Washington State faces climate change impacts that include sea level rise, temperature increases, and changes in precipitation. The conservation and restoration of our valuable urban forests becomes increasingly important in addressing these changes by mitigating storm water impacts from increased precipitation, reducing temperatures, and sequestering carbon. Limited information has been available to guide decisions on species selection for urban forest restoration, seed source selection and other management practices. The Green City Partnerships, with support from the US Forest Service, partnered with the University of Washington’s College of the Environment to evaluate climate change impacts on habitat suitability of native tree species that are commonly used for restoration of urban forests in the Puget Sound region. Climate change impacts were assessed using climate envelope modeling and seed transfer zones as well as through creation of future plant hardiness zone maps.
This research, led by Dr. Soo-Hyung Kim of the UW’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, suggests clear impacts from climate change on three native tree species. Climate conditions that make up the current seed transfer zones of western redcedar, western hemlock and Douglas-fir are likely to change radically within western Washington or, in some cases, nearly disappear towards the end of the century. In addition, the research team found that plant hardiness zones are likely to rise by a half zone in the Puget Sound area. This means that the Puget Sound area is projected to experience an increase of 5 to 6 degrees F in annual minimum temperatures. This implies that less hardy species may be able to grow in the region and could alter ecological dynamics in urban forests. These findings have implications for how we choose current and future planting materials for urban forest restoration sites.
We hope this research fuels further discussion and research into restoration strategies to mitigate climate change impacts to Puget Sound’s urban forests. To find research summaries on Seed Transfer Zones, Plant Hardiness Zone Maps, or to view the full report, go to the Green Cities research webpage: http://www.forterra.org/what_we_do/build_community/green_cities/green_cities_research
April 27th is officially Neighborday, so we’d like to salute all of the awesome things that Green Cities volunteers are doing in their neighborhoods all year. Bringing people together, building community, creating meaningful and welcoming public spaces, improving our urban environmental health . . . the list goes on.
The website GOOD has included a lot of coverage lately leading up to Neighborday, inviting folks across the country to “a global celebration of the people with whom we share space.” They’ve posted some theoretical pieces on what makes good “neighboring”, and a hands-on toolkit with things you can download to get started with your own ideas. Neighborday is being celebrated across the country with fun events like pot-lucks, skill-shares, scavenger hunts, and art projects.
Want to celebrate Neighborday by volunteering in your local neighborhood natural area? Check out Green Seattle, Tacoma, Kirkland, Redmond, Kent, and Everett‘s websites for the next chance to jump in on a work party.
Get out and meet your neighbors! Happy Neighborday from the Green Cities Network.
I work as a Forest Steward and Washington Native Plant Steward at a forest restoration site in the East Duwamish Greenbelt in South Seattle. The project is part of the Green Seattle Partnership (GSP) and encompasses an area of a bit more than one acre.
I took this project on with three teammates who were in the same Washington Native Plant Society class in 2011 and we’ve been working on it ever since. This coming August will be two years at the site and we’ve made some great progress. But it has taken a ton of work, and a lot of support from many different people and organizations involved in GSP, especially Seattle Parks and Recreation, Forterra, Student Conservation Association, and EarthCorps.
Earlier this month we held our regular work party, and I was very pleased with how our bareroot plants were looking. OK, admittedly, for some reason the Oregon grape doesn’t seem to be doing so well on our site, but really everything else is growing well. And in early April in Seattle, most of the new native plants were already showing a lot of new leaves! Of course the best plants were the bareroots that we planted about a year ago, but even those that we planted earlier this year seem to be taking to their new home. So for this particular work party, a group of about 7 of us spent 3 hours filling buckets with mulch and making sure that these new plants are “tucked in” for the coming dry months.
I felt compelled to share our success with the world, because it seems that many people invest all of the time and energy to remove invasive plants from a site and get them replaced with what promises to be a batch of beautiful native plants. And they stop there. But it isn’t planting that is the most valuable part of the process; rather, it is the three years after the plant is in the ground that is critical. And though moving mulch for three hours on a Saturday morning may seem more mundane than tearing out ivy or demonstrating our dominion over armored blackberry canes, there is a quiet satisfaction in knowing that this simple task is what will make the site great. The simple act of spreading mulch around new plants will help enrich the soil and hold valuable moisture around the plant’s roots while it establishes its root system.
The Green Everett Partnership is now recruiting volunteer Forest Stewards to implement restoration projects and lead groups of volunteers to rebuild healthy native plant communities within Everett’s forested parks and natural areas. Everett Parks Need You!
- Join a Team of Volunteer Leaders
- Learn about ecological restoration
- Lead your own active, fun project at a park
- Get support from trained staff
- Help other volunteers get involved
- Impact the park’s environmental health
- No Experience necessary.
- All materials, training and support provided by the program.
New Forest Steward Orientation
Saturday May. 18th 9am-noon
Forest Park, Lions Hall – 802 E. Mukilteo Blvd, Everett, WA
For more information contact: email@example.com or call 425-238-0065
Searching for ways to be a more involved, informed citizen? Look no further than GOOD’s “Building Blocks of Citizenship” list. Since the first of the year, the writers at GOOD have been adding one new building block per week and challenging people everywhere to integrate them into their day-to-day life. These building blocks cover an array of topics, from community engagement to animal welfare, so there is bound to be something new for even the most engaged citizens out there! Some of our favorites (so far) include #4, measuring your carbon footprint, and #3, committing 1% of your time to service. GOOD will be posting new building blocks for the next 42 weeks, so stay tuned for more ways to get involved!
Re-posted from Forterra’s blog
American Forests announced recently that Seattle’s urban forests are among the top 10 in the nation! The ranking is based on six criteria: civic engagement, strategic planning, accessibility to the public, overall health of the urban forest, documented knowledge and management activities.
This ranking is a big pat on the back for our partner agencies, volunteer stewards, and researchers who have contributed extensively to the planning, implementation and monitoring of Seattle’s urban forest. The American Forests report cites research produced by Forterra and the Green Cities Research Alliance. Published in 2012, the Seattle’s Forest Ecosystem Values report summarizes forest structure and ecosystem service values based on data collected throughout the City of Seattle.
The other cities recognized include Sacramento, Austin, Charlotte, Denver, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, and Washington, DC. For more information visit: http://www.americanforests.org/our-programs/urbanforests/10-best-cities-for-urban-forests/.
Come learn what the Green Kent Partnership is all about! The orientation will provide you with an understanding of how you can get involved as a Steward of your own restoration site or supporting other Stewards. You will also get a basic understanding of “tree-iage” and the four phases of restoration, plus have a lot of hands-on fun learning planting techniques and invasive removal. No experience necessary. Register for the orientation by emailing Victoria, or call 253-856-5113 for more information.
Stewards are committed volunteers who lead a restoration project at a park or natural area, with the support of Green Kent staff. Stewards lead at least 4 work parties a year at their site, or contribute 20 hours of service on their own if they prefer. You can also become a Support Steward and help out when you can.
If you just want to pitch in for a few hours, visit www.greenkent.org and look for a work party coming up!
Here’s what some of the current Stewards are saying:
“I grew up in Kent, traveled Europe for a few years while serving in the Army, then came back to Kent. I joined the Green Kent Partnership because I have always had a passion for environmental issues, and I recognized the need to improve my own community. I chose to become a steward of Springwood Park because I believe it has a lot of potential. It’s a large park that needs a lot of love. With help from volunteers and the parks department, I know we can make it a great park.” – Springwood Park Steward Zandria Michaud
“I really love this program. It offers accountants like me the chance to get outside and do volunteer work. I can contribute to the community when I have time available. I have also been able to offer local teenagers service hours for school by having them help with the work. My grandson does miss the blackberries, but we can go explore the woods now instead!” – Pheasants Hollow Steward Nancy Terry
“I love the outdoors and I love doing things that benefit others. I spend a lot of time in the Kent Parks with my son JJ, so I thought this would be the perfect way to give back! I chose North Lake Meridian because it is right outside of the Meridian Junior High school and is next to the trail that kids walk through to get to school. I attended Meridian Junior High and walked that trail every day. There truly is something refreshing, relaxing, and rewarding about removing the naughty part of Mother Nature, and replacing it with the nice! Playing in the mud is just a bonus.” – Lake Meridian Park Steward Debbie Larson
“My latest volunteer adventure is as a Steward for Lake Fenwick Park in Kent. This gives me the opportunity to work with fellow volunteers while getting my hands dirty . . . I don’t know ‘if no one is in the forest and a tree falls if it makes a sound’; however, I do know how much work a small group of volunteers can accomplish in a few hours on a Saturday.” – Lake Fenwick Park Steward Gina Tallarigo