservation of trees and vegetation in the City of Seattle.

Seattle's Tree Protection Ordinance is an interim ordinance created in 2008 to govern tree cutting. In April 2013 the Seattle Department of Transportation's (SDOT) update to the Street Tree Ordinance was passed by full council. However, an update to the Private Tree Ordinance from the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has still not been passed; even after numerous tries to create a new tree ordinance the City is still without a comprehensive set of regulations to guide tree cutting and mitigation on both public and private land in the City. The DPD is currently working on a third draft of the private tree ordinance which is planned to be released in early 2014.


Neighborhood Activities

Help your neighborhood protect and enhance your urban forest!

Backyard Enhancements: Whether you want to create a backyard garden to attract wildlife or simply plant a tree to help reduce energy demands, there are numerous opportunities for you to enhance your backyard. Check out this page to find ideas and strategies to convert your yard into an environmental oasis.

Canopy Connections is made possible with support from the following partners:

Bullitt FoundationHorizons Foundation WA State Department of Natural Resources   

Seattle Audubon is nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Copyright Seattle Audubon.