Green Infrastructure Summit: Next Generation Leaders

“I was shy, I was quiet, I would never be able to [speak to an audience like this]… Paulina gave me a voice… gave me a sense of purpose, gave me a safe place to do what I love to do which is to be an environmental activist for my community… in South Park and Georgetown.” These were the words of Daniella, a youth leader from the Duwamish Valley Youth Corps, speaking about her mentor, Paulina Lopez (who later received an award for youth mentorship from the City Habitats network). Voices and stories like Daniella’s took center stage at this year’s 3rd annual Green Infrastructure Summit as we continued a quest to make green infrastructure into a force for equity and environmental justice. A big part of that quest lies in making sure that as the Green Infrastructure sector grows, new jobs and career pathways become accessible and attractive to diverse and brilliant minds from communities disproportionately affected by pollution and environmental degradation.

On February 9th Stewardship Partners reached another landmark in our leadership role of turning our region’s cities and towns from #GrayToGreen. As we convened the Puget Sound Green Infrastructure Summit, a City Habitats event, it was amazing to see the difference this event makes for innovators across the region and sectors. As we continue to mindfully “connect the dots” (.com, .org, .gov, and .edu), we are seeing more and more collaboration between public and private sectors, as well as research and implementation. The vision that inspired us to create this event in 2016 is beginning to turn into reality: The Puget Sound region is taking flight as a “Silicon Valley of Green Infrastructure.”

As with both of the two previous summits, our cross-sector host committee (including Seattle Public Utilities, MIG|SvR, Washington State University, Salmon-Safe, Washington Environmental Council, and The Nature Conservancy) intentionally centered and highlighted equity within the agenda and speakers throughout the day. This year the main theme of the summit was green infrastructure jobs and youth pathways. A new companion event: The Youth Forum on Green Infrastructure Jobs and Youth of Color, held in January, allowed us to bring new voices and faces into the conversation, informing workforce decision-makers at the summit. The UW Bothell/Cascadia College campus (a Salmon-Safe certified campus) provided a powerful backdrop for the summit next to a created wetland and floodplain. Welcome remarks from Ken Workman, a direct descendant of Chief Seattle, Andy Rheaume, Bothell’s mayor, Anthony Guerrero of UW Bothell, and Aaron Clark, grounded the 220 attendees in time and place, ready to imagine and co-create our shared clean water and healthy community future. A few highlights from the day included: a keynote discussion on diversity in the green infrastructure field; an award for youth leadership given to Paulina Lopez of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition and the Duwamish Valley Youth Corps; a panel on pavement and it’s immense impacts on water, habitat, and pollution; breakout sessions on trees, codes and policies, maps, mentorship and equity, and research gaps; case studies throughout the day; and calls to action from Washington State Representative Derek Stanford and Steve Shestag from Boeing.

Like everything Stewardship Partners does, this accomplishment was a team effort. It included the entire SP staff, an immense community of partners (especially those from the City Habitats network), the host committee, and of course the generous sponsors who, at 13 financial sponsors, have more than doubled our sponsor base from the first summit we convened in 2016. To see the presentations, videos and other resources shared at the summit visit the summit webpage at:

We Are All Stewardship Partners Campaign & Photo Contest

To accompany our recently updated brand, we are excited to launch our We Are All Stewardship Partners campaign! We invite you, your friends, family and all of our supporters and partners to share how you are being good stewards of our land and water. #ImAStewardshipPartner. Merlino Media Group has graciously secured ad space throughout Seattle that features the creative designs of Wexley School for Girls to promote this campaign. Look for these ads on billboards, in magazines, on the web or listen for us on the radio. This new public awareness campaign is designed to encourage sharing of how we can be a stewardship partner and care for the environment every day!

Throughout the month of March, we will be holding an #ImAStewardshipPartner photo contest for you, our partners in stewardship!

To enter, follow these instructions:

  1. Follow @StewardshipPartners on Instagram and like us on Facebook 
  2. Post a picture of you taking part in an act of stewardship, tag us and use #ImAStewardshipPartner (double points if you snap a picture of one of our billboards!). Examples include: planting native plants, buying Salmon-Safe Foods, conserving water and more!
  3. At the end of the month we will be raffling off a prize for 2 lucky winners!

#ImASewardshipPartner We know you are one, too!

Welcome Grant to the Stewardship Partners Team!

Grant P.H. Barber joined the Stewardship Partners team this month as the new Development Manager. Moving from Denver to Seattle in 2013 to pursue a Masters in Museology at the University of Washington, Grant instantly fell in love with the natural splendor of the Pacific Northwest. Joining Stewardship Partners in 2018, he brings several years of fundraising experience at museums and cultural centers. As the Development Manager, Grant aims to create a culture of philanthropy where donors understand how their generosity has positive, direct benefits on our shared environment. Grant enjoys exploring the Northwest through hiking, camping, running, and biking. When he’s not out in nature, he enjoys cooking, brewing beer, and baking bread.

New Year, New Look, Same Stewardship Partners

We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!

You may have noticed something a little different about about the Stewardship Partners blog and website. The transition from 2017 into 2018 was a busy and exciting one for us here at Stewardship Partners. We have officially moved to a new office and we are sporting a new look, complete with a new logo and new website!

Designed by Maxon House Inc., with help from Northbound Brand and Wexley School for Girls, our new look is a fresh and clean representation of our commitment to partnership, balance, intersections and action.

While we may look different, we are still the same team dedicated to the same mission we have always been. We look forward to connecting you, our partners, to the solutions and resources you need, through this new streamlined site.

Please let us know how it’s working for you. Are we connecting you to the tools and resources you need to be a caretaker of Washington’s land and waters?

Time for Salmon-Safe Christmas Trees!

If you’re in the market for a Christmas tree and are passionate about supporting sustainable, local businesses and farmers, look no further than Carnation Tree Farm!  In 2007, Carnation Tree Farm became the first holiday tree farm in the Northwest to be certified as Salmon-Safe.  Nestled within the gorgeous landscape of the Snoqualmie Valley, Carnation Tree Farm has gone above and beyond to not only bring happiness and joy to its community members during the holiday season, but also to create positive impacts on their local environment.  “The Snoqualmie Valley is changing and I have a responsibility to take care of the land and give back to this community,” said Carnation Tree Farm owner Roger Thorson. “Salmon-Safe is a great way to let people know about our environmental commitment.”

Keep an eye out for the Salmon-Safe logo while looking for your perfect tree.

“Roger is one of the most environmentally conscious holiday tree growers that you will find,” says David Burger, “He is finding creative ways to deal with pests and maintain productivity of the tree farm, while also enhancing habitat around the property.” Carnation Tree Farm offers a variety of U-cut and pre-cut trees and provides everything customers need to cut the trees and get them on their cars.

Come and join the fun on December 2nd when Stewardship Partners visits the farm with Sal the Salmon!

December 2nd, from 11 AM – 2 PM, Sal the Salmon and our staff will be out at Carnation Tree Farm to participate in the holiday fun while supporting the farmers of the Valley. Look for our booth or catch Sal hiding among the trees to snap a picture with him and the whole family! The farm also sells stands, wreaths, garlands, mistletoe and handmade items from local artisans. Weekend activities during tree-cutting season include visits from Santa; complimentary hot cider, kettle korn, espresso; and fresh bake-sale treats.

Here at Stewardship Partners, we love working with the dedicated farmers of the Snoqualmie Valley like Roger who are making  difference that stretch beyond their local community and impact the city of Seattle as well. We hope you will join us in saying thank you by coming out and supporting their hard work while taking in the gorgeous landscape and holiday cheer! 

Learn more about our Salmon-Safe program and how you can get involved!

Snoqualmie Tribe: Stewarding the Land Since Time Immemorial

The Snoqualmie Valley has been home to the Snoqualmie Tribe (Sdukwalbixw) since time immemorial. Long before European explorers came to the Pacific Northwest, Snoqualmie people hunted deer and elk, fished for salmon and gathered berries and wild plants for food and medicine. By comparison, Stewardship Partners’ Snoqualmie Stewardship program has been restoring agricultural land in the valley merely for the past 15 years. We have been partnering with the Tribe’s Environmental and Natural Resources (ENR) program for much of that time, planting native trees and shrubs and removing noxious weeds along the river, as we educate the broader community, connecting them to their land and water. Through this partnership our relatively new role is connected to a much older stewardship tradition.

Snoqualmie Valley family, early 1900’s.
Credit: Snoqualmie Valley Museum

One of our earliest joint-projects supported ENR’s mission to restore traditional ecological knowledge by planting species historically used by the tribe for harvests and medicine along the river at Oxbow Farm and Conservation Center. Our latest collaboration addresses the problem of stormwater pollution by building a demonstration rain garden at Carnation Elementary School; adding to several green infrastructure installations that ENR has constructed on tribal property. This rain garden will treat approximately 150,000 gallons of runoff annually from 6,500 sq. ft. of the school’s roof. This project will give students a real-world example of green infrastructure that improves water quality and create green space. ENR’s toolkit for conserving the Snoqualmie Valley also includes water quality monitoring and a robust recycling and composting program.

In addition to the above projects, we have been working with the tribe since 2015 on a series of educational habitat restoration events at Tolt MacDonald Park and Fall City Community Park, thanks to a King County Small Partnerships grant. Through these efforts, we have planted thousands of trees, engaged hundreds of community volunteers and educated many students. Today, if you drive over the Snoqualmie River on Tolt Hill Road and look to the north, parallel to the Tolt River, you will see a young forest of native alders, cottonwoods, and conifers emerging from what was once a giant swath of non-native, invasive blackberry. We are grateful for our partnership with the Snoqualmie Tribe and for their continued leadership as stewards of the Snoqualmie Valley.

Saving Salmon at the Center of the Universe

The long wait has ended and the new Data 1 Building is open for business and already actively saving salmon! Our Salmon-Safe Puget Sound team is delighted to be working with COU LLC, Owners JoAnna Callahan, Mark Grey and Mark Hess at this beautiful new building located at the corner of 34th Ave North and Troll Avenue in the heart of Fremont, also known as the Center of the Universe. In this case, we might think of the building at the center of salmon migration.

Cascading bioswales at the Data 1 site serve as an inviting green landscape amenity & are mitigating toxic runoff from the Aurora Bridge.

A new home to Tableau, designed by Weber Thompson and engineered by KPFF, this Salmon-Safe certified project has garnered lots of attention for its work and data outside the building. Inspired by a story about polluted runoff from the 520 Bridge, the owners set about to create a project that provides public benefit in the right-of-way with cascading bioswales and rains gardens treating polluted runoff from the Aurora Bridge. Stormwater not retained by these features will be captured in an underground vault prior to being discharged via a dedicated storm sewer to Lake Union.

During design phases of the project, the owners discovered that polluted runoff from the Aurora Bridge flowed directly into Lake Union and the ship canal which is an important migration route for salmon. The outfall of polluted water directly impacts the Chinook, Sockeye, Coho and Steelhead that pass through this narrow corridor on their way to the North Lake Washington and Sammamish watersheds.

The project has received Salmon-Safe certification because its overall practices are beneficial to salmon, including reaching beyond its own site boundaries to mitigate a major neighborhood water pollution source. Additional green stromwater infrastructure facilities are being planned on other properties in the vicinity to treat more of the bridge surface runoff. To form a baseline of the highway runoff water quality prior to the installation of treatment, samples of the flow from the bridge were collected on five occasions during February-April 2017. The intention is to monitor discharges from the eventual treatment facilities for comparison with this baseline. It serves as an excellent model project for private landowners to go beyond what’s required and standard operating practices to ensure untreated stormwater mitigation on private lands. Look for this beautiful building and Salmon-Safe interpretive signage celebrating their water story on your next trip to Fremont.

Stay tuned also for more good news for Fremont coming from Salmon-Safe, Stewardship Partners, the COU LLC team and other community partners. This project is a perfect example of the collaborative partnership model that is the hallmark of Stewardship Partners’ programs and projects. By working together, we can create structures and systems that are so much more than a traditional office building.

Stewarding the Land, Honoring Our Veterans

Growing Veterans is an organization that works to empower military veterans to grow food and better their communities. Through a holistic approach, they tackle the many issues veterans face during reintegration by utilizing sustainable agriculture; ultimately creating a solution to end the isolation that can lead to suicide and depression, while making environmentally conscious agriculture the norm. By committing to Salmon‐Safe certification this past June, Growing Veterans has agreed to meet rigorous and site-specific criteria regarding water use, erosion control, chemical practices and animal management.

Salmon-Safe certification is awarded through an independent third‐party assessment. Additional assessments will occur every three years to ensure practices maintain and promote a healthy ecosystem.

“Our team prides itself on our commitment to organic and sustainable practices. This certification really makes a statement about that commitment and the additional work it takes to ensure that we do not hurt the environment but protect it,” said Scotty Irwin, Market Manager, Growing Veterans.

Stewardship Partners is excited to start and promote this new partnership that supports stewarding our land and water while giving back to those who have served our country.

The produce grown at Growing Veterans can be found at the Wednesday Mount Vernon Farmers Market, the Saturday Marysville Farmer’s Market and The Puget Sound Food Hub.

Growing Veterans is one of over 100 farms already certified under the Salmon-Safe eco‐label, with additional farms being added regularly. To see the full list of Northwest farms, wineries, breweries and cideries go to

To learn more about Growing Veterans visit their website at

Leading the Stormwater Village at StormCon

StormCon, the nation’s largest stormwater conference, was recently held in Bellevue marking the first time this gathering of national leaders on stormwater has come to the Pacific Northwest. But there is little doubt that this region is a veritable Silicon Valley of green infrastructure solutions to stormwater runoff.

Polluted runoff spilling into a storm drain.

Why does our community invest so much in solving stormwater? Perhaps, it is because our region is famous for rain and we have over 100 years of leadership, pioneering innovation from airplanes to coffee to software. We think it is because stormwater exemplifies the kind of local, global and complex problem that requires creativity and dedication. The simple individual solutions that Stewardship Partners promotes will cascade down into systems that can heal humanity’s broken relationship with nature.

In this spirit, a group of non-profit leaders have recently developed a Puget Sound-wide campaign called City Habitats. Started by Stewardship Partners, The Nature Conservancy of Washington, Washington Environmental Council and the City of Seattle, City Habitats has now engaged over 100 partners from across the region and across all sectors. With significant investments and support from The Boeing Company, this network is accelerating and amplifying the region’s cutting-edge leadership in stormwater and green infrastructure through collaborative partnership and coordination of efforts. We are “connecting the dots” by bringing .com’s, .org’s, .gov’s and .edu’s together to share ideas, identify emerging issues and opportunities and avoid reinventing the wheel.

City Habitats was represented at StormCon 2017 with 10 full exhibition booths, loosely organized as a “Village”. We presented solutions, ideas, projects and programs with 12 of our partners. StormCon had never had non-profits, universities or government-led programs participate in the exhibition hall before and the response was resounding: we need to do this every year!

Stewardship Partners’ leadership of this effort exemplifies our passion for collaboration and innovation, and showed the world a real hope of truly solving the stormwater problem.


StormCon Village Participants:
Washington Storwater Center (UW & WSU) | UW Green Futures Lab | RainWise
Evergreen College’s Center of Sustainable Infrastructure | TNC | ILFI | Stewardship Partners
WEC  |  Puget Sound Caucus of Conservation Districts | Salmon-Safe | ECOSS
Friends of the Seattle Waterfront | City Habitats | Earth Corps

Farewell Friends!

Best of luck to our Development Director, Palmira Figueroa! We are sad to see her go, but wish her well in her new development role at Social Justice Fund Northwest, where she gets to pursue her passion for social equity and fairness.

During her three years with Stewardship Partners, Palmira grew the Feast on the Farm dinner beyond its humble beginnings into one of the premier farm-to-table events in the country. But, her impact runs deeper than dollars raised or tickets purchased. Palmira challenged us and brought dimension to our understanding of what the concept “stewardship” means.

Part of her legacy is programs that are beginning to better serve all of Washington’s residents. But more importantly, her wisdom and compassion moved and inspired each of us. Thanks to her example, we will continue to strive to be inclusive, to better listen to all perspectives and to develop solutions that serve all the communities that depend on the land and waters that sustain us. 


We also bid a fond farewell to Snoqualmie Stewardship Habitat Restoration Crew member, Gavin Walton as he heads back to his home state of Colorado where he will soon be pursuing his Masters Degree and possibly some international travel.

Gavin’s enthusiastic spirit and on-going desire to learn was appreciated by volunteers and fellow crew members alike. He could always be counted on to add to the spirit and energy of any habitat restoration project that he was involved in.

Palmira and Gavin, we are very grateful for having the opportunity to work with both of you as colleagues and know that you will continue to conduct yourselves as thoughtful stewards of our communities. We look forward to staying in touch and learning about the positive impacts that you will continue to make in our world.

The Stewardship Partners Team