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Help us spruce up the Duwamish River Valley

A lot of good things are happening on June 17. That’s Seattle Works Day, when teams of locals volunteer on more than 50 projects to improve the city, then meet up at an afterparty to celebrate.

Seattle Works, which connects hundreds of local nonprofits with people who want to help out, puts on the big community service day every year. And we’re pretty thrilled to be part of it.

Our project will take us to the Duwamish River Valley in Rainier Beach. It’s a part of the city with a rich cultural history — especially for Seattle’s native communities — and its public spaces could use some love.

How will our team help? We’ll be working with the urban farming collective Alleycat Acres to prepare one acre of land for planting this fall of native food bearing and pollinator meadow plants. That will restore the wetland, keep those all-important bees happy, and make a beautiful edible garden for our neighbors.

Specifically, we will:

  • Remove invasive species (pulling morning glory mostly)
  • Edge and trim existing meadows
  • Add sheet mulching, which prevents weeds and helps the soil
  • Hang out with each other, as well as Alleycat’s urban farmer guides

>> Want to join us on June 17? Sure you do. Sign up for our team here.

Alleycat will have light refreshments, tools, and gloves. All you’ll need is comfy clothes, sturdy shoes, and good vibes.

We’ve got spots for just 20 people, so make sure you can make it before you commit! You’ll get to hang out not only with your fellow Evergrey readers, but with Alleycat project guides like Steve Dorsch, a native plant and permaculture expert, Kyla Rudnick, a longtime urban farmer, and Bob Redmond, the founder of Common Acre and Urban Bee Company who’s been tracking bee populations in the area and worked up the plan to make this green space awesome.

Thanks a ton to Seattle Works for partnering up with us on this project. Want to get more involved in service projects around the city? Seattle Works runs a program called TeamWorks that lets you join a group of volunteers to work on different nonprofit projects monthly for eight months out of the year.

“We want everyone to be able to volunteer and have access to volunteering,” said Seattle Works’ Chloe DeWolf.

Never volunteered before? Don’t let that stop you. Sign up to join us in Rainier Beach June 17. We’ll see you there.

Here’s some more info on our project…

… from Alleycat Acres’ Allison Rinard:

What can volunteers expect to do at the site, specifically?
In partnership with The Common Acre and Seattle City Light, The Duwamish Greenline is a restoration project on City Light right of way (under the transmission lines) in the Duwamish River Valley. The project aims to restore wetland and native habitat along the ROW as well as increase native pollinator populations. The Common Acre has tracked pollinator activity here and found 60 bee species to date. Alleycat Acres is designing a native food planting and ethnobotanical educational trail.

Your team will be helping us prepare our first pilot acre for planting this fall. We are preparing the site by manually removing invasive species (pulling morning glory mostly), edging and trimming some existing meadows, and sheet mulching. Sheet mulching is an excellent organic weed prevention technique which involves laying cardboard over existing plant material, covering it with wood chips, and letting the materials slowly break down to improve soil.

What impact will the work have?
This pilot project will install one acre of native food bearing and pollinator meadow plants. It’s myriad benefits include: increasing pollinator habitat, improving stormwater treatment, wetland restoration, and creating a beautiful, educational, and edible garden for the community to enjoy on an existing walking path. Seattle City Light has identified 64 acres of potential planting space in the Duwamish Transmission Corridor alone, so this project has great potential for replication on public right of ways through out king county and beyond!

What’s one thing they should know about Alley Cat Acres as they consider joining up?
Alleycat Acres exists to reconnect people, place, and produce by building a network of community run farms.

Food is more than what we eat: it’s a medium through which we can forge intimate, meaningful relationships between people and place. Farming is a medium that reconnects us, both mentally and physically, to our surroundings. Issues surrounding food production and access are wide and many. Our project is based on the collective belief that urban food systems are key in creating healthy communities.

Who will be there from Alley Cat to guide us who they can look forward to meeting?

  • Steve Dorsch: Our resident native plant and permaculture expert. Steve is the Project Coordinator and designer for the Greenline.
  • Kyla Rudnick: Long time horticulturalist and urban farmer, Kyla has managed Alleycat’s farm sites for several years. She is currently coordinating our new farm in Rainier Valley, the Wetmore Community Garden.
  • Bob Redmond: Founder of the Common Acre and Urban Bee Company. Bob began the partnership with City Light a few years ago to begin monitoring bee populations on the Transmission Corridor, and is the mastermind behind the whole project.