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:


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.

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

Eastsiders: free 10-week native plant training

The Washington Native Plant Society is partnering with East King County Cities (including Kirkland, Redmond, Bellevue, Sammamish, and Issaquah) to educate committed volunteers who will help restore natural areas within our community.

The 10-week training will be held on Fridays from April 16 through June 25, in Bellevue. (Includes 3 Saturday fieldtrips).  This training is taught by top professionals on topics such as native plants, habitat restoration and northwest ecology. In exchange for this free training, stewards will commit to 100 hours of volunteer service implementing the skills learned in these classes. Participants in Kirkland and Redmond will work on Green Kirkland and Green Redmond Partnership restoration projects.

Apply Today

Make it a Day On

Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. Visit MLKDay.gov.

“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Celebrate the life of a great service leader by volunteering in your local park or natural area. The Corporation for National and Community Service has dubbed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, “a day on, not a day off” in honor of Dr. King’s vision of the “beloved community.” Here are some events coming up Monday, January 18th:

Burke-Gilman Trail Planting (northeast Seattle)

Cheasty Greenspace invasive removal with EarthCorps (southeast Seattle)

Cotton Hill Park invasive removal (Kirkland)

West Hill Skate Park Cleanup (Kent)

Also look for other events scheduled for the weekend of January 17/18 in Seattle.

Green City Photoshoots

banksonplant Bankson - Juanita BayPlanting in the Rain – Juanita Bay Park (above & left) – Bill Bankson








Thank you volunteer photographers! The Green City Partnerships have recently been the lucky recipients of some fantastic volunteer photography. Although we’ve been able to muddle along over the years with pictures taken on pocket-sized cameras by our multi-tasking Green Cities staff as we try to simultaneously run volunteer events, photography has often been an after-thought. These expert photographers, however, come prepared with with multiple lenses, super zooms, and a keen eye (even braving torrential rain) and leave us with beautiful, artistic documentation of the great work going on in our parks.

Bill and Kris have helped us truly celebrate the return of fall & planting season! Click on the Dates below to find all their photographs.

Farrel-McWhirter - Blackberry Removal - Kris Rooke


Oct 10th – Green Redmond, RYPAC (Redmond Youth Partnership Advisory Committee) Planting Event at Farrel-McWhirter Park

Oct 17th – Green Kirkland Planting Event at Juanita Bay Park


Oct 10th – Green Redmond, RYPAC (Redmond Youth Parntership Advisory Committee) Planting Event

Oct 17th – Green Kirkland Planting Event at Juanita Bay Park

Oct 31st – Green Redmond Halloween Planting Event at Idylwood Park

banksonplant Bankson - Juanita Bay

Juanita Bay Park –

Celebrate National Public Lands Day!


National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands Americans enjoy. In 2008, 120,000 volunteers built trails and bridges, removed trash and invasive plants, and planted over 1.6 million trees. Join us at one of our many Green Cities events for the 16th annual National Public Lands Day.

Tacoma: 2nd Annual Green Tacoma Day, various sites, including Julia’s Gulch, Oak Tree Park, Point Defiance Park, Puget Creek, Tacoma Community College, and Titlow Beach, 9am-12pm

Seattle: Schmitz Preserve, West Duwamish Greenbelt, and Coleman Park, various times

Redmond: Idylwood Beach Park, 9am-12pm

Kirkland: Kiwanis Park, 9am-12pm

Kent: Lake Fenwick Park, 9am-12pm

For more information on National Public Lands Day, visit their website.