Green City Days 2021

At the 2021 Green City Days, over 1,284 volunteers planted 9,653 native trees and shrubs in our parks. These young plants will grow into a healthy urban forest that will continue to benefit our communities for centuries!

After no public or in-person events in 2020, we were all excited to get planting this year! Fourteen cities across Puget Sound participated in Green City Days 2021–including the Snohomish County Healthy Forest Project, who hosted their first annual Snohomish County Healthy Forest Day.

During the 2021 Green City Days, Green Cities Partnerships hosted events at 58 different parks, where 1,284 volunteers helped remove aggressive weeds and planted 9,653 native trees, shrubs, and groundcover plants in community parks. The value of this volunteer work is immeasurable. Restoring our community’s urban forests creates natural air and water filtration, allows for natural water retention to reduce flooding, creates habitat for wildlife, and makes outdoor recreation more accessible.

This year also marks the first-ever Seattle Forest Week! In addition to restoration events in twenty-two parks on November 6 for Green Seattle Day, the Green Seattle Partnership hosted a number of community events, including a BIPOC beach walk, a tree walk, a virtual plant walk, and more.

This year’s Green City Days had plenty of notable moments. Volunteers at the Gog Le Hi Te site in Tacoma planted flowering shrubs and groundcovers to add forage for pollinators and color to this estuary site. Several volunteers who worked hard removing weeds and preparing this site for planting during our August Earth Gay event returned on Green Tacoma Day to finish their work and help the site get planted! At Green Snoqualmie Day, volunteers helped to reforest a site that was formerly a massive blackberry bramble at the Three Forks Natural Area. Volunteers were a part of the greater collaboration between the City of Snoqualmie, Forterra, The Snoqualmie Tribe, and Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust to restore forest along the edge of the Snoqualmie River at this site.

Green City Days Highlights

Green Everett Day

Green City Days 2021 kicked off with Green Everett Day on October 2nd! Over 60 community volunteers helped plant 220 native plants at Thornton A. Sullivan Park, Forest Park, South Everett Forest Preserve, and Johnston Kelly Park. These plants will help increase biodiversity and create a more healthy urban forest in Everett’s parks!

Green Tacoma Day

On October 9, Forterra, EarthCorps, and the City of Tacoma partnered to host Green Tacoma Day. At this event, 135 volunteers planted 377 new plants in eleven different parks, including Gog Le Hi Te Wetlands.

Green Tukwila Day

On October 9, 26 volunteers planted 16 trees and 49 shrubs in Tukwila Park. Volunteers also removed 400 square feet of invasive species, including English ivy.

Green Des Moines Day

21 volunteers planted 127 native plants at Des Moines’ Sonju Park. This park is the site of an old family farm; it boasts a bountiful community garden, and includes important wetland habitat. Volunteers had fun in the beautiful weather creating a planting plan to support the site’s varied needs!

Green Snoqualmie Day

This year’s Green Snoqualmie Day took place at Three Forks Natural Area. 65 volunteers planted 990 trees and shrubs in a site that was formerly a large patch of invasive Himalayan blackberry.

Green SeaTac Day

Green SeaTac Day was also the City of SeaTac’s Arbor Day celebration as declared by Councilmember Pam Fernald.  It was great to plant so many trees in North SeaTac Park after Green SeaTac Partnership’s dedicated Forest Stewards hosted 25 restoration work parties in 2021 alone! At this event, 32 volunteers planted 506 plants to add to this growing urban forest. Thank you to King Conservation District, SeaTac Parks & Rec and Partner in Employment for continued collaboration at SeaTac’s largest park. 

Green Burien Day

The third annual Green Burien Day at Hilltop Park celebrated a great collaboration between City of Burien PARCs, EarthCorps, Forterra, the WA DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program, the Port of Seattle, and Partner in Employment. 24 volunteers planted 270 native plants, and many Forest Stewards from the Green Burien Partnership met each other for the first time to share resources and grow their amazing network of volunteers!

Snohomish County Healthy Forest Day

The Snohomish County Healthy Forest Project hosted its first Healthy Forest Day this year! 21 volunteers planted 250 trees at Lord Hill Park along the Snohomish River. These new plants will create healthy riparian habitat, which will shade the river and create habitat for salmon. These plants will benefit both the Snohomish River and the park’s forest.

Green Issaquah Day

This year, the Green Issaquah Partnership worked with the Issaquah Alps Trails Club to host Green Issaquah Day. 45 volunteers planted 220 plants which will grow into the future forest at Bernsten Park!

Green Kirkland Day

This year, Green Kirkland Day helped restore OO Denny Park, McAuliffe Park, and Crestwoods Park. 80 volunteers planted 584 plants in these parks!

Green Redmond Day

On a very foggy (and spooky) October 30th, the City of Redmond and Forterra partnered to host Green Redmond Day in two parks: Smith Woods Park and Farrel-McWhirter Park. 77 volunteers planted 400 plants in these parks!

Green Seattle Day

Despite a very rainy weekend, this year’s Green Seattle Day brought almost 500 volunteers to 22 different parks in Seattle! These volunteers planted over 4,600 plants, and the festivities continued throughout the first-ever Seattle Forest Week.

Green Puyallup Day

This year, the City of Puyallup hosted Green Puyallup Day at five different parks. 72 volunteers installed 267 new trees, shrubs, and groundcover plants to help restore their community’s urban forests!

Green Shoreline Day

Volunteers helped restore North City Park, Paramount Open Space, Richmond Beach Saltwater Park, and South Twin Ponds Park by planting 685 plants! 128 volunteers helped make this event possible.

Green Everett Day. Photo by Jim Avery
Green Tacoma Day
Green Tukwila Day
Green Des Moines Day
Green SeaTac Day
Deputy Mayor and Council members plant trees at North SeaTac Park
Green Burien Day
Snohomish County Healthy Forest Day. Photo by Ash Lehto
Green Issaquah Day
Green Redmond Day. Photo by Andrew Watson
Green Seattle Day at Herrings House. Photo by Christine Stevens

Thanks to our Green City Day volunteers, partners, and sponsors!

Thank you for being an integral part of these long-lasting Green City Partnerships! Whether you’re a volunteer, a partner, a sponsor, or simply a conservation enthusiast, we could not do this work without you. Your passion and stewardship is crucial to restoring the urban forests of the Puget Sound region.

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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