Stepping Out from Behind the Scenes

Over the past 10 months of my AmeriCorps term working for the Cascade Land Conservancy, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all the amazingly dedicated and hard working folk behind the Green City Partnerships. All of the CLC, Parks Department, and various partner non-profit staff I have worked with are truly passionate about their work. The speed at which these programs are growing is fueled by this passion, a shared vision of healthy parks, and of course amazing community support.

It is the simple truth that we could never accomplish our restoration goals without the brute strength and dedication of our amazing forest stewards and individual volunteers. You are an inspiration for all of us working for Green Cities and for your entire community! Some of my most memorable times over my term have been getting out from behind the computer and putting my hands in the dirt with a group of volunteers. The sheer amount of work you get done when joining together and the attitude you keep while fighting blackberry thorns or stubborn soil never ceases to impress me.

I want to pose a little challenge for anyone reading this. Being from Seattle myself, I was very surprised to realize how few of the parks I had actually visited before starting this position. This entire region and every Green City (Kent, Kirkland, Redmond, Seattle, and Tacoma) has many beautiful pockets of nature that are often hiding, indeed often behind the scenes of our normal reality. I simply encourage everyone to go explore those parks and natural areas that you’ve been meaning to visit or to  go find a new place you never even knew existed. You won’t regret it.

I can’t wait to see the amazing accomplishments that are made over the next few years in our Green City Programs & am excited to come back to our events as a volunteer!

Thank you to everyone who is helping to make sure our urban natural areas are being taken care of!


Vancouver’s new density plan is short on parks

According to an article published yesterday in the Vancouver Sun, a plan passed unanimously Tuesday night by Ciy Council will create a new high-density, mixed-use neighborhood for for around 7,000 people. While increasing density can be good for lowering the environmental impact in cities in many ways, some advocates of public parks see this new plan coming up short. It will not meet Vancouver’s goal of 2.75 acres of parks per 1,000, causing some, like Councilwoman Susan Anton, a self-described “advocate of density,” to question the plan’s committment to creating density in the right ways. Another Councilmember, Geoff Meggs, says that the plan will take a long time to implement, and hopes that as it evolves, amenitites for the community will be included.

Plant Salvage Poetry

Dylan Mendenhall, Schmitz Park Preserve’s Forest Steward,  shared a poem with us about his volunteer group during a native plant salvage.  It was submitted to Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union’s Op : Coop. We really like it and think that you will, too.

Friends of Schmitz Park

Goodbye Forest

In the great green forest
There was a plant salvage
And rain from the sky
And a picturesque…

…bough growing over with moss.
And there were three little ferns
And an urban disturbance

And sacks full of plants
And miraculous burlap
And a dear little fern
And a non-native worm

And the boots of a volunteer stuck in the mush
And a quiet old lady whispering “lush”

Goodbye forest; goodbye moss
Goodbye boughs growing over with moss
Goodbye twilight and rain from the sky
Goodbye ferns and the urban disturbance

Goodbye plants and burlap sacks
Goodbye shovels and volunteer huddles
Goodbye boots and goodbye stuck
Goodbye nobody, goodbye mush
And goodbye to the old lady whispering “lush”

Goodbye mushrooms – surreal like and strange
Goodbye rhizomes – the underground chains
Goodbye volunteer – riding a bicycle
Goodbye forest – now unto the tranquil


See it @ Op : Coop and help Friends of Schmitz by casting your vote!


Better Than Goats?

The Goat Lady LLC's hungry goat munching on Scotch broom at Shiga's Garden

A: Goats can be a very economical, green, and fast way to remove invasive species and they are being used successfully in many places. A fellow AmeriCorp member recently utilized their help at her new community P-Patch, Shiga’s Garden. However, they have not proven ideal for our Green Cities Program.

The use of goats can be cost-effective in comparison to other hired removal techniques (aka paid human labor or machines), but they still cost money and take time to monitor. Also, the Green City Programs often work in areas where there are many important native plants that we want to keep alive and when employing goats, they are not as selective as our human volunteers. Also, goats can only eat up to their head height (~3 feet) and they aren’t able to dig up the roots, which for most invasive species (especially Himalayan blackberry) means a whole new crop will grow up in their place the following year!

This is why we rely so heavily on our human volunteers and it’s amazing what you guys accomplish in a short amount of time. In Seattle, volunteers have helped remove more than 400 acres of invasive species since 2005. The hard work & sweat you put into digging up those roots is the best way for us to combat these weeds. We are able to remove the roots of the plant, limit the amount of soil disturbance and erosion, leave native plants intact (which can repopulate), and replant with native species to help along the restoration process. Your hard work is our first and our best line of defense against these invasive species. We simply could not accomplish our goals without your help! Thank you volunteers!

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Blackberry Rootwad

Brush up your skills at a FREE training

Photo by Bill Bankson

Learn about and practice skills for community-based restoration at a free training hosted by the Green Redmond Partnership.

Restoration Techniques: Saturday, November 21st, at Grass Lawn Park, from 10am to 1pm.

We will focus on developing hands-on skills in effectively and efficiently removing blackberry, ivy, and other invasives, and planting native plants to re-establish a healthy forest. A discussion on community organizing and volunteer recruitment  will be held at lunch to help new neighborhood groups that are just starting out.

This training is intended for all current and prospective Forest Stewards, as well as anyone who is interested in becoming more involved in urban forest restoration. No committment to the Forest Steward program is necessary – just come ready to learn!

Register by emailing

Green City Photoshoots

banksonplant Bankson - Juanita BayPlanting in the Rain – Juanita Bay Park (above & left) – Bill Bankson








Thank you volunteer photographers! The Green City Partnerships have recently been the lucky recipients of some fantastic volunteer photography. Although we’ve been able to muddle along over the years with pictures taken on pocket-sized cameras by our multi-tasking Green Cities staff as we try to simultaneously run volunteer events, photography has often been an after-thought. These expert photographers, however, come prepared with with multiple lenses, super zooms, and a keen eye (even braving torrential rain) and leave us with beautiful, artistic documentation of the great work going on in our parks.

Bill and Kris have helped us truly celebrate the return of fall & planting season! Click on the Dates below to find all their photographs.

Farrel-McWhirter - Blackberry Removal - Kris Rooke


Oct 10th – Green Redmond, RYPAC (Redmond Youth Partnership Advisory Committee) Planting Event at Farrel-McWhirter Park

Oct 17th – Green Kirkland Planting Event at Juanita Bay Park


Oct 10th – Green Redmond, RYPAC (Redmond Youth Parntership Advisory Committee) Planting Event

Oct 17th – Green Kirkland Planting Event at Juanita Bay Park

Oct 31st – Green Redmond Halloween Planting Event at Idylwood Park

banksonplant Bankson - Juanita Bay

Juanita Bay Park –

Capacity Building Grant Opportunity

NEEFThe National Environmental Education Foundation’s Public Lands Program (PLP) is giving away 10 small grants of $1,000 to community-based 501(c)(3) nonprofits whose mission is focused on serving a public lands site. These grants are designed to provide funding to strengthen the organizational effectiveness of these groups. Capacity Building can take many forms, including, but not limited to, strategic planning, marketing, volunteer development, leadership capacity (board or executive), improved fundraising, assessments or staff training.

Applications are due on December 1, 2009.
To learn more or to download an application take a look at their website: