Native Plant Appreciation Month 2020

Welcome to Native Plant Appreciation Month! As we move through April, we’ll be updating this page with brief profiles on some of our favorite native plants. These plants are organized by the type of ecosystems you’ll find them in, all of which are reference ecosystems for our restoration efforts. Stay tuned for more!

Scrub-Shrub Wetlands

Hardhack is a bushy shrub that grows well in wetlands and bogs, and has gorgeous pink flowers in late summer. It is often used in wetland and riparian restoration projects because it is fast growing, has tough roots, and provides great habitat for native birds.

Western skunk cabbage does have a bit of a smell when it’s in bloom, but the yellow flower is a gorgeous indicator of a wetland in action. It is not heat-producing like its east coast relative, but it is a great source of early spring food for bears, who like to eat the roots!

In Washington one of our most common sedges is slough sedge. This plant provides important wetland habitat for birds and mammals as well as stabilizing the banks of creeks and preventing erosion. You can see sedge in the wetlands at the Duwamish Hill Preserve!

Scrub-Shrub Wetlands

You might recognize these large evergreen trees from their iconic drooping new growth at the top of their crown. This tree is shade tolerant and while it grows up through the understory is often snacked on by deer and elk. Fun fact: the western hemlock is the Washington State tree!

Red huckleberry are commonly found in the forests of the west coast brightening the understory with their red berries or creamy-pink  spring flowers. Their berries serve as an important food source for birds and other wildlife. The red huckleberry is a common plant you’ll see growing on a nurse log – or a fallen, decaying tree that facilitates the growth of young plants.

False Solomon’s seal is found throughout the forests of Washington State and makes a great native plant option for Western Washington gardens. In early summer you are likely to see it’s beautiful clusters of white, showy flowers attracting butterflies and other pollinators.

Conifer Broadleaf Evergreen Mixed Forest

These unique trees may be best recognized for their beautiful, cinnamon colored bark that often peels off in large strips. Its one of our regions few common broadleaved evergreen trees with deep green, leathery leaves that fall from the tree after about two years.

You may find this hardy shrub growing a variety of PNW environments, from sea level to the Cascades. Its browsed on by a variety of wildlife and provides important cover for smaller mammals, birds, and tree frogs. In the late spring you’ll recognize its beautiful plumes of white flowers dropping from its branches.

The thin stem on the western starflower make it appear as though the white, star shaped flowers are floating above the rest of the plant. You’ll find the starflower growing in moist woodlands from a horizontal, underground stem called a rhizome.


Green City Days 2019!

Green City Days 2019 welcomed 4 new cities and engaged over 2,000 volunteers in restoring the urban green spaces that bring communities together!

Over 2,300 volunteers participated in the 2019 Green City Day events- the most in Green City history! 12 cities across the Puget Sound celebrated including Seatac, Burien, Shoreline and Des Moines- all who hosted their first ever Green City Days.

Every year the Green City Partnerships see more volunteers working in a growing number of parks around the region. Since the inaugural event in 2006, Green City Day events have engaged 12,000 volunteers in planting over 64,000 plants in the Puget Sound region!

During this year’s events, volunteers planted 12,224 trees, shrubs and ground covers and removed hundreds of pounds of aggressive weeds in 54 parks around the region. Volunteer efforts have a huge impact on the restoration of the urban green spaces that provide resources like clean air and water, urban flood mitigation, wildlife habitat enhancement and health benefits for all.

Green Snoqualmie Day at Jeanne Hansen Park. Photo by Jim Avery.

Green City Days unite volunteers from different communities, backgrounds, and ages to restore and maintain the long-term ecological health of urban green spaces. As Green City Partnerships continue to expand there are more opportunities for volunteers to work in parks close to home. Local restoration not only contributes to forest health, but also builds community and connection to place.

This year during the first ever Green SeaTac Day, a mother taught her daughter to plant her first tree. While at Green Tukwila Day, volunteers got a laugh uncovering old relics found under the ivy they pulled. High school students from Stadium High School’s Green Club gained experience planting in the Gog-Le-Hi-Te Wetland during Green Tacoma Day. And at Green Des Moines Day, a young man sang karaoke, keeping spirits high while volunteers planted in the rain. These glimpses into Green City Days highlight the ability of local restoration to build community and connection to place for people from all over the region.

Green Redmond Day volunteers at Viewpoint Open Space. Photo by Harley Mueller.

Green City Days are not the only opportunity to steward local parks and natural areas. Green City Partnerships are collaborative efforts between cities, Forterra, nonprofits, community groups, neighborhood leaders, local businesses and individuals working to create a sustainable network of healthy forested parks and natural areas throughout our region. Partners and forest stewards host community work parties throughout the year to maintain the health of urban green spaces. There are more than 1,300 volunteer work parties that people can engage in throughout the year. You can learn more about a Green City program near you on the Green City Partnership page.

Council member Bangs volunteering at Green Des Moines Day.

Green Burien Day: 30 volunteers planted 250 native plants around the Burien Community Center during Burien’s first ever Green Burien Day.

Green Des Moines: 56 volunteers planted 227 plants in Kiddie/City Park for the first ever Green Des Moines Day.

Green Everett Day: 118 volunteers planted 514 plants in Everett’s Thornton A Sullivan Park.

Green Kirkland Day: 185 volunteers stewarded 5 parks around the city of Kirkland.

Green Puyallup Day: 32 volunteers planted 134 plants around Deadman’s Pond, Meeker Creek, and Silver Creek.

Green Redmond Day: 119 volunteers planted 680 plants in Hartman Park, Perrigo Park, and Viewpoint Open Space.

Green SeaTac Day: 27 volunteers worked at the first ever Green SeaTac Day to plant 207 plants in Angle Lake Park.

Green Seattle Day: 1,180 volunteers planted 8,700 plants in 17 parks around Seattle.

Green Shoreline Day: 95 volunteers planted 274 plants in Hamlin Park, Richmond Beach Saltwater Park, and Twin Ponds Park during Shoreline’s first ever Green Shoreline Day.

Green Snoqualmie Day: 93 volunteers planted 213 plants, pulled weeds, and mulched at Jeanne Hansen Park and Sandy Cove.

Green Tacoma Day: 380 volunteers planted 915 plants, pulled weeds, and mulched in 14 parks around Tacoma.

Green Tukwila Day: 35 volunteers planted 110 plants, pulled weeds, and mulched despite the rain in Tukwila Park.

Green Everett Day volunteers planting in Thornton A Sullivan Park. Photo by Jim Avery.

Thank you to all Green City partners and sponsors!

City and agency partners:

Cities of Des Moines, SeaTac, Burien, Seattle, Snoqualmie, Tukwila, Tacoma, Redmond, Everett, Puyallup, Shoreline, and Kirkland, Port of Seattle, Port of Tacoma Pierce Conservation District, Snohomish Conservation District, King Conservation District, Snoqualmie Tribe, Snoqualmie Ridge ROA, MetroParks Tacoma.

Other partners:

Forterra, Mountains to Sound Greenway, EarthCorps, Tilth Alliance, Student Conservation Association, DIRT Corp, Nature Consortium, Seattle Audubon, Pilchuck Audubon, Washington Conservation Corps, Washington Native Plant Society, Sound Salmon Solutions, YMCA, Puyallup Watershed Initiative, Restoration Analytics and Design LLC, The Nature Conservancy, Puyallup Watershed Initiative, Tacoma Tree Foundation, Tacoma Public Schools, Tacoma Community College, Washington Conservation Corps, Washington Service Corps.

Sponsorships and donations:

Jim Avery Photography, REI, PCC, Bartell’s, Clif, New Seasons, Starbucks, KBCS, Poster Giant, Sno Isle Food Co-op, Steve’s Doughnuts, The Bindlestick, MOD Pizza, Evergreen Treez, Trader Joes, Cedar Grove, Crucible Brewing, Despi Delite Bakery, Westra Sports, Silvercup Coffee, Target, Woodbrook Plant Nursery, Marlene’s Market and Deli, Starbucks.

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