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The Earth Day volunteers and their weed pile at the Broadmoor fence project.

More than 180 volunteers worked with Arboretum garden staff at our annual Earth Day work-service event on April 22, pulling noxious weeds and beautifying our little slice of the planet! The volunteers worked on eight restoration projects around the park and hauled more than 80 cubic yards of ivy, blackberry, and other weeds out of plant collections and natural areas.

The day began with a gathering and group photo on Crabapple Meadow. After welcome speeches from representatives of the Arboretum partners—Jane Stonecipher of the Arboretum Foundation, Christina Owen of UW Botanic Gardens, and Matthew Hilliard of Seattle Parks and Recreation—the volunteers were sorted into groups and escorted to their work sites. This included a special site designated for families with students in the Arboretum’s Fiddleheads Forest Preschool.

Volunteers removing invasive yellow-flag iris from the stream bank at lower Rhody Glen.

UW Botanic Gardens horticulture manager David Zuckerman provided statistics from his team’s projects. On the Oak Knoll, just west of the Graham Visitors Center, volunteers worked with Darrin Hedberg and Shea Cope to haul out four truckloads of ivy and blackberry, or approximately 15 cubic yards of weeds. In lower Rhododendron Glen, gardeners Ron Schmaltz and Lincoln Erbeck supervised volunteers in removing five and a half truckloads of blackberry. “Also,” said David, “this group got the award for the most labor-intensive task: removing about 400 square feet of invasive yellow-flag iris from along the stream bank above Azalea Way pond.”

Nuria Navarro and Patrick Holigores worked with volunteers at the south end of the Loop Trail to remove eight and a half yards of ivy. At the Holly Collection, Ryan Garrison and Sloane Palmer led a group of volunteers that removed eight cubic yards of blackberry and ivy. Along the Broadmoor fence, Kevin Rusch, Russell Botulinski, and Megan Westcott supervised volunteers in the removal of 20 cubic yards of ivy.

The volunteer crew working in the Arboretum wetlands. (Photo by Karen Stener)

Karen Stener, Seattle Parks and Recreation’s senior gardener at the Arboretum, reported that she and Jacob Gunden worked with volunteers on south end of Azalea Way to remove about 10 cubic yards of ivy. And Parks gardeners Matthew Hilliard and Daniel Quebral supervised volunteers on a project in the Arboretum wetlands resulting in the removal of about 10 cubic yards of ivy and blackberry.

The full Parks crew—including Don Williams, Romaine Jackson, and Karlene Jones—also organized and set up tents, tables, and trash cans in Crabapple Meadow, and removed them at end of event. Don and Romaine also took care of debris clean-up and hauling for the Parks department projects.

two women in kimonos at a garden party

The ivy-weeding crew working at the south end of Azalea Way.

The Arboretum Foundation coordinates volunteer recruitment for the Earth Day event, and our new Volunteer Programs Manager, Lily King, did a great job ensuring a fabulous turn out.

THANKS! A huge thanks to every single volunteer who joined us! Groups from 10 local companies came out to help. Thanks to our partners at UW Botanic Gardens and Seattle Parks and Recreation. We are also very grateful to our community partner, the Student Conservation Association, and our generous corporate sponsors, D.A. Davidson and Nestlé.

Having fun with blackberry canes by the Arboretum Loop Trail.

Garden staff from UWBG and Parks celebrate the day’s haul of weeds. (Photo by David Zuckerman)

Arboretum partners: Christina Owen from UWBG, Matthew Hilliard from Seattle Parks, and Jane Stonecipher from the Foundation welcomed the volunteers on Crabapple Meadow.