Girl Scout Cadettes help spread awareness on their way to a Silver Award

As a guest post on our blog, we are thrilled to welcome all-star Green Redmond volunteer, Anna, who is working on her Silver Award for the Girl Scouts. It’s been great having her and her project teammate Erika help with volunteer outreach this year. Here are Anna’s thoughts on the project so far:
.

Hi, I’m Anna from the Girl Scout Cadette Troop 42534. I’m currently in middle school and so is my fellow Girl Scout, Erika. We are working with the Green Redmond Partnership to earn our Silver Award. To earn the Silver Award, a Girl Scout must complete a project that leaves a lasting and sustainable impact on our community and takes at least fifty hours to complete. It is the highest award a Cadette can earn, and the second highest Girl Scout Award, below the Gold Award.

For our project, we are trying to get more people to come to Green Redmond events, especially in the winter, when the blackberries are being cleared. It’s also still important to have volunteers in the other seasons for clearing ivy and other invasive species, planting native species, and mulching around plants. We want to reach out to people who haven’t previously considered volunteering.

We chose to do this project because we wanted to help the environment more than just us two working with the invasive species and planting. We wanted bring in more of the community to help, to bring in more hands than just our four, because it matters that our parks are green and we have trees growing in our city. It’s important that the animals have a place to live and people have parks to enjoy.

FarellMcWhirter_LeslieBatten_05142008 023
Farrel-McWhirter Park, where Anna and Erika planted trees and surveyed volunteers on Green Redmond Day.

At a fall volunteer event, we ran a survey. We found that a large group of volunteers had heard of the event through cub scouts or girl scouts. The next most common way people found out about the event was through their family. A few more people found out through the Redmond newsletter, and the rest found out through a variety of different sources such as school, Peachtree newsletter, Honor Society, and emails from the City of Redmond. Our results lead us to wonder how the family members and troop leaders who told the volunteers about the event heard about it themselves.

We also asked volunteers if they regularly read community bulletin boards. Only 37% reported that they do, which leads me to wonder where else we could put flyers so more people see them.

Our final question to volunteers was to find their reason for coming to the event. Most, about 47%, said they came just to help out, but there were also a large variety of other reasons, such as for college, service learning, to get volunteer hours, or to go out with their troop or family.

In the future, we will continue our quest for more volunteers. We plan to hang up our posters and post ads on websites like Facebook. We’ve learned that many people volunteer for groups as Girl Scouts or Cub Scouts, or for volunteer hours, and not as many people come without a group or without needing service hours.

So go out and volunteer! Not only will we appreciate it, but so will the Green Redmond Partnership and everyone who uses the parks. It’s a great way to connect with your community and neighbors. We’ve got to meet members of the Redmond Parks and Trails Commission and a WA representative for the US Congress. Volunteering is fun and gives a feeling of accomplishment.

Here are the results of the survey Anna and Erika conducted:

AnnaErikagraph1

AnnaErikagraph2AnnaErikagraph3

AnnaErikagraph4

 

Anna’s beautiful poster will be gracing bulletin boards this spring to promote volunteer events:
Annas poster 2016

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.

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

Blog spotlight: new blog posted for Redmond’s Watershed Preserve

Redmond Forest Steward Mike just created a new blog for the Watershed Preserve and the work he’s been doing there with other volunteers! The site looks great, and the group is starting a monthly event on the first Saturday of each month that will include walks along the Preserve’s beautiful trails and some volunteer restoration work to help keep the forest healthy. You can check out http://redmondwatershedpreserve.blogspot.com/ to find more information about the scheduled upcoming events, as well as maps, directions, history of the preserve, and links to other programs.

The Watershed Preserve is an amazing 800-acre mature, second-growth forest in northeast Redmond. For those who haven’t been, it’s a real treat to experience such a large natural area thriving within an urban setting, and definitely worth a trip. For those who already know and love the Preserve, these monthly events are the perfect opportunity to give back, help keep the forest healthy, and learn more about this great place!

Great work, Mike and team – keep it up!

Plant Pearl Jam’s Trees!

If you’ve been anywhere near the Cascade Land Conservancy office in the past ten months, you’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about the Pearl Jam carbon mitigation project. If you follow the band, you might have seen it mentioned on their news feed lately.  If you’ve done neither of those things, here’s the scoop: The Cascade Land Conservancy is partnering with Pearl Jam to help mitigate the carbon emissions from their 2009 World Tour. To find out more about this exciting partnership, and Pearl Jam’s donation to mitigate the carbon emissions from their latest world tour, read this and catch yourself up. To learn more about carbon mitigation in general, Ara’s excellent blog post from last year is a great place to start.

But it doesn’t stop there, YOU can help Pearl Jam in this effort by volunteering for one of our Pearl Jam planting events! Crews have been hard at work at the first two restoration sites: Discovery Park in Seattle, and Hartman Park in Redmond. They’ve removed all of the invasive plants and now are ready for some extra hands to help plant native trees and shrubs that will re-establish the healthy forest and mitigate carbon in the atmosphere.

We have two upcoming volunteer tree planting events where you can lend a hand to help Pearl Jam mitigate their carbon. Please register online to help us plan for the event:

1) Saturday, February 26 at Discovery Park in Seattle, 10am-2pm
2) Saturday, March 5 at Hartman Park in Redmond, 10am-2pm

Dress for the weather and come prepared to get your hands dirty.  Long pants and sleeves, sturdy shoes and a water bottle are highly recommended.  Coffee and snacks will be provided.

For more information or to register online, click here.

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.