Restoring The Environment, By Strengthening Leadership
EarthCorps’ mission is to develop leaders to strengthen community and restore the health of our environment. A major goal of EarthCorps’ environmental leadership program is to equip their corps members with the experiences, skills, and knowledge to improve the vitality, diversity, and resiliency of ecosystems through the practice of ecological restoration.
Ecological restoration looks to repair and heal the land as well as our relationship with it. It is an intentional activity that helps to sustain the diversity of life on Earth and re-establish an ecologically healthy relationship between nature and people. Restoration is an active choice people make to address the negative effects of human activity, or natural causes, on an ecosystem.
Donations to EarthCorps directly fund their programs that create healthy urban forests and landscapes, innovate new restoration practices, help marine life thrive, and provide Puget Sound communities access to nature.
Native Shrubs and Trees Planted
Feet Of Trails Added and Maintained
Specifically in 2020, our donations to EarthCorps helped support two programs; Healthy Forests & Landscapes, and Hitting the Trails. The former project kept local parks and natural areas thriving by planting 29,349 native trees and shrubs and restoring 1,047 acres. Healthy forests and landscapes play a critical role in reducing stormwater runoff, improving water and air quality, reducing erosion, and mitigating the effects of climate change. Since 2018, EarthCorps has partnered with Seattle Parks and Recreation to restore and steward over 20 acres at Magnuson Park in Northeast Seattle. EarthCorps crews have begun restoration efforts at the park by removing invasive species, such as English Ivy and Himalayan Blackberry, poison hemlock, purple loosestrife, and tansy ragwort. By the start of 2020, enough non-native plants were cleared to allow for healthy, native plants to thrive. In February of 2020, EarthCorps crews planted over 7,000 native shrubs and trees throughout the park’s meadow and marsh areas. Trees, such as Douglas Fir and Sitka Spruce, were installed throughout the park. After planting, our crews worked to prepare additional sites in the park for future planting. In summer 2020, we ensured the proper establishment of these young plants by regularly watering and mulching them.
EarthCorps has worked on more than 110 trails across our region in our history. Trails not only increase access to nature, but also minimize our impact on the land. Depending on the conditions, a typical trail crew can build up to a mile of trail in a week. On the flip side it might take a whole 6-person crew to complete one 10-foot section of trail in a day. In total, with our support, EarthCorps built or maintained 1,320 feet of trails last year, including: Blakely Heights Cemetery Trail on Bainbridge Island, Green Mountain Trail in the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area, and Pete’s Creek Trail in the Olympic National Forest. In addition to the previously noted trails, in 2020, we collaborated with the Friends of Discovery Park and Seattle Parks and Recreation to construct more than 400 feet of a new 0.45-mile trail that will eventually replace the existing South Bluff Trail at Discovery Park and allow visitors to respectfully enjoy the beauty of this land.
Images courtesy of EarthCorps