The 8th Annual Green Infrastructure Summit: An Amazing Convergence of Like Minds and Hearts

It seems like absence really does make the heart grow fonder. After 3 years of virtual Summits, on March 17th, we were finally able to gather about 230 leaders of the green infrastructure movement together in person (with a couple dozen more joining us online). It was great to see everyone (and the sunshine didn’t hurt either)! Faces and perspectives new and old gathered at Cascadia College in Bothell for the 8th annual Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea. The host committee’s chosen theme of “money as medicine, historic investments are a historic opportunity for healing*”, helped us all consider our work with shared goals of healing harms, environmental, social, and otherwise.

Over the course of 8 summits in 8 years, a lot has happened. But one theme has persisted throughout: How can we repair environmental damage in a way that heals our social wounds as well? Or put in the terms that Host committee member Bridget Ray spoke, the people here belong to this land, are of this land, not the other way around, and when we work to heal and care for one, we must keep that relationship in mind. This is happening. Investments in green infrastructure are taking community-identified goals and needs into account. Some of those goals relate to workforce and career pathways. Others talked about the very rich complexity of community-centered strategies. Green infrastructure is increasingly helping create accessible outdoor spaces in the form of stormwater parks.

Most of the sessions (all the ones in the auditorium) were recorded and will remain available for you to watch and share with your colleagues on the summit webpage (along with content from past summits).

“While I didn’t know it at the time, this summit was my last in my current role. I couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding send off than that. I am profoundly grateful for this community, your vision, your love for this land and all the people that belong to it.” -A note from Aaron Clark

*Acknowledgement to Edgar Villanueva who popularized the concept ‘money as medicine’ in his important book, Decolonizing Wealth.

Buy Summit Tickets Now!

At the 2023 Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea we are taking the historic opportunity to look at the way infrastructure investments have been done to date, and inform the ways that we want them done now. This year’s theme is: Money as Medicine* – Historic investments are an historic opportunity for healing that we can’t afford to miss. There will be presentations and discussions on funding, workforce and career pathways, regional coordination, research, modeling, design and planning at watershed scales, and food systems too. We’ll have opportunities to walk outside, share food and drinks together, talk in the hallways, and yes, we will talk about tires too!

On behalf of an incredible host committee and Stewardship Partners, please join us.

What: The 8th annual Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea
Where: Mobius Hall, Cascadia College, Bothell, WA (with an online livestreaming option for the larger sessions)
When: March 17, 2023 (approx. 8:30 AM-4:30 PM)
Register Now: Eventbrite

*Acknowledgement to Edgar Villanueva who popularized the concept ‘money as medicine’ in his important book, Decolonizing Wealth.

Upcoming Workshops & Classes

Growing Groceries Classes: Wednesdays at 7 pm – January through June
Learn best practices for growing fruits and vegetables in Western Washington!

Bellevue Demo Garden Workshops: Saturdays at 9:30 am – January through October
Covers a comprehensive offering of gardening topics with a focus on ornamental plants and gardening issues.

Tilth Alliance Gardeners Classes – Thursdays & Saturdays – Now through May – Mix of online and in person
A variety of classes on topics such as vegetable gardening, food preservation and cooking, permaculture, and urban livestock.

SCD Jumpstart Your Yard  – Feb. 4th, 10am – 12pm – Woodinville
Thinking about transforming your yard this year? This introductory class will focus on effective yard design and the components needed for robust soils.

KCD Streamside Restoration: Feb. 7th, 6-7:30 pm – Webinar
Learn from restoration experts about managing your yard to support both the environment and your own needs.

How to Get RainWise: Feb 15th, 6-7 pm – Webinar
Learn how RainWise rebates for rain gardens and cisterns reduce pollution and how you can get an installation at your home!

SCD Planting a Food Forest: Feb 25th, 10-11:30 am, Webinar
Want to garden and do your part for wildlife and climate change? Consider creating a food forest! Learn all about it in this webinar!

KCD Understanding Soil Health: Feb 27th, 6-8 pm – Webinar
Learn about soil basics, KCD’s Soil Testing Program, and ways to improve soil health.

How to Get RainWise: March 1st, 6-7 pm – West Seattle
Learn about how you can apply for a rebate to cover up to 100% of the cost of your rain garden or cistern – in-person!

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.

Just a Box of Rain

Summer may still be in full effect for a few more weeks, but at Stewardship Partners we are already thinking about rain. ‘Why??’ you ask. Because we know that all the dry days we’ve had mean that tire dust, car drips, and anything else that lands on our impervious urban surfaces (roads, parking lots, roofs… even lawns) will soon be washed into salmon streams across the region. That ‘first flush’ of polluted runoff (aka stormwater) often comes as coho salmon swim around at the mouths of their birth-streams waiting for rain to swell the streams and allow them to swim up and complete their incredible life cycles and start the next generation. If too much pollution is in the streams when they enter, instead of spawning, those fish will die with bellies full of eggs and milt, and future generations never get their chance.

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 in 1999, 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’ (starting October 1), 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. Stay tuned over the coming months for updates as we kick the tires so-to-speak on this approach.

As with everything we do, this project is moving forward because of amazing partners including but not limited to Julia Ebert, the Boeing Company, Snohomish Conservation District, UW Center for Urban Horticulture, WSDOT, Herrera Environmental, TNC, Site Story, Salmon-Safe and many others have all played or continue to play vital roles in this project.

Project Site Plan Draft

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.