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A total of 116 volunteers participated in our annual Earth Day at the Arboretum work-service event on April 23. They removed more than 50 cubic yards of ivy, blackberry, and other invasive weeds from plant collection beds and natural areas—covering a combined area of about 27,000 square feet.

The day began with a gathering and group photo on Crabapple Meadow. Then the volunteers were sorted into eight group corresponding to eight project work sites around the Arboretum—including a special site designated for families with young kids.

Group shot on Crabapple Meadow.

Group 1 worked with UW garden staff on the lagoon shoreline of Duck Bay and cleared about 2,000 square feet of English ivy and blackberry, or roughly six cubic yards of weedy material. Group 2 worked with UW staff in the Viburnum Collection and cleared about 5,000 square feet of ivy, totaling 10 cubic yards. Group 3 worked with UW gardeners on the Ridge Trail and pulled approximately six cubic yards of ivy from a sporadically weedy area encompassing about 3,500 square feet of land.

In the Pinetum, Group 4 worked with UW gardeners and removed 10 cubic yards of ivy from an area of about 4,000 square feet. Not far off, along Arboretum Creek, a group of UW Capstone Project students (Group 5) worked with staff to clear a roughly 2,200 square foot area primarily covered in dense blackberry, with some ivy, holly, and cherry laurel thrown in for added fun. They filled four Gator truck loads of weeds (about 4 cubic yards).

UW Capstone Project students weeding along Arboretum Creek.

In the wetlands area on the south end of Azalea Way, Group 6 volunteers worked with Parks gardeners to clear about five cubic yards of ivy from an area measuring approximately 4,550 square feet. On the opposite end of Azalea Way, roaming volunteers in Group 7 covered an area of about 6,000 square feet and removed six cubic yards of ivy.

Group 8, our families-with-kids group, worked with UW Education staff plus two Americorp volunteers in the Magnolia Collection to clear an area of about 350 square feet of about four cubic yards of weeds. During their work, they encountered a salamander and a yellow-spotted millipede and learned some cool nature facts about these animals.

Family pulling ivy in the Magnolia Collection.

All-in-all it was a wonderful, joyful day of weed-pulling, nature restoration, and community building. Thanks to everyone who joined with us to give back to public lands!

Special thanks to our event partners at the Student Conservation Association (SCA), UW Botanic Gardens, and Seattle Parks and Recreation. And a shoutout to the corporate and group volunteers who came out to help restore the Arboretum: Nestle (an SCA’s funding partners), Unify Consulting, the Rainier Club, Amazon, and Seattle Green Earth Cleaning.

Pulling ivy in the restored wetlands on the south end of Azalea Way.

Ivy tug of war!

A teachable moment: learning about the yellow-spotted millipede.