On Saturday, June 9, the Green Kirkland Partnership held its first training session for volunteer park restoration stewards. Staff from the City of Kirkland and Forterra (formerly the Cascade Land Conservancy) trained fourteen Green Kirkland stewards, each of whom is assigned to one of six parks currently being restored.
Green Kirkland stewards organize volunteer events to restore forests, wetlands and other natural areas. Without intervention, English ivy, Himalayan blackberry and other invasive plants strangle or shade out the native trees and shrubs.
Green Kirkland Partnership Education & Outreach Specialist Sharon Rodman says, “Natural areas are public assets that provide many benefits. They clean our air, buffer noise, retain stormwater to reduce flooding, help filter water, increase property values, provide habitat to birds and other beneficial wildlife, and generate recreational and health benefits for residents. It’s in everyone’s interest to keep them healthy.”
At the half-day training event, stewards learned best practices for planning and managing restoration events in Kirkland parks, planting native plants and controlling invasive plants. The training was funded through a federal grant received by Forterra.
Over lunch, Jim Corson, a Green Seattle Forest Steward, talked about his experiences working at restoration sites and his involvement with Friends of the Burke Gilman Trail.
The stewards received a bag of helpful tools, including pens that write upside down in the rain, thorn-resistant gloves, metal clipboard boxes and a newly-published Steward Field Guide written by Forterra and the Green Kirkland Partnership.
Volunteer stewards work at Cotton Hill, Crestwoods, Juanita Bay, Kiwanis and Watershed Parks, and at Carillon Woods. Green Kirkland stewards run their own restoration events with the support of the City. The Green Kirkland Partnership hopes to hold training events annually.
For more information about the program, and how you can help, go to www.greenkirkland.org.
Photos courtesy Green Kirkland Partnership.