When you are walking most anywhere in Discovery Park do you see the tell-tale signs of restoration ? This could be large areas of new wood chip, piles of himalayan blackberry removals, stacks of ivy, flags on newly planted trees and shrubs or the little green signs below.
Ever wonder if there is a method to the madness ? There is.
Ever since the Park was established in 1973 – 45 years ago this year and the Master Plan began guiding the naturalistic restoration of old Fort Lawton, these kinds of changes have been ongoing. For years the Parks Department removed buildings and roads and re-planted native trees and shrubs. In 1997 a Park Naturalist started a volunteer effort called the Adopt-An-Area program and many hundreds of citizens pitched in on areas of the Park large and small. Some of the original volunteers continue to this day, but most are now part of the Green Seattle Partnerhip and work officially as Forest Stewards. There are 170 Forest Stewards in Seattle covering 108 different parks and green spaces.
The Green Seattle Partnership (GSP) was a visionary creation of Seattle Parks and Recreation and the non-profit Fonterra (at that time Cascade Land Conservancy). In 2006 they set the goal of restoring 2500 acres of Seattle forests in 20 years. The recent Shareholder’s Meeting in Discovery Park’s Daybreak Star Center documented for all the parteners the achievements after 12 years and plans for the final eight years. A future BLOG post will cover this meeting in detail.
GSP brings together many Parks employees, a fair fraction of the Forterra staff and many, many other partners all committed to the work of restoration. Discovery Park is the largest green space in the City and so you can expect a lot of people are involved in restoration here. A future BLOG post will introduce some of the players: City, Forterra, contractors and Forest Stewards and show you what they have accomplished.
The Partnership has been so successful in Seattle that it has spawned similar efforts in multiple cities in KIng, Snohomish and Pierce County because Forterra’s charter covers land restoration, preservation, sustainable farming and urban liveability in the entire Puget Sound Basin up to the Cascades and beyond. Think Green Everett, Green Tacoma, etc. Each of these new cities has its own set of Forest Stewards and partners.
For more information on the Green Seattle Partnership check out http://www.greenseattle.org. For a look at what is happening in Discovery Park navigate to the Resources for Forest Stewards and the GSP Map, an interactive map where you can zoom in to see all the restoration zones in Discovery Park and their phases of restoration. There is even an Events Calendar so you can see when restoration events are happening in the Park and experience for yourself the joy of bringing back the natural world in this place.
So now when you see someone in a green or orange vest diligently tilling the soil and planting you will know what they are up to and will know this little green sign is the sign of renewal.
Tom Palm, Green Seattle Partnership Forest Steward, Discovery Park