Volunteers awarded for restoring urban forest in Centralia
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Volunteers awarded for restoring urban forest in Centralia 
 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                                                    
February 14, 2014

Volunteers awarded for restoring urban forest in Centralia

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Community Forestry Council (WCFC) awarded its first Urban Forest Stewardship Award for 2014 to the Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area, a non-profit organization who works with the City of Centralia to maintain the natural area.

“We're delighted to have this statewide recognition of Centralia's beautiful forest and its caretakers,” said Brian Mittge, president of the Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area. “Our group and the city are blessed with so many volunteers who have cared for this natural treasure for over three decades. They truly deserve this award for their outstanding lifelong commitment.”

The Friends of Seminary Hill Natural Area have pulled miles and miles of English ivy over the years to preserve the wildland character of this exceptional hidden jewel. Native plants are growing where there was once a forest of ivy. Volunteers have built trails, installed steps on steep slopes, closed paths to reduce erosion, developed signs and maps, and even graveled a small parking lot in coordination with the City of Centralia. Many events are held throughout the year, including wildflower walks, poetry walks, bird watching, and children’s activities. The Seminary Hill Natural Area also serves as an outdoor classroom for several classes from nearby Centralia College.

“They are extremely dedicated volunteers, and rarely miss an ivy-pulling work party,” says Emil Pierson, Community Development Director. “Their knowledge, dedication, and enthusiasm are amazing.”

Many of the founding members of the volunteer organization are still actively involved: Sandy and Robert Godsey still provide refreshments for work parties, as well as write the newsletters; Bill Moeller, who signed Seminary Hill into existence as a City Natural Area when he was Mayor of Centralia in 1981; Stellajoe Staebler, as a Girl Scout leader, helped build awareness of the natural area for many years; along with many other long-term committed volunteers.

The Seminary Hill Natural Area is a 72-acre forest with 2½ miles of trails. Owned by the City of Centralia, it is maintained in a natural state by the Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area. Upcoming public events include an Earth Day cleanup on April 26. For more information, please email goseminaryhill@gmail.com.

Washington Community Forestry Council
The Washington Community Forestry Council advises the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and works to facilitate connections between Washington’s communities, cities and towns through common interests, resources, and involvement in urban and community forestry. The Council believes in recognizing those who have made exemplary contributions to urban forestry. Through this award program, the Council provides individuals, businesses, and organizations with deserved recognition for preserving, planting, and managing forests and trees for public benefits and quality of life.                                                                           

Media Contact: Janet Pearce, Communications Manager, 360-902-1122, janet.pearce@dnr.wa.gov  

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