Every year the City of Bellevue celebrates Arbor Day / Earth Day with a family-oriented festival at one of its local parks. However, this year’s event at Lewis Creek Park on April 21st was very exciting and special to me. I was honored by Bellevue’s Mayor and officially declared as a Master Naturalist with the City of Bellevue.
This event marks the completion of a whole year since I joined the exclusive Master Naturalist training program offered by the City of Bellevue. I underwent 11 weeks of training in Puget Sound’s cultural history, local forest and wetland ecology, geology, soil science, native plants, invasive plants, restoration ecology and local wildlife. I was taught interpretive techniques and was trained to lead nature walks. I also developed skills to manage volunteers and lead groups to perform restoration activities.
Since my training, I have applied my knowledge and skills in several projects including –
- Teach the ‘function and importance of wetlands’ to fourth and fifth graders during Natural Resource Week.
- Co-design and illustrate a six page brochure on ‘How to Create a Backyard Wildlife Habitat.’
- Lead environmental programs aimed at removing invasive weeds like blackberries from park lands.
- Train the Well-Kept program members to harvest willow stakes and replant at a wetland restoration site.
- Teach Native Plant Identification (Upland, Wetland and Invasive) and lead Plant ID walks.
- Co-teach a class on ‘Edible, Useful and Medicinal Plants’ including an interpretive walk.
- Co-design a restoration planting plan for a native hillside which was rescued from invasive blackberries.
- Lead volunteer groups (Boys Scouts) in planting native plants at a restoration site.
- Teach a class on ‘How to Create a Backyard Wildlife Habitat’ – coming up on April 28th at Lake Hills Ranger Station, Bellevue.
While I have always upheld sustainable eco-friendly practices in my garden design and coaching, this recognition and experience has propelled me to being closely involved in my commitment to community outreach and environmental education.