The Green Kirkland Partnership is set to host volunteer events for the betterment of local parks during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.
About 120 volunteers will participate in four events, removing invasive plant species and restoring native ones in Juanita Beach Park, Rose Hill Meadows, O. O. Denny Park and North Rose Hill Woodlands Park. These events honor Martin Luther King Jr. every year by giving back to the community during his remembrance holiday.
“I think in his memory, having a day of service really is appropriate because we get to be a part of a community and make a difference in all sorts of ways,” Said Rep. Susan DelBene (WA-1) who participated in Kirkland’s 2018 day of service. “So this is part of our day on…a few hours here will make a big difference.”
This year, Green Kirkland is hosting a volunteer opportunity on Jan. 18, the Friday before the day of service where local volunteers will plant native trees and shrubs.
“These park spaces themselves are important to the community because they’re all natural areas that provide us with our most fundamental necessary resources, clean air, clean water, stable climate even down to food sources,” said Jodie Galvan, Green Kirkland Partnership supervisor. ”These are really important places for us to take care of.”
Additionally, one of the four events is exclusively a corporate volunteer opportunity. Office workers from Juno QA, Microsoft and Seattle Children’s Hospital will be the volunteer force at Rose Hill Meadows Park.
“A lot of the groups that come out tend to be employees who work primarily in the office,” Galvan said. ”So its really fun for them to get outside and be working together outside and do something that’s really different from their nine-to-five jobs. They get really into it.”
Three students from the Restoration Ecology Network’s University of Washington chapter will help with the volunteer event at North Rose Hill Woodlands Park. Most of the students are environmental science and resource management majors and organized the project as a part of their capstone project.
“That’s really fun because for the students this is often times the first event they’re running,” Galvan said. “So they’re really just getting to take all their experiences from the classroom and knowledge from the classroom and start applying it on the ground with volunteers for the first time.”
UW students have previously participated in the MLK Jr. Day of Service on the Eastside and have seen large success. Last year, the students taught volunteers how to properly remove plants and were surprised by their quick progress.
“It’s generally really fun to be out there with them and see them get enthusiastic about leading volunteers in this line of work,” Galvan said.
This year, volunteers will focus on removing English ivy, Himalayan blackberry, spreading mulch over cleared areas and planting native trees, shrubs and ground covers.
Locals can find out more information and sign up to volunteer at the city’s volunteer calendar online. Green Kirkland asks any volunteers to dress for the weather, wear close-toed shoes, bring bottled water and a snack. Tools and training will be provided on-site, but youth volunteers ages 14 to 17 must bring a parent, guardian or bring a signed waiver. Volunteers under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
“Because these are relatively small isolated pockets of natural areas, they’re never going to be able to completely maintain themselves,” Galvan said. ”They’re always going to need some assistance from the community in their care and in their stewardship.”