For the past 6 months, a team of seniors and their friends have removed invasive ivy and holly by the truckload and planted 152 native plants in Secret Park, on East Mercer Way just south of I-90.
The steep hillside is being transformed from an impenetrable tangle to a cleared landscape studded with young plantings, many just budding out.
Recently Meg Lippert, co-chair of Concerned Citizens for Mercer Island Parks, joined the UW contingent for a Saturday Planting Work Party at the site.
“I was really impressed by the knowledge and expertise of these students, not to mention their enthusiasm and sheer grit,” Lippert said in a press release from CCMIP. “They are transforming an impenetrable hillside into a restored area of public parkland that can be enjoyed by our entire Island community.”
The project was initiated by Mercer Island Parks Department Natural Resource Specialist Kim Frappier and Natural Resources Manager Alaine Sommargren, who submitted a proposal to University of Washington’s Restoration Ecology Network program, according to CCMIP. The challenge was tackled by Adria Lau, Megan Burns, Sara Wallesen, Allison Dekerlegand and Aron Yohannes, who are seniors in the program.
“The challenge appealed to me because I felt that this project was very interdisciplinary, “ Lau said. “There is the physical part of it of course—pulling weeds, etc.—but there are also educational, social and ecological benefits for myself and for the Mercer Island community.”
The students started by visiting the site and meeting with Ms. Frappier. The students, in consultation with Ms. Frappier, planned the work to be done and ordered the plants.
“The original plan was to restore the entire Secret Park, an area of 0.8 acres, but we preferred, within the limitations of our time and person power, to do it right in a smaller area rather than to tackle the whole area and not be as effective,” Lau said.
Volunteers are needed to help complete the planting and to maintain the new plantings through the coming dry summer season. To sign up for future work parties, please watch for announcements on Next Door and/or visit the project’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofSecretPark/ or their blog at https://secretpark925280862.wordpress.com/
The press release was submitted by Meg Lippert, co-chair of Concerned Citizens for Mercer Island Parks.