We spend a lot of time eating, drinking, and exploring Seattle (hence this website). It's no secret we love this city. It gives us so much when it comes to culture, activities, and good food. So what do you do when someone gives you a wonderful gift (did we mention the amazing food?), well you reciprocate! We want to make sure we are always finding ways to give back in order to show our thanks. We have volunteered with the Pike Place Market Food Bank, and, most recently, we spent a day doing park restoration with EarthCorps. Park restoration in the middle of winter? Call us crazy, but the good folks over at this lovely organization are out there year-round doing park clean-up so we decided to join them and soak-up some of that fresh PNW air. I mean this is "Rain or Shine Guides," right?
EarthCorps' mission is to build a global community of leaders through local environmental service. The team leads park restoration events all over the city with volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. Tasks range from pulling invasive species, planting native trees and shrubs, and mulching.
EarthCorps lends a helping hand to some serious problems regarding the parks in the area. Turns out, a long time ago, English Ivy was planted in the parks around Seattle. It’s beautiful and grows fast, but unbeknownst to the people who planted it, it’s also invasive, covers the ground entirely, grows up trees, and eventually chokes them out. Seattle is a welcoming place and we don't like to choke out beautiful trees that give us clean air and lush landscapes. Trees are what puts the emerald in our emerald city, so English Ivy, you gots to go!
In 1993, Dwight Wilson, a Peace Corp volunteer, dreamed up the idea of Peace Corps for the earth (creatively naming this organization EarthCorps) and in 2003 EarthCorps declared war on the invasive weeds attacking our parks. With the help of over 175,000 volunteers, all Seattle parks have been put into restoration so that we can continue to enjoy them.
Take that you rotten old English Ivy!
What does a day volunteering for the earth look like? During our shift this year we worked in the Thornton Creek Watershed. The first two hours were spent ripping ivy out of the ground. It’s hard work, but supremely rewarding. After a break for lunch, we planted around 50 native shrubs and then mulched. All shifts are 10am – 2pm with a break for lunch. The EarthCorp team also spends time with the group educating about the parks, identifying native and invasive plants, and showing the proper way to use tools. We love that you leave there not only having worked hard to save a park, but educated as well.
EarthCorps work in parks all around the city, so it’s easy to find an event near you, and they have a very easy online sign-up. Check out the calendar, and maybe we’ll be seeing you there!