Restoring ecosystems with a Native perspective

A handful of students make their way to the University of Washington’s Forest Club Room as Todd Woodard stands in front, getting ready to discuss land preservation in Coast Salish country.   

Restoration projects are an integral part of Samish Native American culture  – whether it’s restoring ecosystems in the Samish river watershed or reviving landscapes in Cypress Island.

“The heart of restoration is getting things back to the way they are,” began Woodard, director of the Samish Nation Natural Resources Department.

UW students work to restore one of Seattle's remaining swamps

What was once a bustling sawmill in the late 1800s is now home to more than 100 species of birds, turtles, ducks, and even a beaver family.

I’m talking about Yesler Swamp, one of the few true swamps remaining in Seattle and a unique part of Washington’s vanishing urban forest. It’s hidden in a grove of trees just east of the UW Center for Urban Horticulture, remaining a fairly unknown public area to this day.

UW group encourages restoration projects on campus

You may not have noticed, but as you walk around the UW campus more of those plants and flowers at your feet are species native to Puget Sound.

That’s because UW’s Society for Ecology Restoration student guild (SER-UW) native plant nursery has been working to restore areas on campus by increasing native species biodiversity and creating open spaces for students to engage with the natural world just steps from their residence halls.