Stewardship. Everyone uses that word these days, but I realized I wasn’t exactly sure what it means. So I looked it up.
Stewardship is “the activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something.”
As someone who cares about Washington’s native plants and plant communities, you have lots of opportunities to act, to protect, and take responsibility for some corner of our flora.
Native Plant Stewardship Program
One of the premiere programs of the Washington Native Plant Society is the Native Plant Stewardship Program. In 2014, WNPS is partnering with Kenmore, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Sammamish, SeaTac, and King County to offer this great training.
Applications are due April 7th for the free 10-week stewardship course. The class will be held April 18–June 27 in Bellevue. Once trained, Native Plant Stewards contribute 100 volunteer hours to restoring natural areas in a city or county park.
Training includes native plant identification, restoration ecology and methods, and community engagement.
As noted in a previous post, the Native Plant Stewardship Program began in 1996. Well over 500 stewards have received training, and they have contributed upwards of 120,000 hours to restoration projects in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties.
Stewardship Opportunities Abound
If you’re not up for a 10-week training course, the Central Puget Sound chapter invites you to help out with its native plant nursery or on its numerous stewardship sites.
Not in the Central Puget Sound area? Check out these opportunities:
The Okanogan Chapter cares for a short stretch of Highway 20 between Winthrop and Twisp. They meet throughout the growing season to remove invasive plants by hand-pulling and to broadcast native plant seed.
The Olympic Chapter of WNPS participates in numerous stewardship activities in its corner of the state. You can help with restoring the Elwha River, maintaining the Sequim Prairie Oak Woodland, weeding and monitoring the Kah Tai Prairie Preserve, or help steward several other choice spots.
A few miles west of Mount Vernon, the Salal Chapter holds at least one volunteer event a month at its Native Plant Garden. Tasks include propagation, potting plants, and helping maintain developed gardens.
South Sound Chapter
In the Tacoma and Olympia areas, members of the South Sound Chapter work with the Capital Land Trust, the Nisqually Land Trust, and the Tacoma Nature Center, to plant, weed, mulch, and otherwise get your hands dirty.
The WNPS Northeast Chapter is working to transition the landscape at their regional office of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. They plan a native garden to educate and inspire their fellow Inland Northwest gardeners.
It’s inspiring to learn about all these folks protecting and being responsible for something. Tell me your story: what slice of native flora are you protecting or taking responsibility for?