Tis the Season…for Planting

With planting season just around the corner, we are usually gearing up to mobilize hundreds of volunteers to plant thousands of different native trees and shrubs throughout the Snoqualmie Valley. This year is a little different as we are still dealing with the effects of a global pandemic. Since we still can’t gather in large groups, we would like to offer some ideas on what native trees and shrubs you can plant on your property. Here are a few recommendations from our Snoqualmie Stewardship staff regarding some of our favorite PNW plants we use in our restoration projects that you can use at home! Happy planting!

Crew Member Ashley’s recommendation: Western Red Cedar (Thuja Plicata):

Thuja Plicata is actually from the Cypress Family of the genus Arborvitae, which translates to “tree of life.”

We love to plant western red cedars because they are a signature PNW tree and are highly versatile. They can be planted in groves or singly, as well as in wetland and upland areas. The wood is resistant to decay, which made it the most valued tree to the Native Peoples. The wood was used for building structures, totem poles, canoes, tools, the branches for ropes, and bark for weaving. The trees are easily identifiable by their reddish-grey fibrous bark, oriented in vertical strips, with flat, scale like leaves resembling plaited braids.

Advantages for the garden:
The leaves are evergreen, giving your garden color all year, without dropping needles or leaves. The cones come in small fragrant clusters resembling rosettes. The bark and leaves have a famous cedar scent as well. They provide seeds and habitat for birds, small mammals enjoy the cavities of the bark, elk and deer enjoy browsing the trunk and branches. Just make sure you have plenty of room if you plant a Western red Cedar as they grow quite large.

Western Red Cedar

Director of Ecological Restoration Chris’ recommendation: Red Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum
 
I love this native plant and its brilliant red/pink flowers. I’m not the only one who loves them. Pollinators are highly attracted to them, and hummingbirds fancy them as well. They’re used in a lot of our riparian restoration sites along the Snoqualmie River and its tributaries. These are perfect areas for them as they thrive in disturbed sites, open spaces, and rocky slopes. I plan on planting some around my garden at home! Many Coastal Salish groups have traditionally used these plants as their berries are edible, but they lack flavor. What they lack in taste they make up in garden aesthetics when in bloom!

Written by the Snoqualmie Stewardship Staff

Red Flowering Currant

We’re Hiring!

We are hiring for the crewmember position!

Snoqualmie Stewardship Habitat Restoration Crew Member

Position Description: This temporary part-full time position (average 40 hrs. /wk.) with Stewardship Partners; a Seattle based non-profit conservation organization. Work is focused in the Snoqualmie Valley, along the Snoqualmie River and its tributaries with agricultural landowners. Interns assist in implementing habitat restoration project Best Management Practices (BMPs) which may include riparian planting, wetland enhancement, erosion control, livestock fencing, volunteer event management and partner/landowner relations. Crew Members also help with our annual Feast on the Farm fundraiser.

Position is open until filled.

Interested parties can learn more here or contact Chris LaPointe at cl@stewardshippartners.org.    

Reflections on a Collaborative Funder Relationship with The Russell Family Foundation 

In 2002 Stewardship Partners was barely 3 years old, but that year marked the beginning of a critical partnership that has brought us to where we are today. Our collaboration with The Russell Family Foundation (TRFF) began with a grant. In financial terms alone, this partnership has been foundational, totaling over $1 Million granted since 2002. But this partnership does not begin and end with the money. The collaborative problem solving and network building that we have done together has been equally important in creating a movement of community-focused stewardship across the Puget Sound region. The close of 2020 seemed like a good time to indulge in hindsight, so I sat down virtually with Holly Powers, Senior Program Officer at TRFF to pause and reflect on our collective history.

Rather than transcribe our entire, far-reaching conversation, I’ve decided to pull together observations from both the grant-maker and grantee perspectives that made this a successful relationship.

As a grant-maker, TRFF is very clear in their understanding that they only succeed when their partners succeed. I think the approach is exemplified by what Holly described as trying to be the funder who gets a call when things don’t go as planned, rather than the funder you try to avoid. As a grantee, that approach means that we are trusted to lead the work, understand the challenges, and respond effectively without being penalized for innovating or changing course when needed. Even the most well-planned projects encounter unexpected challenges. Knowing that a funder wants to know about those challenges and might help us collaboratively, means that challenges are opportunities to do better rather than failures of foresight. Taking this approach to the next level, when COVID -19 changed everything for everyone, TRFF didn’t wait for their grantees to tell them what they needed. Instead, they asked us what had changed and what did we need to weather the storm. Providing additional financial support and peer-to-peer connections with other grantees has helped many organizations continue our collective work in the face of a challenging time.

Another significant aspect of TRFF’s approach is the value they place on connecting grantees to each other. Many of our most essential partnerships came about because of TRFF’s active efforts to connect their grantees. Examples include the Habitat for Humanity homes near Tacoma that we certified Salmon-Safe and the thought-leader convening TRFF started with Sightline Institute that gave rise to our Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea. Connections like these make everything we do more impactful and effective.

As a grantee, it’s always humbling and lovely to hear from a funder why they support your work, and as partners in and supporters of our work, I want to share some of Holly’s thoughts on Stewardship Partners. I think my favorite thing was hearing that walking into the Stewardship Partners office has always felt like being invited into a living room for a cup of coffee and a conversation. That we have created a culture and a welcoming sense of community with partners feels like a significant accomplishment and one that doesn’t fit in any grant reporting metrics. TRFF also sees us as we see ourselves as a ‘small but mighty’ organization able to catalyze, respond quickly, and nimbly to emerging issues and opportunities, but not clinging to ownership at the expense of the idea. Yet, for anything involving stormwater and green infrastructure, we act as a hub, keeping the wheel rolling forward. The 12,000 Rain Garden Campaign for Puget Sound is one example. SP coordinated rain garden resource hubs and trainings across 12 counties, leading to the regional multi-sector City Habitats network and the annual Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea. Holly also described Stewardship Partners as a ‘first to listen’ partner. From our first projects, we have acknowledged our partners on the land and communities as the work leaders. We have always understood that we need to listen to them to make anything happen and move anything forward. Having that part of our values identified so clearly is so validating. But then again, it makes sense. It takes one to know one, and TRFF and Stewardship Partners both know that we only succeed when our partners succeed

I want to close by thanking Holly Powers, Fabiola Greenwalt, Linsey Sauer, Britta Franscesconi, Kathleen Simpson, and past team members Richard Woo and Scott Miller, as well as the Russell Family and the TRFF board of directors. It is an honor to partner with you all.

Written by Aaron Clark

Photo courtesy of TRFF

Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea

Building off of the 2020 Green Infrastructure Summit and events since, it is more apparent than ever that we can’t merely fix and put back the stuff that breaks (due to a pandemic, racial inequity, economic downturn, etc.). Instead, we need better stuff. So this year, the theme of the summit is “Evolving Green Infrastructure: adapting systems for better outcomes.” 

Up-to-date info can be found on the summit webpage. There are many details still in the offing, but below is what we know:

  •  This summit will be held virtually over the mornings of March 25th and 26th, 2021 (mark your calendars).
  • After five years of calling this event the “Puget Sound Green Infrastructure Summit” we are pleased to announce that we are renaming it the “Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea.”  This re-naming is in recognition and honor of the original Indigenous inhabitants and stewards of this land and water, the Coast Salish Peoples, who have lived in the Salish Sea basin, throughout the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades watershed, since time immemorial. This re-naming also underscores our continued commitment to identify and implement solutions that protect and enhance the Salish Sea basin, through collaboration, best practices, racial equity, and community engagement. 
  • If you have a topic or story that you would like to share, please fill out this simple online abstract submission form. Your submission does not need to include details. Many of the best summit presentations started as a simple sentence. But the deadline for submissions is January 26th (extended), so don’t delay!
  • This event will give us all a chance to connect across geographies and sectors, discuss and learn about topics as far reaching as: leadership in Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties; green infrastructure across the urban-rural continuum; whole watershed systems; storytelling; maintenance; stimulus spending; climate resilience; tires; silos; racial equity; the WA environmental justice task force; youth leadership; career pathways; the state of the science and what works and what doesn’t. 
  • Financial sponsors make this event possible. If your organization would like to learn more, please email Aaron Clark.

Looking Back on Our 2020 Accomplishments

As a generous supporter of Stewardship Partners, you are the reason we continue to step up and fill the gap of providing environmental solutions for communities and individuals to be great stewards of this beautiful place we call home. While this year continues to be challenging, we are resilient. Thanks to you, we persist in our efforts to work for the water and land that sustain us all.

While our workplaces shifted, Stewardship Partners’ hard-working staff forged ahead. The Snoqualmie Stewardship Program restored two acres of habitat by planting over 6,000 plants at multiple farms. We also completed a new Snoqualmie Valley Stewardship Handbook, a great resource for landowners.

The 5th Annual Green Infrastructure Summit adapted to a global pandemic and brought forward nine virtual panel discussions over four weeks and engaged a bigger and broader audience than ever. We covered big ideas and impacts that go way beyond water alone. Topics included incentives, education, communication, trees, authentic community engagement, racial equity in green infrastructure, and we shined a spotlight on innovative leadership in the south Puget Sound. We also continued to shift conversations regionally on green infrastructure incentives, bringing more support for environmental improvement to underserved and overburdened communities, leading the way with our own equitable incentive programs.

We were able to create protocols for Salmon-Safe virtual assessments of farms, vineyards, and golf courses. Several properties joined the Salmon-Safe network this year, furthering the label’s value and consumer demand for sustainable products and management.

This year, we weren’t able to gather at a community farm table for Feast on the Farm, but the urgency of sustainability is clearer than ever before. Along with sustainability, the need for community has never been greater. The Feast’s pivot to a community-building at-home experience wouldn’t have been possible without generous volunteers, partners, supporters, sponsors, farmers, and chefs. Feast on the Farm at home raised $55,400, which will directly support our conservation and restoration initiatives in Puget Sound!

We are thinking of you and how you might be impacted by this global crisis and if we can support you in your own stewardship or just want to connect, please reach out to us. Stewardship Partners would not be the same without you. Thank you for being loyal to our organization, loving the land, our communities, and ultimately creating a story of growth. By staying present, slowing down, and spending time alone or with family, we will grow now more than ever. And if you are doing annual giving this year, please consider Stewardship Partners.

Notes from the Field: 2020

If anything, 2020 has provided us with the opportunity to hone our skills in adaptive management on many levels including that of our Snoqualmie Stewardship restoration crew. In mid-March the crew was put on furlough due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Right smack dab in the middle of planting season our riparian habitat restoration efforts were put on hold as well. Multiple volunteer events and planting days were cancelled or postponed, and our restoration efforts were hanging in limbo as were our crew members. The furlough allowed them a chance to reflect on life, consider different career trajectories, get involved with social issues, and really think about what the future holds. 

Kirby Johnson

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Kirby Johnson for his dedication and unwavering work ethic while he served on the crew for several years and in the office. We will miss workhorse mentality, but we are happy for what the future holds for him.

Geoff Bough

Geoff Bough, former Habitat Restoration Project Manager, recently made a career change after spending more than 8 years on the Snoqualmie Stewardship Restoration Crew. We will miss Geoff’s dedication and his knowledge and familiarity of the Snoqualmie Valley as a Carnation resident.

Erin Martin

Congratulations to Erin Martin on her new appointment of “Interim Crew Lead.” Erin is already excelling in her new role as the crew got back to the field work in September. We are looking forward to watching her continue to take the lead on riparian restoration and green infrastructure implementation in the Snoqualmie Valley.  

Ashley Aversa

We would like to welcome Ashley Aversa aboard on the restoration crew. Ashley comes to us via New Jersey with a great background in environmental restoration, watershed health monitoring, education and green infrastructure. No stranger to the field, she is fitting in well as she learns the ropes and restoration sites in the Valley.

Although this has been a year of change, adaptation and flexibility, the Snoqualmie Stewardship crew managed to install approximately 5,000 native trees and shrubs. That’s an amazing feat given the circumstances. This resilience is a testament to our hard work as a solutions-oriented organization with programs that allow the flexibility and wherewithal to endure even a global pandemic.   

Expanding our Stormwater Management Throughout the Snoqualmie Valley

We all need clean water to survive. We all should know this by now. The salmon we so cherish need clean water to survive as well. We all should know this by now. Our beloved orcas that symbolize our region need clean water and salmon to survive. We should all know this by now. Knowing is the first step, and now is the time to act to ensure that our region has clean water for the orcas, for the salmon and for us for generations to come. For nearly 20 years the Snoqualmie Stewardship program has focused on riparian habitat restoration along the Snoqualmie River and its tributaries. We’ve made a lot of great progress in that regard. As we continue this riparian restoration work, we are also focusing on expanding our efforts, not only by planting trees along the river, but by educating and engaging the public in green stormwater management efforts.

Starting with one small rain garden installation at Carnation Elementary School a few years ago, thanks to King County Flood Control Districts Flood Reduction Fund, we are now leading an effort to educate and connect community members, businesses and organizations in green infrastructure implementation. We are doing this collaboratively as we have all along with partners such as Nature Vision, The Snoqualmie Tribe, Aspect Consulting, King County, the City of Carnation, Full Circle Farm and Orenda Winery. Soon Stewardship Partners will sponsor workshops in Carnation that include educational talks and tools for green stormwater infrastructure implementation including cistern giveaways! We will also be installing a bioswale at Full Circle Farm to treat stormwater and production runoff before it reaches Griffin Creek!           

Carnation Elementary School Rain Garden Installation
Carnation Elementary School Rain Garden Installation

As we quickly approach the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day we urge folks to take action alongside Stewardship Partners and all our friends as we continue to pave the way for innovative restoration of the land and water that sustain us. If your group, school, business or church would like to get involved with a one of our on the ground projects please contact Chris LaPointe at cl@stewardshippartners.org or sign up on the volunteer calendar on our website.      

Stewardship Partners’ 2019 Highlights

Supporters are central to the success of Stewardship Partners and are one of the main reasons why our programs had such a profound positive impact throughout our region this year. By supporting Stewardship Partners, you continue to support a healthy Puget Sound environment.

Your support this year allowed us to:

  • Plant 15,000 native trees and shrubs
  • Restore 2.4 river miles
  • Restore 10.5 acres of vital riparian habitat
  • Engage volunteers in over 2,800 hours of work
  • Grow our Salmon-Safe program to over 100 farms and vineyards
  • Grow our coalition of over 100 green infrastructure partners
  • Host the 2019 Green Infrastructure Summit and begin planning for the 2020 Summit, to be located outside of King County for the first time
  • Provide resources and financial incentives for green infrastructure ($100,000 of incentives awarded to date)
  • Engage in the Seattle Waterfront Project alongside new partners
  • Host the 10th Annual Feast on the Farm, raising over $151,000 in direct support of conservation and restoration initiatives in Puget Sound

THANK YOU FOR BEING A STEWARDSHIP PARTNER!

Make Your End of Year Gift

This season, Patagonia Action Works is matching donations made to their environmental grantees! Now through December 31st, donations made through their site will receive a dollar-for-dollar match! Please help us take advantage of this amazing opportunity by making your year-end gift to Stewardship Partners through Patagonia Action Works! Thank you Patagonia!

You can also give directly through our website. Only together can we fight for clean water, healthy salmon and wildlife habitats, sustainable agriculture, healthy communities, and overall stewardship of our shared environment.

Snoqualmie Strategy: Greening the Valley for Generations to Come

Picking Pumpkins at Fall City Farms, Fall City, Washington, US

Stewardship Partners’ Snoqualmie Strategy efforts continue to make a positive impact in the Snoqualmie Valley with our collaborative approach to conservation and sustainability. It’s been several years since a stakeholder suggested the lofty goal of “building rain gardens in all Snoqualmie Valley schools” at a Green Infrastructure working group session. With a coordinated effort involving multiple partners (The Snoqualmie Tribe, Nature Vision, and Aspect Consulting to name a few) we’ve started to fulfill that vision by installing one rain garden at Carnation Elementary School, with a second one planned for installation in the years to come. With continued support from the Bullitt Foundation, and most recently a King County Flood Control District Flood Reduction Grant, we are leading the charge from gray to green infrastructure.

The Full Circle Farm Demonstration Rain Garden and Carnation Green Infrastructure Integration project is another multi-partner project with a wider reach. It will tie together several efforts throughout the Valley with valued partners who are investing in both a viable economy and an environmentally sustainable future. Our friends at Full Circle Farm will continue their stellar farming and land stewardship practices by installing a large rain garden/bioswale to treat stormwater and agricultural runoff . This project is proposed right next to some of our riparian restoration efforts along Griffin Creek, allowing us to see the full extent of our work at this incredible site. Full Circle Farm will be the first farm in the Snoqualmie Valley that Stewardship Partners will work with to install green infrastructure features!

In addition, we will work with our new partners at Orenda Winery, strategically located across the highway from Full Circle, to perform a green infrastructure assessment in order to help them continue their dedication to sustainable land use practices. We will also work with the City of Carnation to inventory green infrastructure features and provide technical support for future green infrastructure installations as the city makes infrastructure upgrades as a result of increased flooding and other pressures due to ongoing development.

These are just a few examples of how the Snoqualmie Strategy continues to engage local stakeholders in a collaborative and innovative manner. Only by working together and taking action can we ensure future generations have clean air to breathe, fresh water to drink and plenty of healthy local food to eat.