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Green Redmond Forest Steward Profile: Jim Downing

June 18, 2010
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Jim Downing, Forest Steward at Grass Lawn Park

Jim is a Forest Steward at Grass Lawn Park, a 28.5-acre multi-use park in Redmond.  He has been active in Redmond’s parks for many years, so when he heard about last year’s Forest Steward Orientation, he was naturally interested.  Jim was also aware that while restoration efforts had begun at Grass Lawn, there was more work to be done.

“There was a restoration effort started a few years ago at Grass Lawn as part of an Eagle Scout project,” Jim said.  “So I enjoy continuing that work.”

Since attending the orientation in 2009, Jim has been an active Forest Steward.  While he mostly works on an individual basis, he occasionally has events at Grass Lawn as well, including an autumn invasive-pull event.

When asked what he enjoys about being a Forest Steward, Jim spoke of the rewarding aspects of restoration.  “It’s hard work, but it’s nice to get outside and be part of the solution to the invasive problem,” he said.  “It’s also interesting to see the change of seasons, and how they affect restoration,” he continued.

Being a Forest Steward also provides unique opportunities to learn about urban ecology.  After coming across a patch of a plant he didn’t recognize, Jim did some research and discovered that it was bittersweet nightshade, a potentially toxic weed on King County’s “Weed of Concern” list.  Jim notified the Parks department, and was able to remove the weed from a significant area.

Thank you for all your work at Grass Lawn, Jim!  We really appreciate your dedication as a Forest Steward.

With many years of experience in ecology, Jim is a natural fit for the Green Redmond Forest Steward Program.  But you don’t need a background in ecology to be a Forest Steward.  A willingness to learn and a commitment to a forested park is all we ask.  To find out how YOU can become a Forest Steward, or to volunteer in one of Redmond’s parks, visit www.greenredmond.org.

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