Preserving Burien’s Natural Beauty is a Team Effort

Two children plant a fern.
Children plant a native fern the 2020 Martin Luther King Day of Service event at Mathison Park. Credit: City of Burien

For the past decade, volunteers in Burien’s Adopt-A-Park program have helped maintain and steward the natural beauty of Burien’s parks and open spaces. In 2018, with funding from the Port of Seattle Airport Community Ecology (ACE) Fund, Forterra, a nonprofit environmental organization, expanded their Green City Partnerships program into SeaTac, Burien, and Des Moines to restore and care for urban forests. In September 2020, Burien City Council adopted the Green Burien Partnership Urban Forest Stewardship Plan with a recommendation from the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. With that adoption, we are transitioning the Burien Adopt-a-Park program, to become the Green Burien Partnership. The program is part of Burien’s larger strategy to protect local habitat, fight climate change, and provide enjoyable and peaceful spaces for our community to exercise and play.

The City is working to strengthen our existing partnerships with Port of Seattle, Forterra, Skully Serves, Partner in Employment, Eagle Scouts, Seattle Aquarium, and EarthCorps to bring in more volunteers and environmental restoration and education projects to our parks. The City and partners received grant funding to support more youth programs in our parks, including a phased restoration project at Hilltop Park.

The Green Burien Partnership includes park stewardship opportunities, one-time volunteer events and urban forest education, which are all important components of the Green Burien Partnership Urban Forest Stewardship Plan.

The City’s goal is to have 40 percent of Burien covered by tree canopy by 2038 by planting new trees, protecting existing trees, and encouraging private landowners to do the same. To meet these goals, the City relies on volunteers to support invasive plant removal, native tree planting, and maintenance of restored areas.

Why volunteer?

We’ve heard from past volunteers that there is an immense sense of fulfilment that comes from helping protect your local environment. It’s also an opportunity to learn. Many of our park stewards and other volunteers have vast knowledge of local plants and environmental science. It’s also a great excuse to get outside and exercise both your mind and body!

Child holds vine in park.
A Partners in Employment youth intern removes invasive species at Arbor Lake Park. Credit: City of Burien.

In 2020, volunteers contributed 1,091 hours of service in our parks system, with most of those hours spent removing invasive species around trees, planting trees and understory plants, and pruning. The City currently has 11 park stewards working in the parks replacing invasive plants with native plants, picking up litter, and helping to monitor areas of our parks that need proactive solutions.

Interested in learning more? Send an email to parksinfo@burienwa.gov or call (206) 988-3700 and request more information about the program.

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