Redmond is blessed with beautiful parks and natural forested areas but they don’t take care of themselves. Time, money, knowledge and labor are needed to keep trees and plants healthy and provide safe havens for wildlife.
The City of Redmond and the Cascade Land Conservancy have joined to form the Green Redmond Partnership, creating strategies and establishing a network of stewards to nurture and protect parks and other green spaces.
Adults and students are invited to two free workshops, from 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16 in the Bytes Cafe at Redmond City Hall, 15670 NE 85th St.; or 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1 at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center, 16600 NE 80th St.
The content of both workshops will be the same. There’ll be guest speakers, exhibits and small group discussions, as well as refreshments, said Teresa Kluver, park operations supervisor for the City of Redmond and John Floberg of Cascade Land Conservancy.
Before volunteer programs can be implemented, these organizations want to take stock of what resources are available and which areas are of highest priority to the community.
“We’ve had interest from groups at the teen center, Scouts are often interested in trails restoration, we’ve had work groups from corporations such as Eddie Bauer, members of faith communities,” Kluver explained.
Floberg continued, “Eastside Audubon, Water Tenders and others have the idea to establish a network of forest stewards across the city. From smaller groups, we can build and train more.”
Since the Green Redmond Partnership was announced in February, there’s been inventory and assessment of 1,200 acres of forested parklands in Redmond. Kluver explained that some areas such as the Redmond Watershed Preserve are in very good condition, while invasive plants such as ivy and blackberry bushes are problems at Idylwood Park, Grass Lawn Park and elsewhere.
“We need people to do the down and dirty work, remove invasive plants and then replant what is beneficial,” she said.
Floberg added, “The work is never done — you have to be vigilant, keep re-checking. We’re creating a 20-year plan, by the end of the year, with policy and guidelines on how to do this.”
Kluver agreed, “This is a multi-tined process. We need to educate the public about why this work is needed. Do we put 60 percent of our effort into education and 30 percent into restoration? Or divide it differently?”
Floberg pointed out that “there are shades of green in this issue. People see green and think it’s good,” but they don’t always know that something that appears attractive could be threatening.
Take English ivy, for example. It looks soft and pretty but when it grows under, around and onto trees, it chokes out new seedlings and makes the trees unstable, especially in a wind storm.
Once forest stewards are recruited, the Green Redmond Partnership will establish a field guide outlining best practices, brochures and training sessions.
Floberg said he’d like to see high school students adopt certain areas and train junior high or middle school students to care for them after they’ve graduated and moved on. This could also be adapted to culminating projects.
To learn more about the Green Redmond Partnership, plan to attend one of the upcoming workshops, visit www.greenredmond.org or contact Teresa Kluver, (425) 556-2355 or Ara Erickson, Green Cities director at Cascade Land Conservancy, (206) 905-6923.