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.

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.

Register now for the Green Kent Steward orientation

Come learn what the Green Kent Partnership is all about! The orientation will provide you with an understanding of how you can get involved as a Steward of your own restoration site or supporting other Stewards. You will also get a basic understanding of “tree-iage” and the four phases of restoration, plus have a lot of hands-on fun learning planting techniques and invasive removal. No experience necessary.  Register for the orientation by emailing Victoria, or call 253-856-5113 for more information.

HPIM1489March 23, 9:00 AM – Noon
Kent Senior Activity Center
600 E. Smith Street

Stewards are committed volunteers who lead a restoration project at a park or natural area, with the support of Green Kent staff. Stewards lead at least 4 work parties a year at their site, or contribute 20 hours of service on their own if they prefer. You can also become a Support Steward and help out when you can.

If you just want to pitch in for a few hours, visit www.greenkent.org and look for a work party coming up!

Here’s what some of the current Stewards are saying:

“I grew up in Kent, traveled Europe for a few years while serving in the Army, then came back to Kent. I joined the Green Kent Partnership because I have always had a passion for environmental issues, and I recognized the need to improve my own community. I chose to become a steward of Springwood Park because I believe it has a lot of potential. It’s a large park that needs a lot of love. With help from volunteers and the parks department, I know we can make it a great park.” – Springwood Park Steward Zandria Michaud

“I really love this program. It offers accountants like me the chance to get outside and do volunteer work. I can contribute to the community when I have time available. I have also been able to offer local teenagers service hours for school by having them help with the work. My grandson does miss the blackberries, but we can go explore the woods now instead!” – Pheasants Hollow Steward Nancy Terry

“I love the outdoors and I love doing things that benefit others. I spend a lot of time in the Kent Parks with my son JJ, so I thought this would be the perfect way to give back! I chose North Lake Meridian because it is right outside of the Meridian Junior High school and is next to the trail that kids walk through to get to school. I attended Meridian Junior High and walked that trail every day. There truly is something refreshing, relaxing, and rewarding about removing the naughty part of Mother Nature, and replacing it with the nice!  Playing in the mud is just a bonus.” – Lake Meridian Park Steward Debbie Larson

“My latest volunteer adventure is as a Steward for Lake Fenwick Park in Kent. This gives me the opportunity to work with fellow volunteers while getting my hands dirty . . . I don’t know ‘if no one is in the forest and a tree falls if it makes a sound’; however, I do know how much work a small group of volunteers can accomplish in a few hours on a Saturday.” – Lake Fenwick Park Steward Gina Tallarigo

Join the forest monitoring team

Calling all citizen scientists! Join the Green Cities Network’s growing community of volunteers collecting scientific data about our urban green spaces. The Forest Monitoring Team is a new group of volunteers who will help us to better understand and manage the progress of our restoration efforts. No experience is necessary. Volunteers will attend one introductory training and commit to establishing at least 2 monitoring plots in local parks and natural areas (but more is encouraged!), between July and October.

To learn more, visit the EarthCorps website, watch this video of super forest monitor Tom Kelly, or get in touch with Malia Caracoglia, malia@earthcorps.org, 206.992.6853.

The last training date is coming up, so sign up now by contacting Malia directly at the email or phone number above. We are putting together a Forest Monitoring Team in Seattle, Tacoma, Redmond, Kirkland, and Kent, but volunteers from any city are welcome to join the last training at Camp Long in West Seattle.

What does it take to become a forest monitor?

  • Attend one introductory training and one small group practicum training
  • Ability to identify plant species (or enthusiastic about learning!)
  • Ability to take precise measurements
  • Ability to record and transmit data using written forms and online data entry
  • Ability to walk on uneven ground, sometimes through vegetation
  • Commitment is flexible, but ask that you are available to assist with at least two plots during the monitoring season (1 plot = 3-4 hours)
  • A good sense of humor and appreciation for the outdoors

What are you doing for MLK Day?

Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service has become an annual call to action to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King by volunteering in our communities. Healthy urban natural areas are vital to the environmental, social, and economic health of a city. Join the Green Cities Network in Seattle, Tacoma, Redmond, Kirkland, and Kent to ensure that urban natural areas stay healthy for generations to come.

In the words of Dr. King, “Anyone can be great, because anyone can serve.”

Answer the call! Register for a work party near you.

Kent: tell us what you think about parks and natural areas

We’re hosting a public meeting on April 8th about the new Green Kent Partnership, and we want to talk to you. If you’ve never heard of the Green Kent Partnership before, if you’ve heard and are curious about how you might fit in, if you love Kent’s parks, forests, and natural areas, if you’ve volunteered with the City of Kent before or would like to help ensure a healthy urban environment for generations to come – join us! Feedback will make our program as strong as possible.

While an RSVP is not required, it is extremely helpful in our planning. RSVPs, questions, and ideas can be directed to greenkent@cascadeland.org. And check out www.greenkent.org for more!

Hope to see you there!

Green Kent: Join the Conversation

Comment on this post!

We want you to share your ideas with us as we shape the future of Green Kent.

  • Do you live, work, or spend time in Kent?
  • What is important to you in your local parks and natural areas?
  • How would you like to get involved in the effort to restore and maintain a healthy urban environment?
  • Would you like to volunteer pulling invasive weeds and planting trees and shrubs? Would you want to volunteer regularly, or put together your own restoration project in an area you care about?
  • Are you a part of a neighborhood group, organization, or local business that would like to attend a presentation about the Green Kent Partnership?

Please also feel free to send your thoughts to greenkent@cascadeland.org.

Join our email list! We’ll let you know how we’re doing in the planning process and how you can help. Sign up at

www.greenkent.org