COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT: A tree-mendous man on many levels

Kitsap community forester Jim Trainer stands under an 800-year-old Douglas Fir.  - Photo by Jesse Beals/file photo
Kitsap community forester Jim Trainer stands under an 800-year-old Douglas Fir.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals/file photo

Community forester Jim Trainer knows the woods and streams of Kitsap County backwards and forwards.

Trainer, a Philadelphia native, moved to Kitsap County in 1978 and was highly impressed with the area’s greenery. He has planted thousands of trees throughout his career and hopes to hit the one million tree mark in his lifetime.

Trainer and his 11-year-old Australian cattle dog regularly hike up and down the mountains and trails of Kitsap County, but we recently caught up with Trainer and learned a little more about this tree-mendous man.

Question: What is your favorite place in Silverdale?

Answer: The old growth forest that Silverdale Water District has in the El Dorado Hills area. It’s only two miles outside of Silverdale and there’s a bear’s den, eagle’s nest and tons of trees.

Q: Do you have a favorite meal?

A: I always enjoy a turkey dinner especially around the holidays.

Q: Do you have a favorite dessert?

A: With a turkey dinner, it has to be pumpkin pie.

Q: What is your favorite hobby?

A: That’s easy, planting trees. I think I’ve distributed more than 800,000 trees in my career. This year alone I’ve planted and distributed 50,000, I’m shooting for one million trees in my lifetime.

Q: How did you become a community forester?

A: I was connected to local green organizations, had trees given to me by local outlets and it just kind of mushroomed from there.

Q: What is the biggest change you’ve seen since you’ve been in Silverdale?

A: Tree canopy loss, which equals development

Q: Who is your favorite musician?

A: Neil Young

Q: What is your first memory of Silverdale?

A: Coming from an urban area in Philadelphia, I couldn’t believe the amount of green and trees here.

Q: What is your favorite movie?

A: “Gentle Ben” because I love bears. I feed the bears here and I give bear tours.

Q: What local event do you always participate in?

A: I do a lot of tree planting projects. Over the years, I’ve probably given thousands of trees to things like the Clear Creek Trail.

Q: What is one thing you want to try in your life?

A: I’d like to hike up to the bristolcone pine trees that are 5,000 years old with my dog, Aussie. I might have to carry her up there because she’s 11 years old.

Q: Who would play you in a movie about your life and why?

A: I’m not too much of a movie buff. I don’t think there is anyone in Hollywood I would like to emulate.

Q: Are you for or against Silverdale incorporation?

A: I’m for incorporating Silverdale as a city because it could offer tree protection more so than Kitsap County does.

Q: What has been your most memorable vacation spot?

A: Two spots, Ireland and New Zealand

Q: If you could change one thing about Silverdale, what would it be and why?

A: I would like to see development sites save heritage and old growth trees rather than nuke the whole site.

Q: If you could have one magical power, what would it be?

A: I would distribute trees all over Kitsap County. I would be the Lorax of Kitsap County.

Q: What one person made the biggest impression on your life?

A: My wife and my dog. My wife basically has given me guidance and direction when I need it, like most women do.

Q: What is your favorite season and why?

A: I love spring because everything is much greener.

Q: What’s your most embarrassing moment?

A: I have gotten lost in wilderness areas, that was embarrassing to me, but nobody was there and I eventually found my way out.

Q: What is your favorite type of car?

A: If I was wealthy, I would have a hybrid Toyota, but those are for rich, green people and I’m a poor, green guy.

Q: What’s your favorite book?

A: “Forest Giants” by my friend Dr. Bob Van Pelt

Q: Have you ever encountered any dangerous wildlife?

A: I’ve encountered many bears and I’ve had probably about a dozen encounters with cougars, two close calls. There are thousands of bears, a hundred cougars and 200 eagles’ nests in Kitsap County.

Q: What is the biggest outdoor project you have worked on?

A: I worked with King County and Mountains to Sound Greenway and we planted 200,000 trees in 2000.

Q: What was the worst job you’ve ever had?

A: I’ve enjoyed every job I’ve had, maybe some of the people I worked with I didn’t enjoy.

Q: What is your favorite type of tree?

A: The oak tree because they set their roots out and the weaker, younger trees hold on to them. If trees can do that, people can definitely do that.

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