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what it takes to be a park parent

GLY is fortunate to have many long-term relationships with Pacific Northwest companies that inspire us to dream bigger and reach higher. Our partnership with Forterra is no exception. Forterra’s conservation work encourages us to never stop asking: how can we do more in the communities where we work, live, and play? After spending quite a bit of time on our most recent endeavor with Forterra, I can’t keep it a secret any longer…I’m happy to announce that GLY is the proud new parent of a park! Now that the news is out, I’ll start from the beginning.

My wife Maria and I moved from Chicago to Seattle at the end of 2016, eager to spend more time outdoors and explore a new region of the United States. We take advantage of as many opportunities as possible, and coming from the flat plains of the Midwest, we never take living a stone’s throw from three national parks for granted. Most folks at GLY share in this appreciation. Over the last two and a half years with the company, I’ve joined many coworkers on outdoor adventures: climbing, skiing, biking, hiking, running, and volunteering in numerous community activities focused on improving the environment. It is rewarding to work for a company that not only values time spent in the great outdoors but recognizes our duty to take care of it so that future generations will be able to appreciate it in the same ways we do now.

Peter Family Photo

Maria, Frank and I find new places to explore almost every weekend, thanks to the Pacific Northwest landscape.

The scientific community agrees we are now in the geological epoch called the Anthropocene in which human beings are the driving force behind the majority of changes to the natural world. While the world debates the big, complex issues regarding climate change, there are small scale actions that we can do right now to improve our backyard. As a company, we decided to do exactly that.

Forterra’s Evergreen Carbon Capture [ECC] program began as a partnership with Pearl Jam, who “wanted to take responsibility for their carbon emissions produced from their world tour by planting trees in their local community.” Following Pearl Jam’s lead, GLY became one of the founding members of the ECC, voluntarily calculating the carbon footprint of our main office in Bellevue and planting trees annually to mitigate that footprint.

This year, GLY became the first company to simultaneously participate in a park adoption through the Green Redmond Partnership. By adopting Bear Creek Park, GLY will regularly care for our ECC trees in hopes of restoring a crucial salmon habitat in the heart of downtown Redmond and maintaining a healthy green space for the public to enjoy for years to come.

Planting Party

February 2019 – GLY planted 139 baby trees in Redmond’s Bear Creek Park. Under Forterra’s Evergreen Carbon Capture Program, one tree is planted for every five tons of carbon to be sequestered. The average Pacific Northwest conifer tree will sequester 13.9 tons of carbon by its 100th birthday [Climate Action Reserve’s Urban Forest Tree Carbon Calculator]. Photo credit: Nicole Marcotte.

The 4.5-acre park expands a long, narrow plot of land. Bear Creek runs north to south right through the middle of the park, painting the picture of why our work is so important. The east side is almost entirely overrun with invasive species with just a few trees remaining. By contrast, the west side has plenty of native trees that provide shade to the salmon running up Bear Creek. However, if nothing is done to ensure that young, healthy trees are growing to replace the existing shade cover, the west side might look like the east side of the park in just a few decades. Thus our focus in 2019 is keeping the west side of the park healthy. We planted 139 new trees during two work parties, spread nutrient-rich mulch, and removed about 5,000 square feet of invasive blackberry along the creek.

Forterra Tree Infographic

It is powerful to return to Bear Creek Park on a monthly basis and see the impact of our efforts in such a short amount of time. At the first two work parties GLY employees showed up in a big way, filled with excitement and kids in tow, determined and ready to help out. Building on that momentum, our long-term ambition is to help the City of Redmond restore the east side of the park as well. What truly keeps us going as a group? It’s simple. We just envision those same kids returning to the park over the next several decades and appreciating their efforts from today. Their future children may even take the torch and plant baby trees of their own.

Planting Baby Trees

February 2019 – GLY planted 139 baby trees at Bear Creek Park.

Blackberry After

May 2019 – Volunteers returned to Bear Creek Park to mulch the baby trees and remove invasive blackberry.

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