Volunteers Restoring Mercer Island Forests

Plant trees this Saturday in Island Crest Park! Be part of community restoration efforts in Mercer Island Parks and reap the benefits of building healthier forests!

Join EarthCorps on Saturday, December 1st in planting native trees and shrubs in Island Crest Park!

My name is Lina Rose and I am a Project Manager at EarthCorps.  Seattle-based EarthCorps trains emerging environmental leaders from across the United States and around the world and engages more than 14,000 volunteers each year to restore natural areas around the Puget Sound region.  Since I began at EarthCorps 5 1/2 years ago, I have managed the contract that we have with the City of Mercer Island to lead volunteer events in local parks to remove invasive plants damaging the health of the forest and it's ability to perform ecosystem benefits for Mercer Island.  We also plant native trees and shrubs to rebuild and mimic a more healthy forest succession in damaged parks. 

Within the last five years, thousands of volunteers have worked to improve the health of thousands of sqaure feet of forested parkland by removing invasive plants and re-planting hundreds native plants.  This community work complements the efforts of crews contracted by the city to work in areas less suitable for volunteers, doing more complex restoration work.  The two approaches together have led to huge gains in forest health on the island.

Those of us who love being outside recognize the value of forests for recreational, asthetic, wildlife habitat and educational purposes.  Did you know, however, that healthy, functioning forests provide many economic benefits to a community as well?  Studies have linked the presence of healthy trees, forests and wetlands in a community to everything from mitigatigation of some of the effects from storms, erosion, flooding and pollution to lower crime, increased home values and better community health outcomes.  One of my favorite resources, a sort of clearinghouse of information on ecosystem benefits, is: http://www.naturewithin.info/index.html

Throughout the next year, I will post about periodic topics in community restoration in Mercer Island.  I welcome questions and comments and contacting me directly is welcome as well.  EarthCorps volunteer events happen in Mercer Island year-round and dates and more information can be found at: http://www.earthcorps.org/volunteer.php 

Groups, families and volunteers of all ages are welcome to sign up for our events.  Feel free to contact me directly with any questions about environmental service and community restoration in Mercer Island.  Hope to see you in the parks this coming year and if you can't wait till next year - come out tomorrow to Island Crest Park!  More information on tomorrow's event along with how to sign up can be found our website.


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