Looking Back on 2015

As of Saturday, December 12th, the last of almost 4500 plants has been planted in the West Duwamish Greenbelt this year.  We have worked to restore and maintain 7 acres of land and racked up over 8000 volunteer hours. The year kicked off with a new Executive Director and new energy; 140 volunteers working side-by-side with Mayor Ed Murray, Councilman Tom Rasmussen, and Miss West Seattle for our annual MLK Day of Service; and, with the help of 3000 Seattleites Nature Consortium won The Sustainability Leadership Award for our work restoring our urban forest.  That was just the first three weeks! In 2015…

By Popular Request: New 6-Week Art Classes

Nature Consortium is proud to introduce a new 6-week class series. Small individualized classes are taught by professional artists that provide expert instruction. Lively discussions and friendly critiques are done at each session. If you want to explore your creative side, here is your chance. The classes are structured in such a way that no art experience is required although people with art experience are also equally welcome. All supplies are included. Create a Mosaic Coffee Table Top You will learn all of the basics to get you on your way to mastering the mosaic technique. Design, composition, materials, substrates…

Evidence of a Future We Can Create

This has been a fun and busy summer!  From summer arts camps to weekly restoration work parties to the magic of the Arts in Nature Festival, there hasn’t been a dull moment. It’s been thrilling to see people become more connected to one another; more connected to themselves; and, more connected to nature through our programs. The highlight of my summer was meeting families at Nature Consortium’s Overnight Family Camp-out at Camp Long.  The weather forecast for the day of the camp was stormy and wet, the exact opposite of every previous day this summer.  For several weeks before camp…

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Parks Advocates Are Alarmed – We Want to Hear from You!

In January of this year I began full-time service as the Executive Director at Nature Consortium.  At that same time Seattle Parks and Recreation introduced new Proposed Supplemental Use Guidelines intended to address the needs of our growing city. These new guidelines have created a sense of alarm among park advocates throughout the city. Like you, we share a deep concern about how greenspaces and natural areas might be impacted by the introduction of recreational uses beyond those that are currently demonstrated and proven to be low-impact and low-intensity on the ecological health of vegetation and on wildlife habitat. Nature…

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Solving Global Environmental Crises with Community Based Restoration

Guest post from Kyle Miller, Restoration Program Intern As a senior in UW Bothell’s Environmental Studies program I often feel like I can sum up what I’ve learned in one word: Depressing. It’s hard not to use this word and I feel like most of my classmates would agree. Every day in the classroom we’re exposed to the myriad of environmental problems threatening the stability of our biosphere. We learn to appreciate the beauty and importance of species diversity only to be reminded that they are going extinct at a rate 1,000 times the normal background rate, with 10-30% of…

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Fruit of Your Labor

Good news for anyone who has helped Nature Consortium plant native trees in the West Duwamish Greenbelt! Just south of Pathfinder School, in the relatively open meadow area west of the main trail into Pigeon Point Park, there is a sure sign that our restoration efforts are getting somewhere. A beautiful Douglas fir tree that was planted by a volunteer at some point in the past 5 years is producing cones! That’s right—one of our own baby trees has grown big enough to produce cones. These cones produce seeds and may very possibly give rise to some new Douglas fir seedlings…

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Meet Our New Interns

Meet our newest team members! Our Forest Restoration Program is steadily expanding, and to support our growth we’ve brought on two interns. You can meet Heather and Kyle at any of our Tuesday work parties during their three-month term. Heather has been volunteering with Nature Consortium since the beginning of 2015 and has now joined us as an intern. She is “really excited to be a part of such a great organization,” to have the opportunity to give back to our community’s green spaces, and make them a healthier place. Heather was inspired to help restore our forest because of her own experiences within…

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Middle Fork Inspires New Connections

To celebrate the completion of Merica’s first 90 days as Executive Director, the Nature Consortium staff ventured out to lunch in South Lake Union. On our way to the restaurant we spotted a breathtakingly enormous sculpture in the window of a nearby shop. Tim Detweiler, the director of the MadArt gallery space, invited us in to take a closer look. Middle Fork, Tim explained, is a life-sized sculpture of a hemlock tree made from a plaster cast of a 140-year-old tree that still stands today in North Bend, WA. The sculpture is the work of Seattle artist John Grade, who…

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Spring in Bloom: Native Flowers to See Right Now

Spring has arrived in the West Duwamish Greenbelt! This week in the greenbelt you can find two different native shrubs with bright pink flowers – red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum), a member of the gooseberry family and salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), a member of the Rose family. Red Flowering Currant This shrub is covered with drooping clusters of small bright pink and white flowers. Right now the leaves have not quite emerged and by the time the leaves are fully visible, the flowers will be fading. Later in the summer the flowers will develop into round black fruits, which are not believed…

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EcoARTS: A Brand New Vision

For many years, our Youth Art Program (YAP) served two anchor locations in the Yesler Terrace and Rainier Vista communities in partnership with Seattle Housing Authority. Though the YAP program saw tremendous success, it also faced a number of challenges. This time last year we began developing a new program model to address some of those challenges. Our goal is to more closely align our arts education program with our mission and state academic standards while increasing access to our program within our home base of Southwest Seattle. This period of change inspired us to take our new program model…

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