In our current age of factory farming and mass consumption, the ethos of stewardship practiced by those farmers who came before us seems to be a fleeting concept. If we take a step back and look at the history of Carnation Farms, maybe we could learn a lesson or two.
Caring for the land and animals on which we rely was a focal point of E.A. Stuart, Carnation Farms’ founder, who purchased 360 acres of Tolt, WA farmland in 1908. Stuart saw a need to increase dairy production while at the same time treating their livestock in such a way to ensure they were happy and healthy. Stuarts’ advertising slogan “milk from contented cows” was the basis on which the farms reputation was built.
Stuart had an early impact in the Snoqualmie Valley, and this impact continues to this day. The farmland originally purchased in 1908 has gone through several transitions, a few different owners, and operational changes, but today it is still known as Carnation Farms and it functions in a manner akin to the early days with a special emphasis on stewardship.
Presently, Carnation Farms is a nonprofit organization and Salmon-Safe certified farm, still owned by the Stuarts and still operating with the historic stewardship practices embodied by E.A. Stuart. Rosy Smit, Director of Sustainable Agriculture Education, boasts “Carnation Farms and Stewardship Partners have been working together since 2013 on sustainability initiatives, community education and environmental stewardship. Our mission is to transform the way that people want to eat, and we celebrate delicious and nutritious food produced in a sustainable manner by providing inspirational and educational experiences that positively affect the health of our community and the environment. We deeply value ecosystem health and working with Stewardship Partners has enabled us to restore large tracts of riverbank and enhance riparian corridors, all the while educating farm guests, and summer camp and youth program participants about how to not only responsibly farm the land but also how we strive to be good stewards of our property. Stewardship Partners provides us with education and ecological restoration expertise, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration and making an impactful difference, not just on our farm but in our local community. We are excited to include ecological education in our Mentorship in Sustainable Agriculture program this year, where our farmers-in-training will experience firsthand how riverbank restoration can impact the local ecology on the farm and in the greater community.”
You can come learn more about Carnation Farms, their commitment to stewardship, and our partnership with them restoring riparian habitat at one of the volunteer events we host there each spring and fall.
The Snoqualmie Stewardship restoration crew extended their reach recently with a collaborative effort between Capri Hospitality Management, the City of Woodinville, and a few other partners. The crew has always been for hire, but more and more businesses and new partners are approaching us to work on restoration projects, mitigation projects, and collaborative efforts outside our normal routine of riparian restoration on agricultural lands. This recognition is a great way to expand our breadth of work while maintaining our focus on providing clean water, healthy habitat, and engaged community partners.
This September they worked to stabilize nearly 200 feet of stream bank on the property of the new Hampton Inn and Suites in Woodinville, WA. This project offered the crew a chance to hone their bioengineering skills by stabilizing a steep and challenging bank along a tributary of Little Bear Creek, a creek historically known for salmon spawning.
As Stewardship Partners gains this new knowledge and expertise, expanding our services offered to landowners, businesses, and other organizations/agencies, the Snoqualmie Stewardship Restoration crew is available to work on slope/bank stabilization, volunteer event management, riparian habitat restoration, wetland restoration, upland forest restoration, implementing green infrastructure features such as rain gardens, and mitigation projects.
Additionally, the entire Stewardship Partners’ staff is available to be hired for consultation and opportunity assessments, project design, mitigation design, permitting assistance, implementation, and maintenance. Our full-time restoration crew and Director of Ecological Restoration combined have over 25 years of experience providing these services to landowners and communities and have restored over 72 acres of degraded habitat. We are excited to share our expertise, muscle, and passion with a wider audience in the years to come!
Partnership is a central characteristic of Stewardship Partners’ core values and is one of the reasons why our work has such wide-ranging impact. A great example of partnership is our recent collaboration with Aspect Consulting to build the Carnation Elementary School Rain Garden.
In the summer of 2017, Owen Reese, a Water Resources Engineer with Aspect Consulting, contacted Stewardship Partners offering design, project management, and hands-on construction expertise for any volunteer opportunities with our 12,000 Rain Gardens program. The Carnation Elementary School Rain Garden provided the perfect project to exercise this exciting partnership.
Within a month of Owen’s first email, Aspect conducted a detailed soil analysis and sent us a professional garden design and planting plan, which were quickly approved by both school administrators and the school district. Aspect Consulting’s technical expertise immensely helps to complete projects quickly and efficiently. The Aspect team then returned a few months later to install this new rain garden, joining even more volunteers from the Carnation Elementary School Environmental Club. Today, the rain garden flourishes. From this successful rain garden project, we recently heard that that the King County Flood Control District agreed to fund a second rain garden at Carnation Elementary School through their Flood Reduction Fund. We’re thrilled to build this second rain garden and our partners at Aspect Consulting are already on-board to help!
But Aspect Consulting’s professional assistance, volunteering, and pro-bono work doesn’t stop at rain gardens. Later this fall, we are teaming up with Aspect at Carnation Farms to engage their staff in an Adopt-a-Buffer – planting native trees and shrubs on one of our biggest restoration sites along the Snoqualmie River.
Inspired? You can help, too! Visit our volunteer calendar to sign up for an event that fits your schedule. Our volunteer events are a great way to be a stewardship partner and are fun for the whole family!
Come say hi to Sal the Salmon, take a “salfie” and have a delicious, sustainable dinner at Duke’s Seafood and Chowder! Sal will be hanging out at the Bellevue Duke’s April 10th from 5-7 pm!
Sal will be letting everyone know that throughout the month of April, a portion of special menu items at all seven Duke’s locations will be donated to Stewardship Partners! Nothing better than a delicious meal that helps support our programs that engage Puget Sound communities as caretakers of the land and water that sustain us.
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.
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.
Restoring habitat along the Snoqualmie River is hard work that can be bolstered by a group effort. Thanks to Valley landowners and local businesses, collaboration is becoming much easier through Stewardship Partners’ Adopt-a-Buffer program.
Campbell Global, a Portland-based sustainable timber company that also works in the Snoqualmie Valley, is the latest company to adopt a buffer. The firm was founded in 1981 as The Campbell Group and they bring over three decades of experience and industry knowledge to timberland investment management and value creation.
As the new owner and operator of the 100,000 acre Snoqualmie Forest, Campbell Global is also the largest landowner in the Snoqualmie Valley. This is significant as the watershed supports some of the largest runs of wild Coho in Puget Sound, due in part to an intricate network of beaver ponds in the tributaries that flow through the Snoqualmie Forest. Griffin Creek, one of these tributaries, winds through Full Circle Farm on its way to the Snoqualmie River. Full Circle Farm, a Salmon-Safe certified farm that runs the largest Community Supported Agriculture program in the Northwest, is the site of Campbell Global’s adopted buffer.
We have been actively engaged in restoration at Full Circle Farm since 2004 and are proud of the example it sets for how we can all grow together for a sustainable Snoqualmie Valley and Puget Sound. Campbell Global is dedicated to practices that will protect the watershed as they support our efforts downriver from the Snoqualmie Forest.
Their dedication to the river’s health was apparent on October 6th, when a team of Campbell Global employees spent hours removing invasive blackberry in preparation for planting next spring. This work contributed to the health of “their” buffer that will provide a habitat corridor for wildlife, shade for salmon and protection against winter floods. We are proud of this new partnership that plays a key role in enhancing the health of the Snoqualmie River and all of its inhabitants.