Dear Seattle Partners and Community Members,
Supporting a healthy environment is one of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s fundamental outcomes as an organization, together with healthy people, strong communities and financial sustainability. These outcomes are at once unique and interconnected. A healthy environment is the product of how we, as a community, connect to nature and reduce our regional and global footprint. Our performance as an environmental steward is an indicator of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s role in building strong communities and healthy people.
This fall, Seattle Parks and Recreation releases its environmental stewardship report, the first of many steps to enhance our accountability to Seattle residents. With the passage of the ballot measure establishing the Seattle Park District in August 2014, the department made a commitment to track and report our work through enhanced performance management. We will use the information to recognize our achievements and identify opportunities for improvement.
The title of this publication, Our City, Our Parks, Our Environment, reflects the people-based approach of our pledge to sustain a healthy environment. Seattle is a dense and diverse urban space and we at Seattle Parks and Recreation are committed to caring for the whole ecosystem. We take our role of stewardship seriously, protecting spaces that provide services and access to nature, as well as enhancing our health, well-being and enjoyment of Seattle landscapes.
As a department we plan for the future by integrating an environmental ethic into our everyday activities. We know that small steps can have a big impact. This work does not happen on its own; it takes the care and commitment of parks professionals to select each tree that gets planted, develop a fieldtrip curriculum, operate a maintenance building thoughtfully and efficiently, and coordinate volunteers.
Although we have dedicated and inspired staff, Parks does not have the resources to do it alone. In 2013 we had 120,726 hours of committed volunteers working through our various programs to help us achieve our goals, translating into nearly $3 million of community investment. The hard work and commitment of volunteer trailblazers, forest builders, environmental educators and urban farmers expands the depth and breadth of our programs. These volunteers and the community members they inspire represent the current and future generation of environmental leaders. Unfortunately, we are seeing a downward trend in long-term volunteers.
We need to continue to draw environmental stewards to not only replace current volunteers, but to fulfill our promise of a sustainable future.
As we continue to track our goals and progress, we hope that you will join us in taking steps to steward a sustainable park system for the next generation.
Download the full report here: Our City, Our Parks, Our Environment