Stay connected with your environment, community, and the Green Cities Network

Looking for ways to stay connected during this time of isolation? Check out the resources below for ways to connect with fellow Green Cities volunteers, engage with nature and your community, and learn about how you can you can have an impact from your own backyard. Each section features resources from organizations working for the environment. Not sure where to get started? Check out the Weekly Spotlight!


Green Redmond: Dedicated Idylwood Park Watering Crew Completes Third Year of Volunteering

Watering our native plantings is an important step in ensuring the growth of a future healthy forest at our Green Redmond restoration sites. For three full months this summer, an enthusiastic group of families watered the native trees and shrubs at Idylwood Park weekly keeping them hydrated.  Most of the families who volunteered have children at Audubon Elementary School or Rose Hill Middle School; and neighbors even got involved, as one volunteer is a neighbor of the park and had fun watering with her granddaughter.

Almost all of the volunteer crew from this summer has watered in Idylwood Park for three years; and this year alone we had a total of 30 people who participated!  Due to Covid-19, volunteers worked in family groups only.  Laurie Gogic, a retired Audubon Elementary teacher and Forest Steward at Idylwood Park, coordinated the crew and set up the watering schedule.  Chris Tolonen, the maintenance lead for the City of Redmond, and his crew filled the park’s seven water barrels every Tuesday morning.  Each family signed up for a specific zone in the park, and watered that zone at their convenience for their assigned week.  Thanks to the hard work and diligence of this fabulous crew; the trees and shrubs at Idylwood are looking great and thriving because of you!  Congratulations for a job well done!

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.

Connect

Staying connected is one of the most powerful things we can do during this time! This page has ways to connect with your Green City Partnership and other volunteers.

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To celebrate Earth Month, and encourage human connection in this challenging time we will be hosting a Green Cities Partnership book club! This will be an opportunity for members from all the Green Cities Partnerships to connect.

Follow the King County Parks Facebook page. From park highlights and updates, to activities like crosswords and live streams- head here for an awesome mix of all things parks.

The Tilth Alliance is hosting their May edible plant sale online. Check out their website for plant lists, details, and contact information for any questions.


Find your Green City’s social media accounts below to stay up to date.

Backyard Restoration & Gardening Resources

Did you know that many of the weeds we deal with in our natural areas originated as landscape plants? Habitat restoration can start at home by ensuring that your yard is free of aggressive and noxious weeds and planted with native vegetation. Check out these resources to get started.

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Our guide to basic plant ID, distinguishing similar-looking plants, and common weed species. Click here to download!

Weeds

King County Noxious Weeds has loads of helpful resources on identifying, removing, and replacing invasive weeds. From infographics to school resources to coloring books, KCNW has what you need to get weeding!

Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board has state level information on identifying, safely disposing of, and replacing noxious weeds. They have information specific to different regions of the state, and also great publications on pollinators and many more topics.

Washington Invasive Species Council has a litany of links and a reserve of resources for your disposal. They are dedicated to the preventative action necessary to protect Washington from invasive species outbreaks. Think you’ve seen something. Check out their site to report it!

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Native Plants

The Green Cities network has plenty of resources for its forest stewards, which you can also use to learn about native plants!

Need to know the ins and outs of native plants? Look no further than the Washington Native Plant Society. From botanical rambles (their blog) to gardening resources to extensive plant lists, WNPS is the stop for all things plant.

Interested in learning more about Washington’s prairies? Check out this guide to the plants and restoration of this endangered ecosystem!

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Backyard Habitat

This guide will give you the tools you need to prepare your site, pick your plants, and put them in the ground! Plus, it has a great plant list, with awesome sample graphics.

Trees for Seattle has put together a comprehensive list of tips for home restoration. One of our favorites are these sample planting plans based on different moisture and light conditions!

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House planting & gardening tips

Tilth Alliance works in community with Washington farmers, gardeners and eaters, and has plenty of knowledge to share on the subject of gardening. Check out the garden hotline or the garden almanac!

Washington State University Extension office provides a variety of resources for gardeners and farmers. Check out a list of all their programs for questions on everything from potatoes, to horticulture, to plant pests and pathogens! Some particular programs that may be of interest to backyard gardeners:

The Master Gardener Program

NW Fruit Research Foundation

Pacific NW Vegetable Group

WSU Hortsense

Want to start a vegetable garden? Not sure where to get high quality seeds? In Washington we are lucky to have Deep Harvest Farms and Uprising Seeds selling seeds that have been adapted and bred for growth in the Pacific Northwest! West Coast Seeds also has a great resource section to help you get started!

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