Only Three Days Left to Give to the Environment in 2022!

This has been a big year for Stewardship Partners. We are proud of our on-the-ground actions as we continue to facilitate partnerships and create measurable positive impacts on the environment and neighborhoods across the region. Please take this opportunity to show your support of Stewardship Partners before the year ends!

Stewardship Partners’ resolute staff represents the most experienced and knowledgeable people working to solve our region’s challenging environmental problems. We would like to share program highlights for the year. 

The 7th annual Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea was held virtually on March 24 and 25th, and despite not being together in person (for the 3rd year in a row!) the feeling of connectedness to a community of hundreds of leaders and innovators was still profound. The 8th Summit will be in-person on March 17th so save the date.

The Snoqualmie Stewardship Program restored 1.8 acres of habitat, planted over 8,000 plants at multiple farms, and maintained one acre of restoration sites. We also received a total of $25,000 in volunteer time and over $100,000 in government grants.  Two new rain gardens were installed in Carnation at the library, and another will soon be completed at Griffin Creek Farm.  The program continues to expand its impact and partnerships with homeowners, businesses, and farms.

As a friend of ours, we know you’ve probably heard this before. Protecting and restoring salmon and their streams is the reason we started planting riparian habitat buffers over 20 years ago and building rain gardens in 2008. Then we created the 12,000 Rain Garden Campaign for Puget Sound back in 2011, and now we are further sharpening our focus to address runoff from our shared highways and roadways, focusing on the worst first by placing rain garden boxes under elevated highways in the densest urban areas. The concept is called ‘Adopt-a-Downspout’ but in the SP office we affectionately refer to it as ‘box of rain.’ The pilot project has been in the works behind the scenes for more than 3 years as we built a partnership with Washington State Department of Transportation. And now we are launching the pilot phase of adopt-a-downspout under the I-5 Ship Canal Bridge in Seattle, one of the most heavily trafficked roads in the state, passing over a major salmon migration corridor. We will be refining the design of our boxes of rain and testing their overall effectiveness over the coming ‘rain year’ and if the concept works as well as it is expected to, we will expand as quickly as possible to protect and restore the health of our urban streams for salmon, other wildlife and communities.

The Alliance for Pioneer Square, in collaboration with Stewardship Partners, held a volunteer planting event in March 2023 to transform four tree pits on Occidental Ave South into miniature rain gardens. The rain gardens are home to several native plant species that attract pollinators and help filter stormwater, keeping Puget Sound clean. The volunteer event was a huge success, with community members dedicating time and energy to create a unique space in Pioneer Square. In addition to rain gardens, the project included the installation of native artwork designed by Tommy Segundo, a local Native American artist, that was installed adjacent to a storm drain on the sidewalk to draw attention to where our polluted runoff goes and the importance of keeping it clean.

Artist Tommy Segundo

We are so happy to have had an in-person Feast on the Farm; the magical evening at Griffin Creek Farm was full of energy and generosity that our guests brought to the farm.  We wanted to say thank you again to everyone who attended, volunteered, and donated to make our return to Feast on the Farm so special! Thanks to our generous sponsors and guests we raised $88,000 to support our work.

Stewardship Partners would not be here without you. Thank you for being dedicated to our team and our mission and loving this special place we call home. Please consider Stewardship Partners in your annual giving this year.

Thank you,

David J. Burger                                       Christopher T. Bayley
Executive Director                                 Founder and Board Chair

Helping to Green Up Pioneer Square

As part of a broader greenspace improvement project, the Alliance for Pioneer Square, in collaboration with Stewardship Partners, held a volunteer planting event in March 2023 to transform four tree pits on Occidental Ave South into miniature rain gardens. The rain gardens are home to several native plant species that attract pollinators and help filter stormwater, keeping Puget Sound clean. The volunteer event was a huge success, with community members dedicating time and energy to create a unique space in Pioneer Square. This ecologically beneficial beautification project is the result of the volunteer group’s work! Funding for this project was made possible by Historic South Downtown.

In addition to rain gardens, the project included the installation of native artwork designed by Tommy Segundo, a local Native American artist, that was installed adjacent to a storm drain on the sidewalk to draw attention to where our polluted runoff goes and the importance of keeping it clean.

Make a Gift for Giving Tuesday

GivingTuesday is a global day of generosity that will take place on November 29, 2022. GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past ten years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

When you make a gift on Giving Tuesday, you’re supporting more than Stewardship Partners; you’re also supporting the wildlife, people, and natural splendor of our Puget Sound home. Your donation attests to the importance of clean water, healthy salmon and wildlife habitats, sustainable agriculture, healthy communities, and overall stewardship of our shared environment. We hope you will consider supporting us on November 29th!

The Summit is Returning in Person!

Stewardship Partners and the Summit Host Committee are excited to announce that after 3 years in virtual formats, the Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea will have be coming back in person on March 17, 2023 at Cascadia College in Bothell.

Over the last 3 years we brought attention to regions beyond the central Seattle and King County area to the South, the North, and the West, and now we are back in the middle. We hope you will save the date and watch for updates on the Summit website. Even as we shine a spotlight on the greater Seattle area and meet up in person there, this event is always about sharing stories and leadership in the field of green infrastructure from across the whole Salish Sea region. Please join us and help turn the tide of polluted runoff.

The Return of Feast on the Farm

It has already been almost a month since the magical evening at Griffin Creek Farm and we are still beaming from the energy and generosity that our guests brought to the farm.  We wanted to say thank you again to everyone who attended, volunteered, and donated to make our return to Feast on the Farm so special!

Thanks to our generous sponsors and guests we raised $88,000 towards our fundraising goal of $100,000. You can help us meet our goal by making a donation today!

Thank you to our 2022 Sponsors!

New Partnership with Grow It Forward Restoration

Snoqualmie Stewardship is now partnering with Grow It Forward Restoration which offers some unique new volunteer opportunities for folks. More information from GIFR below!

Do you own a pickup truck? You can use it to heal our environment by delivering native tree seedlings to habitat restoration projects!  “Grow It Forward Restoration” (GIFR) is a new local non-profit that organizes gardeners to each grow 100 native tree seedlings in a “micro-nursery” in their gardens, which we sell at below cost to the many habitat organizations in our region who toil to restore ecologically vital habitat for endangered species like salmon and the orcas that feed on them. GIFR’s mission is to empower average citizens to be personally involved in habitat restoration by connecting them to the organizations who do this work.

We rely on a small fleet of volunteer pickup truck owner/drivers like you! Pickups make deliveries at 2 different times of the year. If you sign up to be on our list, you can choose to help out or not as follows:

This October and November, GIFR’s small fleet of pickup truck owners deliver finished seedlings to the sites where they will start a new forest. As we get orders for seedlings, we will ask if you are available during a specific time period to make a delivery as follows:

  • We ask if you can make deliveries up to 2 weeks in advance. If so, we provide contact information for 2 or 3 micro-nursery hosts, and the organization getting the seedlings.
  • You contact everyone and arrange a time to pick up the seedlings from each host then deliver them to a local restoration organization’s site.
  • You go to each micro-nursery, several days in advance if you like, and with the host’s help, load the potted seedlings into your truck. Each is about 5 lbs, 3 feet tall in a pot 4 inches square and 10 inches tall. A pickup truck holds 200 to 250 seedlings.
  • You deliver the seedlings to the grateful habitat restoration organization at the scheduled time and location.

In March of each year, GIFR distributes raw materials for new micro-nurseries to a new set of gardeners who will host them for 1 to 2 growing seasons. We need pickup truck owner/drivers to deliver 500 lbs of clean topsoil for each new micro-nursery as follows:

  • We ask if you are available up to 2 weeks in advance of our kickoff date, usually the first weekend in March. If so, we give you the contact information for 2 or 4 new micro-nursery hosts.
  • You reach out each host to arrange when and where to deliver 500 lbs of soil to each.
  • You go to a Pacific Topsoils location at a time convenient to you. You tell them to charge the soil to us. They load your truck with 1/2 cubic yard of topsoil (about 1,000 lbs for 2 micro-nurseries), or 1 cubic yard if your truck has the capacity.
  • You then drive to each gardener’s home and shovel the soil off the back of your truck. (The host is responsible for picking up 100 pots and bare root seedlings from us). The soil is very fluffy and fairly easy to shovel down off the truck since gravity is working for you!

You may also consider becoming one of our micro-nursery hosts. Here is how that goes:

  • You must live in the Seattle/East side area and have basic gardening skills
  • Pay $100 to Grow It Forward Restoration for the materials for your micro-nursery (500 lbs of soil, delivered, 100 bare root baby seedlings, 100 plastic nursery pots)
  • You must pot all 100 seedlings within 2 days of getting them on the first Sunday in March, requiring about 5 hrs. of light work.
  • You need to devote 16 square feet (4 feet by 4 feet for example) of garden space that has partial sun and shade (full sun is too much, full shade with dappled sun is good, half sun and half shade each day is good.)
  • You agree to host the micro-nursery for one or two growing seasons until the seedlings are big enough, keeping them in a partially shaded spot, and watered through spring and summer dry spells.

If you are interested, please go to our website https://growitfwd.org/ where you will find two forms, one to be a pickup truck owner/driver, and one to host a micro-nursery. Signing up to be a pickup truck driver/owner will put you on our list of possible drivers, and we will later contact you as we are ready to make deliveries and ask if you are available. If you sign up to host a micro-nursery, we will send you a PayPal invoice for $100, then as March approaches, arrange for delivery of your soil and tell you how to pick up your pots and baby seedlings (probably from the Phinney Neighborhood Center in N Seattle).

Stewardship Partners Seeks Board Members

Interested in getting involved in a local non-profit organization with a direct impact on Puget Sound? Do you love our area and want to have a hand in programs that engage landowners, shopkeepers, homeowners, builders, and corporations in taking care of our land and water? Stewardship Partners is actively recruiting board members with a diversity of voices in our community. Our low-key, approachable board meets six times annually to help guide and govern the high-impact, hands-on work of Stewardship Partners. If you’ve never been on a board before, but are interested in making an impact locally, please contact info@stewardshippartners.org.

Our 2021 Accomplishments

Dear Stewardship Partners Community,

As we approach the end of 2021, we are thankful for your continued support that has allowed Stewardship Partners to continue providing environmental solutions for landowners and businesses who care for the land and water of the region. We are proud of our on-the-ground work as we continue to forge long-lasting partnerships and measurable positive impacts on the environment and communities across the region.

Stewardship Partners’ resilient, hard-working staff comprises the most experienced and knowledgeable people working to solve our region’s complex environmental issues. We’d like to share several program highlights for the year.

The Snoqualmie Stewardship Program restored two acres of habitat, planted over 3,000 plants at multiple farms, and maintained a record 9.5 acres of restoration sites. We also completed a new Snoqualmie Valley Stewardship Handbook. This guide includes tips and funding sources for projects including home stewardship, agricultural stewardship, forest stewardship, sustainable recreation, volunteering, and green consumer tools. The program continues to expand, working with schools and cities in the Snoqualmie Valley, building rain gardens, and installing other green infrastructure projects in addition to riparian restoration.

A new innovative ad campaign was created this spring that calls on people to become “Rain Changers” by creating rain gardens at their homes and businesses. The campaign was the brainchild of Sam Neukom and the pro-bono creative team at NorthboundMerlino Media also provided resources to match advertising funding. Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard, who is planning his second rain garden, lent star power to the campaign. Noting in one radio ad, “if you want to keep your basement dry and the Sound clean, cisterns and rain gardens are a beautiful way to help.” The campaign was featured in the Seattle Times and South Seattle Emerald and included bus-side ads, radio ads, and billboards. The RainWise website saw the largest ever number of visitors to the site after the Seattle Times article. Visit www.rainchangers.org to see if your property qualifies for rebates from the City of Seattle or King County or to find incentives in other areas of Puget Sound. 

The 6th Annual Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea gathered seven virtual panel discussions and an online networking event over two days in March. We covered big ideas and impacts that go way beyond water alone. Discussion topics included innovative partnerships, whole watershed approaches, climate resilience, systems of power and access, science, and research-based pragmatism, and we shined a spotlight on innovative leadership in northern Puget Sound watersheds. 

We continue to educate the public on supporting local farms and restaurants by choosing sustainable Salmon-Safe products. We also hosted educational workshops and webinars, such as the virtual Flower Farmer Workshop in April. Stewardship Partners maintains a vital relationship with the Salmon-Safe headquarters team in Portland, and we all meet regularly. We are thrilled to welcome new farms to the program this year, such as Farm at Water’s Edge in Belfair and Paradise Parking Plots in Kent. We hope you will help us protect our Puget Sound and all its residents by choosing Salmon-Safe products! 

Once again, we couldn’t gather in person for Feast on the Farm; so we feasted and celebrated with supporters, each in our own homes across the region. It wouldn’t have been possible without our sponsors, farmers, and chefs. Feast on the Farm at home raised $25,500, which will directly support our conservation and restoration initiatives in Puget Sound! 

Stewardship Partners would not be here without you. Thank you for being dedicated to our team and our mission and loving this special place we call home. Please consider Stewardship Partners in your annual giving this year.

Summit 2021 Highlights and Call for Action

Looking back on six years of Green Infrastructure Summits, some things have changed and others have stayed the same. That first year, I had this phrase I couldn’t stop saying about how this region was poised to become the “silicon valley of green infrastructure.” I felt that we had the necessary components for an “innovation ecosystem” that could lead the world in nature-based solutions to complex, “wicked problems” like stormwater, climate change, and environmental justice if we could “connect the dots” across sectors (.com, .gov, .org, .edu)  and “bust silos.” With all those catchphrases, I’m lucky no one kicked me out of the PNW to go live in the real silicon valley! Creating a host committee that shared many of those ideas and brought so many more of their own took that initial vision and made it into something that the whole green infrastructure sector can feel proud of.  

The summit host committee is the heart of the event, and this year proved that yet again. From identifying a unifying theme to selecting speakers and sessions, right down to redefining and helping de-colonize the event name, this year’s summit host committee put on a fantastic event against the odds, in the face of multiple pandemics (e.g. COVID and Global-scale Zoom Fatigue) a societal reckoning around race and equity, a climate crisis, and a more divided society than we’ve seen in decades. Yet we all gathered. We all shared openly, even vulnerably. And we participated in difficult conversations that opened doors, and learned about collaborations that poked holes in silos and brought down barriers. We heard about agencies “failing forward” (did .govs learn that from our .com colleagues?), community needs that were put first and ultimately supported by stormwater funding. It is humbling and inspiring at the same time to see where we started and the significant progress we’ve achieved as a community and as a green infrastructure movement. There’s a long way to go before we reach our shared goals of human and natural systems in balance, the end of any one dominant culture, and an infrastructure system that grows better with age rather than deteriorating. But looking back at where we started and forward into the unknown, it’s possible to imagine all those things. And if we can imagine them, we can create them.   

If you missed this year’s summit, or if you joined us but want to revisit anything that was shared, please visit the summit webpage at: www.12000raingardens.org/summit2021. All the presentations are available to watch, and additional resources from the event can be downloaded at that webpage.  

Written by Aaron Clark, Director of Strategic Partnerships

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.