Volunteers add over 7,000 plants to Puget Sound

Community members connect to urban green spaces during Green City Days

Over 1,500 volunteers contributed more than 4,000 hours of time to restore the Puget Sound’s urban green spaces during the 2014 Green City Days in October and November.

Businesses, schools, community groups, non-profit organizations and individuals joined together during these annual service days to restore and explore the region’s local green spaces. The Green City Days are a chance to celebrate our forested parks and natural areas and the many volunteers and partners that help the community-based restoration programs thrive throughout the year.

“The support and enthusiasm for these events clearly demonstrate that building community and building healthy forests go hand in hand; you can’t have one without the other. My favorite part is seeing the families and familiar faces from past events – the people that pulled the ivy and spent hours digging out blackberry roots come back to plant and be part of the positive transformation that is happening in Green Cities across the region. It is very powerful and inspiring,” said Joanna Nelson de Flores, Green Cities Program director.

Restoration activities range from removing weeds and invasive plants to planting native trees and shrubs at over two dozen locations across the region. For many volunteers, their local Green City Day has become an annual tradition.

Lisa Sturgeon, from Girl Scout Troop 40331, participated in Green Redmond Day again this year. “We’ve been working at the same park since the girls were in first grade. They’re now sixth graders and they come every year and they weed in the spring and they plant in the fall. They love the park. They consider it ‘theirs’. And they come through the park and they say ‘hi’ to their trees that they planted. I’ve seen them pick up litter because they don’t want anything bugging their park. So they really take an ownership by coming and doing these events.”

The service day enables community members to get to know each other and the local green spaces. This year, 67% of the Green Kent Day participants were return volunteers.

“For us, the mark of a successful event is always that people have fun, stay safe and get the work done. From all the smiling faces, I know our third Green Kent Day was a success,” reported Victoria L. Andrews, City of Kent Parks and Recreation.

The fall Green City Days series kicked off with Green Tacoma Day on Oct. 11, 2014 followed by Green Everett on Oct. 18, Green Kent Day and Green Redmond Day on Oct. 25 and Green Seattle Day on Nov. 8. Everett, Kent, Kirkland, Redmond, Seattle, and Tacoma make up the Green Cities Network that collectively works to restore over 7,500 acres of publicly owned urban green spaces. Forterra works with local nonprofits, community groups, city agencies, neighborhood leaders, and local businesses to support healthy urban green spaces for the future of our region through the Green City Partnerships program. Hundreds of restoration events throughout the year provide a great way for individuals of all ages to earn service hours for school, spend time outdoors, burn calories, get to know new people and help improve local parks.