The Friends of Licorice Fern Natural Area’s purpose is to re-forest this 8-acre canyon after its traumatic logging in the early 1900’s and the invasion of exotic plants that prevent big trees from starting. We are guided by the techniques and support of the Green Seattle Partnership http://greenseattle.org and the Parks Department. Our long-term plan document guides our work.
We progress toward the long-term goal through volunteer service. Our workparties are open to the public, usually second and fourth Saturdays. In 2012 we held about 18 workparties. Our University Prep School work parties had 30-40 young workers, and the United Way Day of Caring workparty had about 30 adult volunteers. Many of our announced workparties attracted only 2 or 3 volunteers.
Clearing and Planting
Clearing invasive ivy and blackberries occupied many of those volunteer hours. Once an area is cleared, we plant native shrubs and trees that will be the basis for the new “natural” forest In 2012 we planted about 200 including about 40 trees (Douglas fir, western red cedar, and Sitka spruce) and 120 native shrubs such as indian plum, ninebark, snowberry, Oregon grape.
Trail maintenance is important to give access to areas for work. Visitors need walkable trails for exploring. In wet winter months the trails near the creek are very muddy in spots, with logs or boards to walk on.
For summer months, newly planted shrubs and trees in the drier areas need hand-watering for at least the first summer. The Parks Department has supplied us with an 1100 gallon plastic water cistern. The piping needed to get the water to the plants will be installed for the 2013 summer.
Tool storage is convenient in the large steel JoBox toolbox that the Parks department has installed on site.
We are a small core of workers and supporters (see the Steering Committee list on the website http://LFNAFriends.org ). We were supported in 2012 by a $500 anonymous contribution, which bought plants and trees, refreshments, tools, and paid for many trips to the hardware store. This tiny budget does not allow for hiring specialty crews, posting proper signage, or purchasing larger numbers of plants and trees.
Thanks to all the loyal volunteers and workparty attenders for a good solid year of accomplishment.