Nov 03

Volunteers Plant New Rain Gardens in Central Tacoma

Posted on November 3, 2022 at 6:55 PM by Camila Matamala-Ost

Orca Recovery Day volunteers plant native and pollinator-friendly plants at the Oasis of Hope rain garden
Dana Coggon, PCD Executive Director and other Orca Recovery Day volunteers plant native and pollinator-friendly plants at the Oasis of Hope rain garden

October is peak planting season in the Pacific Northwest, which means our Water Quality team is busy working with community partners on green stormwater projects. This year, we celebrated both Green Tacoma Day (on Oct 8th) and Orca Recovery Day (on Oct 9th) with volunteers and neighbors in Central Tacoma.

After removing 3,000 square feet of pavement from a parking lot at Peck Fields, the Central Neighborhood Council, Metro Parks Tacoma, and PCD finished transforming this space from gray to green as part of Green Tacoma Day. With 50 volunteers, we planted more than 400 plants, including urban trees, native pollinator plants, and a new rain garden, which will capture and clean polluted runoff. Volunteers also cleared out tons of invasive blackberries to give our new plants plenty of room to grow.

Tacoma City Councilmember Kiara Daniels gets her hands in the soil to plant the new rain garden.
Tacoma City Council Member Kiara Daniels gets her hands in the soil to plant the new rain garden!

One weekend later, we partnered up with 35 volunteers in the Hilltop at the Oasis of Hope. Over the last year, PCD has worked with the Center and volunteers to remove blackberries that were taking over their rain garden. This year, the rain garden was ready for new plants, and we added over 300 native and pollinator-friendly plants that will fill the rain garden with a diverse and healthy plant community. 

Both events were not just great because of the new plants in the ground; they were also celebrations of how individuals and communities can make a tangible difference. Both projects were put forward by community members who wanted to create more green spaces in their neighborhoods. Both rain gardens also collect stormwater runoff from parking lots. These gardens clean this polluted runoff and keep it out of Puget Sound and away from orcas. By working together, neighbors were able to take small steps that add up to a big difference.

PCD regularly has volunteer events all over the county. You can always find upcoming events and opportunities here on our volunteer page.

Lisa and Raeshawna take a look at their hard work. Volunteers put more than 300 plants in the soil!
Lisa and Raeshawna take a look at their hard work. Volunteers put more than 300 plants in the soil!

Orca Recovery Day volunteers plant native and pollinator plants at the Oasis of Hope rain garden
Orca Recovery Day volunteers plant native and pollinator-friendly plants at the Oasis of Hope rain garden.
Sep 29

Our Water Quality Team is Growing!

Posted on September 29, 2022 at 5:00 PM by Camila Matamala-Ost

The Water Quality team is excited to have 3 new team members to help us complete projects and organize programming. Joe Farkas

Joe Farkas is our new Landscape Design Program Coordinator.  Coming from us with as a professional landscape designer he will be responsible for designing many of our residential green stormwater projects and managing contractors through installation.  Interested in rain gardens, urban habitat, trees, pavement removal, or rain tanks? Joe is here to help! 

I would describe myself as a nature enthusiast who enjoys the beauties that Mother Nature has to offer. My happy place is outside either gardening, weeding or going on adventures with my pup, Cowboy! After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture and design back in Romania, my true passion blossomed even more after relocating to the United States and finding such a great support system of people and communities who share the same values that I do, conserving and protecting our natural habitats and to connect people back with Mother Nature.


Syd Kuczenski is one of our two AmeriCorps members on the Water Quality team.  She will be helping the green stormwater program by managing our Urban Tree Sale, improving our Orcas Love Raingardens sites, and adding resources in our pollinator toolkit

Hi everyone! I was born and raised in North Carolina and graduated from NC State with a degree in Marine Science this past summer. Most of my background is in phytoplankton blooms, water quality monitoring for the city of Raleigh, and freshwater mussel toxicity. But if allowed I will talk your head off about sharks and other deep, dark marine mysteries. When not at the office you can find me hiking, whitewater kayaking, swimming, or cooking with my pup. 


Cecilia Black is our second AmeriCorps member on the Water Quality team.  She will be helping the Habitat Stewardship program by managing several sites and supporting our Stewards as they do their work. 

Hi, my name is Cecilia! I grew up in Puyallup but spent the last 6 years in Spokane, New Hampshire, and Spain only to confirm that Western Washington is the place for me. At Gonzaga University I studied Spanish and Biology with a focus in Research and Ecology. I love camping and hiking, as well as plant identification and heckling the people in my life about planting native species. Much of my time recently has been spent training my family dog to be the perfect adventure buddy :)


Jun 29

Closing Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Programs to Add Support For Habitat Restoration Projects

Posted on June 29, 2022 at 3:15 PM by Camila Matamala-Ost

Thank you volunteers!We are saddened to let you know that after 20 plus years of monitoring and over 2,000 engaged volunteers, we are closing the Stream Team and Lake Monitoring Programs. In 1994 the Stream Team Program began with 5 streams and has since expanded to monitoring more than 20 streams around Pierce County. Since 2000, the Cities of Lakewood, Bonney Lake and Milton have participated in lake monitoring programs on 7 different lakes. We provided key watershed health data to our partners and agencies to help them make informed water quality decisions. This data was featured in PCD annual reports and quarterly newsletters to our partners and volunteers. Thank you to all our volunteers for their many years of monitoring efforts.

Why are we making this change?

We decided to transition our Stream Team and Lake Monitoring Programs to a more robust Habitat Stewardship program where we will be working with community members to restore streamside habitat and improve habitat and water quality conditions. This transition will allow us to better serve and grow our active Habitat Stewards, support a larger community volunteer base to support those Habitat Stewards, and directly improve our local natural resources. 

Let Belinda ( know if you want to be involved in these efforts.