Release: Planting Season Kicks Off Saturday with 6th Annual Green Seattle Day

Press Release, Nov. 3 2011

Hundreds of volunteers are taking to the city’s parks for the sixth-annual Green Seattle Day this Saturday, Nov 5, to help kick off the restoration planting season and reverse the decline of our tree canopy. Volunteers across the city from Magnuson Park to West Duwamish Greenbelt will plant over 5000 native trees and shrubs, remove invasive plant species such as English ivy and Himalayan blackberry, and move mountains of mulch, all for the love of urban forests and their community.

The event takes place from 10a.m.-2 p.m. in 16 parks throughout Seattle. West Seattle’s Westcrest Park is Green Seattle Day’s central hub this year. Volunteers will be welcomed by Green Seattle Partnership Executive Council members Gene Duvernoy, President of Forterra (formerly Cascade Land Conservancy) and Christopher Williams, Acting Superintendent of Seattle Parks.

“Green Seattle Day demonstrates what can be accomplished when a community comes together to tackle a problem,” said Duvernoy. “Not only do volunteer restoration events protect our valuable forested parks, they help foster a sense of civic and community pride. Strong, healthy communities are one of the cornerstones of the Cascade Agenda, our long-range vision and action plan, which takes a holistic approach to improving our region’s communities, economies and lands.”

Westcrest Park is located in southwest Seattle, in the Highland Park neighborhood. The little known gem boasts over 80 acres of forest, walking paths, a dog park and sweeping views of the city. Westcrest has undergone significant forest restoration work throughout this past year. Youth and adult restoration crews from Seattle Parks, EarthCorps, Washington Conservation Corps, Student Conservation Association, Goodwill, Youth Green Corps and Washington Native Plant Society as well as hundreds of volunteers have been removing invasive plants and restoring eroded trails all year to prepare the forest for planting. Several of the youth restoration crews will return to the park as volunteers for Green Seattle Day.

Due to a history of logging, pervasive invasive species growth and an aging canopy, Seattle is facing the potential loss of up to 70 percent of its forested parklands in the next twenty years. While the program has experienced much success to date, long term public and additional private funding are needed to keep these valuable efforts alive. Our community forests need volunteers to work this weekend and to speak out for long-term public funding in the coming years.

“Forested urban parks clean the air and water, prevent erosion, provide habitat for wildlife and offer neighborhoods easy access to nature,” said Williams. “They are a critical resource for our communities and events like Green Seattle Day help ensure their long-term sustainability.”

One of the largest volunteer forest restoration projects in the country, the Green Seattle Partnership has an ambitious goal of restoring 2,500 acres of forested parkland by 2025. It is a public-private partnership between the City of Seattle and Forterra and over 13,000 volunteers, community organizations and businesses that work towards this goal each year. Together the Partnership has enrolled over 700 acres into restoration with support from more than 450,000 volunteer hours over the past seven years. 

Volunteers are still needed. Help make this the largest volunteer planting event in Washington State! For more information on Green Seattle Day and to register to volunteer at one of the 16 sites, visit http://greenseattle.org/events/2011-events/november/green-seattle-day-11-5

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