EVERETT — Forest Park is a greener place thanks to the work of more than 100 volunteers, including second-graders from View Ridge Elementary School.
Teacher Heidi Davis and about 15 of her students spent part of Oct. 28 at the park planting about 600 shrubs and trees as part of Green Everett Day.
The event was sponsored by Forterra, a Seattle-based conservation group, in partnership with the city. The group is working with Everett to preserve and maintain forested land within city limits.
It has identified about 354 acres in Everett that need to be restored and actively managed, said Charlie Vogelheim, the stewardship coordinator for Forterra.
Urban neighbors benefit from access to healthy forests, he said.
A dozen volunteers act as forest stewards in Everett, adopting a park or site to monitor what work needs to be done. That may include removing invasive ivy and blackberry bushes, Vogelheim said. They work closely with the parks department to lend extra hands.
Elisa Dawson moved to Everett about a year ago. She was looking for a worthwhile cause to donate her time. She found the program on the city’s web site. It was a good fit. Dawson works for Snohomish County as a water resource manager. She attended a training and is a steward at Rotary Park in the Lowell neighborhood.
She plans work parties to spruce up the forested areas around the park. They’ve done some mulching and planting.
“I think these spaces promote a good thriving community,” Dawson said.
Davis has been a teacher since 1994. View Ridge is next to Johnston-Kelly Park, once a green belt that students and volunteers helped develop into a park more than two decades ago. Once a month, Davis and her young students visit the park to clean it up. They also fit in some lessons among the trees and creek.
The city’s parks department recommended that Davis and her students take part in Green Everett Day.
“My students were gung-ho,” she said.
The kids suggested they teach other volunteers about six native trees: Douglas fir, western red cedar, big leaf maple, vine maple, black cottonwood and red alder. The students, with help from some older classmates, researched the trees.
“They had to know enough to teach others. They did and made some visual aids to help them remember what they learned,” Davis said.
Some students liked the idea of quizzing people who passed by their booth on Saturday. They settled on handing out bookmarks with tree facts as souvenirs.
The students also helped with the planting. In this region, the wet season is the best time to plant trees and shrubs, Vogelheim said.
More than 100 volunteers fanned out across the park, toting swordferns, salal, evergreen huckleberries and other woody shrubs native to the area. Some fir and shore pine trees also were on the planting list.
“It was such a great day,” Davis said. “The kids learned about salmon and the Audubon Society. They were really excited.”
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; email@example.com.