At Stewardship Partners we are always thinking about the ways we can change our world. Over the last 5 years of convening the Puget Sound Green Infrastructure Summit, we have learned a lot about the intersection between environmental and social issues. We have tried to center racial equity and social justice in this community and make green infrastructure a tool for improving the most impacted environments first and foremost. This year, we adapted to a global pandemic and brought forward 9 virtual panel discussions over 4 weeks. We covered big ideas and impacts that go way beyond water alone. Topics of discussion 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.
Looking back on those discussions and the amazing people leading them and looking ahead to the incredible challenges in front of us, it is this collaborative group of brilliant and compassionate people that gives us hope. Our community is poised to respond and is responding right now. The green infrastructure community is building innovative new systems, both social and physical, that account for what might be downstream.
Solutions that simultaneously improve social equity and environmental quality must be a part of our path forward. As the nation and the world look for ways to recover and rebuild, there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in better solutions that meet that challenge, and many of those ideas can be found in the recorded summit sessions here. From every sector and across the region, these are many of the leaders who are already making it happen. Recovering from the current overlapping crises is, by definition, not a matter of going back to the way things were. It is a matter of restoring justice for our communities and restoring the natural systems on which we all depend.
We are immensely grateful to all 53 speakers, 336 attendees, our sponsors, our amazing host committee, advisory committee, Cascadia Consulting and Stewardship Partners teams. Thank you all for helping us lead the first virtual Summit!
Like many of you, we have had to adjust the ways in which we do our work due to COVID-19. One particular challenge has been moving forward with certifying and re-certifying farms as Salmon-Safe, which requires a site assessment that has historically been in person with a third party assessor. After some diligent work by the Salmon-Safe team, we are thrilled to have protocols in place for virtual assessments of farms during the 2020 growing season and beyond. Growers, Salmon-Safe staff, and independent assessors will work together on Zoom or similar online conferencing platforms. These virtual assessments replace customary on-site assessments for the time being. For existing Salmon-Safe certified farms, we also have the flexible options of doing a virtual re-assessment or offering a 12-month extension of certification to these farms. We are very excited to have these new protocols in place that allow us to keep this program running smoothly and continue our partnerships with local farms. If you are interested in becoming Salmon-Safe or re-certifying, please email us.
One specific area we plan to put our virtual assessment practices in place is Mason County. Stewardship Partners recently received grant funding from Squaxin Island Tribe to do Salmon-Safe outreach to growers in Mason County. Our hope is to bring new farms on board with Salmon-Safe, and we also have scholarship funding to help cover the fees associated with certification. If you know of any growers in Mason County who would be interested in learning more about Salmon-Safe, please email us. We look forward to working with new farms and acknowledging the good work being done by local growers.
Stewardship Partners is pleased to welcome Todd Albertson to the office staff. Todd first joined Stewardship Partners in 2018 as an intern. A transplant from Northern California, he received a degree in history from the University of Washington and later a Masters of Public Administration from the Evans School at UW where he specialized in policy analysis and environmental policy. He is excited to use his policy knowledge to better the Puget Sound region through his role managing grants at Stewardship Partners. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, watching sports (Go Dawgs!) and exploring the Puget Sound region.
Stewardship Partners stands in solidarity with and in support of Black lives. As a historically white-led environmental organization, we recognize the intersectionality of racial injustice and our contribution to a system designed to oppress Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We acknowledge that we are part of the problem and are committed to doing our part in dismantling this system that promotes racial violence and injustice.
In this time of great sorrow and reflection, we acknowledge the injustices of our country and the structures of our society. We have been horrified by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Armaud Arbery, as well as the thousands who were murdered before them. Yet, we know that while a simple acknowledgment of solidarity may be necessary so that we do not sit in privileged silence, it is not enough to say that we stand with people of color. We must act. We must do more. We must be part of the solution.
We need to look no further than the purpose of our organization, which revolves around engaging and empowering people, from every walk of life and community, in being caretakers of the land and water. Our actions will fall into the following categories:
Listen – We will give space and listen to the voices of BIPOC communities.
Show Up – We will follow the lead of BIPOC communities and support their vision of the antiracist environmental movement.
Act – We will do the work to dismantle the system of institutionalized racism.
Collaborate – When invited, we will continue to collaborate with BIPOC partners.
As an organization, we are committed to analyzing our practices and policies to push toward more significant racial equity. We know that because BIPOC communities are more greatly impacted by environmental damage, and we must change our behavior to meet the injustices these communities grapple with daily.
In addition to promoting equitable and inclusive programming, we are deepening our commitment to:
Define a leadership (board) recruitment strategy using a racial equity lens
Review and revise our HR recruitment, hiring, and retention policy with a racial equity lens
Continue promotion/messaging acknowledging the moment, the injustice, and the history of racism in the country, as well as our understanding that we still have a lot of work to do internally
Stewardship Partners will continue to create people-based solutions that engage Puget Sound communities as caretakers of the land and water that sustain us. However, we won’t be able to fulfill this mission until we have racial justice on a systemic level. We vow to do our part in that process, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable it will be.
We stand in solidarity with Black lives, Stewardship Partners.
Today is not just any regular Tuesday, today is GiveBIG and GivingTuesday! Our goal is to raise $5,000 for our programs!
Today, you can take a stand for a healthy Puget Sound environment. Together we can achieve clean water, sustainable agriculture, thriving salmon and orca populations, and healthy communities, throughout our region.
Gifts of ANY size have an impact on our work! Donate $25 = buy ten trees for a volunteer to plant at one of our restoration sites Donate $100 = provide a scholarship to a local family farm for Salmon-Safe certification Donate $250 = fund the planting of a rain garden at a local school or park
This year, given the impacts of the coronavirus on Washington’s nonprofits, GiveBIG will be a two-day online giving event from May 5-6, with donations remaining open through May 15. So if you forget to make your gift today, you can still give!
Stewardship Partners’ mission and the essence of what we do on a daily basis is deeply rooted in the Earth Day movement. With today’s 50th anniversary we are proud to have participated in 20 years of Earth Day activities, projects and initiatives. Today we would like to pay homage to Denis Hayes, Earth Day founder/coordinator and presently the president and CEO of Seattle based Bullitt Foundation. Denis continues to inspire, fund and collaborate with organizations such as Stewardship Partners. As we look toward the future and envision what another 50 Earth Days looks like we invite you to join us as we continue make it Earth Day every day!
Ten years ago, Kate and I created Feast on the Farm, an event that brings communities together to celebrate our farm partners, who are dedicated to sustainable practices as caretakers of our land and water. As members of our community, you all have become essential to caring for our environment and protecting our earth.
As recent events surrounding COVID-19 continue to evolve, we have unfortunately decided to postpone Feast on the Farm until a later date not determined. We all look forward to this event, and the magic that’s created, each summer. Sadly, screens and email won’t replace the connection we desire from an event of this nature. But for now, they will act as a platform to keep us in touch as we continue to learn more information about when we can expect to come together in feast of thanks. We want to thank our in-kind donors, including Seattle Farm Tables, musicians, chefs, and Full Circle Farm. Most importantly, we want to thank all of you who fill the tables with laughter, intelligence, and appreciation.
We are thinking of all of you and how you might be impacted by this global crisis. Stewardship Partners would not be the same without you. Thank you for being loyal to our organization, for loving the land 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.
I hope this finds you and your family safe and healthy. People are the heart of our work and we care deeply about all of you, especially in these unprecedented times.
As our region comes together to face the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to let all of you know how Stewardship Partners is responding to these challenges. Like many of you, our team is adjusting to new conditions and thinking both practically and innovatively about how best to continue our work. Our number one priority is the health and wellbeing of our employees. I’m incredibly proud of our team’s flexibility and dedication to this organization and its mission to create people-based solutions that engage Puget Sound communities as caretakers of the land and water that sustain us. Like almost everyone, we are adjusting to virtual meetings with our staff, partners, and board.
Three ways we’ve had to change our plans include:
One of the more difficult decisions we had to make was to postpone our annual fundraiser, Feast on the Farm, at least until Fall. We know it’s our big event getting everyone together, so we’ll be following up with you about our plans and what we need to bridge the gap created by this postponement.
We are also moving the 5th annual Green Infrastructure Summit online. We will continue to find innovative ways to move our work forward safely.
Lastly, in compliance with Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, we are suspending all field work and must furlough our hard-working Snoqualmie Stewardship Restoration Crew for at least the next 12 weeks. Their work is important, and we’ll get back at it when we can.
Because of good planning and financial support, we will get through this, but we are going through funds we didn’t expect to be tapping into right now. I’m hopeful for our future and will keep you informed on our steps moving forward. We are all in this together and, in the end, I believe we will come out stronger. Our hearts go out to our many partners in the restaurant business, musicians, and elsewhere who are severely impacted.
Thank you for your continued support and for being caretakers of yourselves and our community during these difficult times. Please feel free to be in contact with me at any time.
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!
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 email@example.com or sign up on the volunteer calendar on our website.
It’s hard to believe that we created the first ever Puget Sound Green Infrastructure Summit 5 whole years ago this month! It seems like yesterday and yet an awful lot has happened in those 5 years. This year we’re proud to again bring together a community of green infrastructure thought leaders from the .com, .org, .gov, and .edu sectors and from every corner of Puget Sound, this time in Tacoma on March 20th, 2020! It’s inspiring and humbling to hear from partners and attendees who credit the summit with catalyzing new projects, partnerships, and strategies to address some of the region’s most pressing and complex problems. Never ones to get stuck in a rut, the green infrastructure summit always touches on a lot more than the stormwater that green infrastructure is typically built to address. Like a rain garden, the reason to attend the summit goes way past one single problem or solution.
At this year’s summit, attendees will hear from professors, youth leaders, agency officials, nonprofits and businesses about the vast array of benefits that green infrastructure can provide. This year’s theme is “Growing green infrastructure: Impacts and Intersectionalities When Scaling Up.” We hope you can join us! Purchase your ticket here.