RainWise achieves a major milestone!

Congratulations to the RainWise program for hitting the major milestone of capturing rainwater from two million square feet of rooftops via rain gardens and cisterns! That’s roughly equal to the area of Volunteer Park!

Rain gardens are a natural solution to reducing stormwater pollution. Photo Credit: Marcela Gara, Resource Media.

See if your home qualifies for a RainWise rain garden or cistern!

Stormwater is the largest source of pollution in Seattle. When it rains, water carries pollutants such as fertilizer, motor oil and metals from roads, rooftops and other hard, impermeable surfaces into local waters and Puget Sound. And large volumes of stormwater can cause sewer systems to overflow, further polluting Puget Sound waters. This has repercussions for both public health and the health of salmon migrating through Puget Sound.

“I’m excited to be part of the RainWise program. Thank you ECOSS for helping me become a RainWise contractor.” – Gary Li, RainWise contractor (left). Photo Credit: Joycelyn Chui, ECOSS.

RainWise provides up to a 100% rebate on the costs of professionally installing rain gardens and cisterns. And ECOSS provides support throughout the installation process in 15 different languages for both contractors and residents.But you can help by having rain gardens and cisterns installed at home. Also known as green stormwater infrastructure, these natural solutions control stormwater and filter out pollutants, thus reducing stormwater pollution.

“Participating in the RainWise program is just one of the many ways that we can do our part in preserving what we enjoy most about our environment and all that nature has to offer us. I strongly encourage all to do it!” – Nina V., RainWise resident (right). Photo Credit: Nina V.

By having rain gardens and cisterns, not only do you add beauty to your home, but you also help promote a healthier environment. Together, we can reduce stormwater pollution and make Seattle RainWise.

Learn more about our RainWise work!



Join us at the 2018 Water Festival!


The Water Festival is coming to Duwamish Water Park on July 28! Join us in celebrating how water shapes our culture.

  • Watch luchadores duke it out in the ring!
  • Learn new recipes for healthy seafood!
  • Watch multiple cultural performances!
  • Craft lanterns to launch into the Duwamish River!

Get more details on this free-to-attend event and stay up to date at our event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1704591099588148/

Like our Facebook page and follow our Twitter for updates, including features of our sponsors and partners!

Learn more about the 2018 Water Festival!

Sophorn Sim Named a Puget Sound Future-maker

Getting used to a new region can be daunting. Where do you shop for groceries? How do you connect with your neighbors? What customs should you be aware of? For immigrants and refugees, potential language and cultural barriers make this adjustment period extra difficult. And these difficulties can have adverse health effects, such as unknowingly consuming contaminated seafood.

But Community Outreach Associate Sophorn Sim is training community members to be advocates for healthy food and to raise awareness of the chemicals in the Duwamish River, drawing from her own experiences as a refugee. The Seattle Globalist’s recently featured her in their Puget Sound Future-maker series! Congratulations Sophorn!

By training local community members, we meet communities where they are – in their language, through their culture – to promote healthy, thriving communities.

Learn more about our New Arrivals program

Increasing Access to the Outdoors – One Trailhead at a Time

The Pacific Northwest is heralded as a hiker’s paradise. According to a recent economic analysis, the average Washington state resident spends nearly a full two months recreating outdoors every year!

Yet, some communities are still not able to enjoy these Pacific Northwest splendors. One of the greatest barriers is the lack of transportation access. To reach beyond urban centers, you need a car. At least, that was the case until recently.

Trailhead Direct Logo

Trailhead Direct is an expanding program that leverages public transit to provide affordable, accessible transportation to the outdoors. Jointly led by King County Parks and King County Metro, Trailhead Direct offers direct routes between transit centers in Capitol Hill and Mt. Baker to trailheads at Mt. Si and Issaquah Alps, respectively, with a route to Mailbox Peak opening in June 2018.

Bhutanese Community Members at Cedar River Watershed

Bhutanese Community Members at Cedar River Watershed

Sign up for our newsletter to ensure you don’t miss out on Trailhead Direct trips with us!

And thanks to the generous support of King County Parks and The Wilderness Society, ECOSS is excited to broaden the reach of Trailhead Direct to diverse communities. We specialize in multicultural outreach, using our staff’s ability to speak over a dozen languages. Through our New Arrivals Program, we connect immigrants and refugees with opportunities to engage with their environment. Trailhead Direct enables us to provide more transportation options and make outdoor recreation a more accessible and inclusive activity for all.

Over the summer months, ECOSS staff will plan and lead groups on hikes via Trailhead Direct. Be on the lookout for opportunities to get involved!

Thank you to Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust for connecting us to this exciting program!

Learn More About Our Multicultural Approach

Give BIG to help us promote environmental sustainability FOR ALL

GiveBIG — a one-day online giving event to raise funds for nonprofit organizations in the Greater Seattle area — returns May 9!

The mission of ECOSS is to educate and empower businesses and diverse communities to implement environmentally sustainable practices. And a key part of our success is generous support from people like you.

Help us continue to deliver strategies and results in pollution prevention, resource conservation, environmental equity and more. Go here to donate now through May 9.

Thank you so much for your support!

On the Radio-ECOSS Superhero Sophorn Sim


Three smiling women posing for a photo.

KNKX’s Bellamy Pailthorp (left) and Jennifer Wing (right) interview ECOSS’ Sophorn Sim (center) at a popular Duwamish River fishing spot. Sophorn has done a lot of outreach here, educating angler’s that salmon is the only safe fish to eat from the river.

ECOSS Community Outreach Associate Sophorn Sim has spent much of her adult life dedicated to building healthy, resilient communities.

On the KNKX radio show Sound Effect, Sophorn shares her story and how her experience guides her work to connect refugees and immigrants to their new home.

Her story will give you a real understanding of what it’s like to be a refugee and why it’s important for everyone to have access to environmental education and resources.

Conservationists-The Next Generation

For six weeks this summer, ECOSS had the pleasure of co-hosting two Doris Duke Conservation Scholars (DDCS). Arunika Bhatia and Chris Spencer split their time in a shared internship between ECOSS and The Nature Conservancy.

2017 Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Chris Spenser & Arunika Bhatia

Chris Spencer and Arunika Bhatia


Both from Colby College in Maine, they are in the final phase of a two-year program funded by the Doris Duke Foundation and hosted by the University of Washington.

Every year, 20 students come to Washington from around the country with a shared passion — to change the face, practice and future of conservation.


“They packed a lot into their short time with ECOSS and quickly became indispensable,” said Executive Director Cluny McCaffrey. “They worked alongside staff to deliver environmental training in people’s homes, conducted an analysis of our Spill Kit program and drafted case studies for the Conservancy.”

Chris studies Environmental Studies and Policy. He’s interested in exploring the interactions between human communities and wildlife, in search of effective policy solutions to reduce human-wildlife conflict.

Arunika studies Environmental Science and Policy. She is searching for ways of making natural resources accessible to all and promoting traditional conservation practices in mainstream environmentalism.

When asked what three words capture the essence of their time with ECOSS, here’s what they said: Empowerment, Holistic, Protection (Arunika), Personal, Inclusive, Empowering (Chris)

It’s easy to get caught up worrying about the future of our environment, then you meet students like Arunika and Chris and realize, there is hope, and it lies with the next generation of bright, practical and passionate conservationists.

Oh What A Night-PINKAPALOOZA 2017!

Pinkapalooza Guests

Guests in the spirit and wearing their pinks!

Nearly 200 ECOSS supporters shared an evening of inspiration, storytelling, music and dance at our inaugural PINKAPALOOZA event. The event celebrated the return of the pink salmon to Washington rivers and raised critical funds for ECOSS.

See highlights of this special evening captured by photographers Char Davies and Sam Le.

Together, we raised over $73,000 through sponsorships, ticket sales and Raise the Paddle, making it the most successful ECOSS event EVER!

We are incredibly grateful for this support which helps ECOSS continue to deliver environmentally sustainable and equitable solutions that address the needs of businesses, people and nature.

PINKAPALOOZA will return in 2019 along with the pink salmon. Sign up for our E-News to receive PINKAPALOOZA 2019 updates.

If you weren’t able to join us this year,  you can support ECOSS through a donation or cross something off our Amazon wish list.



South Park Rain Garden

Environmental Equity—One Rain Garden at a Time

Polluted runoff (aka stormwater) is the #1 source of pollution in Puget Sound. Rain gardens and cisterns help collect, absorb and filter polluted runoff before it reaches storm drains and ultimately our waterways.

To help diverse communities access the RainWise rebate program, (which helps homeowners build rain gardens and cisterns), ECOSS recruited multicultural contractors and worked with them every step of the way in becoming RainWise certified. This program invests in our communities by creating local jobs, supports our economy and reduces pollution in our waterways.

We invited Hop Tran, a contractor recruited by ECOSS to share his experience with us.    

RainWise certified contractor, Hop waving

How did you get involved with RainWise?                                                                    We were first approached by ECOSS outreach staff and they provided me with all the information I needed to become a RainWise-certified contractor. ECOSS helped me fulfill the requirements, materials were even translated into my language and ECOSS attended the training with me to translate complex terms.

After the training, ECOSS helped me navigate and complete the RainWise process by helping me to understand and use the website and forms for the program.

What would you tell other landscaping companies about RainWise?                    RainWise has been a great benefit to me and my company. At first, I was a little intimidated, but ECOSS offered a lot of help to overcome any barriers. The city inspectors are very nice and knowledgeable. They are always willing to help and answer questions. Also, ECOSS staff worked closely with me and made me feel comfortable and confident to move forward with RainWise.

How has RainWise helped your business?
RainWise has helped my business grow by about 20-30%. Once you get the basics down, the work is pretty straight forward. It’s just a matter of working closely with the homeowner to keep them happy and closely with the inspectors to make sure all guidelines are followed. Through RainWise, I have learned better communication skills, how to fill out forms and interacted with City/County staff for the first time.

“Hop was very professional and I’m very happy with
the results of his work.”

RainWise homeowner & Hop Gardening customer

The contractor training has helped bring rain gardens and cisterns to more communities and provided economic and professional development for local garden and landscaping businesses.To date, we’ve added nine multicultural RainWise contractors and collectively they’ve completed 18 RainWise projects in five languages.

If you’re interested in our next round of training beginning in the fall, contact ruben@ecoss.org

Hop’s Gardening is available for rain gardens, cisterns and other landscaping needs. He can be reached at 425-306-1380.


ECOSS Staff Wins Top Prize!

Sophorn Sim was honored with Sustainable Seattle’s “Sustainability Hero Award” for her work with immigrant and refugee communities. The award recognizes an individual who has made an exceptionally significant and inspiring contribution to the sustainability movement in the Puget Sound region.

As an ECOSS Community Outreach Associate, Sophorn meets underserved communities where they are and connects them to environmental resources and education. She’s reached thousands of people on topics like clean water, stormwater pollution and healthy fishing on the Duwamish River.

2017 Sustainability Hero Sophorn Sim with her award

2017 Sustainability Hero Sophorn Sim

Sophorn is a trusted community leader because of her passion for the environment and her own experience as a refugee.

“My community comes from a war-torn country, it takes time to build this trusted relationship with my people. I like doing presentations and taking them on tours to see where their drinking water comes from and where it goes. I like showing them how their daily living could impact the environment and could impact their lives.” 

The ECOSS staff and board are incredibly proud to work side by side with Sophorn and are thrilled she is being recognized for her dedication to sustainable communities.

Check out the Sustainability Awards photo album and learn about the other winners here.