Happy Earth Month, Tukwila! Our beautiful city is home to over 150 acres of open space, including 20 parks and 12 miles of multi-use trails. This month, we’re highlighting our Green Tukwila Partnership and showcasing the many ways you can get involved in protecting Tukwila’s open spaces. The more people that lend a hand, the easier it is to create a healthy ecosystem in which both wildlife and the Tukwila community can thrive.
In 2016, Tukwila became an official “Green City” after the city council adopted a 20-year Green Tukwila Partnership Stewardship Plan led by Forterra. Together with Forterra, EarthCorps, Duwamish Alive Coalition, Dirt Corps, King County Parks, and the Tukwila community, the partnership works to restore and maintain 138 acres of Tukwila’s urban forest.
For Earth Month, we sat down with Tukwila Parks & Recreation’s Olena Perry to talk about the importance of the Green Tukwila Partnership and the impact it’s had on Tukwila’s urban forest and community.
Experience Tukwila: How much progress has Green Tukwila made in the preservation of Tukwila Parks and Wildlife since the Green Tukwila 20-Year Stewardship Plan started?
Olena Perry: Walk through one of the restoration sites — Tukwila Park, Green River Trail by Bicentennial Park, Crystal Springs Park, Cottonwood Corner and Duwamish Hill Preserve — to see the impact. As the program installs a diverse pallet of plants and trees, and removes invasive plants like English Ivy and Himalayan Blackberry, we will see the return of wildlife and a balanced ecosystem. We measure the success of the partnership by carefully tracking the square feet of noxious weeds removed and the number of native shrubs, groundcovers, and trees planted.
ET: What makes Tukwila’s landscape special in the broader Duwamish watershed?
OP: Tukwila landscape is unique for many reasons; we have a wide variety of habitats that lend themselves to various native plants and wildlife, from upland forests and riparian zones to grasslands. Healthy green spaces work as filter systems, cleaning stormwater, and airborne pollutants. Tukwila’s impact on the Duwamish River directly affects Orca, salmon, and marine life in Elliot Bay.
ET: Where would you like to see Green Tukwila go in the future? Any exciting new things on the horizon?
OP: Lots of excitement for Green Tukwila; the partnership is growing. Every year we see more and more volunteers and stewards join the conversation and the work. We have launched environmental programming with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Partner in Employment is returning with their Green Jobs program, Dirt Corps is starting a large project at Crystal Springs Park, and the Service Board has returned for another year of stewardship at Duwamish Hill Preserve. The work is essential, and the community is strong; Green Tukwila is growing and making significant yearly impacts.
ET: What’s Tukwila Parks’ message to people during Earth Month?
OP: Earth Day is a time of reflection, to think about our impact on this precious planet and what you can do to support a healthy tomorrow. Get involved in Green Tukwila’s events, learn about your local environment, and make an impact! www.Tukwilwa.gov/earthmonth
Interested in answering Olena’s call to action and getting involved with Green Tukwila? Check out these upcoming Earth Month events:
- April 12 from 11:30am – 1:30pm, Restoration at Riverton Park — Help a group of volunteers weed out invasive English ivy and help restore the park to its natural state.
- April 13 from 11am – 2pm, Cottonwood Corner Work Party and Picnic — Help a group of volunteers fight back invasive plant species like Himalayan blackberry, English Ivy, and Morning Glory in Tukwila’s Cottonwood Corner.
- April 15 from 10am – 1pm, Duwamish Hill Preserve Work Party — Help forest stewards remove young blackberries and clear spaces for fall planting in this unique ecosystem with deep connection to local Indigenous communities.
Experience Tukwila regularly highlights Green Tukwila work parties, so keep an eye out on our events page and social media to catch future volunteer opportunities!