Winter EE Intern, McKayla Umperovitch reflects on her experience in the forest.
Working with North Creek Forest this winter has helped me understand and lift up others to grow through place based learning. Being located in an urban forest, it can be easy to be preoccupied with the current surrounding neighborhoods and the modern lives of humans. Taking time in the forest with work parties and learning alongside school groups has helped enrich how I view environmental education and interact with nature around me.
Over my spring break I realized how much I have learned about my local environments and how different ecosystems are when you travel. Last week I visited coastal southern California to visit family in Ventura, CA. Going on jogs alongside the beach I began asking myself questions similar to things I have been learning at North Creek. “What plants are invasive? Why is the land shaped the way it is? What is the watershed like of the region?” These were questions that I previously was not giving as much thought to before my internship, and now with being in that mindset in the North Creek Forest and surrounding wetlands, my brain is being pushed to seek out these answers.
This curiosity and desire for understanding is something I see as beautiful and powerful, especially if it can be encouraged in all types of individuals. When I think of my years throughout school and what inspired me, it was hands on immersive experiences that helped me appreciate the wonder of our planet and the natural processes that were a part of that. I’m happy to be assisting with Friends of North Creek Forest and encouraging curiosity and problem solving through place based learning.
Bird Surveys in North Creek Forest
My name is Meghan Carpenter and I am looking for volunteers to help me with my research project regarding bird speciation and activity within North Creek Forest. I am focusing on the restoration sites off of 112th Ave. and the site off of 204th Ave. The overall goal of this project is to obtain data as to which bird species are using the sites and how they are using them in order to gain insight into how effective the sites are in promoting bird diversity.
I am looking for individuals who are interested in birds and being outdoors to assist me with conducting observations at these two sites. This would mean spending time at each site identifying the bird species you see and hear as well as the activity each bird is engaging in. The dates and times of these observations can be flexible, but ideally I would like someone to conduct observations for me on either Saturday or Sunday. If you do not feel very confident in your bird identification skills, I am more than willing to provide training and resources for you to make sure you are confident to conduct observations on your own. I will also walk you through my field observation sheet so you will have a strong understanding of the information I am looking for. If you are interested in learning more about this research project or becoming a part of my team, I can be reached by email at email@example.com or by cell phone at (425) 985-9465.
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: