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Cascade Land Conservancy's Green City Partnerships boost Cascade Agenda's on-the-ground work

November 10, 2009 | Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Joanna Nelson, Cascade Land Conservancy Green Seattle Partnership Project Manager, 206.905.6913, or Joannan@cascadeland.org

John Floberg, Vice President of Stewardship and Conservation Policy, Cascade Land Conservancy, 206-905-6916, or Johnf@cascascadeland.org

Mark Mead, Urban Forester, Seattle Parks and Recreation, 206-684-4113, or mark.mead@seattle.gov

 

Cascade Land Conservancy’s Green City Partnerships boost Cascade Agenda’s on-the-ground work

Fourth Annual Green Seattle Day draws hundreds to parks around the city.   Green Seattle Partnership wins silver in the National League of Cities' 2009 Awards for Municipal Excellence

Seattle, WA – The Fourth Annual Green Seattle Day drew more than 700 volunteers on Saturday, Nov. 7, to events around the city today despite frequent rain and wind while the Cascade Land Conservancy’s Green City Partnerships around the region got a tremendous boost from Congress.

Representative Norm Dicks said Congress has approved $1 million for the Tacoma-Seattle Green City Partnerships, part of the Green City program at the Conservancy that also includes the cities of Kirkland, Redmond and Kent. The funds were part of the Interior Department’s budget.

“We are so appreciative of Congressman Dicks’ leadership, and with this grant we will truly be able to bring the Green Cities effort to a regional scale,” said John Floberg, Stewardship Vice President at the Conservancy.

“One of the important goals of The Cascade Agenda is to work to make cities livable and attractive,” said Gene Duvernoy, President, Cascade Land Conservancy.  “Restoring forested parklands goes a long way toward that goal.  And the Green Seattle Partnership and other Green City programs in the region show what can happen when we all work together to make this a great region worthy of our children.”

Representative Dicks said Green Seattle Day represents how volunteers, the Conservancy, the City and other groups work to “help make our region a better place.” Dicks said the Green Seattle Partnership and the four other Green City Partnerships that have been established link the larger region in a network of green, livable spaces.

“With that vision in mind,” Dicks said in a letter to the Conservancy, “I have been proud to secure federal resources for this effort.  I am honored to serve as Chairman of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction over the budget for important land management agencies, including the Forest Service and National Parks Service.  Just last week, the President signed into law my subcommittee’s legislation that designates an additional $1 million for this regional restoration effort.  I think the Green City Partnerships are a sterling example of our national commitment to environmental restoration and protection buoyed by the efforts and energy of committed local leaders like you.”

The Green Seattle Partnership also won a prestigious national award, taking Silver in the National League of Cities' 2009 Awards for Municipal Excellence for cities of more than 500,000 population. The NLC said the awards “recognize city programs demonstrating community determination, individual commitment, outstanding collaboration and creativity toward improving the quality of life in local communities.

 

Weather does not slow volunteers at Green Seattle Day

The Fourth Annual Green Seattle Day was held at 15 parks around the city with the “hub” park this year at Cheasty Greenspace in the Rainier Valley.  About 900 trees and shrubs were planted at eight sites in the Greenspace, which is part of the original boulevard and greenspace plan for Seattle developed by the Olmsted Brothers 100 years ago.

Throughout the city, about 4,000 trees and shrubs were planted on Green Seattle Day, making it one of the largest volunteer planting efforts in the region.

Seattle City Council President Richard Conlin helped get the day’s efforts under way describing the volunteers at the park as “passionately committed to making Seattle a better place.” He said Seattle “works best when we work together,” adding that volunteers are what makes it happen.

“We can save our forests,” Conlin said. “We can restore our parklands. We can make Seattle a beautiful city. We can provide those green places that make a city livable and sustainable.”

Other speakers included Duvernoy and Jim Greenfield, of the David Wright Tremaine law firm and a member of the Green Seattle Partnership Executive Committee.  For the second year, Davis Wright Tremaine sponsored Green Seattle Day.

The Green Seattle Partnership was formed in 2004 between Seattle and the Conservancy. The partnership works in close collaboration with Seattle Parks and Recreation as well as with other groups such as EarthCorps.

“Seattle Parks and Recreation has been overwhelmed by the support the GSP has received from our partners and donors, and more importantly by the ongoing dedication of our citizen volunteers,” said Chris Williams, Deputy Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation. “Restoring our forests proves we can all contribute to making Seattle - and the region - a healthier and better place.”

The Green Seattle Partnership evolved from the hard work of dedicated volunteers and outstanding visionary planning by Seattle Parks which paralleled the creation of The Cascade Agenda by the Conservancy.  The Partnership was formed in 2004 as a concerted effort to restore 2,500 acres of Seattle’s forested parklands by 2025.  It has become a model for the advancement of The Cascade Agenda in cities and towns throughout the Puget Sound area.  Green City programs now operate in Tacoma, Kirkland, Redmond and, beginning just recently, in Kent.

Tacoma held its Second Annual Green Tacoma Day in September.

For 100 years, Seattle’s grand deciduous trees and towering evergreens have quietly helped Seattle grow into one of America’s most livable cities.  Now, Seattle trees and parks need our help. Experts predict that without substantial restoration efforts, 70 percent of forested park lands would become ecological dead zones within 20 years.

Seattle residents are taking action to reverse this trend by joining in the partnership, one of the largest public-private forest restoration programs in the United States.  Cascade Land Conservancy, the City of Seattle, community groups, schools, businesses and thousands of volunteers have been working together throughout the year to restore Seattle’s forested parklands.   In 2008 alone, volunteers logged nearly 80,000 hours of their time through Green Seattle restoration events. Through September of 2009, nearly 60,000 hours have been volunteered.  That’s equal to about 40 full-time workers.

Volunteer restoration events not only protect our forested parks but also foster a strong sense of civic pride and community and provide urban youth and adults with opportunities to work and learn outdoors, become more engaged in their neighborhoods and cultivate a lifetime ethic of community volunteerism.  They help clean the air and water, prevent erosion, retain storm water runoff and provide habitat for urban wildlife.  Urban forests are essential elements of a vibrant, livable and safe neighborhood.

The Green Seattle Partnership is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to protect our city’s natural legacy for future generations. It is also an opportunity to do something positive about climate change. 

 

Stimulus funds to boost partnership

 Floberg also announced yesterday that the Conservancy will be involved, starting next year, in managing a $900,000 stimulus project for the Pacific Northwest Station of the U.S. Forest Service with partners including King County, the University of Washington and others.

“In addition to job creation, this project will have a number of benefits for Green City Partnership programs,” said Ara Erickson, Green Cities Director for the Conservancy.  “It will assess volunteer engagement and motivation to help expand capacity, it will evaluate ecosystem services of King County and other lands using cutting-edge forest assessment techniques and it will apply our triage methodology to forest condition of County lands.”

This work could be used to initiate a Green King County Partnership effort in the model of the Conservancy’s Green City Partnerships.

Volunteers who want to become involved with Green City Partnerships around the region can find upcoming events at parks in their areas.  Contact the partnerships at  www.greenseattle.org, www.greentacoma.org, www.greenkirkland.org, www.greenredmond.org and www.greenkent.org

 

About the Cascade Land Conservancy:  The Cascade Land Conservancy is a regional land trust, land stewardship provider and policy center operating in Washington State with headquarters in Seattle and principal offices in King, Kittitas, Mason, Pierce and Snohomish Counties.  Founded in 1989, the Conservancy has protected more than 150,000 acres of working forests, farmlands and natural areas as well as estuary lands on the Olympic Peninsula and along the Washington Coast. It provides stewardship services, caring for more than 10,000 acres of land.  Since 2005 it has been the host organization of The Cascade Agenda, which links conserving great lands with creating great communities. For more information please visit www.cascadeland.org

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