Over the past sixteen years, Friends of Madrona Woods has teamed up with the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation to turn this nine-acre urban forest into a welcoming place for people and wildlife and to encourage its return to a more natural and sustainable state. This has involved clearing invasive ivy, holly, laurel, clematis and blackberry and revegetating with native trees, shrubs, and ground covers; improving existing and creating new trails; and daylighting two streams. In the process of stream daylighting, FOMW added the Madrona Ravine west of 38th and a new natural area and cove in Madrona Park to its stewardship.
Madrona Woods offers an ever-changing display for us to enjoy. During this Earth Day month, we can all take pleasure in the last of the early-blooming skunk cabbage and Indian plum, and in the salmonberry, thimbleberry, fringe-cup and trillium. We can admire the new plants that have been put into the final area of our active restoration in the south end of the park and be thankful for the hard-working volunteers who have put more than 3000 there this fall, winter, and spring.
The entire restoration has been, and continues to be, an ongoing venue for learning and discoveries. Even after the last plants are put in this spring, there will be a need for continuing maintenance and, of course, sources of money to help deal with the expected and unexpected. Many of us in Friends of Madrona Woods (we hope with continuing community support) will stick around to watch the results of our 16 years of labor become more and more beautiful as they mature.
An example of how the Woods is always creating new challenges is Madrona Creek. Volunteers have spent two work parties repairing a section that was disappearing into a large sink hole just east of the Spring Street bridge. They filled the hole and diverted the creek for a month while a new channel set up. Then they put gravel and rocks of several sizes in the new streambed and released the creek. As of this writing, the water was going above ground on both sides of the park’s first small island. Admire it from the bridge.
We’ve planted nearly 1,000 trees and shrubs so far this season. Only 2,000 or so to go! Green Seattle Day on Nov 3 was a great kickoff to the fall planting season. The next Saturday an excellent Seattle Works group came, ate lunch, and planted 350 trees and shrubs. Many thanks to all volunteers and to our partners at Friends of Cedar River Watershed.
Friends of Madrona Woods will be selling living holiday trees this December to raise funds for long-term maintenance and also to provide more trees for ongoing restoration. After the holidays you can either plant the tree you’ve purchased at home or donate it for planting in Madrona Woods. You can plant it with us or we’ll plant it for you.
We’ll have grand firs in 5-gallon pots for $30 and in 7-gallon pots for $45, and this includes delivery December 1 or later. Trees can be decorated and displayed indoors or out, though keeping them indoors for more than two weeks is not recommended. Sample trees will be on display at the Halloween party and other neighborhood events. Contact Peter Mason, if you don’t see him there, at 388-6490 or email@example.com to order and arrange for delivery. Care instructions will be provided with each tree.
The UW is currently holding its fourth International Conference on Climate Change. Thanks to Friends of the Cedar River Watershed, 15 people at the conference volunteered to work in Madrona Woods. Blessed by beautiful sunny weather and inspired by the sight of two eagles perched atop a douglas fir in the morning, we had a very pleasant day.
See all the pictures here
A big thank you to the helpful folks from several local offices of Deloitte. They did a huge amount of volunteer work for us last Friday. Their tasks included clearing ivy, hauling wood for composting platforms, and digging out large holly trees. It was a very successful day and puts us well on our way toward our goal of restoring the final 1.5 acres in Madrona Woods.
We’ve received three of the grants we applied for, and this will allow us to move forward with clearing, planting, and maintenance in the last piece of the restoration of the entire Madrona Woods—the 1.5 acres in the southeast corner. King County has awarded Friends of Madrona Woods $10,000 through its Wild Places in City Spaces program, the Washington Native plant Society will contribute $500 for plants, and A Department of Neighborhoods Small and Simple grant will kick in $19,440.
A new partnership with Friends of the Cedar River Watershed is another key factor that makes it possible to tackle this last remaining section. Our first joint work party will take place on Friday, June 8th from 9:00 to 3:30 (or any part of this) with employees from Deloitte Consulting LLP. A presentation on the connections of Madrona Woods to the Cedar River salmon migrations will also be provided. As City of Seattle residents we rely on the Cedar River for our clean drinking water, to keep our Lake Washington floating bridges afloat, and to operate the Ballard Chittenden locks. Cedar River salmon also rely on migrating through this watershed. Anyone interested in joining in is encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
We’ll be having a big planting push in the fall, and we hope to gather lots of laborers on Green Seattle Day November 3 to give us a boost. Put it on your calendar so you can start adding up your hours for volunteer match on grants.
On a beautiful Saturday 11 energetic volunteers from Seattle Works helped us clear 2,000 sq ft of HUGE blackberry bushes near the car. We hauled mulch up the steps to cover a couple of hundred sq ft as well. Thank you very much – you were a great group!
We had a rare nice day, so Robbie and I went to check out the car, which is in our proposed SE Woods project area. The car is a 1940s era Ford. It has been in the Woods for a very long time – see how it is kind of buried? It had been covered by blackberries in recent years. We ran into Penelope and her son Julian, who were exploring the Woods. We all worked together to clip away for a couple of hours, and the car is visible again. The car is in a pretty soggy place; note the skunk cabbage in the foreground. Check out the gallery for more pictures. Look west from the lower part of the stairway to heaven to see the car.
Most Madrona residents haven’t YET enjoyed a work party in Madrona Woods. Here’s a sketch of what goes into making a work party happen and what to expect WHEN you join in the fun.
When you arrive at the tool box near the Spring Street entrance at 10:00 a.m. on the fourth Saturday of the month, you’ll find clean gloves (washed by elves?) and tools appropriate for the day’s work laid out. Some of these have been taken out of that toolbox, and others have been brought from other tool boxes or people’s homes. Deirdre McCrary and Peter Mason have recently been responsible for gathering everything as well as for selecting and setting up work sites. The latter usually involves building platforms out of scavenged branches on which to stack removed invasives, which otherwise might root if placed on the earth. It is current Parks Department policy to mulch what is removed on site.
Sometimes there will be hot coffee for participants, especially if an outside group will be adding its muscle. It has to be brought that morning from Starbucks. There may also be hand-baked goodies brought by Deirdre or our other refreshments provider Tom Kushner. If mulching is involved in the day’s projects, Deirdre or Peter will have arranged with the Parks Department to deliver wood chip mulch at a designated spot and will have lined up lots of buckets and wheelbarrows.
Most often this winter and spring, the work sites will be in the southeast corner of the Woods, the last area slated for restoration. Likely tasks will include pulling out ivy and small holly and laurel trees by the roots, digging up larger holly and laurel and entrenched blackberry plants, and mulching with cardboard (collected ahead of time from a cooperative BMW dealer) and wood chips. There will likely be some planting in March. At our last work party we removed and piled invasives on platforms under lovely old cedars and were delighted to uncover a few native survivors like Oregon grape, salal, and sword ferns. We talked and laughed and used muscles we knew would complain the next day, though virtuous pain is somehow easier to take than other kinds. Less vigorous tasks are always available. The scenery and the company really can’t be beat.
The Seattle Parks Foundation is FOMW’s fiscal sponsor for our SE Woods restoration project. To make a tax-deductible gift to this project online, click here, and select Madrona Woods from the donation designation drop down list halfway down the page. If you want to give by check, designate Madrona Woods in the memo line and mail the check to:
Seattle Parks Foundation
105 South Main St #235
Seattle, WA 98104