Last year we relaunched our small grants program, the Green Partnership Fund and the response from the community was pretty overwhelming. We received 28 proposals requesting almost $420,000, which made for some difficult choices for our volunteer ranking committee on what to do with $75,000.
Ultimately, the ranking committee whittled it down to 8 great projects and we recently received the first of three progress reports from each of our partners. It's pretty inspiring to see how these grant dollars are leading to important outcomes for our community and we wanted to take a moment to share the great work being done by our partners. Here's the highlight's by the numbers:
- 5,004 K-12 students reached with Environmental Education programming
- 234 educational workshops or volunteer events held
- 10.5 acres of land in restoration
- 1633 native plants installed
- 63.5 quarts of food preserved and 205 lbs of food waste reduced
- 144 volunteers contributed 800 hours of time to these projects
- 10 farmers signed up for Farm to Farmer and over 200 reached
PCC Farmland Trust - Farm to Farmer
The Farm to Farmer website, a means to connect existing farmers looking to sell their land and new or expanding farmers looking to purchase land launched in beta form and has already seen a strong response from the community. There are currently more folks looking for land than there are parcels to help get them on, which is a good sign for the future of farming in our community!
Harbor WildWatch - Explorer Series
Delivering environmental education programming to local schools, the team at Harbor WildWatch is ahead of schedule! In the first quarter of delivering the GPF grant, they delivered 143 in-class lessons and 37 field workshops, connecting 3,631 students to their local natural resources.
Orting United Methodist Church - Community Garden
With all our nice weather recently it's easy to forget that April set records for how wet it was. All that rain set this project back a little bit but once things dried out they hit the ground running and with the help of 22 volunteers contributing almost 400 hours they're close to having the new Orting Community Garden ready for planting! (As of this writing it's likely the garden is planted)
South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group - Crescent Creek Fish Passage Feasibility Study
One of our most important salmon habitat restoration partners is making good progress on a project that could ultimately open up 3-miles of riparian habitat and 2-acres of vital estuary habitat. At this stage the team is optimistic that this work will ultimately lead to an important implementation project.
Nisqually Land Trust - Community Based Habitat Restoration
In the first phase of their project, the folks at Nisqually Land Trust hosted 14 work parties that engaged 107 volunteers who helped remove garbage and invasive weeds from 10.5. Contributing 321 hours, the volunteers also helped plant 1,633 native trees and shrub and just to top it off they engaged 133 elementary and middle school students in the activities!
Delivering environmental education programming to middle school students in both Tacoma and Buckley, CFBA reached 1,240 students through 23 in-class lessons and 14 field trips. The students also helped remove roughly 1,500sqft of invasive species to help prepare for the next phase which will include planting 700 native plants.
Center For Food Preservation Arts - Seed to Shelf to Table
Helping teach people how to preserve food from local gardens not only instills an important, some might say lost or forgotten, skill set, it helps create greater food security and reduce food waste. The folks at CFPA held three workshops, engaging 18 folks, preserved nearly 65 quarts of produce and reduced food waste by 205lbs. They also purchased some much needed equipment to bring their efforts to scale.
Unfortunately, our friends at the Tacoma Rainbow Center ran into some challenges with key staff turnover during the contracting phase and ultimately had to withdraw their project. We look forward to future opportunities to collaborate and carry this project forward. Our Board of Supervisors is still considering how to handle the returned funds.