Fall is a great time to volunteer at stewardship events

Sure there might be a little rain, but you will warm up quickly working alongside your neighbors planting trees or yanking out invasive weeds. With the cooler temperatures and the return of the rain, the conditions are ideal for planting trees and shrubs. The roots will get lots of water to help them establish before they have to face the next dry summer. And invasive weed removal gets easier now too. The roots come out much more easily in damp soil and you won’t get overheated. It can be amazingly satisfying to pull out huge swaths of ivy, holly or blackberry to open up the forest for native plants and trees.

volunteers removing invasive plants in a forest
Volunteers hard at work removing invasive weeds. Satisfying work in spite of the rain! Photo by Dennis Clark.

There are many opportunities to volunteer in King County this fall, starting with National Public Lands Day this Saturday. Here is just a small sample of stewardship events coming up around the county.

September 22, National Public Lands Day in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Valley. There are lots of great choices at this event, but invasive weeds will be featured most at these three: Granite Creek Trail, Middle Fork Natural Area and Tanner Landing Park. This event, which is part stewardship and part celebration, is being put on by Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust with help from lots of partners.

September 22 and 29, Green Kent Stewardship Events at Clark Lake Park. Green Kent Partnership has lots of events all fall where you can help Kent protect and restore its forests and open space.

September 22 and October 27, Miller and Walker Creeks Stewardship Events in Normandy Park and Burien. Join one of these events (or any of the many other dates listed on the website) to help protect valuable urban creeks that drain right into Puget Sound. These events are part of a joint effort by King County, the cities of Burien, Normandy Park, SeaTac and Port of Seattle to help make Miller and Walker Creek basins better for the people, fish, and wildlife that share it.

October 6, Green Snoqualmie Day at Meadowbrook Slough and Snoqualmie Ridge Community Park. This is Green Snoqualmie’s biggest event of the year. Volunteers will be celebrating the community’s forests by helping to plant several hundred trees and shrubs. There will be food from local businesses, prizes to raffle off, and all gloves, and tools are provided. This event is great for families, and all ages and abilities can help out!

October 6, Green Tukwila Day at Tukwila Park. Help the Green Tukwila Partnership celebrate their 2nd annual Green Tukwila Day! Volunteers will prepare Tukwila Park for the fall planting season by removing Himalayan blackberry and English ivy. The event is family friendly and open to all ages. Come see what a difference a committed group of volunteers can make in your community!

October 20, Duwamish Alive! Return of the Salmon – events in West Seattle, Southwest Seattle and Tukwila. The Duwamish Alive! events involve hands-on habitat restoration coordinated by the Duwamish Alive Coalition (DAC) that includes community groups, non-profits, local businesses and Federal, State, local and Tribal governments united in their common mission: to protect and restore the health and habitat of the Duwamish River and its watershed for both wildlife and communities.

October 20, Kirkland’s Arbor Day at North Rose Hill Woodlands Park (with free tree give-a-way!). This event combines valuable restoration work with celebrating trees! It’s a joint effort of Green Kirkland Partnership, EarthCorps and Washington Department of Natural Resources. The day includes a tree giveaway (1 per household) and all kinds of fun to celebrate and grow your urban canopy! Kirkland explains that they celebrates Arbor Day in fall (not April/May) because native trees are dormant and stay healthier when planted in the rainy season. That’s smart!

October 27, Green Redmond Day. Join Green Redmond Partnership to help keep Redmond’s forests healthy and green by planting trees at one of three parks: Farrel-McWhirter Park, Juel Community Park and Smith Woods. This is their big event of the year and is sure to be tons of fun as well as satisfying work!

November 3, Green Seattle Day  There are 15 parks to choose from for this amazing event in Seattle! If you are in Seattle, there is sure to be a park event near you on Green Seattle Day. Join neighbors from your community in this celebration of Seattle’s urban forests and parks.

November 17, Green Kirkland Day. There are events all over Kirkland on this big stewardship day including Everest Park, O.O. Denny Park, Josten Park, Crestwoods Park and McAuliffe Park. More information and sign up details are on the Green Kirkland Volunteer Calendar.

I hope you find some great events to participate in this fall. And remember, after you are done pulling weeds, make sure to brush off your boots so you leave those weed seeds behind!

If you don’t see your community event listed here, it’s because there were simply too many great opportunities for stewardship coming up to include all of them. Also, if you don’t see an event near you, just contact your local Parks Department and see what is happening in the neighborhood. Or for links to more volunteer ideas and calendars of events year round, see Volunteer Information.