This past Saturday we had a great plant ID and forest association walk at the Northwest Native Plant Garden at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma with twenty community members participating!
Located in a well-maintained native plant garden, this identification walk focused primarily on native plants, their natural associations with other plants, and the kinds of habitat they prefer. The Northwest Native Plant Garden was an ideal location for this type of walk because it features designed habitats such as the forest garden (semi-shade), the pond garden (wet areas and margin), the waterfall garden (moist shade), the woodland garden (dry shade), and the meadow (dry sun).
Participants received information about plant propagation and then learned how to identify many plants that propagate well. From those recommended in the Green Tacoma Partnership Habitat Steward Field Guide, we learned how to identify black twinberry (Lonicera involucrata), Pacific ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus), various roses (Rosa spp.), salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), willow (Salix spp.), spirea (Spiraea douglasii), oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor), Indian-plum (Oemleria cerasiformis), mock-orange (Philadelphus lewisii), red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum), thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus), snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), and western redcedar (Thuja plicata).
The next plant identification walk is scheduled for Saturday, June 15th at Oak Tree Park (sign up). As an active restoration site, participants will not only be able to hone their native plant ID skills, but there will also be ample opportunity to learn more about invasive plants commonly found in urban forests and greenspaces and the best way to manage those. As we progress through the year and plants begin to flower, fruit and develop seeds, we will offer educational walks and workshops on seed collection and dispersal. All of these educational opportunities, as well as regular volunteer work parties where you can join friends, family and neighbors in improving the community can be found through CEDAR. Sign up online and invite your friends!
This educational opportunity was made possible through funding from the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry program.
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.