Helping Reforest Grace Cole Nature Park

On Saturday November 20, 2021 a work party of ten restoration stewards and eight volunteers increased the biodiversity in Grace Cole Park. They planted 128 conifers and shrubs including: Sword Ferns, Salal, Western Red Cedar and Western White Pine trees.

Planting trees was the tip of the iceberg in the restoration process. Six months of prep work went into this effort. There was site planning and evaluation to determine what areas to work on.

Next, several months of removal and composting of noxious weeds such as ivy, holly and blackberry. Plants were selected and placed at five restoration sites in the park. These areas will be monitored to control weeds and ensure the health of the new trees and shrubs. The cycle of restoration will repeat in other areas of the park.

For the restoration stewards, this planting marked the halfway point in a year-long training program that started in June 2021. The program has two major goals. First, stewards work together to reach site-specific ecological decisions within Grace Cole Park. In addition, work with the Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation and the City of Lake Forest Park to equitably recruit, retain, and work with a diversity of community volunteers.

The restoration stewardship training program is a partnership with the King Conservation District (KCD), the City of Lake Forest Park, the Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation (LFPSF), and Restoration Analytics and Design LLC (RAD), Cory Roche from City of Lake Forest Park along with Jean Robbins, Jim Mead, and John Brew from LFPSF to support the training program.

Thirteen people are participating in the restoration stewardship program. They spend one Thursday each month learning about invasive plants, native plant selection, leading effective work parties and the details of soils.

Joy Wood (RAD) and Mike Lasecki (KCD) are the lead facilitators. Joy and Mike have tapped other restoration subject matter experts to teach in their area of expertise. For example, Britt Le of EarthCorps taught the stewards how to lead and manage large volunteer events, tool safety, and planting techniques.

The following Saturday, the tools meet the dirt as lessons are applied within Grace Cole Park along with a group of community volunteers. Stewards and volunteers work with enthusiasm and great spirit; rain or shine. All share the goal of increasing the biodiversity and restoring the natural beauty of Grace Cole Park.

If this sounds like fun, please come join a work party at Grace Cole Park from 9 to noon on the third Saturday of each month. Please contact the Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation at info@lfpsf.org for more info on work parties at Grace Cole. Residence in Lake Forest Park is not a requirement to join the fun.

Contributors: John Brew and Jean Robbins
Feature Photo: Shoreline Area News

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