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December 2018

SKCR volunteers plant 500 trees and shrubs at Bellevue park

REALTORS® and affiliate members, joined by a few friends and family members, donned rain gear for a day of volunteer service at Lakemont Community Park in Bellevue. Working with employees and volunteers from Bellevue Parks, the group of 25 planted 500 trees and shrubs during the 12th installment of The REALTORS Environmental Council (TREC) event.

The planting project coincided with one of the "Eco Fridays" events hosted by Bellevue Parks & Community Services. These opportunities enable businesses to participate in the stewardship and care of the city's Parks and Open Space System.

Chris Kukal, a park ranger and environmental programs coordinator with the City of Bellevue, expressed appreciation to TREC participants for spending a rainy October day at the Lakemont park. "October through December is one of the best times to put plants in the ground, but we can't always find volunteers to help," he stated, noting Earth Day and summertime tend to be the favored times for volunteering.

TREC workers were assigned to a hillside near the park entry that was recently reclaimed from an infestation of non-native blackberry plants. Parks officials said it had been heavily logged without proper replenishment of trees and shrubs.

Workers planted a wide array of native trees and shrubs to help restore the area. The selection included Douglas fir, Cascara, salmonberry, snowberry, low Oregon grape, red flowering currant, Evergreen and red huckleberry, Pacific ninebark, Indian plum, and Western red cedar.

Lakemont Community Park spans 16 acres encompassing multiple-use trails, two picnic shelters, recreational facilities, and a large stormwater management system.

SKCR established TREC as a 501(c)3 nonprofit affiliate to promote environmental stewardship. The goal in forming TREC was to bring together Realtors and the community to help preserve healthy, natural habitats and to enhance neighborhood assets, according to David Crowell, SCKR's director of governmental and public affairs.

Broker Georgia Stevens, who was among the volunteers, also commented on Realtors' efforts to promote environmental stewardship and sustainability. "We don't just sell homes; we work to create great communities and to enhance our quality of life. We're advocates for community open spaces and recreational amenities in neighborhoods where our members and their clients live and work," stated Stevens, SKCR's vice president of governmental affairs and a broker at Compass.

Since inception, TREC participants have volunteered a day of service at parks and open spaces in Auburn, Bellevue, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kirkland, Renton, Seattle Shoreline, and Tukwila. Volunteers ranging in age from 8 to 87 have worked regardless of weather conditions at the annual event with the exception of 2016 when a powerful wind- and rainstorm hit the area forcing cancellation for safety reasons.

SKCR Volunteers at TREC event photos