Panel 3: Fostering Collaboration Fostering collaboration is the process of inviting, encouraging and enabling others to join in the process. In order for each of us to be effective collaborators we need the training and resources. These presentations highlight programs that connect a variety of audiences to unique opportunities so that more and more people are collaborating to find the solutions.
Growing Green Infrastructure Careers through On-the-Job Training for Young Adults Cari Simson, Urban Systems Design, DIRT Corps Urban Systems Design and its partners launched the "DIRT Corps" program in early 2015 to develop a core curriculum and training program to care for green infrastructure sites that lack existing maintenance plans in the Duwamish Valley. The DIRT Corps program provides an acceleration of skills to build confidence in young adult leadership through a trained crew who can assist with community-driven open space projects across the Duwamish Valley. The young adult participants live in South Park and Georgetown. Half of the participants are Latina women who would not otherwise have access to these career opportunities. Participants earn a stipend while gaining valuable job skills towards accessing expanding green infrastructure careers. The presentation will outline how DIRT Corps:
Empowers and cultivates leadership and entrepreneurial skills with South Seattle young adults through a crew to learn and utilize employable skills in the fields of Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI), including voluntary rain garden design and maintenance, tree planting, and Duwamish River restoration;
Showcases to wider Seattle/regional/national audiences the economic and neighborhood benefits of creating educational and training pathways for young adults to access the expanding green infrastructure careers, specifically women, people of color and Veterans;
Increases regional eco-literacy and participation in the use of tree-planting and green infrastructure programs to combat polluted runoff to keep our urban waters clean
No One’s Back Yard: Environmental Justice Curriculum Linn Gould, Just Health Action
South Seattle's Duwamish Valley has long been referred to as a community with environmental injustices – a community with disproportionately high environmental health burdens and risks and fewer positive environmental benefits than the rest of Seattle. Just Health Action (JHA) developed an Environmental Justice (EJ) curriculum around reducing toxic waste in our communities. Eight lesson plans were developed and piloted with two different multi-cultural youth groups located in the Duwamish Valley. The interactive curriculum involves drawing, role play, mapping, case study analysis, critical thinking, and reflection. Two of the lesson plans engage students in a mapping case study that illustrates how the Duwamish Valley is an area with environmental justice concerns. Other lesson plans explore how and equity concepts should be considered when green stormwater infrastructure is implemented in different communities. The curriculum also works with participants to consider what kind of action they might want to take in their community to reduce disproportionate environmental burdens. In the summer of 2014, multi-cultural youth helped install 2 cisterns and 2 rain gardens in South Park. In the fall of 2014, youth learned about tree planting as a way to reduce air pollution and asthma, maintenance of green infrastructure projects in the community, and how to safely pick up and dispose of used drug needles. The environmental justice curriculum is available for free on JHA’s website for anyone to use and adapt.
Acquisition Funding – Conservation Futures and King County Parks Levy Terry Lavender, King County Conservation Futures Citizen Advisory Committee
King County Conservation Futures and Parks Levy provide about $15 million annually to fund acquisition of open space, agricultural, forest and natural lands. An engaged Citizen Committee does the real work reviewing proposals from the County and Cities, visiting every site, making recommendations to the County Executive and Council and provide funding and scope oversite as properties are acquired. We often support a vision and provide the first money which allows projects to compete for other grant sources.
We are a fundamental part of the implementation of WRIA plans in each King County watershed. Conservation Futures was the initial funding source for Waterways 2000, Long Live the Kings and continues to fund watershed acquisitions. We see those projects turn in to restorations and become healthy streams and rivers. Examples of projects funded through our process are Beaconsfield on the Sound, the North Wind Weir, Green River Natural Area, the confluence of the Green and Mill Creek in Kent and many more. We recently recommended the first money in to the Chinook Wind project and fully funded the request for Re-Greening the Green. This process and fund is basic to implementing the Green Duwamish Watershed Plan.
Duwamish Valley Youth Corps: Seattle Youth, Making a Difference! Paulina Lopez, Duwamish River Clean Up Coalition
Our Duwamish Valley Youth Corps supports environmental and health improvement projects, including urban forestry, identified as priorities by residents and stakeholders in the Duwamish Valley neighborhoods. In addition to environmental improvements, such as increases in tree canopy, greater access to community gardens, and improvements in neighborhood walking trails, Duwamish Valley residents have also identified improved youth programming, employment and engagement as a high priority need to promote overall community health, and to support and train new generation of community leaders. The three main goals of our Duwamish Valley Youth Corps Program are: (1) Train and engage youth in environmental and community health improvement projects (2) Support the community’s selected health priorities (3) Provides meaningful, paid training, work and career pathways for local Duwamish valley teens The Duwamish Valley Youth Corps (DVYC) is a program of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition to engage youth in education and community service, offering the youth a paid training and meaningful work experience within their own community. The youth participating in the Program are all residents of the South Park and Georgetown neighborhoods. Both communities sit within the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund site of the River.