When we held the February 26 and March 4 work parties none of us knew that they would be the last work parties of the quarter. The remaining ones would be canceled due to the pandemic.
When I went outside to make last minute preparations for the work party, I got a big surprise. A big tree had fallen not far from our toolbox. I hadn’t been to that part of the site for several days, so I didn’t know when it fell but guessed it was during or soon after the big wind and rain storm that had occurred the previous weekend.
The tree had fallen from the top path, over the old house foundation that is on the property, and partially over the planting area that is below the foundation. I hadn’t realized how big the tree was until it fell; it must have been at least 80 feet tall. The photos in this post are primarily from the tree’s bottom and top so in no way do they show its magnitude.
(To enlarge the photos click on any of the galleries.)
The tree fell between two drying racks. It touched both of the racks but didn’t damage either of them. Even though it had fallen over numerous planting areas, none of our native plants were significantly harmed; in fact only one branch on a bald hip rose shrub and one on a pacific ninebark shrub was damaged. Once again, against incredible odds, Mother Nature had protected the plants.
The tree had fallen from the top path, over the old house foundation that is on the property, and partially over the planting area that is below the foundation. We hadn’t realized how big the tree was until it fell; it must have been at least 80 feet tall. The photos in this post are primarily from the tree’s bottom and top so in no way do they show its full magnitude.
Soon after I discovered the fallen tree, I called my supervisor at the Seattle Parks Department to inform him that the tree had fallen. He told me it would probably be left on the ground to provide habitat for birds and insects.
So, after all of us spent some time looking at the exposed tree roots, we began the planned activities for the day. Most of the students started removing weeds, wood chips and leaves from around all of the trees, shrubs and ground covers we had planted on the site since 2017. Having bare ground around each plant helps water reach the plant roots when it rains. The UW Capstone interns were team leaders for the UW service-learning students during this work party.
An intern found some snail or slug eggs as she was working.
A student that loves to dig out invasive blue bell bulbs did that instead of clearing the areas around the plants. The photo of her shovel shows how wet the soil was that day.
While all of this activity was occurring, Antje, one of our regular team leaders, cut back bamboo shoots.
Later, one of the student teams removed some of the smaller fallen tree branches that were near the native plants.
While those students removed branches, the other team finished clearing the areas around the plants on the site and then picked up litter. Sorry, no photos of that work!
During what turned out to be our last work party, the interns took the service-learning students back to the area along Cheasty Boulevard that they had started to clear several weeks before. Weeds were already growing through the wood chip mulch they had spread at that time. On March 4th, they dug out those weeds and cleared more of the area, and then spread more wood chips over all of the cleared area. I don’t have photos of the work but I do have photos of the results!
The fallen tree covered all but one of our Greenbelt paths. While the students worked, Antje identified and marked new ways to get around the lower part of the site without walking through the planted areas.
I feel so grateful to all of the students who chose to work on our site for their service-learning or internship this quarter. I also feel grateful for those who have worked here in the past or will work here in the future. Every volunteer leaves having made a significant contribution in creating “Another Future Healthy Forest”.