Seattle & EarthCorps Offer Free Neighborhood Trees

EarthCorps and the City of Seattle are offering free trees for specific Seattle neighborhoods to help increase the tree canopy city-wide.

Trees are an important element of Seattle’s neighborhoods. Trees add character and

beauty. Trees make communities more walkable, bringing people outdoors thereby creating opportunities to meet neighbors. Trees increase the property value of homes and calm traffic in residential areas. Trees intercept rain water during storms, decreasing the levels of pollutants flowing into Puget Sound. Trees also absorb global warming pollutants and improve the quality of our air.

Seattle currently has 23% tree cover and a goal to reach 30% tree cover – and gain the many benefits that go along with trees. But we can’t reach that goal without the help and support of Seattle’s residents! Over 85% of the land in Seattle is privately owned. This means that we cannot meet our goals by only planting in parks and along streets – we need residents to plant trees around their homes and businesses as well.

To address this need and help Seattle meet the 30% goal, the City of Seattle has teamed up with EarthCorps to provide free trees to residents of these SE Seattle neighborhoods (visit to see a map of eligible locations):

Eligible locations are:

  • Roxhill / Westwood
  • Highland Park
  • South Park
  • Georgetown
  • North Beacon Hill / Jefferson Park
  • Beacon Hill
  • South Beacon Hill / New Holly
  • Columbia City
  • Seward Park
  • Rainier Beach

Program participants receive:

  • Free trees
  • Watering bags
  • Training on proper tree planting and care
  • One free bag of GroCo compost, made with King County biosolids

Applications available now at  Available trees include both evergreen and deciduous trees, some native trees, and one fruit tree option. Available species:

  • Magnolia ‘little gem’
  • Serviceberry
  • Italian plum (a fruiting tree)
  • Dogwood
  • Shore pine
  • Katsura
  • Western red cedar
  • Red oak
  • Douglas fir

Individual households are welcome to apply – you need not apply as a group. Trees may be planted either along the street or in your yard. Limit four trees per household, with a maximum of one plum per household. All applications are subject to City review. Tree supply is limited and applications will be accepted on a first come first served basis. Apply early to ensure your application is accepted.

Important dates :

  • September 13 Applications due
  • December 4, 5 or 11 Attend a planting and care workshop and pick up your trees!
  • May 14, 2011 Pick up your water bags to help your trees thrive over the summer.

For more information see, or contact Lina Rose, EarthCorps Project Manager, 206-322-9296,  extension 225.

Hiawatha Community Center Open House

You’re Invited to a “Fall into Autumn” Open House, Friday, September 17, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Hiawatha Community Center, 2700 California Ave. SW, adjacent to West Seattle High School and across the Street from the PCC.

Come learn more about classes, special events, and how to become an advisory council member. Share your talent and passion with the community and become an instructor!

There  will also have demonstrations, music from Emerald Jazz Ensemble, and light refreshments. Questions or for more information, contact Lakema Bell at 206-684-3879.


Orchard Street Ravine Work Party

Last month the Orchard tried an evening work party to avoid the heat and it went well. It was requested that we try that again this month.  Wednesday wasn’t a great evening for some people as they had meeting conflicts so we’ll try Thursday this month.

The next Orchard Street Ravine work party  is currently scheduled for 6:30 pm tonight, September 9.

Meet at the end of Orchard Street (see map).

For more information contact Mark Schultz at

Community Solar Workshop @ Miller Community Center

City Light and Northwest Seed are hosting an information session at Miller Community Center, Saturday, September 18, from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, on a new program City Light is working called Community Solar.

Would you like to have your own solar photovoltaic system, but you live in an apartment or a house with no good sun exposure. Or maybe you want to invest in a system, but $10,000 is more than you can afford. Then you might be interested in Seattle City Light’s Community Solar program. The concept is that a group of people fund the construction of a solar system that is operated by City Light. The cost per kilowatt-hour is lower because it’s cheaper to build one big system than 10 small ones. Also the minimum investment is much less.

If you are interested, Northwest SEED is teaming with City Light to host an information session about the upcoming program and how people can participate. If you are a City Light customer, please consider attending!

There is no charge, but reservations are required. Sign up on-line here:

Please, only sign up if you are a Seattle City Light customer; participation in the City Light Community Solar program is open only to City Light customers.


September Spokespeople Ride Hits Two Farmers Markets

Spokespeople West Seattle rides again to visit and shop at West Seattle’s newest farmers market at Highland Park. We will also be riding to the original West Seattle farmers market at the Alaska Junction and finish the 11.67 mile ride at the West Seattle PCC. Bring currency and safe and sturdy cargo carriers. Support your local Urban Farmers.

This ride is characterized as “easy” with some hills for a total distance of just under 12 miles.  The Spokespeople rides are “stay together” rides which means the riders keep pace with each other and wait for tail riders when the route changes direction.  In the event of rain, the ride will NOT be cancelled.

The map link to the ride is

Starting time is 10 am in front of Alki Bike and Board, first block south of Admiral Way SW at the intersection of California Ave. SW in the Admiral District.

The Ride Leader  is Stu Hennessey, you can contact him at 206-938-3322 or by email at


West Seattle Reservoir Design on Parks Board Agenda

Seattle Board of Park Commissioners will hold its next meeting at 7:00 pm, Thursday, September 9, in the Park Board Room at 100 Dexter Ave. N at the corner of Dexter and Denny.

The meeting agenda includes:

  • Board discussion and recommendation to the Superintendent on the use of the Atlantic City Nursery site.  Parks and Recreation operated the Atlantic City Nursery at 5513 S Cloverdale St. from the 1940s until January 2010, when it was closed as a budget reduction. The 10.9 acre property features wetlands, trees, and a blueberry patch, and includes six buildings, including two greenhouses, three lath houses, and one office/shed. Parks is undertaking a process to identify a new use for the site that benefits the public, is compatible with the natural features of the site, and includes a partnership with a group to minimize operations and maintenance costs. The Board heard a staff briefing on the process at its July 8 meeting and held a public hearing at its August 12 meeting.
  • Possible change of use at some of Seattle’s underused tennis courts.  The Board will hear a staff briefing on the possibility that Parks will conduct a pilot project at selected underused tennis courts under which Parks would allow other emerging forms of recreation such as dodgeball and bicycle polo. The Board will hold a public hearing on the concept at its September 23 meeting and will discuss it and make a recommendation to the Superintendent at its October 28 meeting.
  • West Seattle Reservoir Project schematic design.  Parks staff will present a briefing on the proposed schematic design for the 20-acre lid on the West Seattle Reservoir at Westcrest Park. For more information on the project, please go to

A briefing paper on the Atlantic City Nursery site is available on the web at Briefing papers on the possible pilot project and the West Seattle Reservoir will be available at that site on Friday, September 3.

The Board of Park Commissioners is a seven-member citizen board created by the City Charter. Three members are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council; three members are appointed by the City Council; and one member is appointed by the Park Board. The Board meets the second and fourth Thursday of each month to advise the Parks and Recreation Superintendent, the Mayor, and the City Council on parks and recreation matters. For more information, please contact Sandy Brooks at 206-684-5066 or


City Council Approves Urban Farm Legislation

Seattle City Council approved Council Bill 116907, which updates the City’s Land Use code, allowing “urban farms” and “community gardens” in all zones, with some limitations in industrial zones. Seattle residents now have more freedom when it comes to growing their own food or raising their own chickens.

Residents will now be able to sell food grown on their property and construct rooftop green houses (adding no more than 15 feet to building height limits)! “The code changes related to rooftop greenhouses are a bold step toward high-yield food production in an urban environment,” stated Branden Born, Associate Professor of Urban Design and Planning at University of Washington.

The legislation also increases the number of chickens allowed per lot from three to eight, with additional chickens allowed for large lots associated with community gardens and urban farms. It prohibits new roosters and sets boundaries for chicken coops, ten feet away from primary residential structures. Existing chicken coops built prior to the code changes will remain legal.

“These code changes will strengthen our community food security,” said Council President Richard Conlin, sponsor of the ordinance. “This is one more action that supports the goals of the Local Food Action Initiative: increases opportunities for Seattle residents to purchase and grow healthy food in the city.”

The City Council home page has links or use this direct link to the press release.

(Thanks to Sustainable Ballard for sending first news of this around.)

The Energy Blog – A Plug On Your Next Car?

by Andy Silber

Should your next car have a plug?

One of my favorite stories ever on Prairie Home Companion was about a guy who couldn’t take the cold winters at Lake Wobegon anymore. He drove south until someone asked him about the plug hanging from the front of his car. He figured if it was warm enough that someone didn’t know what an electric block heater was, it was warm enough for him.

But starting late this year many people will be plugging in their car far south of Minnesota. Nissan is going to begin selling the Leaf, their fully electric car and Seattle is one of the initial markets.  Not long after that the Chevy Volt will go on sale. Seattle received a federal grant to build a large number of charging stations, some in public and others in the homes of people who buy these cars. Continue reading “The Energy Blog – A Plug On Your Next Car?”

Know a good idea when you see it?

The Neighborhoods working group for the City’s carbon neutrality initaitve needs to rapidly sort through almost 100 ideas on how to improve Seattle neighborhoods while kick-starting us down the path toward carbon neutrality.
Would you like to see more local mom & pop shops within walking distance?  How about better infrastructure for electric bicycles and other vehicles?  Perhaps you’d like to save money by ensuring our homes and schools use less energy and water, while also reducing waste?  Or maybe you have your own ideas on how to make Seattle happier, healthier, and more economically vibrant… while reducing energy use and emissions!
Join hundreds of your neighbors in entering, selecting and discussing the best and brightest ideas for moving Seattle toward carbon neutrality by visiting:
For more information on the group, please visit:

NWETC Offers Low Impact Development Course

The Northwest Educational Training Center is offering a course on

Low Impact Development:

Storm Water Management for Sustainable Design and Water Efficiency

NWETC Course ID: GBS-301, Wednesday, Sept 8, 9:oo am to 5:oo pm at 650 South Orcas Street, Suite 220, Georgetown. Registration:  $250/*$200. Register online.

The instructor is Teresa Burrelsman, Eco Via Consulting.  This course provides an overview of low-impact development approaches and resources for building industry professionals. Low Impact Development (LID) is an alternative, systems-level approach to conventional stormwater management. Critical for the Pacific Northwest where water quality and salmon habitat protection are key issues, LID offers opportunities for sustainable site design and water efficiency.

Course Topics:

  • What is LID?
  • Benefits of LID
  • Northwest Storm Water Issues
  • Salmon Habitat Effects
  • Bio-Retention and Rain Gardens
  • Tree Box Filters
  • Green Streets
  • Rainwater Capture
  • Green Roofs
  • Permeable Pavers
  • Soil Amendments
  • Green Infrastructure
  • EPA LID Guidelines
  • LID Case Studies
  • Cost Reduction through LID
  • LID Tools and Resources

The intended audience includes:

  • Environmental Professionals
  • Landscape Architects
  • Architects
  • Facility ManagersThose who are interested in incorporating LID into existing site

About the Instructor: Teresa Burrelsman, principal of Eco Via Consulting, delivers sustainable design strategies, facilitation and education. She has over 12 years of experience in building science, project management, and building simulation. As the Director of Sustainable Programs for Callison, one of the largest architecture and planning firms in the world, she developed a comprehensive sustainable education program and design toolkit to address the firm’s multiple markets. Her technical specialties include sustainable concept design, energy efficient building systems integration, low-impact site and storm water management, green roofs, and integrated project delivery. She led the King County Green Building Program for four years, conducted post-occupancy research for the City of Seattle Performance Evaluation Program and was the lead consultant on the original development of the USGBC LEED Retail Application Guide.