Green City Partnerships
Healthy forested parks and green spaces have the power to strengthen neighborhoods, provide safe access to nature and offer numerous benefits and “green services“ to our cities. Without the coordinated regional effort of the Green City Partnerships to restore and care for our urban parks, we are at risk of losing the many benefits these forests and natural areas provide.
The Green City Partnerships
Become the next Green City
Green Cities continues to grow, helping more urban communities in the Puget Sound region effectively steward their natural open spaces. Using best practices developed over the past thirteen years, we work with cities to develop a partnership that meets each city’s needs and capacity.
Tree Ambassador Program
Forterra works hand in hand with the city’s Trees for Seattle initiative to get residents engaged in the urban forests with the Tree Ambassador program. Volunteer Tree Ambassadors are trained to motivate and educate their communities by leading Tree Walks and heading up landscape renewal projects including weeding, mulching and activating neighborhood green spaces.
Green Cities research
To advance the stewardship of our urban forests and parks Green Cities must remain at the forefront of the knowledge, tools, and techniques necessary for the stewarding of our lands and communities. Forterra’s Green Cities Program partners with researchers, land managers and municipalities to conduct environmental stewardship research throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Green Cities toolbox
We are nothing if not thorough. With several cities and many years invested, we’ve accumulated quite a library of information related to urban forestry and natural area management.
Green Cities blog
Read about urban natural area restoration in the Puget Sound and beyond at the Green Cities blog.
How it all began…
The Green Cities Program began in 2004, when someone at Forterra and someone at the City of Seattle recognized we’d drive some serious change and community good will if together we committed to restore and maintain Seattle’s 2,500 acres of forested parkland over the next 20 years. The idea took off, starting with the development of a 20-Year Strategic Plan designed to get the job done. The Green Seattle Partnership has been so successful that Forterra partnered with several more cities in the Puget Sound region, expanding the Green Cities Network to include Kirkland, Tacoma, Redmond, Kent, Everett, Puyallup, Snoqualmie, Tukwila, Burien, Seatac, and Des Moines. And we hope it keeps growing. Along the way, we’ve been lucky to work with many local non-profits, community groups, city agencies, neighborhood leaders and local businesses, all working to support healthy urban natural areas for the future of our region.
Forterra works in partnership with local municipalities to develop achievable goals, shared visions, long-term plans and community-based stewardship programs to care for the valuable forests and natural areas in our urban environments. The Green City Partnerships share three core goals:
- Improve the quality of life, connections to nature, and enhance forest benefits in cities by restoring our forested parks and natural areas
- Galvanize an informed and active community
- Ensure long-term sustainable funding and community support
These unique public/private partnerships bring together the City, Forterra, thousands of community volunteers, other nonprofits and businesses to create a sustainable network of healthy forested parks and natural areas throughout the region.
A growing problem
Many of our region’s parks and natural areas are heavily infested with English ivy, Himalayan blackberry and other invasive plants. Additionally, many of the trees in our urban parks are at the end of their lifespan. As these trees die, invasive plants are preventing the next generation of trees from growing, leaving us at risk of losing the many benefits our forests provide in just 20 years!
A community-based solution
Restoring our urban parks requires a partnership and coordinated effort. Green City Partnerships are harnessing the power of our communities and creating a culture of volunteerism and stewardship to save our local forested parks and natural areas. The Green City Partnerships combined log over 115,000 volunteer hours at more than 1000 stewardship events each year.
A regional model
The Green Cities Program began in 2004, when the City of Seattle and Forterra came together to to restore and maintain 2,500 acres of Seattle’s forested parkland in 20 years. The City of Seattle and Forterra worked together to craft a 20-Year Strategic Plan, and we have been implementing that plan ever since. Building off of the success of the Green Seattle Partnership, Forterra has replicated and modified this model to build similar community-based stewardship programs to restore and care for forested parks and natural areas in cities across the region.
Related Perspectives and News
Forterra is working to conserve Little Skookum Inlet, 816 acres of riparian habitat, wetland and forest with two miles of marine shoreline in Mason County. Generations of Native Americans, family foresters and shellfish farmers have tended to this inlet. Protecting this place will prevent the property from being developed while protecting critical habitat for shellfish and salmon. Our project partner, Port Blakely Tree Farms, has stewarded the forest at Little Skookum for over 150 years and was just named Puget Sound Business Journal’s Family Business of the Year.
Almost 1,900 volunteers converged to celebrate Green City Days at parks and green spaces across Puget Sound this fall. They planted more than 11,500 native plants. There are now twelve cities in the Green City Partnerships—Everett, Kent, Kirkland, Puyallup, Redmond, Seattle, Snoqualmie, Tacoma, Tukwila, SeaTac, Burien and Des Moines—and these annual events give volunteers a wonderful opportunity to help restore their local natural areas while building community through stewardship.
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