Volunteers needed to take care of parks, forest land
EVERETT - The city’s parks and forests will be getting some extra attention from willing residents.
The city inked a deal with Forterra, formerly the Cascade Land Conservancy, in April to boost the community’s involvement in taking care of parks and forest land. The nonprofit also will create a 20-year urban forest master plan for the city.
The goals are twofold. The city wants to build a roster of volunteers to act as forest and park caretakers, and to develop short- and long-term forest management plans.
The first public volunteer event was Aug. 4, and the next opportunity to participate is coming up Saturday, Sept. 15.
The city wouldn’t have the wherewithal to build a large volunteer forest caretaker program without Forterra’s work, parks and recreation director Paul Kaftanski said.
The two-year partnership is largely funded with grant money, including a big donation from The Boeing Co. The city is putting in $70,000 toward the partnership.
The volunteer opportunities will focus on six parks. Thornton A. Sullivan and Howarth parks are the first two selected by the city, with the other four yet to be determined.
The city selected Howarth and Thornton A. Sullivan parks first in part because people in the past have contacted the city about volunteering to form work parties at those locations, Kaftanski said.
“Our goal is to create a group of forest stewards who have been trained in the techniques of forest restoration,” Kaftanski said. “We wouldn’t have people climbing trees, but they’d do ground-level work.”
The volunteers will become community leaders who conduct work parties on their own. The city hasn’t had the chance to actively scout out volunteers for this kind of work before, Kaftanski said.
The partnership’s first public event, a meet and greet earlier this month at Forest Park, attracted about a dozen volunteers, including some new faces, organizers said.
Forterra also is developing a 20-year master plan for Everett’s parks.
Soon, Forterra workers will inventory and assess Everett’s parks and forests to determine the trees’ health. Workers will be checking for invasive species threatening the forests and the health of the tree canopies, Forterra Green Cities project manager Joanna Nelson de Flores said.
The report’s findings are expected to come out at the end of the year, Nelson de Flores said.
The nonprofit group also will pencil out the cost for restoration if the forests need fixing.
“We need good, solid master plans for all of our assets,” Kaftanski said.
Everett is the first city in Snohomish County to sign on to Forterra’s Green Cities Partnership initiative. The nonprofit group is working with three cities in King County and Tacoma on similar partnerships. Seattle was the first in 2004.
Everett began moving toward forging the partnership two years ago, Kaftanski said. Forterra has informally worked with the city before to secure money for parkland acquisition.
Upcoming volunteer event
There will be a volunteer training at Thornton A. Sullivan Park, 11405 W. Silver Lake Rd., from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 15 to teach people forest stewardship. To participate, RSVP is required. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 425-238-0065 to sign up.
People also may use that e-mail address and phone number to ask general questions about the partnership.
Check out our online Publications!