Will you be my volunteer?

Looking for the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Show your love for Frink Park and get your heart pumping with environmental restoration on Saturday, February 12th.

Here are some images from last year:

Spend Valentine’s Day outdoors volunteering with someone special, or meet someone new!

This event is singles, couples, and family friendly.

Escape the commercial hype and join us in the park.

Register online at www.greenseattle.org and tell us your favorite love song so we can play it while we’re working!

Within the Gradient: Introducing the Science of Green Cities

Our region exists across a dramatic gradient: from the peaks of the Cascades and Olympics to the Sound; from the wildlands of the National Parks and Forests to the urban cores of our cities.  This sphere encompasses all of our cities; our jobs and homes.  It also provides the spaces in which we interact with the natural world.  But a lot of questions about this interaction exist:

  • What value is nature to me, or to my community?
  • Is my environment in danger?
  • What impact do I have on nature in my city?
  • How can we improve the natural resources in our communities?

Since late 2009, the Green City Partnerships have been participating in a collaboration with a US Forest Service Research effort called the Green Cities Research Alliance.  This work is similar to exciting research that is being completed across the country like Chicago, NYC, and Baltimore looking at the interaction of people with ‘everyday nature’, in the places where they live, work, and play across the gradient.

It is important to understand the value of ‘green’ to all our landscapes, not only our forests and farms, but also the green in our cities.  Within our gradient we have a variety of types of landscapes, but also cities too!  We live in small towns and exurban communities.  And work in industrial centers and mixed use spaces.  We shop at malls, on mainstreets, and mom and pop’s.  Each of our communities can and does benefit from nature in their own unique way.

The Green Cities Research Alliance is conducting efforts to better understand this relationship of our cities with the natural world.  Research includes investigation of:

  • The people stewarding our parks and open spaces
  • The quality of natural habitats
  • Economic and other values of nature
  • Public health, and the benefits of outdoor restoration and recreation

Amazing work like this in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere is springing up like crazy: check out this, and this, and this, and this here.   Green Cities Research Projects hope to uncover information about our interaction with everyday nature like these projects have, that can help our region thrive through health and stability, as well as provide data that is useful in cities across the country.  We will make an effort to keep you informed.  Please check back regularly for posts on the Science of Green Cities to see what we are discovering!

What are you doing for MLK Day?

Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service has become an annual call to action to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King by volunteering in our communities. Healthy urban natural areas are vital to the environmental, social, and economic health of a city. Join the Green Cities Network in Seattle, Tacoma, Redmond, Kirkland, and Kent to ensure that urban natural areas stay healthy for generations to come.

In the words of Dr. King, “Anyone can be great, because anyone can serve.”

Answer the call! Register for a work party near you.

Looking back, and ahead

Happy New Year, Green Cities World!

It was a great year for restoration, engagement, and education in our urban natural areas. We’re still crunching the numbers on all of the great work that we did together, so when that’s done we’ll be sure to share it with you. In the meantime, it was a great year for the blog too. We can’t wait to see what 2011 will bring. Thanks for reading!

Some blog highlights from 2010:

Why We Love Where We Live – I got really into a Grist article about the results of a Gallup poll on why people feel attachment to where they live, and couldn’t help but notice that the top three factors were Green Cities goals. This post was tweeted more than any other so far!

Green Seattle Day – The biggest, best Green Seattle Day yet. Katie’s awesome write-up here documents the 1,000 volunteers that helped out in 20 Seattle Parks. The Woodland Park hub site alone hosted over 300 volunteers, including new Mayor Mike McGinn.

The Blogiversary – We celebrated our blog’s first birthday(!) with a contest. Ara’s post on the carbon stored in a tree won the drawing from among the comments we got.

Green Tacoma on TV – Chris made the news, and Tacoma News watchers learned about the great work GTP has been up to.

The Puget Creek Restoration Society wins City of Destiny Award – This award, given by the City of Tacoma since 1987, recognizes exceptional volunteers who are working to drive Tacoma forward. The Puget Creek Restoration Society was selected by the City Council-appointed Citizens Recognition Committee in the environmental category.

Green Kent – A fifth Green City joined the network this year! We welcomed Kent to the family with a whirlwind of activity, including public meetings, a 20-year plan, City Council approval, and our first ever Green Kent Stewards, already getting to work.

The Carbon Stored in a Tree – Ara’s explanation of the biochemistry behind our exciting carbon mitigation collaboration with Pearl Jam got a lot of views.