GREEN CITY DAYS 2017 BREAKS RECORDS

Across the Puget Sound more than 2,200 volunteers converged at area parks and green spaces from October 7 to November 21 to celebrate Green City Days. Now boasting nine cities, this annual event connects community members across all age, ethnic and economic backgrounds for a common goal—helping to keep our forested parks and green spaces environmentally healthy. This year participation was up 47% and plantings up 120%!

Cumulatively, these events planted more than 15,000 native plants. This work was completed by 2,221 volunteers who clocked a combined total of 6,663 volunteer service hours. Volunteers came from all over the region and represented high school Key Clubs, elementary school students, area colleges and businesses including REI, Boeing, HSBC, CLIF Bar, Patagonia, and Pacifica Law among others.

Volunteers expressed many positive experiences. “A fun and very rewarding morning. Times like this I am so proud to live in this community,” said a Green Everett Volunteer.

“It pulls me into nature while educating me about what I’m seeing, planting or pulling,” said Green Kent Volunteer.

“I can bring a friend, meet new friends and have fun while making a positive change in my community,” said a Green Puyallup Volunteer.

Green City Day events were made possible with support from city staff, volunteer Forest Stewards and more than 20 non-profit organizations, including Forterra, EarthCorps, Mountains to Sound Greenway, Student Conservation Association, Sound Salmon Solutions, Tilth Alliance, local Audubon chapters, and others.  A special thanks for grants from HSBC Bank USA, N.A, Patagonia, and REI to support Green City Days.

Access to healthy parks is vital to our cities and quality of life. Green Cities Days are signature events for the Green City Partnerships representing the cities of Seattle, Redmond, Kirkland, Everett, Tukwila, Snoqualmie, Kent, Puyallup and Tacoma. Combined, these cities have a goal to restore 9,000 acres of forested parks and natural areas while building community through stewardship.

Each Green City has partnered with Forterra to established a community-based restoration program that brings together local non-profits, community groups, city agencies, neighborhood leaders, and local businesses to support healthy urban green spaces for the future of our region.  For more information about the Green City Partnership, visit Forterra.


GREEN CITY DAY HIGHLIGHTS

 Photo by Jim Avery 

Green Snoqualmie Day: Kicking off the Green City Days on October 7, the City of Snoqualmie hosted their first-ever Green Snoqualmie Day. With the help of 60 community volunteers, the City of Snoqualmie, Forterra, and Mountains to Sound Greenway, more than 650 native plants were added to improve the forest health at Snoqualmie Point Park and Meadowbrook Slough.

  Photo by Espresso Buzz Photography

Green Tukwila Day: The City of Tukwila hosted their first Green Tukwila Day on October 14 by removing invasive English Ivy and planting 135 native plants at Tukwila Park. Forty four community members participated, ensuring a successful beginning to this important partnership.

 Photo by Jefferson Mok

Green Tacoma Day: On October 14, more than 304 volunteers planted 190 native trees and shrubs, including nearly 60 trees at Reed Elementary School. Volunteers also removed 3,350 square feet of invasive plants and spread 15 cubic yards of mulch across 14 restoration sites.


Photo by Matt Mega 

Green Kent Day: Held October 28 at the Puget Power Trail near the Green River Natural Area, a total of 120 volunteers planted more than 900 native plants, creating a forested buffer between the trail and the natural area. After the event volunteers from Farrington Court provided a complementary lunch.

Photo by Jim Avery

Green Everett Day: Raising the bar, Green Everett was held on October 28 and saw almost a doubling of volunteers from last year. A total of 143 community members planting 790 natives plants at Forest Park.

Green Redmond Day: Also held on October 28, Green Redmond day attracted 94 community members who planted 1,135 native plants at three local parks. This was almost 500 more plants than last year, all helping to ensure Perrigo Park, Viewpoint Open Space and Westside Park remain gems of the city.

Photo by Jefferson Mok

Green Puyallup Day: The third annual Green Puyallup Day was held on November 4. This year the event was again held at Silver Creek, Deadman’s Pond and Meeker Creek. Nearly 60 volunteers planted 100 trees and 40 native shrubs, while tackling stubborn invasive blackberry and spreading more than 10 cubic yards of mulch.

Green Seattle Day: Shattering all expectations, Green Seattle Day, held on November 4, attracted 1,258 volunteers, an increase of 300 participants from 2016. Even more astonishing was the 10,000 native trees and shrubs that were planted, representing an almost 60% increase over 2016. Volunteers worked at 22 different parks and achieved all of this success in 3 hours.

Green Kirkland Day: Last but not least, Green Kirkland Day was held on November 18. A total of 184 volunteers helped to plant more than 1,225 native plants, remove invasive plants and spread more than 18 cubic yards of mulch.

 

Welcome to the Green Tukwila Partnership!

A new partnership has begun between many agencies and organizations working together for healthy parks and healthy people in Tukwila. The City of Tukwila, non-profits Forterra, EarthCorps, and the SCA, and local businesses, faith-based groups, and neighbors are all helping to care for public parks, shorelines, and natural areas across the city.

We believe that Tukwila deserves great parks, green trees, and beautiful shorelines along the Duwamish River. If you agree, join us!

What’s happening nowda2016logo

Come join us at the fall kickoff event and planting celebration on Saturday, October 22nd!

Volunteer planting will be happening at two places along the Duwamish Shoreline and at the Duwamish Hill Preserve as part of Duwamish Alive!, an annual event where volunteers come together all along the Duwamish River to plant trees and shrubs, remove invasive weeds, and keep the river healthy for fish, other animals and plants, and for people. A healthy river means a healthy community. Please join us for this fun, family-friendly event! No experience necessary. Gloves, tools, and materials provided.

Volunteer on the Duwamish Shoreline at Gateway Drive

Volunteer on the Duwamish Shoreline at Cecil Moses Park

Volunteer at the Duwamish Hill Preserve

Why are we doing this?

Did you know that trees and green plants play a huge role in a healthy and happy city? There is a strong link between getting outside into nature – even just a little bit – and better mental health and physical well-being. Check out this story in the New York Times about walking under trees and the effect that has on your brain by helping to lower stress and increase positive thinking. Take that with how much mental and physical health are interrelated, and it’s not surprising that many doctors like this one are telling their patients to get outside more. Well-cared-for parks that get regular use, especially with neighborhood volunteers getting involved, also help reduce crime and keep cities safer.

If you want to dig further into the science of all of these benefits that nearby nature is ready to give us, this is a great website with a lot of information.

But we can’t enjoy it if we don’t have it. Tukwila’s parks and natural areas need some TLC to make sure they stay healthy too. So the Green Tukwila Partnership will be planting trees and other plants, pulling invasive weeds, and working together to make sure these public places stay green. We can’t do it alone.nick-krittawat-photo-credit-51

Be a part of something great happening in Tukwila

Click the links above to volunteer with us at Duwamish Alive on Saturday, October 22nd.

Join our mailing list to stay updated about the Green Tukwila Partnership.

Want to do more? We are gathering a team of volunteers to adopt different parks and help lead the effort to keep them healthy and green. You can learn about trees and environmental restoration, bring your neighbors together around fun projects, and be a local leader. We are especially looking at North Wind’s Weir, Duwamish Hill Preserve, Tukwila Community Center, Riverton Park, the Duwamish Shoreline (section just north of the I-5 overpass), Thorndyke Elementary School, Crestview Park, Crystal Springs Park, Tukwila Park, and Bicentennial Park, but we want to hear your favorites, too. Is there a Tukwila Park or natural area in the city that you think could use a little love?  Email us to talk about ways to get involved.

Contact us

If you have questions about the Green Tukwila Partnership, or ideas you want to share, don’t hesitate to be in touch. You can reach us at greentukwila@forterra.org, or by phone at (206) 905-6943.

nicole-marcotte-photo-credit-4

1,500 volunteers make Green City Days great in 2015

The Puget Sound regional event series known as Green City Days grew this year, finishing strong with a total of 1,512 volunteers participating in seven events over the course of two months. These volunteers worked together to restore and explore local green spaces, planting just over 9,000 native trees and shrubs that will grow up into the future of our healthy urban forest.

The Green City Days series added two more cities this year, to include in total: Seattle, Tacoma, Kirkland, Kent, Redmond, Everett, and Puyallup. While the various Green City Partnerships that created these days regularly host more than 1,500 other restoration events throughout the year, Green City Days are special, celebrating our forested parks and natural areas and the many volunteers and partners that help community-based stewardship programs thrive throughout the year. Businesses, schools, community groups, non-profit organizations, and individuals joined together during these annual service days in October and November to kickoff the Pacific Northwest’s planting season.

In 2015, Green City Days volunteers contributed 4,663 hours of time to restore 35 different urban parks and green spaces across the Puget Sound.

It was the first year that Kirkland and Puyallup hosted a signature event of this kind, and both had a rainy experience on November 14th. But stormy weather didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. Sharon Rodman, Green Kirkland Partnership Supervisor with Kirkland Parks & Community Services said, “Kirkland’s first Green Kirkland Day was a great success and it inspired us to make it an annual tradition.”

The Green Puyallup Partnership, launched earlier this year, is already getting great community support. A volunteer in Puyallup, excited by the effort, stated, “Green Puyallup Day and other events like it are a step in the right direction. Although there are many miles to go, I’m glad I could help make this happen.”

Green Kirkland Day:
Green Puyallup Day:

Green City Days are great opportunities for youth and families to get outside together and have fun while giving back to their local parks. The Green Kent Partnership hosted a fall “Student Challenge” among local high schools leading up to Green Kent Day, which was a huge success. Kent-Meridian High School pulled off a real upset this year with the most number of students attending fall volunteer events, winning bragging rights and prestigious green bandanas!

Green Kent Day:

GCD4

Tacoma’s First Creek Middle School teacher Donna Chang continued her school’s annual tradition of hosting Green Tacoma Day to get students and neighbors involved in caring for the natural area adjacent to the school. After a morning of hard work, all of the participants were appreciated with donated prizes and pizza to celebrate.

Green Tacoma Day:

Highlights from Green Redmond Day included a visit from Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, who dug in and planted trees alongside everyone else, and a record-setting number of volunteers despite harsh weather that day.

Green Redmond Day:

Green Everett Day was the only event that lucked out with beautiful, sunny weather. A record turnout of 105 volunteers participated, a 40% increase from last year.

Green Everett Day:
Green Seattle Day:

Green Seattle Day, the largest event, celebrated its 10th anniversary. Now an annual tradition for many residents, the event continued to draw a big crowd with 792 volunteers across the city at 16 different parks.

About Green Cities

Access to healthy parks is vital to our cities and our quality of life. Eight Puget Sound cities, including Kent, Everett, Kirkland, Redmond, Seattle, Tacoma, Tukwila, and Puyallup, currently make up the Green Cities Network. Collectively, they are working to restore, maintain, and care for over 7,800 acres of publicly-owned urban natural areas and forested parks. Each Green City partners with Forterra to establish a community-based restoration program that brings together local non-profits, community groups, city agencies, neighborhood leaders, and local businesses to support healthy urban green spaces for the future of our region. You can learn more about the Green City Partnerships and Forterra at forterra.org/greencities.

Healthy Parks Begin in Your Garden

sorticultureThe Green Everett Partnership is excited to celebrate Sorticulture from June 12-14th! Why are we so excited about this annual garden arts festival? Because gardeners – in addition to our amazing restoration volunteers – help grow healthy urban forests.

Taking care of Everett’s forested parkland is a critical step to improving our water and air quality, protecting habitat for wildlife, and providing safe and enjoyable recreational spaces. The volunteers who remove invasive plants like ivy and blackberry and plant native trees and understory plants provide an invaluable service in protecting Everett’s natural resources. However, if you looked at the City from a bird’s-eye view, most of what you’d see would be privately-owned land, including a lot of ornamental and vegetable gardens or natural areas. That means that in order to have a truly healthy city, public and private lands need to work together.

In some cases, how we take care of our private backyard garden can end up degrading the condition of Everett’s parkland, despite our best efforts to restore, maintain, and steward these areas. For example, English ivy growing as a border plant in someone’s garden can “escape” into a public park, by spreading beyond a property line or when seeds are carried by birds (sometimes over large distances!). Invasive plants also spread onto public lands when yard waste is illegally dumped into a park. And if yard waste is dumped on a steep slope or bluff, it can actually smother vegetation that is stabilizing the slope and cause erosion or even contribute to a slide. About half of all invasive species are escapees from gardens!

Home gardeners, however, can also be a great ally for Everett’s parks and urban forest by using good gardening practices and helping trees thrive on their property to add to the City’s forest canopy. Gardeners can also talk to their neighbors and friends to support the Green Everett Partnership’s forest restoration efforts.

Please visit the Green Everett Partnership booth at the Sorticulture festival on Saturday, June 13th to learn more about our community-based forest restoration efforts, how gardeners can support our forests, and make your own pine cone bird feeder to take home!

Some things gardeners can do to support healthy forested parks:

  • Remove invasive plants from your landscape and dispose of them properly – for a full list of plants to avoid and what to do with them, check out the Washington State Noxious Weed Plant List
  • If you know that a plant is invasive, do not plant it in your ornamental landscape (or anywhere!)
  • Place all yard waste in your city yard waste container, never in a public park
  • Create a backyard habitat garden with beautiful northwest native plants
  • Volunteer at a Green Everett Partnership event!
  • Become a volunteer VIP as a Green Everett Forest Steward!

Take volunteering to the next level – Stewards wanted!

MorrillMeadows_creditLauraMarchbanksPhotography_10152011_031Want to join a team of volunteers who make a BIG difference? If you’ve dropped in for a work party with your local Green City Partnership, you have a taste of what volunteer restoration is like. Take it to the next level and see how a longer-term restoration project can transform a park you love. Be a local leader, inspire others to get involved, and learn what it takes to keep urban forests, parks, and natural areas healthy and green.

Nature in the city gives us so much: clean air, beautiful places to enjoy and encourage more frequent exercise, open space to spend time with friends, a local connection with nature that reduces stress and improves mental health, habitat for local wildlife, stormwater retention to reduce flooding, carbon sequestration, and more. Stewards are the VIPs that enable volunteer projects to be successful in taking care of valuable public spaces in their own communities.

Current Stewards have this to say:

“This has been one of the most positive volunteer experiences I have ever had. . . I can’t believe how great the park looks since we started.” – Kaytlyn, Redmond

“The park is full of small, special spots, each with its own story.” – Lex, Seattle

“The Green Kent Partnership has a powerful message, and that is to conserve the beautiful environment that we live in. It is such an honor to be a part of this.” – Danielle, Kent

[Q:What do you get out of this mostly? A:] “Its fun!” – Glenn, Redmond

I look forward to the day that I can walk through a forest that I helped create.’ – Jay, Seattle

HOW TO GET INVOLVED IN YOUR LOCAL PROGRAM:

In REDMOND: Lots of parks, including the top priorities shown on this map, are still looking for their own Forest Steward – could it be you?! An orientation for new Forest Stewards will be held on Monday, April 20th. For more information and to RSVP, click here.

In KIRKLAND: An orientation for new Green Kirkland Stewards on Sunday, May 9th welcomes you to jump in! Contact Katie to be placed on the list.

In EVERETT: This relatively new program is ready for Forest Stewards to take the reins in some awesome parks. Contact Joanna for more information on getting involved.

In TACOMA: There will be an orientation later this year for new Habitat Stewards. Contact Yvonne for more information.

In KENT: Find your own corner of Green Kent and dig in. Contact Desiree to find out when the next orientation will be held for new Stewards.

In SEATTLE: Join a team of Forest Stewards working in a park near you. They’ll be thrilled to have an extra set of helping hands, and you’ll learn hands-on restoration from the pros as you get great work done together. To get connected with a group, contact Andrea.

Lili Allala

Robert - Michael-Kleven-20131026-09-26-10

Gary - 10.26.2013 - Jodie Galvan 208MorrillMeadows_creditLauraMarchbanksPhotography_10152011_043

Tell us how you really feel, Seattle

surveyJoin the conversation! What do you value about Seattle’s Natural Areas and Greenbelts? Nobody knows what’s important to you quite like you do.

Seattle Parks is conducting a public input process this spring to find out what people value most in our public greenspaces. They want to hear from you! From now through mid-April, different questions will be posed here for your to make your voice heard. So check back frequently and contribute a thought about your favorite park or natural area. Public input matters!

This isn’t any old survey…. The intent of this effort is to develop values-based guidelines for the appropriate use of these areas. Check out some background information on this project, here.

And save the date for a mini-summit where the results of the public input process will be presented along with next steps:

Date: April 4, 2015; Time: 9:30-12:30
Location: Seattle Center Armory Loft

Thank you for giving your input to this process so that we can all help make Seattle’s park system the best it can be!

Tomorrow is Neighborday! How are you celebrating?

neighbordayApril 27th is officially Neighborday, so we’d like to salute all of the awesome things that Green Cities volunteers are doing in their neighborhoods all year. Bringing people together, building community, creating meaningful and welcoming public spaces, improving our urban environmental health . . . the list goes on.

The website GOOD has included a lot of coverage lately leading up to Neighborday, inviting folks across the country to “a global celebration of the people with whom we share space.” They’ve posted some  theoretical pieces on what makes good “neighboring”, and a hands-on toolkit with things you can download to get started with your own ideas. Neighborday is being celebrated across the country with fun events like pot-lucks, skill-shares, scavenger hunts, and art projects.

Want to celebrate Neighborday by volunteering in your local neighborhood natural area? Check out Green Seattle, Tacoma, Kirkland, Redmond, Kent, and Everett‘s websites for the next chance to jump in on a work party.

Get out and meet your neighbors! Happy Neighborday from the Green Cities Network.