Perspectives — Wild
From preserving pristine wilderness, to improving access to recreational opportunities and enhancing the protection of resources, we work with partners to protect our region’s natural treasures.
Fifteen thousand years ago, the Vashon ice sheet began its melting retreat, depositing a plain of gravely outwash that underlies the prairies of South Sound. Over time the rocks broke down and organic matter accumulated, resulting in the quick-drying, nutrient-poor soil we have today. This soil defines the prairie ecosystem. It discourages all but the most nutritionally undemanding of trees and encourages a unique suite of relatively short grasses and wildflowers that can tolerate such conditions.
Tacoma civic leader Lyle Quasim and Forterra President & CEO Michelle Connor answer your questions from our recent Coffee and Conversation event on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for Washington’s communities and lands.
The health of Cedar River—and its inhabitants—has been continually threatened by knotweed, an invasive plant that overtakes riverbanks, squeezes out native species and can quickly destroy properties and ecosystems. Forterra’s successful restoration efforts aim to give salmon and orca a fighting chance.
Forterra officially closed on the last-remaining privately owned section of the popular Lake Serene Trail in October 2018. Thanks to massive community support, the purchase of this 190-acre property preserved the trees along the trail and guaranteed permanent public access to Lake Serene Trail’s breathtaking views, waterfalls, and reflective alpine lake—forever.
The orca mother Tahlequah carried her dead calf for 17 days. People around the world were transfixed. Together, we ached with empathy. My sadness blends into frustration and guilt because the loss of this orca calf has a broader meaning. We are failing a crucial litmus test for the health of our Pacific Northwest.
Color is just coming back into the world with the morning twilight. Quietly, I set out from my camp in the Monashee Mountains of southeastern British Columbia. Crossing a small stream, I find tracks of an animal that had come down to the water. Perhaps having caught wind of my camp, the animal abruptly turned and went the other way. The trail is fresh and the huge, round tracks identify its maker: after years of searching, my first encounter with a mountain caribou is at hand.
One evening, back when he was in high school, Derek Stinson returned to his Massachusetts home with his parents to encounter his younger brother, Jay, waiting for them at the door. “There’s something in the cupboard,” Jay told them, “and it’s not a rat.” When Derek peered into a cupboard containing the family’s breakfast cereal, a pair of big eyes stared back. They belonged to a southern flying squirrel.
Necessity is the mother of invention. It calls for vision, courage and tenacity. That’s a good thing because it has never been more imperative to find ways to protect Mother Earth and save our little corner of the planet. So we asked activists across our region—women making a big difference—what inspires them to stand up and take action for the places they love.
Earlier this summer, we watched in disbelief as the orca mother, Tahlequah, carried her dead calf for 17 days. Puget Sound orcas are struggling. From disrupted habitats, food source shortages, and poor water quality, the impacts humans have had on our regions’ orcas are staggering. Here are a few steps you can take to help the orcas now.
Here in Seattle, we love to hike. But hiking comes at a cost—to our environment. A round-trip drive between Seattle and Mt. Si emits roughly 80 lbs. of greenhouse gas. For a longer trip—say, a weekend at Mt. Rainier National Park—you could emit about 200 lbs. The numbers add up when considered over the course of a year. Driving 100 miles every weekend will spew approximately 5,000 lbs, or 2.5 tons of carbon, into the atmosphere over the course of a year.
Trees provide many benefits for human communities, including a positive effect on health, local economy, safety, child development, and stormwater infrastructure. They’re also vital to another constituency of Seattle residents and visitors—our birds. Each layer of the tree canopy provides habitat to specific birds. Learn which birds live where in your neighborhood trees!
We teamed up with King County Parks to secure a one-time private wedding venue that will serve as a critical gateway to the recreational trails in the 80,000-acre White River Forest. The land features healthy forests, large meadows and a small lake, and is home to black bear, cougar, bobcat, plus numerous bird species and other wildlife.
Lake Serene sits just south of Mount Index in the Central Cascades range, glistening high above Gold Bar at an elevation of about 2,500 feet. You can access it by hiking a steadily inclining trail through old growth evergreens, abundant fern beds and mossy undergrowth. A serene state of mind is harder to geolocate, but according to recent brain science, a walk in the woods will get you there, too.
A section of the beloved Lake Serene trail was scheduled to be logged in the Fall of 2017. We kicked off a fundraising effort in mid-August to protect the trail. It mobilized quickly thanks to support from an amazing community of people who love the special place.
Two days of conversation with leaders across Kittitas County and one day of hiking. For the last few months and particularly over two concentrated days, we met with business leaders, advocates, planners, developers, farmers, elected officials and tribal leaders; to name some. The conversations only barely scratched the surface of course—of the richness of the place and the challenges it faces.
Green Everett Partnership volunteer and UW Bothell student, Candice Magbag, set to find out in her class on restoration ecology. In her final project, Candice covers the history of Forterra and her perspectives on conservation. Read her guest post and watch her video below.
The official start of spring is less than a month away, which means it’s that time of year when we will start to see some petals and color popping back into our local landscapes. Find out which native flowers you can expect to see in the coming weeks throughout Washington.
On a basic level, most invasive species are non-native organisms (plant, animal, insect, etc.) that have been ‘introduced’ into an environment. This year, in honor of Invasive Species Awareness Week, we asked the experts what their “favorite” invasive is and the gory details behind their love-hate relationship with these plants.