This year, Green Seattle Day is going virtual! We invite you to participate in one week of nature exploration, learning, and celebration of Seattle’s urban forest. Seattle’s urban forest coexists with our city. We interact with it in many ways, as do other animals and elements. Caring for and stewarding Seattle’s urban forest is very important because it would not be able to thrive and be healthy without our help. All the elements of Seattle’s ecosystem are effected by climate change, including us. View the graphic below and click on each component of Seattle’s ecosystem to learn more.

During the week of November 7th, find us on social media on Facebook and Instagram @GreenSeattlePartnership, tag us or use the hashtag #GreenSeattleDays2020  to let us know how your Green Seattle Days adventures are going!

For the first 100 people who join our ecosystem for 2 or more events, you will receive a sticker! Every one who registers their participation will be entered into raffles for more prizes! To register your participation, fill out this form here. We look forward to virtually celebrating Seattle’s urban forest with you!

 

GSD Activities

Activity Grid Large by Green Cities

Water is life. All living things need water to survive. The trees, the fish, the squirrels, the insects, and you! Without water our very existence would not be possible. Climate change effects water by increasing its temperature, causing the conditions of the water to change, which effects every plant and animal that live there. Other human activities cause pollution to enter into Seattle’s sources of water, effecting organisms that live in the water and everything else in ecosystem – including us.

Activity 4: Learn about Knotweed and why it degrades our water systems

Knotweed is listed in King County as a Class B Noxious weed. This means it is not required to remove it and keep it from growing, but it is recommended to control it. A noxious weed is defined as a plant that causes harm to native plants, agriculture, ecosystems, or even humans. How does knotweed harm the watershed ecosystem? How do you identify it? Can you find any in your local watershed? 

Activity 6: Duwamish Alive Green Duwamish River Tour

Participate in the Duwamish Alive Coalition’s Green-Duwamish Tour. The Duwamish is part of our local watersheds in Seattle. Let’s learn more about it!

Wildlife in urban environments lives within our built environments. Seattle’s greenspaces are very important habitats for our wildlife. The health of our urban wildlife impacts the health of wildlife throughout the state and beyond.

Activity 1: Learn about wildlife

Activity 2: find a pollinator plant!

 Learn about a new pollinator plant, and maybe find it – lots of herbaceous pollinator plants have died back for the year already, but some pollinator friendly shrubs are still present (Red Flowering Currant, Oregon Grape, Elderberry, etc.) Pollinators come in all shapes and sizes, not just as insects though some are better at it than others. Pollinators play a crucial role in the ecosystem; they help plants to reproduce and produce fruits. Human life wouldn’t be the same without them, as they provide us with food and resources we need to survive.

Activity 3: Learn about the Cooper’s Hawk

One of the predatory birds found in Seattle is the Cooper’s hawk! They are majestic and graceful birds that play a role in our ecosystem. Cooper’s hawks and other raptors (birds of prey) have been harmed by rodenticides in our urban environment and have been in decline as a result. An ongoing study on Coopers Hawks in Seattle keeps track of nesting pairs and the population found in our city. Learn more about the Coopers Hawk. What do they eat? Where do they live?

Keep your eyes on the sky to see one in the city as you go about your day, in particular at any bird feeders you may have! You can contact the Urban Raptor Conservancy to report a Coopers Hawk sighting! Many of Seattle’s Cooper’s hawks have colored bird bands with alphanumeric codes that you can include in your report if you see a banded hawk. 

Activity 6: Bird Boxes

Bird boxes are built to provide habitat for birds that are cavity nesters, meaning they nest in holes and crevices that are naturally occurring or made by another animal in a dead tree snag. Bird boxes have been used to help bird species that typically struggle to nest and thrive in urban areas. Blue birds are recovering from a decline in population and rely on bird boxes for nesting in the spring. Learn how to build a blue bird box and if you have the ability, make one and place it in your yard! Do not place blue bird boxes on Parks Property!

Carbon is the building block of life. Carbon is found in every molecule that we are built of and in everything our planet is made of. Carbon is also in our air, for both good and bad. Carbon dioxide is taken up by plants so that they release oxygen. Likewise, too much carbon dioxide is not good for us. Other carbon containing molecules, such as ozone, build up in earth’s atmosphere and contribute to the warming of our planet. 

Activity 1: Learn about carbon

Activity 2: Carbon Capture of a Tree

The bark, trunk, stems, and leaves of a tree are almost entirely made up of carbon. The more trees we have in the world, the more carbon trees collectively absorb. How does planting trees help reduce the amount of carbon in our atmosphere? How much carbon can trees capture? Explore this concept using a carbon capture calculator.

Activity 4: What is your carbon footprint?

We all have our own carbon footprints. A carbon footprint is the carbon dioxide emissions related or associated with one person. Our daily activities influence this, as well as the occasional activities we take part in such as riding in airplanes. What is your carbon footprint?

It is important to take individual actions to minimize our carbon footprint, but we also must remember that corporations and large companies emit the majority of carbon on our planet.

Activity 6: Watch a documentary on Blue Carbon

What can you think of that is a part of nature, large, vast, watery and blue? The ocean! Blue carbon is the carbon that is stored in the ocean and other large bodies of water. As these bodies of water heat, the amount of carbon they can absorb changes. Additionally, the amount of carbon in our waters can change other qualities of water as well. Learn more by watching a documentary by the Earth Corps on blue carbon.

Activity 7: Carbon Offset

We all know by now that excessive carbon emissions are not good and contribute to the warming our our planet. But how can we combat this? Carbon offset is an effort made to reduce carbon emissions in one area, to make up for excess emissions in another. It’s a delicate balancing act done correctly, but when done right it can be very beneficial for the environment. Let’s learn more!

Soil is not just dirt. It is all of the organisms and microorganisms, including fungi, that live in what is called ‘dirt.’ Soil holds nutrients and water needed for plant growth. Soil has different textures and form different soil types that influence the vegetation that grows in it. Soil is the base of every ecosystem.

 

Activity 3: Fun with fungi

Fungi come in all varieties, they can be small or large, can be edible or toxic, and live in soil. Fungi are part of a group of organisms called decomposers. They help break down plant and animal matter either on the forest floor or as trees age. Seattle is home to some fun fungi that preform important services for our ecosystem. Go out to your local park and find some fungi! Try identifying it using iNaturalist.

Activity 4: Test some soil

Soil has different properties depending on where it is found. Soil is made up of particles that can be very small (silt and clay), to rather large (sand and gravel). The specific percentages of these particles combine to form different soil types such as loam. Other properties of soil such as pH, which determines its acidity, influence the types of plants that grow there. The general type of soil can be tested rather easily. pH tests for soil are more complicated, so we won’t try to do one of those. But learn more about soil particles and try classifying some soil near you!

Activity 5: Learn about the seattle Tilth Alliance!

Caring for and maintaining healthy soils is directly related to the health of our forests, our food, and indirectly ourselves. When food is grown in a sustainable way, the soil remains healthy and we have food for the foreseeable future. When agriculture depletes, or harms the soil, it is not healthy enough to produce more food. The Tilth Alliance is a group committed to a future of sustainable farming. Learn about the Tilth Alliance’s work on the Rainier Beach Farm and Wetland, where they bring together urban farming and ecological restoration.

Activity 6: volunteer at the Yes Farm

Join the Black Farmers Collective and EarthCorps as we kick off a new season of work at Yes Farm! A developing  urban farm and innovation center near Yesler Community Center, the goal of YES Farm is to improve community health, both mental and physical, by growing food and rooting an African American presence in a gentrifying Seattle.

When you think of a forest, the first thing that comes to mind is the trees. While canopy is important, the plants under them are just as important. The understory is made up of all the plants found under the tall trees of the forest. This includes shrubs, downed trees, small trees, flowers, and other herbaceous plants, like ferns. The understory is where we like to hang out in our urban forest and where most animals in the forest reside.

Activity 2: Explore a Wetland

Wetlands are, literally, land that is wet for at least half, if not all of the year. Wetlands, due to their ability to retain water, have different soil, plant, and microbial characteristics than the surrounding forest. Wetlands are especially important for amphibians and fish during their reproduction seasons. Wetlands are natural water filtration systems and help reduce pollutants in our water. Use this map to find a wetland near you to explore. How big is it? What watershed is it a part of? What kind of wetland is it and do you know what animals use it?

Activity 3: Learn the indigenous names of Seattle’s plants

Since time immemorial, Native peoples have stewarded the land of Seattle. Before scientific plant names or our English common names for plants existed, the plants we see in Seattle today had names given to them by the Coast Salish peoples. Go on an exploratory scavenger hunt and find native plants you can identify and find their Native name in this list compiled by Seattle University.

Activity 5: Virtual Native Plant Walk – 11/11 at 1pm – instagram live

Native plants are the backbone of our ecosystem. The majority of the native plants you encounter in Seattle’s urban forest are in the understory. Join us on our Instagram at 1pm to participate in a live virtual plant walk on Wednesday November 11th! Let’s learn to identify some native plants!

Activity 7: Plant a plant!

You can add to Seattle’s understory by planting an understory plant of your own! University of Washington’s SER’s fall native plant sale is happening now. Order online and pick it up on 11/14 or 11/15.

For reference on how to plant your native plant so it thrives, see GSP’s planting video on our YouTube channel. If you don’t have a place to plant, you may be able to help plant at a volunteer event with GSP! Be on the look out for upcoming planting events on the ‘volunteer’ section of our website!

When you think of the word canopy, what comes to mind? A tent? Like canopies we use to keep ourselves covered from the elements, forest canopy provides protection as well. Forest canopy provides shade, buffers wind, and helps reduce the effects of pollution (on a larger scale). Canopy not only looks nice, it is helps keep our city cool and provides habitat for birds.

Activity 2: #TreeSelfie

Go outside, take in the sights, explore our urban forest and take a photo of yourself and a tree you met on your walk! Use the hashtag #TreeSelfie and tag us on social media @greenseattlepartnership.

Activity 3: The Last 6000

In 2016, the Seattle Canopy Cover analysis found that about 6000 trees of Seattle’s canopy were 30 inches or larger in diameter. The large trees in Seattle are unique from most other cities in the US. When you are out walking, notice how many large trees you see! Take them in and help protect them from being removed. Learn more about how you can help appreciate Seattle’s Last 6000 and protect them so they can live many years to come with The Last 6000 campaign.

Activity 4: join the Arbutus Arme

Aptly named for their work studying and conserving the Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menzeisii), Arbutus ARME maps the locations of Pacific Madrones. Pacific Madrones are in decline in their range (where they naturally grow) and are notoriously hard to grow. You can join the Arbutus Arme by going outside, finding a Pacific Madrone, and submitting it on Treesnap. Pacific Madrones are beautiful trees and are a unique member of Seattle’s canopy. Admire one today!

Activity 6: Go on a Tree Walk

The trees around us have different characteristics and are all different species. Some are native to the Puget Sound and some aren’t. What trees are in your neighborhood? Trees for Seattle’s app Seattle Tree Walks has a wide array of tree walks you can virtually participate in at your own pace! Complete a tree walk and learn about the trees that make up the canopy in your neighborhood.

Us. You. Me. We all have an impact on Seattle’s ecosystem and interact with it daily. Since time immemorial, Native People have interacted with the ecosystems in the Puget Sound long before the city of Seattle existed. All of these interactions humans have had, and do have, with our ecosystem influence the natural world around us.

Activity 3: Racial Justice is Climate Justice

We, as humans, choose how we interact with our forest. Additionally, people in power decide who gets to interact with the urban forest. The practice of red-lining in Seattle not only kept people of color out of certain neighborhoods, it kept them out of Seattle’s green spaces. Historically Black neighborhoods in Seattle have very little to no canopy cover when compared to historically White neighborhoods. Moving forward, addressing this issue will allow all of Seattle’s residents to enjoy our urban forest. Access to parks is a quality of life issue, as increased canopy has mental and physical health benefits. As we are educating ourselves this week, let’s understand that Racial Justice is Climate Justice. Stewarding Seattle’s urban forests includes addressing barriers to access put in place by systems of oppression in Seattle. Our ecosystem effects all of us, and we all deserve equal access to healthy green spaces. Learn more about this by watching 350 Seattle’s episode on Racial Justice and Climate Justice.

 

Activity 4: Visit a place of Tribal significance and learn about it.

Since time immemorial, Native Peoples have inhabited the land we now live on. The land was stolen from them by European colonizers to form the cities and country we live in now. Native People and their culture is just as important to the history and identity of the land now as it was thousands of years ago. Learning about the places of Tribal significance to the Duwamish Tribe, the people whose ancestors have lived on the land that Seattle was built on, is part of recognizing Native People, lands, and culture. Begin or continue your personal journey of recognizing ancestral Native land ownership and Native culture by learning about and visiting Seward Park and/or Discovery Park in Seattle, which both have Tribal significance in Seattle.

Don’t forget to register your participation in GSD 2020 to be entered to win a prize!

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