We are fortunate to have a crew from the Urban Forestry Restoration Project, administered by the Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) Urban and Community Forestry Program, working in North Creek Forest this month. It is an exciting opportunity to even further enhance the capacity of North Creek Forest to manage stormwater and improve air and water quality by improving the health and functionality of the forest.
A Puget SoundCorps team will be removing the English Holly and Yellow Archangel from North Creek Forest. These invasive non-native plants prevent forested areas from providing our community the full benefits and services of healthy forests by competing for water and nutrients, and in some cases even killing trees. Once the unwelcome plants are gone, native vegetation will be planted in its place by Friends of North Creek Forest volunteers.
The Puget SoundCorps team is removing the larger, hard to reach and difficult to control invasive species - those that require power tools, and limited, careful herbicide application, and are beyond the capacity of what Friends of North Creek Forest can take on with volunteer labor. FNCF will follow up with volunteer work parties to keep the areas weed free and to monitor the growth of the new plantings.
Volunteers of all ages and experience levels are welcome to volunteer at FNCF work parties!
Many thanks to the Department of Natural Resources and the King Conservation District Urban Forestry Program who have brought these resources to North Creek Forest!
For more information about the Urban Forestry Restoration Project, contact Micki McNaughton at (360) 902-1637 or firstname.lastname@example.org. DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program is made possible through a partnership with the USDA Forest Service. Puget SoundCorps is part of the broader Washington Conservation Corps program administered by Washington Dept. of Ecology. Puget SoundCorps crews work on projects that help restore and protect water quality in Puget Sound. The Washington Conservation Corps is supported through grant funding and Education Awards provided by AmeriCorps.
We are proud to announce our new Living Tributes program, offering tree and shrub dedication to mark significant life events such as marriages, birth of a child, anniversaries, or death of a loved one. Proceeds from the Living Tributes program will support FNCF’s mission to maintain and improve the ecological function of North Creek Forest through Education, Stewardship and Conservation in perpetuity. Now that North Creek Forest is owned by the City of Bothell and permanently protected, FNCF’s work will focus on providing careful access to North Creek Forest through trail development and educational programs that invite the public into the forest without harming it.
Donors will be given the opportunity to select from a variety of native trees and shrubs including: Snowberry, Twinberry, Red-flowering currant, Nootka rose, Vine maple, Bigleaf maple or Western red cedar. For those looking to plant a specific tree/shrub in honor of a loved one, there will be a bi-annual planting event occurring in the Spring and Fall. Cost of donation ranges from $250 to $1,000, based on tree selection. Donors will receive two certificates to commemorate their donation, containing a picture of their chosen plant and a quote of their choice.
Donors, honorees and loved ones will be able to walk in to North Creek Forest and visit their tree. “We want these (dedications) to be near trails so that people can get to them to be able to see them change throughout the seasons,” states FNCF Executive Director Emily Sprong. There are also plans to plant a tribute garden on the edge of the forest that will be more accessible for those looking to visit their shrub without having to go into the forest. Regardless of location, dedicated plants will be marked by a plaque containing the name of the honoree and donor. Each plaque will also contain a QR code that, when scanned on a smart device, will display additional information and/or pictures of the honored/memorialized subject.
Longtime FNCF volunteer and board member, Jeri Molloy, is kicking off the program with the dedication of a Nootka Rose in honor of her late sister, Nancy Murphree. Molloy lost her sister, who was raised in Washington, in a car accident in Texas 45 years ago. “When we were talking about having this program, I knew that I wanted to work on this because I’ve always wanted to dedicate something in her memory here,” Molloy reflects. “Nancy’s grave is in Texas, so it will be so nice to know that there is finally something here in memory of her.”
For more information on the Living Tributes program, contact Jeri Molloy at 425-485-5108 or read more and start your tribute online.
“I've loved spending time in the woods, and doing the many lessons about the creatures of this forest. But out of all the moments, I enjoyed sitting down, and drawing the forest around me, looking at the beautiful scenery and recreating it to the best of our abilities the most.” A Soundview student reflects on a visit last year. We are so excited to welcome them back this month! This means spring is coming and children’s voices will return to the trees. We are looking forward to growing our k-12 student programming as we move into the new year.
We would also like to introduce you to our new environmental education intern, McKayla Umperovitch. She will be working with Soundview this year and wants to focus on engaging students in meditative reflective practices in the forest, while contemplating the way water connects us all together. We look forward to supporting her education goals. Here’s more:
"Hello, my name is McKayla Umperovitch. I'm a senior at Cascadia College graduating this spring 2017, earning my Bachelor's of Applied Science in Sustainable Practices. I have a passion for community and looking for ways to come together to steward our planet well. I just started as an environmental education intern here with Friends of North Creek Forest and am very excited for the opportunity. Going to school next door I had heard about Friends of North Creek and had visited a few times before as a part of one of my Biology classes last year. I really love the service based learning and focus on ecology and restoration this organization focuses on and am happy to be joining the team." Welcome to the team McKayla! We are proud to have you and excited to learn from you.
We are also very excited to announce our pilot community program, Forest Scouts, which we hope to launch later this month. Step out of the noisy, busy world of city life and into the serene beauty of a mature forest. Join our trained naturalists as you learn to walk respectfully with our wild neighbors of North Creek Forest. This is a great opportunity to earn your scout badges or just explore and discover. Friends of North Creek Forest is pleased to announce our pilot community programs with a nod towards the Boy Scouts, who have a long history in this place.
When: Starting weekends in March 2017
What: 2 hour guided observation hikes and forest games
Cost: Suggested donation of $10/child
Who: Groups of 8-15, with at least 1 parent chaperone
Learn how to:
In 2016 the Friends of North Creek Forest Board of Directors launched our first multi-year strategic plan. The organization's main goal has always been to save the Forest, and for the first five years of our existence, that meant acquisition. With the land secured, we know shift our efforts toward developing a sustainable organization that will be able to take care of North Creek Forest in perpetuity. To this end, we have identified the following strategic goals that will guide our work from 2017-2020.
On a crisp winter morning, students from the University of Washington Bothell begin to trickle up to the edge of the forest. They look about nervously, unsure of what to expect. As they fill out forms, they look at each other and begin to make connections. Greg, our Volunteer Coordinator, gives them a quick introduction to the organization and then they’re off on a hike to orient themselves in this 64-acre urban forest. Students then begin to hack their way deep into a salmonberry bush, seeking out rogue himalayan blackberry plants for removal. The students really get into it, working together to dig out the stubborn rhizomes and teaching each other what they know about the ecology of the plant. By the time they are done, the bonds are built, weaving the students to each other and to the plant community they are serving. The blood, sweat, and tears of their work mingle with the fresh scent of the rich soil and they are all smiles.The students are taking a course through the office of Community Based Learning and Research (CBLR). This means that with their regular course load, students work directly with community partners engaging in hands-on problem solving of real world problems. From their website, “We believe the very best form of education will engage students in the processes of learning about issues of public concern and gaining the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to address them.” For the students that choose to work with Friends of North Creek Forest, this means practicing restoration ecology and horticulture. They work with our stewardship team to combat invasive species, plant native trees, and other various odd jobs like watering and managing tools. All the while learning about the complexities of plant ecology, the sensitivity of forest edges, how to properly care for the vulnerable young plants, and many other ecological concepts that come up in our work.
With the financial support we’ve received from the Northwest Horticultural Society, we’ve been able to develop a detailed curriculum that better serves the needs of our students and helps to organize and connect the work we do across our different program areas, including research, stewardship, and education. This quarter, we were proud to offer a second level volunteer opportunity which provides another way for students to return to the forest while also developing valuable leadership experience. The position is designed for students who have already taken our restoration volunteer course, or otherwise have experience in horticulture and restoration ecology work. Students are training to be crew leaders; leading tool safety talks, orientation hikes, sharing their horticultural knowledge with our guests, setting up and cleaning up work parties, managing some volunteer logistics and practicing active community outreach. The position includes direct collaboration with our introduction restoration students and the UW-Restoation Ecology Network team.
This partnership has been a wonderful connection for us. Not only do we get to engage with students who are learning the latest ecological theories, we also get some much needed help with the everyday work we do to meet our goals and mission. The partnership also gives us the opportunity to form the long-term volunteer relationships that are imperative to our work. Every quarter we see students return to volunteer on their own time. For students who move on to work and volunteer for other organizations, we are proud to sow the seeds of what they learn in Bothell. We are excited to evaluate the outcomes of this program as we work to keep pace with the needs of our students and community. We are thrilled to be able to share the long-lasting spiritual and scientific impacts that working in the soil and engaging with plant lives brings to our lives.
We thank the Northwest Horticultural Society for supporting this work to encourage and train more stewards in the fields of restoration ecology and horticulture.
My name is Eleanor Smith, I am currently a senior majoring in Environmental Science in the Earth System Sciences pathway at UW Bothell. I grew up in Vancouver, Washington and have lived in the Seattle area since 2013. I have an Associates in Arts from Clark College, and an Associates in Science from North Seattle College. Prior to this year, I worked at REI as a footwear and fitness specialist, and became more in tune with the opportunities for getting outside that the region has to offer. Currently, I am working with the UW Bothell Geodatabase Group which is a team is built for undergraduate research, centered on mapping the ecological aspects of the UWB/CC wetlands. Through this project, I was introduced to Friends of North Creek Forest, as a student volunteer to help map the invasive species in North Creek Forest. These opportunities have allowed me to meet and work with excellent faculty, students, volunteers, and other outdoor enthusiasts, but also have strengthened my ability as a team member as well as team leader. As the research coordinator intern, I am able to put my best practices in communication and team work to use. My hobbies include running, yoga, hiking, and after graduating I plan on revisiting my old favorite, snowboarding.