FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Victoria L. Andrews, Kent Parks, Recreation & Community Services
Norah Kates, Cascade Land Conservancy
Kent & Cascade Land Conservancy Launch Green Kent Partnership
KENT, Wash. – September 2, 2009 – The City of Kent is the newest city to join the Cascade Land Conservancy’s Green City Network, the growing regional movement to recognize the need for a coordinated restoration effort of our forested parklands and greenbelts.
The Kent City Council voted Sept. 1 to make Kent the region’s fifth Green City Partnership. A $95,000 grant from the King Conservation District will enable Kent to partner with The Conservancy to create a 20-year urban forest restoration plan. The first phase of the plan will be completed by December 2010.
Since 2004, the successful Green Seattle Partnership has provided important lessons on how volunteers can actively help re-establish and maintain healthy forested parklands. Urban forest plans have been created and Green City Partnerships are now being implemented in Kirkland, Redmond and Tacoma. Kent becomes the fifth city to make this long-term commitment to healthy urban green space and community involvement.
Kent Parks and Public Works Departments will use the Conservation District funds to include all City-owned forests and wetlands in the plan. Once all lands have been surveyed and mapped in a Partnership process known as “tree-iage,” City staff will recruit and train volunteer stewards in the removal of invasive vegetation and planting of native trees and shrubs. The mapping process helps identify high priority areas.
“Kent has a strong foundation to work with,” commented Jeff Watling, Director of Kent Parks, Recreation & Community Services. “The stewardship that we have fostered through our volunteer programs over the years will serve as a great starting point for this work.”
“The Green City Network is an important part of The Cascade Agenda,” said Ara Erickson, The Conservancy’s Green Cities Director. “We must make our forested parklands as ecologically viable as possible because they help to make our cities and towns great places to live, work and play.”
In 2005, The Conservancy and its many partners launched The Cascade Agenda, a 100-year vision and call to action to protect our quality of life by balancing urban growth/economic development with natural resource protection throughout the Cascades region.
The Green City program brings together volunteers, municipalities and experts to remove invasive plants and begin a restoration program to return areas to native trees and shrubs. The program addresses a serious problem facing cities in our region: the loss of forest canopy to invasive species, which will eventually shrink the green places that make cities livable.
For more information about Kent Parks’ current volunteer program and upcoming events, contact Victoria Andrews at 253-856-5113 or email@example.com. To learn more about the Cascade Land Conservancy’s Green Cities program, contact Norah Kates, 206-905-6943 or visit www.cascadeland.org.
About the City of Kent: The City of Kent is the fourth largest city in King County, Washington with a population over 88,000. As a culturally rich destination, Kent’s dynamic quality of life features captivating neighborhoods, award-winning parks and nationally accredited police and fire departments. In recent years, Kent has experienced impressive economic growth, and is nationally known as a prime location for manufacturing. For more information, visit www.choosekent.com.
About the Cascade Land Conservancy: The Cascade Land Conservancy is the largest land conservation, stewardship and community building organization operating in Washington State with headquarters in Seattle and principal offices in King, Kittitas, Mason, Pierce and Snohomish Counties. Founded in 1989, the Conservancy has protected over 158,000 acres of working forests, farmlands and natural areas as well as estuary lands on the Olympic Peninsula and along the Washington Coast. It provides stewardship services, caring for more than 10,000 acres of land. Since 2005 it has been the host organization of The Cascade Agenda, which links conserving great lands with creating great communities. For more information, please visit www.cascadeland.org.
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