Girl Scout Cadettes help spread awareness on their way to a Silver Award

As a guest post on our blog, we are thrilled to welcome all-star Green Redmond volunteer, Anna, who is working on her Silver Award for the Girl Scouts. It’s been great having her and her project teammate Erika help with volunteer outreach this year. Here are Anna’s thoughts on the project so far:
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Hi, I’m Anna from the Girl Scout Cadette Troop 42534. I’m currently in middle school and so is my fellow Girl Scout, Erika. We are working with the Green Redmond Partnership to earn our Silver Award. To earn the Silver Award, a Girl Scout must complete a project that leaves a lasting and sustainable impact on our community and takes at least fifty hours to complete. It is the highest award a Cadette can earn, and the second highest Girl Scout Award, below the Gold Award.

For our project, we are trying to get more people to come to Green Redmond events, especially in the winter, when the blackberries are being cleared. It’s also still important to have volunteers in the other seasons for clearing ivy and other invasive species, planting native species, and mulching around plants. We want to reach out to people who haven’t previously considered volunteering.

We chose to do this project because we wanted to help the environment more than just us two working with the invasive species and planting. We wanted bring in more of the community to help, to bring in more hands than just our four, because it matters that our parks are green and we have trees growing in our city. It’s important that the animals have a place to live and people have parks to enjoy.

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Farrel-McWhirter Park, where Anna and Erika planted trees and surveyed volunteers on Green Redmond Day.

At a fall volunteer event, we ran a survey. We found that a large group of volunteers had heard of the event through cub scouts or girl scouts. The next most common way people found out about the event was through their family. A few more people found out through the Redmond newsletter, and the rest found out through a variety of different sources such as school, Peachtree newsletter, Honor Society, and emails from the City of Redmond. Our results lead us to wonder how the family members and troop leaders who told the volunteers about the event heard about it themselves.

We also asked volunteers if they regularly read community bulletin boards. Only 37% reported that they do, which leads me to wonder where else we could put flyers so more people see them.

Our final question to volunteers was to find their reason for coming to the event. Most, about 47%, said they came just to help out, but there were also a large variety of other reasons, such as for college, service learning, to get volunteer hours, or to go out with their troop or family.

In the future, we will continue our quest for more volunteers. We plan to hang up our posters and post ads on websites like Facebook. We’ve learned that many people volunteer for groups as Girl Scouts or Cub Scouts, or for volunteer hours, and not as many people come without a group or without needing service hours.

So go out and volunteer! Not only will we appreciate it, but so will the Green Redmond Partnership and everyone who uses the parks. It’s a great way to connect with your community and neighbors. We’ve got to meet members of the Redmond Parks and Trails Commission and a WA representative for the US Congress. Volunteering is fun and gives a feeling of accomplishment.

Here are the results of the survey Anna and Erika conducted:

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Anna’s beautiful poster will be gracing bulletin boards this spring to promote volunteer events:
Annas poster 2016

Free Trees for your Restoration Site!

Forterra’s exciting new C3 program (Carbon Capturing Companies), spearheaded by Pearl Jam, is working to engage local businesses about their carbon footprint.  In addition, this is creating an amazing opportunity for community-lead tree planting for carbon sequestration.

ImageA bunch of great local companies from the Seattle Sounders and Seahawks to Cherry St. Coffee and Molly Moon’s Ice Cream have committed to reducing their carbon usage and sequestering carbon through tree planting. These efforts will be completed on urban parks in the communities where the businesses work and their customers live and play.

Submission period has been extended through September 10th!

Forterra is looking for homes for these companies’ carbon. This means free trees!  Native conifers will be available in the late fall to all who apply and agree to maintain and monitor the trees through their establishment. Application and more information available on the Forterra webpage.

For questions, email me: wbrinkley@forterra.org

After the storm

This guest post comes from Kevin Zobrist, WSU Area Extension Educator, Forest Stewardship serving Snohomish, Skagit, King, and Island Counties.

This is an excerpt from the January 2012 WSU Extension Puget Sound Forest Stewardship E-Newsletter. Sign up to get great news like this from Kevin every month in your inbox!

One of the most pressing issues for trees as we start the new year is the impact from January storms. Between snow loads, freezing rain, and wind, area forests got beat up pretty good. Right now many people are dealing with downed or damaged trees.

As you begin to assess damage, my first word of advice is to not panic. With so much damage, lengthy power outages, etc., people tend to react to storms like this based on frustration, fear, and other emotions, and end up doing more damage to their property (and enjoyment thereof) than needed to reasonable address risks and hazards.

Please be safe and do not ever approach downed lines of any kind (don’t ever assume it’s just a communication or otherwise non-energized line…) or the “target zone” of any suspended tree or limb that appears in imminent danger of falling. Meanwhile, take a deep breath and do a careful clean-up and assessment. If you need to hire someone to assess, apply first aid, or remove a storm-damaged tree, please choose an ISA-certified arborist (but keep in mind that those folks are stretched thin for the immediate future). There are plenty of “services” running around with chainsaws out there that may not meet your needs.

Helpful links:

Tree first aid information from the Oregon Department of Forestry, via WA DNR

Assessing damaged trees

ISA website with a directory of certified arborists

Storm damage like this is natural and is part of the ecology of our forests. This doesn’t make the damage less difficult to deal with, though, and the damage almost always conflicts with management objectives. Keeping these objectives at the forefront of your mind (aesthetics, enjoyment, habitat, etc.) will help you make proactive (rather than reactive) decisions about your woodland as you steward its recovery. The good news is that nature is resilient (and you are, too!). It is OK to grieve a little in the meantime, though.