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

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.

Become a new Forest Steward in Redmond

The Green Redmond Partnership will host its annual Forest Steward Orientation for new and prospective Forest Stewards on June 12th. Forest Stewards are community volunteers who take on a leadership role in restoration at a park they choose. The Orientation is free and will cover everything you need to get started. No experience necessary; we supply all tools, materials, and support. We will be providing lunch at the orientation, so please let us know if you will be joining us by contacting greenredmond[at]cascadeland.org.

Hope to see you there!

For more information on the Forest Steward program, visit the Green Redmond Partnership website.

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

South Sound Stewardship and Educator Training 2010

Join us!  People For Puget Sound is holding free training sessions for volunteer restoration stewards and environmental educators in the South Sound.

What is a Sound Steward/Sound Educator?

Sound Stewards and Educators are trained volunteers committed to restoring, maintaining, and monitoring designated Puget Sound sites.  They help to share information with the community – to teach them about Puget Sound as well as about ways to get involved to save the Sound.

Training is FUN and involves a combination of classroom and in-the-field activities, including:

•           Natural history of Puget Sound

•           Principles of restoration ecology

•           Current projects in the South Sound

•           An introduction to plant and waterbird identification/survey methods

•           Invasive vegetation management techniques

Date: February 20, 2010

Location: Titlow Lodge Community Center

Address: 8425 6th Ave, Tacoma, WA 98465

Time: 9 AM to 3 PM

To register or for more information, please contact:

Christina Donehower, Restoration Ecologist

E-mail: cdonehower@pugetsound.org

Phone: 360-754-9177

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

Volunteer Naturalist Training

Provided by Tahoma Audubon and the Tacoma Nature Center

Participants will learn about the ecology of our region, and how to inspire a sense of wonder in those who seek to explore it. Participants will be ready to lead programs for the Tahoma Audubon Society, Morse Wildlife Preserve, and the Tacoma Nature Center upon completion of this training. Space is Limited!

Call the Tacoma Nature Center 253-591-6439 to sign up! Cost: $10/ workshop or $30 for all. Introduction to Interpretation workshop is FREE!

Topics will include:

  • Introduction to Interpretation, Jan 12 or 16
  • Feathered Friends (Birds), Jan 26 or 30
  • Washington Wildlife (Mammals), Feb 9
  • Forest Fun (Forest Ecology), Feb 23 or 27
  • Wetland Wonders (Wetland Ecology), Mar 9 or 13
  • Tide pools (Intertidal Ecology), Mar 23