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Frequently Asked Questions


Do you have a question about what it’s like to volunteer for the Green Seattle Partnership? Or are you wondering about how you can help support the Partnership beyond coming out to a volunteer event? Or maybe your curious as to why forest restoration work even matters in the first place? Well then you should check out our list of Frequently Asked Questions below, where you can learn more about the Green Seattle Parnership and how to get involved. If you haven’t found the question or answer that you are looking for, then feel free to reach out to us by emailing

Questions about Volunteering with the Green Seattle Partnership

I’ve never volunteered before. Where do I start?

Good question! Our volunteer calendar is the best place to jump in. The Green Seattle Partnership has volunteer events every week, all over Seattle, and we would love your help!

You can use the map view or calendar view to search for volunteer opportunities in your favorite park, your neighborhood, or on a certain day. If you find an event you like, you can register for the event directly online. We will bring all of the tools, gloves, and other materials needed, so all you have to do is dress for the weather (long pants and long-sleeved layers are recommended, even when it’s warm out) in clothes and sturdy shoes you don’t mind getting dirty, and join us in the park. Before you know it you’ll be an expert!

If you need any help navigating our events calendar or have any other questions, don’t hesitate to be in touch by email at, or by phone at (206)905-6924.

What is a typical volunteer event like?

Every event is a little different, but all will involve hands-on activities than help keep our forested parks healthy and green. Sometimes that means planting new native Northwest trees and other smaller plants that will grow up into the next generation of forest. A lot of times that means doing things to help those young plants thrive, like removing the aggressive invasive weeds that try to choke them out, or spreading wood chip mulch to rebuild forest soils.  The one thing all of our events have in common are that no experience is necessary and anyone who is willing to learn is welcome to jump in and help. We’ll bring gloves, tools, and instruction. You bring the elbow grease.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth even more. Check out this video introduction to volunteering with Green Seattle:

I want to volunteer with a group (from my office, school, church, team, etc.). Can we do that?

Yes! We love having groups join us to get even more great work done for our parks, and volunteering together is a great team-building activity. Our calendar of upcoming events is the best place to start. Depending on the size of your group, the time and day(s) you are available, and the section of the City where you’d like to volunteer, there is most likely something on our calendar that would be a good fit, and the event organizers would be thrilled to have your help.

Each event has a different maximum number of volunteers that can be comfortably and safely accommodated, so look for that number (for example, “10 out of 20 volunteers registered”), noted on each event posting to find something that can accommodate the number of people that want to participate. Once you have an event picked out, it’s really helpful to encourage everyone in the group to sign up, so the organizers know how many people to expect and can make sure to have enough tools, gloves, and tasks planned for everyone.

If you need help navigating the events calendar, want a suggestion, or are hoping for a private event just for your group, contact us at

Can I get credit for my time?

Yes! If your school, club, employer, or other service-requiring program has a form that should be filled out, please bring that with you to your volunteer event. Any event lead can sign off on your time at the end of the event before you leave. If you don’t have a specific form, you can often write something up yourself documenting your participation and the event lead can sign it – but check with your program first to make sure this will be accepted.

You can also email for confirmation of your service hours – please include your full name, the name of the park, and the date where you volunteered. It may take up to two weeks for sign-in sheets to make it into our record-keeping system where they can be referenced. So if you are on a tight time crunch, it might help to bring something in writing to the event in person and get it taken care of right away.

Do you acknowledge court-ordered service?

Yes, we do accept court-ordered service, which can be validated by the City of Seattle, or any of our non-profit partner organizations. For any Green Seattle Partnership event, you can fulfill court-ordered community service and document it by bringing the letter from the court to use as a sign-in sheet for each event and get one of the event organizers to sign it before you leave. If you don’t have the letter, you can download ours here, and have the event organizer sign it as proof of your time

Can I bring my kids (is there an age limit)?

Yes! We welcome volunteers of all ages to pitch in and enjoy being out in the park.

However, volunteers 13 years and under must have a parent or guardian with them throughout the event.Our amazing and talented leads provide instruction, supervision, and help to everyone attending volunteer events – which is sometimes a lot of people. They can’t be everywhere at once, so we rely on parents to help keep things moving smoothly.

Can I bring my dog?

We love your furry friends but ask that you leave them at home when you volunteer. Dogs must be kept on-leash in all of the areas where we work, and at best they can really get in the way. At worst they can frighten other volunteers, harass wildlife, or damage sensitive young plants. We hope you understand!

If you want to bring your dog back to the park later to show off your good work, please help your dog be a good friend to the forest by keeping them on-leash at all times. People sometimes think their dog is the exception to the rule, but small impacts can really add up. For more on dogs and forest restoration, check out this blog post. And thank you for helping us keep the forest healthy for all of the people and critters that want to enjoy it.

Volunteers may not use any power tools under any circumstances. The techniques we use at our events are best practices proven to be efficient, effective, and safe. We use a lot of different kinds of tools but we rely on people power to use them. Please respect everyone’s safety and the park and leave power tools at home.

Can I bring my hedge trimmer from home? It works great!

Volunteers may not use any power tools under any circumstances. The techniques we use at our events are best practices proven to be efficient, effective, and safe. We use a lot of different kinds of tools but we rely on people power to use them. Please respect everyone’s safety and the park and leave power tools at home.

It’s difficult for me to do a lot of the physical activities at your events. But I want to help! Is there anything I can do?

Yes! It takes a village to raise a forest. There are so many ways to be a part of the Partnership.If you want to join the local group of neighbors dedicated to caring for your nearest park, they would be thrilled to have someone willing to help with some of the less physical (but still critical) parts of work parties. Some of these non-physical parts of the event can include:

  • Welcoming other volunteers as they arrive and help them get signed in and oriented.
  • Soliciting donations from coffee shops or other local businesses, or bake your own homemade treats, which are the quickest way to any park volunteer’s heart.
  • Spreading the word to more people by posting on neighborhood blogs, putting up fliers, and telling your friends and neighbors, because many hands make light work
  • Record-keeping and data entry is also always much appreciated. To get connected with a group in your neighborhood, visit a work party in a park nearby, and talk to the organizer about how you can get more involved in less physically-strenuous ways.
  • Attending local festivals and other outreach events to tell others about us and how they can get involved.
  • Offering to take pictures at work parties,

Lastly, but certainly not least, making a financial contribution to the Green Seattle Partnership is a great way to support your favorite parks and all they bring to our city. We promise to put your generous donations, large and small, to very good use. And when you walk in your favorite park, we hope you feel an extra sense of pride in helping to make sure it stays healthy and green for generations to come.

If you have other ideas for ways to share your own unique talents with us, we would love to hear from you!

Supporting the Green Seattle Partnership

But what if I want to do MORE??

Great! If you’ve already been to lots of work parties and you are hooked on forest restoration, one way to step up your involvement is to join the ranks of our illustrious Forest Steward program. Check out the information here to see if it sounds right for you. If your favorite park has a Forest Steward already, you can join the team and help share the work of leading your very own restoration projects with the support of our staff.

How can I make a financial donation to support this work?

Donating to our effects is an incredibly valuable way to power the Green Seattle Partnership and to invest. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support.

My employer matches employee donations and/or volunteer time. Can that help?

Absolutely! Leveraging matching funds is a great way to double your impact and ensure that even more can be done to support the long-term health of our forested parks.

If your employer matches financial donations to non-profit organizations, follow these instructions when you donate to the Green Seattle Partnership, and make sure to check the box. If your employer matches employee volunteer time with a financial gift, make sure you document your time with your employer’s matching system. If you have any questions about how to do this, please contact us.

I want to plant a tree in honor of a loved one, to celebrate the birth of a child, or mark a special occasion. Do you have a program for that?

We don’t have a specific commemorative tree program. However, making a donation to the Green Seattle Partnership that will go towards our efforts to care for forested parks in the city is a great way to honor a loved one or to celebrate someone special. Please get in touch with us directly, and know that your gift will help keep Seattle’s parks healthy and green for generations to come.

The Washington Park Arboretum has a formal Commemorative Tree Program to provide an opportunity to honor a special person or occasion while supporting the Arboretum. A selection of beautiful, hand-chosen trees and shrubs are available to choose from for a donation of $1,000 each. For more information, contact the Arboretum.

The Arbor Day Foundation also has a Living Tribute program that will plant a tree in memory or celebration of someone in a National Forest for every dollar donated ($10 minimum). You can select from a list of National Forests with restoration programs in progress and will receive a certificate honoring your tree. For more information, contact the Arbor Day Foundation.

Forest Restoration Practices and Plant Resources

Where did these invasive plants come from? And why do we need to get rid of them?

Some invasive plants were first planted by gardeners and landscapers who didn’t realize that their pretty flowers or ability to grow quickly would later become a problem. Others were accidentally brought across the oceans in shipments, or carried on ship ballasts.

Whether they hitched a ride accidentally or were brought here on purpose, all of the invasive plants we remove at work parties have spread far beyond the expectations of those who originally brought them. Not all non-native plants are invasive – only a relatively small number of species grow in this aggressive manner that threatens to smother the natural biodiversity of our landscapes. The effects of this spread, unchecked by natural predators or conditions, now cause a major threat to the health of our native habitats here in the Pacific Northwest.

Can’t the forest take care of itself?

The thing is, city parks don’t exist in a vacuum. Our urban forest is constantly being impacted by human influences – from pollution and garbage, to thousands of footsteps on trails, off-leash dogs, and even noise. Invasive plants creep in from nearby gardens, are carried in by unsuspecting people and animals, and are sometimes included in illegally-dumped yard waste. Additionally, the small size of many city parks means that a large amount of their area is along park edges, making them even more vulnerable to outside impacts.

Like roads, bridges, and utility lines, parks are part of the infrastructure of our city, and they need regular maintenance to keep them functioning. What we call “restoration” addresses the many threats and impacts our parks get every day. It’s an essential part of making sure we still have big, beautiful trees and nature close to home for future loved ones to enjoy.

But I love eating blackberries! Can’t we leave them?

Invasive Himalayan and evergreen blackberry bring more destruction than their sweet berries are worth. With its tall, arching, sharply-thorned stems creating dense thickets, this robust bully shades out the forest floor and the banks of rivers and streams. If left alone, they would be the only things left in our parks. A healthy forest has a wide variety of different plants – trees, shrubs, and small groundcover plants – all working together to create a stable system. Including some amazing and delicious native berries! The selection of native plants we regularly plant to replace invasive blackberries includes thimbleberry, red and evergreen huckleberry, salmonberry, and our own native Northwest trailing blackberry. Yum!

In addition, healthy Northwest forests also include lots of other berries that aren’t good for humans, but are critical for birds and other animals: snowberry, elderberry, twinberry, serviceberry, red flowering current, and Oregon grape. And that’s not even counting nuts, seeds, leaves, and countless other food sources that sustain a diversity of local wildlife throughout the year. If we let invasive blackberry have its way, we would lose all of these plants, the healthy forest they grow in, and the wildlife that depend on them.

I have a tree that I’d like to plant in a Seattle park. Can I donate it?

We usually don’t accept donations of plants. Transplant stress can be hard on them (especially larger trees), and it’s hard for us to provide the follow-up care needed to make sure they survive. Taking plants from unknown sources also introduces some risk for us to potentially bring in pests and diseases, and makes care more complicated.

However, under certain circumstances we do take donations during our planting season (November through March), and would welcome you to join us to put plants into their new homes. If you have native northwest species that you think would be appropriate for one of our sites, please contact us.

Do you have any suggestions for doing this Kind Of Work in my yard?

We’re glad you asked! Seattle’s urban forest crosses all property boundaries and caring for it will require collaboration between lots of partners. The Green Seattle Partnership can’t work outside of natural areas in City of Seattle Parks, for both practical and legal reasons. However, we strongly encourage restoration and stewardship beyond the parks and hope that volunteers will take best practices learned at our volunteer events and use them to keep this work going! Work parties are more than just opportunities to give back, they are also great ways to learn about restoration ecology. Join us sometime soon, and check out our online restoration resources for more information.

We also encourage you to check out the King Conservation District‘s resources for homeowners. They offer cost-share incentives for restoration and stewardship on private property, and knowledgeable staff can help figure out what might be right for you.

What other programs are working locally to care for Seattle’s trees?

Trees for Seattle is the go-to program regarding urban forestry efforts here in Seattle.  This program works with various city departments, including the Mayor’s office, local non-profits, residents, and professionals to help the City reach the goal of 30% tree canopy by 2037. Check out the Trees for Seattle website to learn about tree policy and programming, find out about tree giveaways, and access valuable educational resources for tree planting and care.

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