Forest Stewards are dedicated.

Nearly 160 community volunteers spend hours each week removing invasive plants, planting natives, and keeping an eye on our urban forest health. And, on top of all that work, many attend continuing education workshops offered throughout the year. In 2017, Washington Native Plant Society offered 10 workshops to Seattle Forest Stewards and Dedicated Volunteers. These workshops occur in classroom settings and in the field. We learn from experts and peers alike. Other organizations also offer free workshops to Forest Stewards. Check out the long list of past and upcoming events tailored for Steward needs. Here is a sampling of what we learned this year:

Dedicated Stewards practice winter twig identification in the cold rain.

Winter Twig ID @ Carkeek Park

As a steward, identifying and understanding the growth habits of woody plants (trees, shrubs and vines) is tremendously valuable during our winter planting season. We joined WNPS’ Clay Antieau in a walk and talk tour to learn winter growth habits and the main diagnostic concepts, procedures, tools and resources used in woody twig plant identification.

Outreach, Engagement and Brunch @ Pritchard Beach Bathhouse

Who can say no to sharing brunch with other Forest Stewards over an outreach and engagement discussion? At this workshop, we shared general community outreach knowledge and additional information on how to engage and recruit high school and college groups for community restoration events. Safety, age-appropriate tasks, and education resources were discussed. Breakfast burritos were a hit!

Steward Field Trip on Vashon Island!

The 2nd annual Steward Field Trip to Vashon Island was a success. We carpooled to Vashon, and spent the day touring, socializing and picnicking. David Warren of Vashon Forest Stewards guided us through restoration sites at Agren Park and a private property. These sites are quite different in history and management compared to Seattle forests; it was a worthwhile opportunity to compare and learn. Look for the 2018 Field Trip location to be posted soon.

Invasive Plant ID and Maintenance @ Westcrest Park

Managing and controlling invasive vegetation in our parks and natural areas requires knowing which tactic to employ, and perhaps patience and vigilance. Physical, mechanical, cultural, and biological tactics keep populations at tolerable levels. But what do you do, and when do you do it? This field training led by steward and contractor Steve Richmond of GardenCycles provided activities and discussion for invasive plant identification practice, life cycle considerations, monitoring techniques, preventative maintenance, and an overview of contractor treatments.

Your Chance to Become a Steward!

Are you looking for the chance to become a local Steward and to take part in trainings and workshops such as the ones listed above? Then you should consider becoming a Master Native Plant Steward. The Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS), Seattle Parks and Recreation, and the Green Seattle Partnership are recruiting now for the Master Native Plant Steward Program! Master Native Plant Stewards will have the chance to be trained on the following topics:

  • Forest restoration techniques
  • Engaging park neighbors, recruiting volunteers, and working with youth
  • Western Washington native and invasive plant identification
  • Puget Sound ecology
  • Site design and planning
  • Project leadership and management

If you’re interested in the opportunity to become a Master Native Plant Steward, then you should CLICK HERE for more details and an application to apply. The program will begin this March, and the deadline to apply is February 11th!

Elizabeth Housley
Steward Education Collaborator, Washington Native Plant Society/GSP Elizabeth supports the Green Seattle Partnership through her consulting firm Our Future Environment and as a St. Mark's Greenbelt Forest Steward. She provides services to integrate the benefits of natural, restorative, digital, and open spaces in urban environments.