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:

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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.

Heroes of Green Everett: Cari Krippner

What do trombones, native plants, and Silver Lake have in common? Cari Krippner!

Cari in red in the back right with her stalwart volunteers at Thornton A. Sullivan
Cari in red in the back right with her stalwart volunteers at Thornton A. Sullivan

When Cari is not making music with the Rainbow City Band or teaching adults and children about forest wildlife conservation, you will find her leading volunteers as a Forest Steward at Thornton A. Sullivan Park. Cari’s passion and dedication to her community and her skill as a teacher shines in all that she does for the Green Everett Partnership.

A K-8 teacher for thirty years, Cari currently works as a private tutor and substitute teacher with the Everett School District while she pursues an endorsement in Special Education with the University of Washington. She holds a master’s degree in Teaching Conservation Biology from Miami University in Ohio. In addition to volunteering with Green Everett, Cari has served as a docent with Woodland Park Zoo for 18 years, volunteers with the Adopt-A-Road trash pickup, runs a successful pet sitting business, and is very active in her church, Advent Lutheran Church in Mill Creek, where she teaches Sunday school. Phew!

Cari has called Western Washington home for nearly 20 years and the Silver Lake neighborhood of Everett for six. What she values most about living in Everett are the many green space

s to enjoy with her family and dog, the accessibility to cultural and educational opportunities, and the laid back atmosphere. When asked what inspires and motivates her to be involved in Green Everett, Cari tells us: “I really like this project because it is making a direct impact on the future of the parks. I am making a real difference making the park a better place to be. I have ownership in the project and have a stake in the future of the park.”

Check out upcoming work parties with Cari at Thornton A. Sullivan Park, listed on the Green Everett website!

Tenor_slide_trombone

If you want to be a Green Everett Hero, we are looking for new Forest Stewards for Everett Parks! Contact Norah, and stay tuned for an orientation for new volunteers this fall!

Heroes of Green Everett: Sara Noland

SaraNolandatSorticultureSara Noland brings a generous spirit, dedication, and a passion for the environment to all that she does. As a Forest Steward, she can be found leading work parties at Howarth Park and Rotary Park, supporting staff and volunteers at big events like Green Everett Day, or conducting outreach to the public at Sorticulture. As a wetland biologist, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Green Everett Partnership.

Sara grew up in the Renton area and spent many hours building treehouses in a nearby park. She attended UW and Western Washington University, where she studied zoology and journalism. Sara and her husband bought a teeny house in Everett in the early 1990s and have lived there with numerous cats ever since. As a biologist with a local consulting firm, Sara gets to work outside sometimes, delineating wetlands and doing wildlife surveys. But to counteract the time she has to spend at the computer writing reports, she gardens at the Red Barn Community Farm in the Snohomish Valley, and volunteers with Green Everett Partnership, as well as with King County Parks, Adopt-A-Stream Foundation, and the UW RareCare rare plant monitoring program.

The Green Everett Partnership is just that – a Partnership! Community volunteers are essential to restoring Everett’s forested parks and natural areas to health. In fact, from January to June of 2015, 298 volunteers participated in restoration! Way to go! Volunteers do everything from remove invasive plants, to mulching, and planting native trees and understory – they help with educating and reaching out to friends and neighbors, doing data entry or helping with office tasks, and bringing snacks to volunteer events.

But Forest Stewards like Sara, who have stepped up to adopt a park they love and help get others involved, are the heroes of the Partnership. Without their leadership, we could never hope to care for all of Everett’s amazing forested parks and natural areas. Forest Stewards get special training from Green Everett staff and learn how to lead their own forest restoration projects. They are our eyes and ears on the ground, helping us create a program that truly follows community priorities and brings parks and people together.

…Look for more heroes of Green Everett in the coming months!

If you are interested in becoming a Forest Steward, contact Norah, and stay tuned for an orientation for new volunteers this fall!

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!

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.

Green Everett Partnership Seeks Volunteer Forest Stewards

The Green Everett Partnership is now recruiting volunteer Forest Stewards to implement restoration projects and lead groups of volunteers to rebuild healthy native plant communities within Everett’s forested parks and natural areas. Everett Parks NHowarth Park Group shot 01262013 Joanna Nelsoneed You!

  • Join a Team of Volunteer Leaders
  • Learn about ecological restoration
  • Lead your own active, fun project at a park
  • Get support from trained staff
  • Help other volunteers get involved
  • Impact the park’s environmental health
  • No Experience necessary.
  • All materials, training and support provided by the program.

New Forest Steward Orientation
Saturday May. 18th 9am-noon
Forest Park, Lions Hall – 802 E. Mukilteo Blvd, Everett, WA
For more information contact: greeneverett@forterra.org  or call 425-238-0065

Green Everett Partnership -first event of 2013!

MD2010-09-18-8225 Silver Lake Park Volunteers

Join Howarth Park Forest Stewards, Everett Parks, Forterra, and neighbors for the first Green Everett Partnership work party of 2013.  Come learn about the Green Everett Partnership and the many benefits that the Howarth Park forests provide us all.  We will stay warm and burn off some of those holiday cookies by digging out invasive blackberry and ivy as we work together to restore Howarth Park’s beautiful forest.

More info:  Green Everett Partnership