What a big year for participants and partners with the Green Seattle Partnership!  The numbers don’t lie—together we initiated work in 32 new acres, cared for 289 acres of ongoing restoration work, and worked across 119 park sites. But the story is much bigger than that, so in no particular order, we offer you our top 10 reflections and celebrations for 2023.

Green Seattle Partnerships 2023 year in review by the numbers. 
  1. Gathering together for Green Seattle Partnership events and festivities!
  2. Receiving new funding!
  3. Learning together!
  4. Celebrating two new GSP Partners!
  5. Expanding youth job training and conservation career exposure programming!
  6. Appreciating our amazing Forest Stewards!
  7. Focusing on tree equity!  
  8. Ongoing (and growing) natural area maintenance!
  9. Spreading the madrone love!
  10. Caring for our wildlife friends!

1. Gathering together for Green Seattle Partnership events and festivities!

Mulch and Mingle

ECOSS hosted a Mulch and Mingle at Seward Park on Saturday 7/22/23 as part of their contracted work with the Green Seattle Partnership. This private event supported immigrant and refugee community member engagement at their Seward Park restoration site and included kids’ activities and bagged compost giveaways. ECOSS events are advertised and celebrated on Instagram @ecoss_org.  

Latino Conservation Week

Seward Park Audubon Center also coordinated a large event at Seward Park in July for Latino Conservation Week with multiple partners. More information and celebration can be found on

Restoration & Co-Creation: Community Art Centering BIPOC Community

GSP partner Futures Rising hosted several events this fall at Kubota Gardens Natural Area, Maple Wood Playfield, and Frink Park to support BIPOC community participation. Their invitation says it all, “Futures Rising and yəhaw̓ Indigenous Creatives Collective is inviting you to come and create art through the form of printmaking. We will be printing with plants and other materials. This space will center Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to come together to talk about possibilities, be held by the land and each other. In our deep need for community and the restoration of relation with the land we invite you to share space with us! “

Duwamish Alive!

Seattle Parks & Recreation Natural Area Crew, Matthew Hilliard and Rodrick Nicholas, supported another GSP Partner, Duwamish Alive Coalition during their fall Duwamish Alive! event at Tualtwx (Herring’s House Park).

Duwamish Alive! event at Tualtwx (Herring’s House Park).

Seattle Forest Week and Green Seattle Day

Seattle Forest Week kicked off with Arbor Day at Jefferson Park. Although not specifically a Green Seattle Day event, Seattle Parks Natural Area Crew and GSP staff were pleased to support tree planting in our neighborhood park with partners from Trees for Seattle, DirtCorps, and our Urban Forestry Team. Mayor Harrell attended with his family and participated in planting some large drought-tolerant trees near the Jefferson Community Center. This event was supported by Seattle Parks & Recreation Natural Area Crew and included using a skid-steer to quickly dig some big tree holes (thanks Melonae!) and hosting at the outreach table (thanks Jay!).

Seattle Arbor Day at Jefferson Park with Mayor Harrell

Unfortunately, Green Seattle Day was cancelled at all but one site due to a National Weather Service severe wind advisory. With 477 registered volunteers at 20 locations, coffee/snacks and gifts coordinated for all sites, photographers scheduled, and Superintendent Diaz committed to participate at Seward, it was a difficult call. But partners and Forest Stewards made the pivot and hosted make up events through the following month. Revisit the Seattle Forest Week metrics and stories gathered on the GSP blog.  

Sacajawea Playground Green Seattle Day event hosted by EarthCorps on November 29, 2023.

Dirt Corps: Dirt Corps held over 60 events across Seattle, focusing on the removal of invasive species and clearing ground for native plants to grow.  

2. Receiving new funding!

An unprecedented 1.5 billion dollars for urban forestry funding was awarded in 2023 through the United Stated Forest Service (USFS). GSP staff  and partners worked with the City of Seattle Urban Forestry Core Team, regional collaborative groups, as well as national partners to identify routes for funding job training and other urban forestry efforts. Their work resulted in a grant award of over $12 million to support urban forest restoration actions in downtown Seattle, the International District and Beacon Hill neighborhoods, which have low tree canopy and high need for a healthier urban forest.

Seattle Parks and Recreation was also awarded funding from the King County WRIA 8 Project Innovation and Community Grant to expand GSP shoreline restoration efforts.  The $75,000 in planning funding will support salmon recovery and restoration efforts along Lake Washington Boulevard.

Armored shoreline and recent trail failures along Lake Washington.

3. Learning together!  

We continued to stretch our understandings of the restoration and community work we do. GSP offered 5 workshops, covering topics from plant management, winter twigs, to hearing from indigenous voices on restoration!

Lichen workshop lead by Richard Droker and Sharon Baker

Beaver management workshop lead by Elyssa Kerr from Beavers Northwest

In November 2023, Seattle Parks and Recreation’s GSP staff participated with the Urban Forest Symposium, an annual event hosted by University of Washington. For the second year, the event focused closely on Indigenous leadership in urban forestry.

Collaborators with the South Sound urban forestry group were recognized for their efforts at the Urban Forest Symposium in October. 

4. Celebrating two new GSP Partners!

Serve Ethiopians Washington and Futures Rising: Restoration and Co-creation joined the Green Seattle Partnership family in 2023! Serve Ethiopians is supporting community engagement at Beer Sheva park in Rainier Beach, including connecting their wetland restoration with Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetland programming and Link2Lake park development efforts.

Community came through for Green Seattle Day planting at Beer Sheva with Serve Ethiopians Washington.

5. Expanding youth job training and career exposure programming!

Student Conservation Association (SCA), Tilth Alliance Rainier Beach Stewards, SPR Youth At Work, Partner in Employment, Na’ah Illahee Fund, Futures Rising LLC, Delridge Neighborhood Development Association, and Cascadia Consulting Group hosted youth job training and conservation career exposure programs at parks throughout Seattle in 2023. Overall, the Green Seattle Partnership supported 132 paid and stipend participants in on-the-ground restoration and community building activities and education events.  

Seattle Parks and Recreation welcomed two Youth at Work Interns for the summer: Danita Egboh (left) and Calvin Wu (right). They learned about Green Seattle Partnership efforts and joined other Natural Resources Unit crews to gain experience in horticulture, arboriculture, and land care.  

6. Appreciating our amazing Forest Stewards!

We celebrated the work and commitment of the GSP Forest Stewards at the annual Forest Steward Appreciation Event in December. Ten Forest Stewards received embroidered vests to mark their ten years of volunteer service as Forest Stewards. Huge congratulations and heartfelt thank yous were shared with:

  1. Dean Drugge – Magnuson Park, Mathews Beach, and the Burke Gilman Trail    
  2. Dianne Kelso – St Marks Greenbelt 
  3. Doug Gresham – Golden Gardens 
  4. Jana Robbins – Peppi’s Playground 
  5. Peter Donahue – Mount Baker Park  
  6. David Kessler – Burke Gilman Trail  
  7. Barbara Broderick – Magnuson Park 
  8. Phillip Osborne – Me-Kwa-Mooks and Kubota Garden Natural Area
  9. Craig Rankin – Duwamish Head Greenbelt 

Forest Stewards gathered for the annual Forest Steward Appreciation Event.

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Eric Sterner met with dozens of Forest Stewards through the year to set annual work plans and share appreciation for their efforts. Pictured from left to right: Gerry Chambers (East Duwamish Greenbelt in Rainier Beach), David Sohlstrom (John C Little in the Othello neighborhood), and Elissa Ostergaard and her pup Ollie (Genesee Park in Columbia City).

Forest Steward Doug Gresham hosts volunteers at Golden Gardens. 

Forest Steward’s bring energy and innovation to each of their sites. Forest Steward Dean Drugge worked with SPR District staff at Magnuson to move forward a meadow restoration project. The project is piloting several techniques: mowing, seeding, solarization.

Meadow restoration trial at Magnuson Park

7. Focusing on tree equity!

Green Seattle Partnership helped kick off a formal launch of a tree equity partnership between American Forests, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and the City of Seattle. The goal of this partnership is to increase tree canopy in neighborhoods with inadequate tree cover.  Additional work in city-identified highest and second highest race and social equity (RSE) areas includes 85% of the GSP professional crew work and 57 of the 118 parks that we worked in last year were in RSE census areas.

Seattle Parks and Recreation staff with Mayor Harrel at the Washington Tree Equity Collaborative launch at Roxhill Park.

8. Ongoing (and growing!) natural area care

Of course, one of our favorite things in 2023 was all the love and care that went into natural areas around Seattle. We weed, we control erosion, we plant, we water, we take care of baby trees by cutting “cones of light”, and then we revisit and do some more!

Natural Area Crew member Todd worked on maintenance and establishment at Beaver Pond Natural Area along Thornton Creek, addressing regulated weed Garlic Mustard and weeding around plantings

EarthCorps held an ivy removal event in March 2023 at Kubota Garden.

Michael Yadrick was busy supporting professional crew citywide, including Zaldivars at Victory Creek, shown below supporting vegetation management along the Right of Way.  

Natural Area Crew worked on “cones of light” around young conifer trees in Puget Park. Pruning vegetation that’s over-topping young conifer is an important part of tree establishment efforts, improving early growth and long-term success.

Camouflaged seedling before and after “cone of light” pruning activities at Puget Park

NAC kicked off watering season in mid-May, a little early this year! This included getting the truck set up with the watering tank. 

And we moved forward to everyone’s favorite activity, planting! In 2023, GSP installed 63,000 plants, including 9,914 trees. Half of these trees were planted in city-defined race and social equity (RSE) areas.

October 2023 volunteer planting event at Beaver Pond Natural Area along Thornton Creek in northeast Seattle led by EarthCorps, a GSP Partner.

Soil Stabilization Example:

November 2023, Michael Yadrick coordinated contracted GSP crews to provide soil stabilization at the Jose Rizal where someone with a stolen excavator damaged soils. The crews installed fabric and wood straw to stabilize the site and will return to install plants.  

Meadow Restoration Example 

NAC continued to support restoration in Clark’s Meadow at Seward Park, including manual blackberry removal. This work prepared the site for additional seeding and installation of small flowering species. 

9. Spreading the madrone love! 

In May 2023, Natural Area Crew members Melonae and Ynhi potted madrone at the Jefferson Greenhouse in support of GSP’s ongoing effort to prioritize the restoration of madrone. 

October 2023, Michael Yadrick participated in a workshop in Roseburg, Oregon on Pacific Madrone with partners from Washington State University and the Arbutus ARME.  We concluded the year with a Love Letter to Madrone.  

Michael Yadrick in Roseburg, OR with a mighty large madrone.

10. Caring for our wildlife friends!

We stayed as busy as the beavers this year supporting parks for our wildlife friends. In August, Green Seattle Partnership hosted a workshop on restoration strategies in beaver habitats at Longfellow Creek facilitated by GSP partner Cascadia Consulting and led by Elyssa Kerr from Beavers Northwest. 

The Natural Area Crew added caging at a recent planting site along Lake Washington at Lakewood Marina to support new plants next to a beaver den.  

Natural Area Crew members Ynhi and TaShon supported a request to fence a large tree being chewed on by beaver at Dragon Fly Park on Longfellow Creek.  

In October, the Seattle Parks and Recreation Ecology Team was welcomed Superintendent Diaz to Carkeek Park to take a walk in the forest, talk about ecology (eat some licorice fern), and visit the Carkeek beavers

Seattle Parks and Recreation staff with Superintendent Diaz at Carkeek Park

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