Playtime: Earth Day activities at local parks, volunteer and paid jobs, plus kids yoga day

Cherry tree at Hickman Park, courtesy City of Edmonds.

Cherry blossom pictures have been a large part of my social media feed this week. The trees in the University of Washington Quad are in full bloom and while this year my only view has been via other peoples’ pictures, it looks incredible. I have seen how incredible it is in person once before. We packed up my visiting in-laws and my kids in the back of the van and went for it. There was parking, a doable walk with an elevator assuring access for all of us, and plenty of space to take pictures on the warm weekend even though it was very busy.

If a crowd or a commute isn’t your thing or taking a toddler on a train excursion doesn’t offer a quick-enough escape plan, the City of Edmonds has an option for you. They posted a beautiful picture of the roughly 64-year-old flowering cherry tree at Hickman Park, which offers shade and had a lunch table next to it. It is not exactly the same as the UW quad, but would make for some great pictures nonetheless. They say that the tree was likely planted when the old Woodway Elementary was built in 1958 and that it is “extremely old” for a flowering cherry tree! The city asks that we treat the tree with care when visiting in hopes of having it for years to come.

More than 25 volunteers showed up at Yost Park for an Earth Day cleanup in 2019. (File photo by Larry Vogel)

While we’re on the subject of local parks, Earth Day in Edmonds Parks is April 23 from 10 a.m. to noon at four different parks throughout the city. Participants of all ages and experience levels are welcome, though volunteers at Yost Park must be at least 13 and all minors must be accompanied by an adult. Those in attendance will “work under the leadership of city staff and Sound Salmon Solutions’ volunteer Edmonds Stewards, who have been leading volunteer stewardship events in our community since 2015.” Volunteers will help plant 100 trees at Yost Park, pull invasive ivy and Japanese honeysuckle in Pine Ridge Park, and remove litter from both Marina Beach and Brackett’s Landing parks. For more information on the work parties including registration (which is free but limited,) how to prepare and what items to bring, you can visit SoundSalmonSolutions.org or contact Jennifer Leach, Program Coordinator, at Jennifer.Leach@edmondswa.gov.

If you are unable to join the city-hosted event on Earth Day, there are other ways to help. Volunteers can help by “picking up litter that would otherwise wash into our storm drains, planting native plants in your own yard, or committing to doing away with single-use plastics like water bottles.” You can also join the Edmonds Stewards for the Saturday work parties they hold throughout the year.

The City of Mountlake Terrace is also hosting a volunteer spring cleanup Saturday, April 23 from 9 a.m.-noon at Veterans Memorial Park and the city’s Civic Campus, with lunch following for volunteers. This event is held in honor of Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 29). If you have a small group that would like to participate, contact Parks and Facilities Superintendent Ken Courtmanch at kcourtmanch@mltwa.gov  or call 425-776-1811 to register in advance. A limited number of tools will be available to share. The city asks that you bring your rakes, weed pullers, and non-electric pruning tools and participate in pruning, removing blackberry and invasive plants, weeding, raking and trash pick up. Work or gardening gloves are strongly encouraged and boots are recommended if the has been recent rain.  Volunteers should meet at City Hall (23204 58th Ave. W.) in the council chambers (tall room next to the Jerry Smith Town Center Plaza) for a brief meeting at 9 a.m. Learn more HERE.

Arts Festival volunteers. (Photo courtesy Edmonds Arts Festival)

In 2019, the kids and I volunteered for the Edmonds Arts Festival in one of the student art display rooms. We had a great time and the kids got a lot of good experience at their then pre-employable age. It was one of the major things that I was sad to miss out on when the festival was canceled in 2020. I got an email today saying that the festival, which is happening from June 17-19 at Frances Anderson Field, is signing up volunteers starting on April 1. You can “sign up to meet your neighbors, help your community and celebrate the return of the artists” in one or more of the different areas where they need help. “Volunteers fill a myriad of jobs during the festival, including checking in the juried art, helping sell art during the festival, staffing the information booth, delivering food to the artists, checking in volunteers, and more.” For more information and to sign up to volunteer, you can visit EdmondsArtsFestival.com.

If your kids are at an employable age, the City of Lynnwood has some part-time summer options. Lynnwood is hiring for over 50 part-time summer jobs and says it currently has more demand for the programs than they have staff! While most positions are for those 18 and over, the city is hiring lifeguards who can be 15 years or older and are eligible for the “golden ticket” program to receive a free lifeguarding certificate. For more information, you can visit www.governmentjobs.com/careers/lynnwood or call Joel Faber, recreation superintendent, at 425-670-5508.

In one of the parenting group chats I am in, I get info for a lot of local events since one of the parents is active with their school’s parent group. They recently shared the link to an event the Edmonds School District is hosting. The First Annual Student Leadership Conference, “Becoming Leaders of Change,” will be  Wednesday, April 20 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts. The goal of the event is to provide high school students the “opportunity to learn/build leadership, advocacy, and racial literacy skills to bring about transformational and sustainable change within ourselves, our families, and our communities.” This all-day event features keynote speaker Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association and leader of the Chicano civil rights movement. For more information and to register, you can click HERE.

International Kids’ Yoga Day is Friday, April 1 and Yoga Sanctuary Studio in Perrinville is celebrating by offering two FREE workshops. The first is from 2 to 2:45 p.m. for those ages 3 to 5 and will include movement and mindfulness sprinkled with creative fun. The second, from 3 to 4 p.m., “will include a gentle flow that both relaxes and inspires confidence.” This will also include “packing feminine hygiene care kits for the refugees escaping Ukraine” in collaboration with Days for Girls. For more information on these classes, visit YogaSanctuaryStudio.com.

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.

 

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