Nature Consortium is lucky to be able to name King County Executive Dow Constantine as a dear friend of our organization. Dow is a West Seattle local who got involved in politics through his environmental work with the Friends of the College Street Ravine many years ago.
The story about the preservation of the College Street Ravine is an inspirational one. 5 acres of wooded area in West Seattle were under threat of development, and the neighbors surrounding it, including Dow Constantine, decided to take action by forming the Friends of the College Street Ravine. They lobbied the City of Seattle to purchase the area with its share of the county’s bond money dedicated to open spaces, and succeeded. Once the property was purchased, they realized that it wasn’t a very healthy forest–invasive species such as Himalayan Blackberry and English Ivy had taken over a third of the land. They then turned to the Neighborhood Matching Fund to get the funding to do restoration work on it by removing the invasive species and planting native trees & shrubs. A lot of work has been done on the area, but like most restoration projects, it is very long-term and will need to be continuously maintained. Which is where Nature Consortium comes to the rescue!
After Dow got elected as King County Executive, Nature Consortium met with him to update him on our work. At the end of the meeting, we asked him what we could do for him as an organization to support him. He said that all he wanted was for restoration work to continue on the College Street Ravine as it is his favorite and most treasured greenspace. Since then, we’ve been holding work parties on his birthdays and half-birthdays to help maintain the space and keep it free of invasives. Monday was Dow’s 11th annual 39th birthday (you can take a minute to do the math!), so we went out in the rain to get some work done. Dow joined us with his mother and father and so did several other neighbors. Ben Smith, one of our valued Nature Consortium musicians, came and played clarinet. We focused on removing Himalayan blackberry around 4 conifers. It was an awesome time and we’re looking forward to having more work parties in the Ravine in the future!