The Evergreen State offers an exciting opportunity to live up to its namesake. The Urban Forestry Restoration Project, administered through the Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) Urban and Community Forest Program, allows cities to increase the capacity of their urban forests to manage storm water and improve air and water quality. These improvements are accomplished by improving the health and functionality of trees and forested sites in urban settings. As a certified Tree City USA, Bellingham is excited to take part in the Urban Forestry Restoration Project through the month of January.
A Puget Sound Corps crew will work with Park staff, removing invasive plants and planting native vegetation at Maritime Heritage Park, Squalicum Creek Park, and Northridge Park. Invasive plants such as English Ivy and English Hawthorn can outcompete native plants and degrade the ecosystem, resulting in poor forest quality and thus decreased ecological services, including managing stormwater runoff.
“We're excited to get a month-long boost from this DNR six person crew,” said Leslie Bryson, Director of Parks and Recreation. “With their help, we can make significant progress on local restoration projects. Our urban forests make Bellingham a more livable city by improving air and water quality, enhancing wildlife habitat, and providing recreation.” Bellingham is a certified Community Wildlife Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation, where both humans and wildlife thrive. Quality habitat results in a greater variety of wildlife, expanding park users' experience.
You don't have to be on the crew to help our parks; anyone can lend a hand through the Bellingham Parks Volunteer Program. Whether you would like to adopt a section of trail, be a Park Steward, or just drop in to our weekly work parties, there are lots of opportunities to get involved and improve Bellingham's urban forests. To learn how you can help, visit www.cob.org/gov/public/volunteer/parks or call the Volunteer Program Coordinator Rae Edwards at (360) 778-7105.
For more information about the Urban Forestry Restoration Project, contact Micki McNaughton at (360) 902-1637 or firstname.lastname@example.org . DNR's Urban and Community Forest Program is made possible through a partnership with the USDA Forest Service. Puget SoundCorps is part of the broader Washington Conservation Corps program administered by Washington Dept. of Ecology. Puget SoundCorps crews work on projects that help restore and protect water quality in Puget Sound. The Washington Conservation Corps in supported through grant funding and Education Awards provided by AmeriCorps.