On October 14, volunteers across Tacoma formed “work parties” and visited 14 different sites to beautify Tacoma’s open natural spaces. The dozens of volunteers who showed up did really wonderful work and in just a few hours!
Here are some highlights from several of the Green Tacoma Day sites:
At Reed Elementary, which shares a back wall with Interstate 5, over 60 volunteers planted a row of fast growing evergreen trees to decrease noise and air pollution from the highway traffic. Local children use the school grounds as a park as there is not another park space in the area, but the heavy car traffic just next door fills the air with pollutants. Prior to the tree planting the school had around 7% canopy cover. This project of planting 60 landscape trees will increase the school's canopy cover to over 15%. The City of Tacoma played a big role by donating the trees, bark, and Tagro compost. Reed Elementary staff, with support from Tacoma Public Schools, the principal, the Parent-Teacher Association, and the neighborhood council nominated this site for the project to make this a truly collaborative effort!
Over at Franklin Park, Natural Habitat Steward Nori Kimura reported that six volunteers helped plant 13 Ponderosa pine trees, remove weeds around the trees, and put down generous amounts of mulch (more than six inches deep). They also removed debris and litter from the site. (We hope to tell you more about Nori and his work soon in an upcoming article!)
Meanwhile at Swan Creek Park, Forterra’s Green Cities South Sound Project Manager Matt Mega worked with a team of 16 volunteers (Matt remarked that he usually gets 3 or 4 volunteers for a work party!). The volunteers focused on removing invasive plants like Blackberry, Scotch Broom and Policeman's Helmet. Altogether, they cleared about 500 square feet total within the Riparian zone of Swan Creek Park.
In addition to invasive removal, the team also planted 50 live stakes of Redosier Dogwood (a hardy and important riparian plant in the Pacific Northwest) and nine native plants including a Western Red Cedar that future volunteers will be able to see grow year after year. The area that was planted had seen some creek erosion and channel migration in the last couple of years, so the team’s planting will hopefully minimize erosion and help stabilize the creek channel.
The major partners for this project were Pierce County Parks, which owns that portion of the park where the volunteers worked, and Metro Parks Tacoma, which owns the upper portion of the park. Other partners include the PWI, City of Tacoma, Citizens for a Healthy Bay, Earthcorps, Tacoma Community College, and the Port of Tacoma. Once again, this was an effort that had help from all levels of the community.
Thank you to all of the volunteers and organizers for spending a beautiful Sunday making Tacoma even more vibrant!
If you missed Green Tacoma Day, don’t worry; the next chance to contribute to the watershed’s green spaces is on November 4 for the 3rd annual Green Puyallup Day. The Green Puyallup Partnership is the newest addition to the Green Cities Partnership and formed in 2015. You can find more information about the Green Puyallup Day sites here:
If you want to nominate a school for future tree plantings like the one at Reed Elementary, please contact Melissa Buckingham at email@example.com.
To learn more about the Green Cities Partnerships, you can reach out to Forterra's Green Cities South Sound Project Manager Matt Mega at firstname.lastname@example.org.