Take volunteering to the next level – Stewards wanted!

MorrillMeadows_creditLauraMarchbanksPhotography_10152011_031Want to join a team of volunteers who make a BIG difference? If you’ve dropped in for a work party with your local Green City Partnership, you have a taste of what volunteer restoration is like. Take it to the next level and see how a longer-term restoration project can transform a park you love. Be a local leader, inspire others to get involved, and learn what it takes to keep urban forests, parks, and natural areas healthy and green.

Nature in the city gives us so much: clean air, beautiful places to enjoy and encourage more frequent exercise, open space to spend time with friends, a local connection with nature that reduces stress and improves mental health, habitat for local wildlife, stormwater retention to reduce flooding, carbon sequestration, and more. Stewards are the VIPs that enable volunteer projects to be successful in taking care of valuable public spaces in their own communities.

Current Stewards have this to say:

“This has been one of the most positive volunteer experiences I have ever had. . . I can’t believe how great the park looks since we started.” – Kaytlyn, Redmond

“The park is full of small, special spots, each with its own story.” – Lex, Seattle

“The Green Kent Partnership has a powerful message, and that is to conserve the beautiful environment that we live in. It is such an honor to be a part of this.” – Danielle, Kent

[Q:What do you get out of this mostly? A:] “Its fun!” – Glenn, Redmond

I look forward to the day that I can walk through a forest that I helped create.’ – Jay, Seattle

HOW TO GET INVOLVED IN YOUR LOCAL PROGRAM:

In REDMOND: Lots of parks, including the top priorities shown on this map, are still looking for their own Forest Steward – could it be you?! An orientation for new Forest Stewards will be held on Monday, April 20th. For more information and to RSVP, click here.

In KIRKLAND: An orientation for new Green Kirkland Stewards on Sunday, May 9th welcomes you to jump in! Contact Katie to be placed on the list.

In EVERETT: This relatively new program is ready for Forest Stewards to take the reins in some awesome parks. Contact Joanna for more information on getting involved.

In TACOMA: There will be an orientation later this year for new Habitat Stewards. Contact Yvonne for more information.

In KENT: Find your own corner of Green Kent and dig in. Contact Desiree to find out when the next orientation will be held for new Stewards.

In SEATTLE: Join a team of Forest Stewards working in a park near you. They’ll be thrilled to have an extra set of helping hands, and you’ll learn hands-on restoration from the pros as you get great work done together. To get connected with a group, contact Andrea.

Lili Allala

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Native Plant Propagator Workshop – Live Staking and Hardwood Cutting

Back in December, Forterra hosted a live staking and hardwood cutting workshop at Titlow Park in Tacoma.  After sporadic bouts of rain, we were lucky to have a beautiful December morning to learn more about propagating our own native plants for our restoration sites.

Why use live stakes and hardwood cuttings for native plant restoration?

Removing invasive plants
Removing invasive plants to make room for live stakes

Native plants have evolved for thousands of years and adapted to the soil, climate, and ecological conditions of the region.  This means that they are well-suited to take on not only long bouts of wet weather with low light, but also the dry Pacific Northwest summers that challenge the survival of non-native plants.  Because natives are so well adapted to these conditions, it means that they require less care and maintenance than non-native plants – this saves us time and money in our restoration projects.

Native plants can be sourced in a variety of ways such as in pots, plugs, as bare roots, from seeds, or from cuttings.  Each of these has advantages and disadvantages.  One of the main advantages of using live stakes and hardwood cuttings for your restoration projects is that these materials are cheap, often just costing an investment of your time, easy to store and transport, and easy to plant.

When is the best time to take cuttings and plant live stakes?

The best time to collect plant material to live stake is from late fall through early spring.  This is when plants in the Pacific Northwest are dormant.  This is also the best time to plant live stakes because they need fairly wet soil when planted.  This helps the stake establish new roots, and it makes planting much easier than in hard, dry soil.

What things should I consider when collecting live stakes or hardwood cuttings?

The first thing to know is that not all native plants are will propagate well as stakes or from cuttings.  While it’s OK to experiment some, and we encourage you to talk to other stewards, volunteers, neighbors and restoration professionals to share what works, it’s good to have a few “go-to” plants that we know do well.  These are listed below:

Native plants that propagate well from live stakes*

Red-osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)

Black twinberry (Lonicera involucrata)

Pacific ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus)

Black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa)

Nootka rose (Rosa nutkana)

Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis)

Willows (Salix spp.)

Elderberries (Sambucus spp.)

Spirea/Hardhack (Spiraea douglasii)

Native plants that propagate well from hardwood cuttings*

Red-osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)

Black twinberry (Lonicera involucrata)

Pacific ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus)

Black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa)

Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis)

Willows (Salix spp.)

Elderberries (Sambucus spp.)

Oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor)

Orange honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliosa)

Indian-plum (Oemleria cerasiformis)

Mock-orange (Philadelphus lewisii)

Red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum)

Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus)

Wild blackberry (Rubus ursinus)

Spirea/Hardhack (Spiraea douglasii)

Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)

Western yew (Taxus brevifolia)

Western redcedar (Thuja plicata)

What’s the difference between a live stake and a cutting?

Willow stake bundle
Willow stake bundle

At this workshop, we learned that live stakes can be planted right away – on the same day in fact.  Because of this, live stakes tend to be thicker and longer than cuttings.  While typical thickness varies from ½ in – 1 ½ in, for live stakes, the thicker the better because we “plant” them using a rubber mallet.  Stakes should be about 3 feet long (see photo).  We worked with willow and red-osier dogwood for this workshop, but we noted that spirea stakes planted nearly a year ago are doing very well.

Cuttings, on the other hand, aren’t planted immediately.  These are from species that behave differently and need to be held with their root-side in moist sawdust or soil in a cool, dark place for a few months.  After a while, these form a callous and will begin to send out roots.  Once they begin to root, pot them up in their own one-gallon containers, move to a place where they can get light and keep them watered.  By doing this, you can have hundreds of plants for your site next year.  This is also good motivation to get some more area cleared from invasive plants during those dry summer months.  Because they receive this extra care, cuttings are much smaller than stakes.  At a minimum, they should be the thickness of a pencil, and about 8 inches long (see photo).  We worked mainly with salmonberry for the workshop.

Salmonberry cuttings
Processing salmonberry cuttings

In total, more than 26 people attended this workshop.  It was a great mix of Green Tacoma Partnership Habitat Stewards, community members, and even Washington Conservation Crews!  Everybody learned a lot and participants went home with cuttings to care for and prepare for later planting in GTP restoration areas.

Forterra is planning to offer similar workshops throughout 2013.  Of course, it is difficult to take cuttings if you don’t know what a plant is, so we’ll be including a winter twig ID walk, native and invasive plant ID walks and practices, as well as seed collection activities.  You can find out more about these opportunities, as well as connect to regular GTP work parties through CEDAR.

*Adapted from “Grow Your Own Native Landscape: A Guide to Identifying, Propagating, & Landscaping with Western Washington Native Plants.” Michael Leigh. WSU Extension. 1999.

This workshop was made possible through funding from the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry program.  This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Join us for Green Seattle Day 2010!

Looking to volunteer in a local park,  plant native trees and shrubs, and get to know your neighbors? If so, then Green Seattle Day on November 6th from 10am-2pm is the event for you!
Green Seattle Day is the kick off to the Green Seattle Partnership planting season and is a celebration of our neighborhood parks and committed volunteers. On November 6th from 10am-2pm, 1,000 volunteers are expected to gather in 14 parks across Seattle to lend a hand in restoration.   Interested volunteers can search for a local park and register on the Green Seattle Partnership Website: www.greenseattle.org.

You maybe thinking, “Why should I spend the day in a local park when I could be sitting on the couch watching TV?” Well, here are just a few reasons:
1. Green Seattle Day gives you they opportunity to take an active role in the restoration of your local park. More than that! You will get to name the plant you put in the ground and you can return and give your plant pep talks, or take photos as it grows throughout the years!

2.The day of volunteering will allow you to meet your neighbors and even make some new friends. We have found that pulling out ivy and planting trees are actions that bring out the friend making vibes in folks.

3. FREE STUFF! ohhh, now I have your attention. We are going to be giving out fancy Green Seattle Partnership t-shirts to all present volunteers and there will also be some other sweet giveaways at our hub sites, Lower Woodland Park and Camp Long. Not all sites have the same giveaways, but you will be greatly rewarded with a happy feeling inside no matter where you spend the day volunteering and having fun.

So! We would like to cordially invite you NO, challenge you to spend your Saturday morning on November 6th hanging out with GSP folks, planting trees, and making new friends. Find your local park and sign up for a work party (www.greenseattle.org) ! See you in the parks!!!

If you have any questions or would like to organize a group of volunteers for the event please contact Katie at katieca@cascadeland.org or 206-905-6952.

Green Tacoma Day 9/25

Green Tacoma Day 2010

Discover Tacoma’s Natural Treasures at the 3nd annual Green Tacoma Day to be held on September 25th in conjunction with National Public Lands Day.

  • Join thousands of other Americans across the country celebrating National Public Lands Day.
  • Help protect and restore your favorite local park, gulch, and shoreline.
  • Learn more about your favorite recreation destination from experienced Habitat Stewards.
  • Family friendly activities will be held at the Tacoma Nature Center throughout the day.

Visit www.greentacoma.org to learn more and to find an event location near you!

GTP Habitat Stewards Training

Saturday, June 5, 2010 from 9:30am to 3:30pm

Tacoma Nature Center, 1919 S. Tyler St, Tacoma

This is your last chance to sign up to be a Habitat Steward this year!  Come learn how to be a habitat steward for a local urban area near you.  We are looking for dedicated volunteers who want to take a lead in restoration activities occurring throughout Tacoma. Upon completion of the training participants will receive a Habitat Steward Field Guide with lots of tips & Best Management Practices, and also receive continued support from the Green Tacoma Partnership in their restoration efforts.

For more information on the program contact greentacoma[at]cascadeland.org.

Free Habitat Steward Training in Tacoma

Last Chance To Register: Friday, January 29, 2010

We are looking for dedicated volunteers who want to take a lead in restoration activities occurring throughout Tacoma. Upon completion of the training participants will receive a field guide with lots of tips & Best Management Practices and also receive continued support from the Green Tacoma Partnership in their restoration efforts. Lunch provided. To register or for more information on the program contact Krystal (GTP Volunteer & Training Coordinator) at kkyer@tahomaaudubon.org or 253-232-9978.

Saturday, February 6, 2010 (9:30 – 3:30pm)

The Lodge at Point Defiance Park

5715 Roberts Garden Rd., Tacoma

Save the date: Green Tacoma Day September 26, 2009

Green Tacoma Day 2008Discover Tacoma’s Natural Treasures at the 2nd annual Green Tacoma Day to be held on September 26th in conjunction with National Public Lands Day.
–  Join thousands of other Americans across the country celebrating National Public Lands Day.
–  Help protect and restore your favorite local park, gulch, shoreline and garden.
–  Learn more about your favorite recreation destination from experienced Habitat Stewards.
–  Discover something new by taking a walking, hiking, or bike tour of Tacoma’s Natural Areas.

More information to come at www.greentacoma.org