Behind the behind the scenes

Teamwork towards a healthy forest and a liveable city.  Photo by Ben Scott-Killian.
Teamwork towards a healthy forest and a livable city. Photo by Ben Scott-Killian.

When Sydney and I took our AmeriCorps pledge back in January at the Northwest Service Academy’s Mt. Adams Center, we avoided setting too many expectations.  We had no idea what our jobs working with the Green Cities program would entail.  Well, 10 months later, I think we’ve figured it out.   We’ll both be leaving CLC on Nov. 20th and wanted to share some thoughts from our term.  I’ll take this “Behind the Scenes” section and Syd will take the next one.

The goal of the AmeriCorps program is to give people the opportunity to help their communities.  We receive a modest living stipend and in return, we work to make America a healthier, safer place.  For me, it does not take an enormous stretch of the imagination to connect my work with the Green Cities program to AmeriCorps’ goals.

My roles in working for the Green Seattle Partnership have, thankfully, been exceptionally diverse.  I’ve had the opportunity to lead volunteer work parties and field surveys, and to go out and get dirty with our exceptionally hardcore Washington Conservation Corps field crew.  I’ve also accomplished a lot from behind the desk: the graphic design and layout for the Green Redmond 20-Year Strategic Plan, copy edit and layout for this year’s Green Seattle Day poster, and plenty of the tedious (but important) day-to-day activities (e.g. making sure our Forest Stewards’ events get posted to the Green Seattle website).  Oh, and maybe you’re our follower on Twitter or a fan on Facebook… I’m to blame for all those tweets and status updates.

This is me (lower right) sharing tree planting tips with a Redmond teen group. Photo by Bill Bankson.

Personally, I’ve probably only planted a dozen trees, removed only a few square yards of ivy, and an armful of blackberry rootballs.  Not a whole lot, especially compared to what some of our volunteer Forest Stewards do every year.  But I’m glad to be a part of the larger effort.  Together, we are making Seattle a healthy and desirable place to live, augmenting the ecological services that urban forests provide, and increasing access to vegetated habitat for many that have never experienced it.   I’m also glad to have been helping get the word out through social media– the next best thing to going out to volunteer is telling a friend about GSP, whether it is in person or on Facebook.

When I was coming to Seattle from the Northeast, my goal was to become an active member in an urban community, something that I have never had the chance to do.  Working for Green Cities has been critical for me in meeting this goal — I have been exposed to a community of people who are doing really amazing things for their communities.  Seattle is a better place to live because of our public greenspaces.



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