You are here: Home Forest Steward Newsletters 2012 Forest Steward Newsletter Spring 2012

Forest Steward Newsletter Spring 2012

Banner of FS SPring 12 NewsletterWhat's in this Newsletter?

Forest Steward Orientation           Blue Trees?
Another Habitat Training               Upcycling Burlap Coffee Bags 
Tree Ambassador Recruitment      Native Plant Yahoo Group  
GSP on Green Acres Radio           Contribute to the Next Issue
"Secret" Gardens at Carkeek Park
SSCC Students Partners with Nature Consortium  

Click the above links to navigate directly to an article


Forest Steward Orientation

It is the time of year when the GSP staff gears up to recruit and train the next class of GSP Forest Stewards.  Help us find the best possible Forest Stewards to help in the efforts of restoring our forested parklands.  This year’s orientation will be held on Saturday, April 14 @ Camp Long.  Please direct interested people to the GSP website or have them get in touch with Andrea ( or Michael (  

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Tree Ambassador Recruitment

TA logo

Are you looking to expand your love of trees and dislike of invasive plants beyond the park boundaries and into your neighborhoods?  Do you know someone in your neighborhood who might be interested and being the “go-to” tree person in your community?  The City of Seattle and Forterra are working together again this year to support the Tree Ambassador Program.  Tree Ambassadors will be trained in the basics of urban forestry, leadership and community organizing. Tree Ambassadors will work in teams to develop neighborhood projects such as tree walks, invasive species removal workdays, and/or tree plantings for residential, SDOT and other areas. Applications to become a Tree Ambassador are due by Monday, April 16, 2012, you can apply today by visiting: 

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Another habitat training scheduledwoodland park zoo

This past Friday, 17 Forest Stewards and GSP Staff gathered at the Woodland Park Zoo for a Forest Steward Habitat Training. This class had an astounding response and filled quickly. To accommodate everyone's interest, we have opened another training for Friday, May 11th. The upcoming training is limited to 15 people, so REGISTER today to save your spot.

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More training: FROM Forest Stewards FOR Forest Stewards

Rory Denovan, Seattle Parks and Recreation Plant Ecologist

Do we need more training of volunteers and new forest stewards? Good question!  And if the answer is YES, that question changes to HOW?

Many Forest Stewards have told us that they need more regularly active, skilled volunteers to help with maintenance of their sites.  The big groups of one-time volunteers are great for new acres and planting, but just not geared for more delicate and skilled work.

Lex Voorhoeve and Loren McElvain, Forest Stewards at Carkeek Park, have suggested that a few experienced Forest Stewards could put together a curriculum for a basic forestry class.  This class would be open to new forest stewards and to any other interested people who are already volunteering regularly or want to become active volunteers in “their” park.  Indeed, Lex and Loren have had quite a bit of success recruiting a cadre of regularly active volunteers using just such a class.  Many of their graduates have gone on to become Forest Stewards themselves.

Lex and Loren’s idea is to have experienced Forest Stewards act as Trainers, so that the class would be “From Forest Stewards for Forest Stewards”.  The goal would be that those Forest Stewards that go through a “Training for Trainers” training could use what they learn and share to recruit and train regular volunteers to help maintain their restoration sites.

I like Lex and Loren’s idea.  What do you think?  Would this “Train the Trainer” approach be useful for you?   Interested in becoming a trainer?  Or maybe you have another idea of how to recruit regularly active volunteers for your sites?

During the first week in June, Green Seattle Partnership will convene meetings of Forest Stewards and Earthcorps Volunteer Crew members to discuss ways to recruit more locol, regular volunteers.  If you are even remotely interested in recruiting more volunteers for your site, please plan to attend this meeting.  Sorry, we don’t have exact dates for you yet, but stay tuned.

Want to know more or have a thought to share? Go to Facebook, Twitter, E-Bay, MySpace, Craig’s List, Leakipedia, Google, Yahoo, Samoa or Hawaii, but preferably ask Rory Denovan at: 

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Green Seattle Partnership on Green Acres Radio 

Green Acres

Green Seattle Partnership has taken to the airwaves! Green Acres Radio has created two shore segments highlighting the work that Green Seattle Partnership volunteers, Forest Stewards and partner organization have been doing in Seward Park and Beaver Pond Natural Area. Listen to these segments: 
Seward Park and Green Infrastructure
Beaver Pond Natural Area Restoration Efforts

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Blue Trees?

blue treesThe Blue Trees, an installation by Konstantin Dimopoulos, an Australian artist, is coming to Westlake Park (and also the Burke Gilman Trail in Kenmore). The artist will use non-toxic, biologically safe blue pigment to color the trunks and branches of trees in order to bring awareness to issues of global deforestation. For the Seattle installation, only the specific grove of 16 honey locust trees within Westlake Park will be treated. 

The artist and his volunteers will be applying the mineral to the trees between April 2 and 13, during non-rainy days. The coloring lasts for several months, depending on weather, will not stain the ground or benches below the trees, and will gradually fade away.

Using vivid color to alter one’s perception of trees, the artist intends to draw attention to them and their role as “the lungs of the planet.” Working with volunteers, he has created this temporary installation in various locations around the world. For examples of other installations, click here

Volunteers are needed to help make the project a success. Over theblue trees 2course of eight days, with your help, the artist will transform 16 existing Honey Locust trees at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle and 40 newly planted Jacquemontii birch trees along the Burke-Gilman Trail near NE Bothell Way and 80th Ave NE in Kenmore, which will enhance the trail and remain as a legacy for the community. Volunteers must register in order to participate. 

Tree coloring @ Westlake Park, Details will be provided upon registration:

Coloring trees with guidance from the artist, moving drop-cloths, filling buckets with water, washing brushes, etc.

 Monday, April 2, 2012: 10:30am-4pm, shifts to be assigned

 Tuesday, April 3, 2012: 10am-4pm, shifts to be assigned

 Wednesday, April 4, 2012: 10am-4pm, shifts to be assigned

Tree coloring @ Sandpoint Magnuson Park, Directions will be provided upon registration:

Coloring trees with guidance from the artist, moving drop-cloths and trees, filling buckets with water, washing brushes, etc.

Thursday, April 5, 2012: 11:30am-4pm, shifts to be assigned

 Friday, April 6, 2012: 10:30am-3:30pm, shifts to be assigned

 Saturday, April 7, 2012: 10:30am-4pm, shifts to be assigned

Tree planting @ Burke Gilman Trail, Kenmore, Directions will be provided upon registration:

Planting trees with guidance from King County Parks staff and touching up color on the trees with the artist.

Monday, April 9, 2012: 9am-4pm, shifts to be assigned

*Tools and gloves will be provided. Snacks and refreshments will be served.

Interested in volunteering? Have Questions? Volunteers interested in participating at Westlake Park can contact Adele Dimopoulos by email at or by telephone at (206) 890-4315.

Volunteers interested in participating in the tree coloring process at Sandpoint Magnuson Park or the planting process along the Burke-Gilman Trail should contact Laurie Clinton by email at or by telephone at (206) 296-4452.

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Uses for Recycled Burlap Coffee Bags

by Eric Carlson, Forest Steward – Warren G Magnuson Park

1. Mulch- By cutting a slit in the center of the bag, the bag can then be placed over newly planted trees. One can then place wood-chips on top of the bag, as this will  improve the function as mulch and will look nicer. Burlap bags can also be used as sheet mulch instead of cardboard; the bags are much easier to use, and they may also function better than cardboard sheets. Lastly, using burlap alone is is an ideal solution in areas where it’s impractical to mulch with chips, such as steep areas areas, or other sites with poor access. 

2. Erosion- Burlap bags can be filled with wood chips and tied close. They can then be placed together thereby helping prevent erosion, or divert water. Alternatively, if wood chips are not readily available, the burlap bags can be stuffed with other burlap bags (or dirt) instead of wood chips.

3. Burlap Logs- Bags can be rolled up into logs, and tied off with natural fiber string. Additional rolls can be connected together by overlapping them, to function as long erosion logs. A natural fiber rope can also be used as the inner core of the log. The burlap logs will need to be staked to hillsides to in order to hold them in place.

burlap bag

4. Trash Bags- In a pinch, burlap bags can be used to collect litter and recyclables found on site.

5. Clothing- If the economy doesn't improve, burlap bags can also be sewn into clothing.

GSP has a source for recycled burlap coffee bags, contact GSP Project Managers for more information. 

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Horticulture Students Partner With The City And Nature Consortium To Help Restore Forest In SSCC’s Backyard

by SSCC Student, Joan Kalhorn

One cold and blustery Saturday in early March, students from SSCC’s ecological restoration class joined volunteers from the Nature Consortium to help restore the forest directly behind the College.   Although they ached the next day, the students finished the day with a small chunk of the West Duwamish Greenbelt cleared of invasive weeds, planted with native shrubs and trees, and mulched to keep down weeds and retain water.  

Ecological restoration is a new program for the College’s Landscape Horticulture curriculum.   According to horticulture instructor Van Bobbitt: “Forest and landscape restoration is a growing field and a source of green jobs for our students.  We are fortunate to have an incredible natural laboratory for forest restoration right behind our College.  So last fall, we added an introductory course in eco-restoration. This was followed by a practicum course in the winter where our students actually selected, planned and restored a section of the forest.  It’s our hope that we maintain and grow this program, adding a little more restored forest to our backyard each year.”  

LHO student Bridget Kelsh, about to graduate, had this to say:  “I got the opportunity to work in ecological restoration last summer and took this class because I wanted more experience planning and managing a restoration.  The class has given me that, and I have a huge appreciation for the generosity and dedication of the volunteers who came to work with us!  A small group of people really can make a difference!”  

Committed restorationist, Shannon Lambson, has taken both courses and volunteered to maintain the College site in the spring quarter.  “I took the restoration classes because I am optimistic about the future. I like to think in 100 years someone will look up in awe at a towering Western Red Cedar and feel something akin to what I felt as a child in the forests of the Olympic Peninsula, only this person will be within the Seattle city limits.  For me the most important quality of a functional forest is its ability to calm me.   The work parties were great. Not only did I get to take out physical aggression on invasive plants, I helped plant a coniferous forest to succeed the deciduous forest that is on its final legs.   They were great opportunities to network and socialize with a broad spectrum of people.   I will be monitoring the site next quarter to indulge in my lifelong passion of playing in mud.  I'll probably learn something too, but that's secondary.”

The West Duwamish Greenbelt stretches along the west side of the Duwamish River all the way from the West Seattle Bridge to Burien.  Restoring this Greenbelt will preserve a long corridor of wildlife habitat, control erosion, slow storm-water runoff, and filter contaminants from waters draining into the Duwamish River.   It also adds solace and beauty in our urban environment.   About 182 acres of the Greenbelt are owned by the City of Seattle and constitute its largest contiguous forest. For the College, the Greenbelt offers forested parkland for our students and staff to enjoy and a laboratory resource for curriculum across disciplinary lines.  “I can imagine biology, chemistry and ecology classes adding sections to their own curriculum relating to the Greenbelt,” says Bobbitt.   “And photography, art and creative writing classes spending a day in the woods.  Wouldn’t it be great to see signs posted in the Greenbelt saying that ‘This portion of the WDGB was restored and maintained by students of South Seattle Community College.’?”  

The forests of the Pacific Northwest were once dominated by conifers such as Douglas fir, western red cedar and western hemlock, with understory native plants well-suited to the dark forest floor.  Extensive logging destroyed the natural ecology of our northwest evergreen forests, allowing alder and maple to dominate.  The introduction of fast-growing non-native invasive weeds such as ivy and Himalayan blackberry choked the growth of native species and disrupted the return of the forest to its natural state.   Without intervention, non-native invasive weeds could dominate the forest.

The City of Seattle’s Green Seattle Partnership has developed a 20-year strategic plan to restore the City’s forests and has developed extensive resources to guide the process and leverage volunteer productivity.  Green Seattle has fostered partnerships with any number of non-profits.  One of them is Nature Consortium, a multi-faceted neighborhood organization housed in the Youngstown Cultural Center on Delridge near the College.  SSCC’s Landscape Horticulture Program has reached out to both Green Seattle Partnership and the Nature Consortium to create long-term relationships for the eco-restoration classes.   “The first group of students has been the guinea pigs,” said Bobbitt.  “But their experience will result in more efficient work in the future.  Already, our suggestion that mulching chips be dumped closer to the sites has improved conditions for future work groups.   Our students have other ideas which should help as well.”  

Instructor Bobbitt should know.  He hauled wheelbarrows of mulch up and down slippery slopes and stood in line with his students at day’s end to have the mud hosed off.

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Discover “Secret” Gardens at Carkeek Park 

by Drexie Malone, Carkeek Master Forester  

Minna Piper was a passionate gardener on her family property in the late part of the 19th century and the early part of the last century. Her land became Carkeek Park, now owned by the City of Seattle, and her gardening legacy prompted the current collection of Natural Gardening and Backyard Wildlife Habitat Demonstration Gardens surrounding the Environmental Learning Center (ELC) at the main entrance to Carkeek Park. There are ten gardens in all, featuring many focused themes, from the Shady Woodland gardens to the Butterfly Hill and Native Edge gardens. 

In the last few years there has been no volunteer activity in these gardens and certain garden behaviors flourished- the hop vine grew rampant, the black twinberry expanded its garden boundaries, and the invasive morning glory was prominent. 

These gardens went more or less uncared for until one volunteer, Debrorah Phare, began weeding, planting, trimming and mulching the gardens back to their former glory. That is when I found myself helping out on Tuesday mornings, mostly weeding and trimming and deciding what overgrowth should stay and what should go. Many native plants had grown too vigorously, spreading beyond their bounds- Snowberry, Twinberry, and Thimbleberry were common overgrowth culprits.

In the process of maintaining these gardens, several garden secrets were discovered. One four-foot tall compact conifer, possibly a Norway or bird’s nest spruce, was found almost buried under thimbleberry and morning glory in the Island Garden in the middle of the parking lot. It now stands beautifully exposed at the Northwest corner of the garden next to the large pine.

At the entrance to the ELC, by the Parks and Recreation sign, were several medium-sized lovely native rhododendrons hidden under a heavy layer of thimbleberry, grass and ferns. A split rail fence was also uncovered, part of the original welcoming feature to the park.

Hidden behind and under twinberry and Nootka rose overgrowth was a shady resting place with stumps for sitting and conversing, found in the middle of the Ethnobotany Garden, behind the administration building. There was also a secret shady glen at the north end of the Island Garden, with a hidden pathway inviting entrance to the inner garden.

As a Forest Steward in training at Carkeek Park, I have learned about the native trees, shrubs and ground cover plants of the forest. The gardens, however, offer interesting non-forest plants at the park, and represent several diverse environments. Some plants are found in Carkeek Park only in the demonstration gardens: silk tassel bush (Garrya elliptica), chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), and Steven’s spiraea (Spiraea stevenii).

Some plants appear both in the forest and in the gardens: cedar, vine maple, and pine trees; black twinberry, ninebark, and red elderberry shrubs; and salal, huckleberry, and sword fern ground cover plants. 

Sometimes we must make decisions about changing the original garden plan, including plant removal, based on the best outcome for the gardens. When the periwinkle, which looked purposefully planted, is growing with gusto in the Butterfly Hill and Native Edge garden, it should be removed. Not only did periwinkle not appear on the plant list of original plants in the gardens, it is considered invasive and would be quite out of place in the Wildlife Habitat Garden. 

There are some plants do not require any decision-making; they are removed as quickly and thoroughly as possible such as invasive morning glory, which has become a problem in several of the gardens. English ivy pops up even in the cultivated gardens, and Himalayan blackberry is always trying to gain a foothold.

The demonstration gardens were designed to be maintained with volunteer labor, which can be very effective or completely absent. This year the gardens were on the cusp of true overgrowth, and it has been a joy and a learning experience to assist in recovering and supporting some of the prettiest, best-planned, and most purposeful gardens in the city. 

If you are interested in visiting the gardens there is brochure that can be found at the Environmental Learning Center at Carkeek Park. 

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Native Plant Yahoo Group

by David Perasso, Future Forest Steward

I have worked at over 30 restoration sites in Seattle and Shoreline and I have met many fabulous stewards and volunteers who possess an amazing amount of knowledge and resources.  Many of them have expressed a desire to communicate with other restoration workers. Where do they go to communicate? Where do volunteers, new to the work and not ready to be a GSP or WNPS steward, go to find a supportive community? They can get information from various sites, but where do they get to ask questions?

 PNWNativePlants ( is a forum where anyone working with PNW native plants -- propagator, grower, gardener, forest steward, and researcher -- can share or get information about native plants.

The 26 current members have covered topics ranging from discussions of mycorrhizall inoculants to where to find free plants. These members range from experienced nursery staff to Stewards who work in the field. You can go to the site and look at all the posts and links without being a member.  

 PNWNativePlants is open to anyone. It is inclusive and self-selecting. You don't need to be a member of an organization, or have a professional degree. There is no boundary between County and City or between the private and public sectors. All you need is a Yahoo ID to contribute.  You don’t need a log in to view the site, so go to to check it out today.  The site is a work in progress and will only be as good as the contributions from its members, so join today!  If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for the forum, please contact me, David, at: .

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Contribute to the Next Issue

Thanks to all our contributors! If you have something that you would like to contribute to the next newsletter, email Andrea at

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