Multicultural outreach extends green outdoor access to diverse communities

“ECOSS’ ambassador model and community-based work is invaluable and irreplaceable. Their successful outreach is a major achievement of the Trailhead Direct program.” — Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust

Bhutanese community used the Trailhead Direct service to travel to Mt. Si. Photo Credit: Allan Kafley, ECOSS.

Over the summer and autumn of 2018, ECOSS led 65 hikers from diverse communities on hikes throughout Washington! For numerous hikers, these trips were only possible thanks to Trailhead Direct, a service launched by King County Parks and King County Metro.

Many immigrant and refugee communities around Puget Sound yearn for opportunities to connect with nature, but face language, cultural and lifestyle barriers to accessing the outdoors. Transportation access is one of the greatest of these barriers.

“Trailhead Direct is a great way to protect our environment by not driving personal cars.” — Bhutanese community member.

King County’s Trailhead Direct service seeks to lower the transportation barrier by providing an affordable alternative to driving to faraway hiking destinations. At the same price point as any other bus ride in the city, a Trailhead Direct bus will drop you off and pick you up at trailheads at Issaquah Alps, Mt. Si and Mailbox Peak. And by partnering with ECOSS, Trailhead Direct reached communities in 2018 that would otherwise have never heard of this transportation option.

Trailhead Direct enabled the Cambodian community to bring all family members hiking, from youth to seniors. Photo Credit: Sophorn Sim / ECOSS.

To help King County learn about the accessibility of Trailhead Direct and improve the service, ECOSS led hiking trips via Trailhead Direct with members of the Bhutanese, Cambodian, Korean and Latinx communities. In partnership with King County Parks and The Wilderness Society, we also developed surveys that gauged participants’ outdoors experience and solicited feedback on the Trailhead Direct trips.

During our outreach, 53% of hikers were new to the activity and 42% were youth or seniors. And regardless of age or experience, all hikers enjoyed Trailhead Direct and would recommend it to others. Check out our infographic summarizing the season’s outreach for other statistics and feedback from communities!

ECOSS’ New Arrivals program connects immigrants and refugees with environmental education and outdoor experiences that align with their interests. We look forward to continuing partnerships to ensure diverse communities can take advantage of Trailhead Direct service.

Check out other New Arrivals activities

Thank you to King County Parks and The Wilderness Society for your generous funding and support. And thank you to Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust for connecting us to the opportunity to conduct this outreach. We’re proud to lower the transportation barrier to the outdoors and enable connections to nature for all.

Green business education achieves new milestones in 2018

Polluted stormwater runoff is the #1 pollution source around Puget Sound. Businesses are helping mitigate that pollution.

Spill kit demonstration. Photo Credit: Enviroissues.

During heavy rainfall, water picks up pollutants from impervious surfaces like roads and parking lots. This water flows directly from storm drains to our waterways, harming the health of communities and aquatic life. Industries and municipalities are major originators of the oils, fuels, metals and other pollutants that ultimately contaminate Puget Sound waters. But some businesses want to change that and ECOSS provides the tools to do so.

In 2018, we visited over 1,400 businesses, delivered nearly 650 spill kits and provided spill training and prevention plans in more than 30 Puget Sound cities and counties. Spill kits help businesses keep spilled materials from reaching storm drains in streets, alleys and parking lots.

Outreach is personalized to each business. Photo Credit: Kelvin Kong / ECOSS.

And our offerings for stormwater management workshops and trainings nearly doubled in 2018. Seven industry-focused workshops reached almost 100 individuals and over 80 companies. And 18 municipal-focused workshops trained 625 municipal staff across 37 jurisdictions, agencies and businesses. These workshops help attendees understand permitting requirements, improve stormwater management practices and protect local waters and watersheds.

Donate to empower more green businesses

Help us expand our business outreach for greener businesses, cleaner waters and healthier communities!

Kent recycling makes tons of difference

Blue bins are now practically synonymous with recycling. Many know that soda cans and old newspapers go into recycling bins, destined to become other useful products.

But what about old electronics? Emptied propane tanks? Scrap metal leftover from a home project? These and many other materials can be recycled too, though often not as easily. Since 2016, ECOSS has worked with the City of Kent to help King County residents recycle less-common items such as refrigerators, concrete, tires and mattresses.

Learn more about Kent recycling events

In 2018, we helped with three free community recycling events, which collectively welcomed over 4,000 vehicles full of recyclables. The events altogether collected over 3,000 toilets, mattresses and other individual items plus over 300 tons of material like scrap metal, bulky wood debris and concrete!

ECOSS strives to make environmentally sustainable practices accessible to all. Many people are interested in reducing their environmental impact. We empower people to act on those interests and to let others know how they can make a difference, too.

Check out our other waste reduction projects

November 27 is #GivingTuesday

Give today to promote environmental solutions in local communities and your gift will be doubled for #GivingTuesday!

Multicultural Outreach Associate digging into his work, helping build a rain garden at Sylvester Middle School. Photo Credit: Leda Costa.

Your donation will fund projects like our RainWise outreach, tackling Puget Sound’s #1 source of pollution: stormwater. 2018 marks the addition of over 200,000 gallons per year in stormwater management from RainWise demonstration site installations.

Promote environmental sustainability

Kevin Duong, Multicultural Outreach Associate, explains how this program is essential:

“This year, the RainWise outreach team completed our first collaboration with a restaurant. Young’s Restaurant joins other important demonstration sites like Co Lam Temple and Pyung An Presbyterian Church to educate diverse communities about stormwater pollution and what they can do at home, like installing rain gardens and cisterns.

At Young’s Restaurant, I had the pleasure to work with Janice, Ella and Mr. Van Young, who are all so happy about their three giant cisterns. The collected rainwater waters their mini vegetable garden while preventing flooding during the rainy season. They really appreciate the RainWise program, which helped install the three cisterns.”

Donate today

The importance of accessible environmental connections

ECOSS and Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust partnered to provide environmental education, cultural history and habitat restoration opportunities for diverse communities as part of Duwamish Alive!

Allan Kafley, Multicultural Outreach Manager, brought the Bhutanese community to the Duwamish Hill Preserve to connect and give back to their environment. Check out the video to hear how the community values these volunteering events.

See the other two videos from this event:

 

 

 

The New Arrivals program promotes access to these and other experiences for immigrants and refugees.

Learn more about New Arrivals

Thank you Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust for partnering with us and sharing your restoration expertise. Thank you Bhutanese Community Resource Center for helping bring volunteers from the Bhutanese community! Thank you to Rotary Club of Seattle for funding environmental equity work. And thank you Duwamish Alive Coalition for including us to make environmental education and connections accessible to all!

Habitat restoration and environmental education go hand in hand

ECOSS and Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust partnered to provide environmental education, cultural history and habitat restoration opportunities for diverse communities as part of Duwamish Alive!

Mountains to Sound’s environmental educator, Lizzy Dowd, talks about what habitat restoration looks like and the native plants that make the Duwamish Hill Preserve thrive.

See the other two videos from this event:

 

 

 

The New Arrivals program promotes access to these and other experiences for immigrants and refugees.

Learn more about New Arrivals

Thank you Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust for partnering with us and sharing your restoration expertise. Thank you Bhutanese Community Resource Center for helping bring volunteers from the Bhutanese community! Thank you to Rotary Club of Seattle for funding environmental equity work. And thank you Duwamish Alive Coalition for including us to make environmental education and connections accessible to all!

Giving back to nature – why Tukwila councilmember volunteers

Tukwila councilmember De’Sean Quinn came out with his family to restore habitat at the Duwamish Hill Preserve as part of Duwamish Alive! Check out the video to hear why volunteering events are so important.

ECOSS and Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust partnered to provide environmental education, cultural history and habitat restoration opportunities for diverse communities.

See the other two videos from this event:

 

 

 

The New Arrivals program promotes access to these and other experiences for immigrants and refugees.

Learn more about New Arrivals

Thank you Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust for partnering with us and sharing your restoration expertise. Thank you Bhutanese Community Resource Center for helping bring volunteers from the Bhutanese community! Thank you to Rotary Club of Seattle for funding environmental equity work. And thank you Duwamish Alive Coalition for including us to make environmental education and connections accessible to all!

New Arrivals program is a featured social innovation

Bhutanese hiking trip to Mt. Si. Photo Credit: ECOSS.

Many immigrants and refugees appreciate the environment and want to protect nature, but are unaware of opportunities to do so in new surroundings. The New Arrivals program connects these new Seattle residents to environmental education, outdoor opportunities and more.

Read about how and why the New Arrivals program focuses on multicultural outreach in this feature with the Social Innovations Journal!

Learn more about New Arrivals

The New Arrivals program is generously supported by the Satterberg Foundation, the Rose Foundation and the Cuyamaca Foundation.

Multicultural business outreach the focus of City Habitats story

Young’s family standing in front of their restaurant’s cisterns. Photo Credit: Sam Le.

Equitable access to environmental solutions means reaching out to underserved communities. These are often the people most impacted by water pollution, air pollution and other environmental challenges, yet commonly face language and cultural barriers that hinder their ability to protect the environment.

In partnership with King County’s RainWise program, ECOSS helped Young’s Restaurant become the first Seattle restaurant and business to be part of the stormwater pollution solution. And The Nature Conservancy’s City Habitats program recently featured this accomplishment!

ECOSS recruited multicultural contractors for this project and helped both the contractors and restaurant owners navigate the RainWise program to install and maintain cisterns at Young’s Restaurant.

Learn more about our RainWise work

Bhutanese community comes alive at Duwamish Alive!

Autumn is a great time for habitat restoration around Puget Sound. The start of the rainy season means softer soils, perfect for invasive weed removal and native vegetation planting.

Although cloudy skies may not be the most exciting outdoors weather, that could not dampen the enthusiasm of nearly 40 volunteers who showed up at the Duwamish Hill Preserve! Gathered around the site’s Seasonal Round, volunteers learned about the history of the preserve, the Salish peoples and the cultural and ecological significance of the plants around them.

ECOSS Multicultural Outreach Manager Allan Kafley talking about how indigenous tribes were connected to native plants and how local wildlife benefits. Photo Credit: Sam Le.

Then it was time to put on gloves and grab the shovels. With twice as many volunteers as expected, the group quickly dug out invasive weeds, replaced them with native shrubs and helped protect this unique ecosystem and cultural site! Adjacent to the Duwamish River, this site — like others being restored within the Duwamish Alive Coalition — also supports salmon by reducing pollution in the river.

 

Habitat restoration volunteering is a great way to build connections with the environment and with one’s community. Not much can compare to the feeling of encountering the animals that you are working to protect while restoring habitat. The New Arrivals program promotes access to these and other experiences for immigrants and refugees.

Learn more about New Arrivals

Thank you Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust for partnering with us and sharing your restoration expertise. Thank you Bhutanese Community Resource Center for helping bring volunteers from the Bhutanese community! Thank you to Rotary Club of Seattle for funding environmental equity work. And thank you Duwamish Alive Coalition for including us to make environmental education and connections accessible to all!