Stewardship by the Numbers
2016 defines the 20th year of Native Plant Stewardship in the region. Since the Native Plant Stewardship Program began in 1996, stewards in King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties have reported their volunteer hours for work on community-based education, research and advocacy projects. Their efforts add up to an incredible contribution to protecting and conserving our native flora and their habitats. Here is a summary of steward activity beginning 1996 through 2015.
Native Plant Stewards Trained: 562
Our stewards complete an extensive 10 week training program to learn and gain first-hand experience in identifying native plants; the vital roles they play in maintaining clean water, air and soil; the importance of soils; plant propagation and care for native plants; the functions and benefits of wetlands, forests, nearshore and streamside areas; how to remove invasive plants; how to educate the public; which native plants work well in urban settings (and attract wildlife); how to train and lead volunteers, and how to restore and monitor a variety of native habitats.
Volunteer Hours Reported: 144,927
Stewards make a commitment to complete 100 volunteer hours in exchange for the free training. Their hours are reported monthly. Many stewards continue to report their volunteer hours after their initial commitment; many do not but they remain visible and engaged in community projects that include public education, ecological restoration and advocacy.
Native Plant Stewards are the community-based ambassadors of the Washington Native Plant Society in carrying out the Society’s mission by their volunteer commitment to advocacy, conservation, education, research and other related activities.
Advocacy: 21,801 hours
Stewards assume leadership positions on WNPS boards and committees where they speak out on behalf of native plants. Other stewards appear before state, city and local community hearings to support conservation positions favorable to native plants and their habitats.
Education: 31,074 hours
Community outreach and education is an important part of stewardship. Stewards interact with the public at native plant gardens, plant sales, schools and public events throughout the Puget Sound region.
Conservation: 74,151 hours
Stewards lead community events and participate in a number of public projects with the objective of restoring native vegetation vital to the ecological functions in urban forestry, riparian, wetland, and nearshore habitats.
Research: 866 hours
Stewards engage in native plant and habitat research projects in pursuit of their own interests as well as assisting academic institutions and public agencies. Research studies included: seed germination experiments, rare plant inventories, wetland tree aging and biological control of purple loosestrife.
Other steward activities: 26,521 hours
Our stewards bring a wide variety of talents and skills that contribute to WNPS and community projects and activities. Activities in this group are those that do not fit in the regular reporting activity categories.