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  • Writer's pictureAnna Hammond

HRS Carbon Offset Planting at Mary Olson Farm

Our work at Habitat Restoration Specialists takes us all around the region to steward the various sites we are restoring. In order to reach these sites however, it requires us to drive many miles, which burns a lot of fuel. In order to mitigate the impact we have on the environment by driving these miles, we do Carbon Offset plantings.

We do our best to total the fuel use of the previous year, with plans of purchasing plants on our own to be installed to a site we choose. This March as part of our carbon offset plantings, Derek ordered 500 shrubs for us to plant at the Mary Olson Farm.

The Mary Olson Farm is said to be one of King County's most well-preserved subsistence farms, located along the Green River on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish and Muckleshoot peoples. The historic structures on site such as the farmhouse, chicken coop, outhouse, smokehouse, and weaving shed have been restored for public viewing. Visitors can also walk among the orchard, visit the resident donkeys, cow and chickens, and enjoy the calm of the creek surrounded by mossy forest that leads into the Green River across the road. If you visit at the right time, you might even get lucky enough to witness the salmon who have journeyed upstream at the end of their lifecycles where they will mate and produce the next generation of salmon.

Ecological restoration has been taking place on site for several years - much of it performed by HRS owner Derek Beauchemin. Over the years he has worked controlling invasive species such as the stands of Himalayan Blackberry that had been left unckecked for years. In the past, he has also planted many native plant species in several areas around the farm- along the river, on the slope at the edge of the farm expanding the forest buffer, as well as expanding the native buffer behind the caretaker home on site.

"Windrows" of removed Himalayan Blackberry debris layered in rows along this forest buffer slope with plantings.
Native plantings behind the caretaker home where invasive blackberry was previously.

Curious which native species we added to the ecosystem here at the Mary Olson Farm? We installed 100 Red Flowering Currants (Ribes sanguineum), 100 Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii), 100 Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa), and 200 Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus). We planted these beautiful plants in conditions they should thrive in, where they will grow to provide berries to wildlife and human foragers alike, habitat structure and food for pollinators, and beauty for many years to come.

We were lucky to be planting during one of the first truly spring-like days of 2021, and had a great time giving these young plants a new home here at the Mary Olson Farm. We look forward to visiting again to see the progress of the ecosystem here, hoping that the deer don't munch too many of the new shrubs!

Osoberry (Oemleria cerasiformis) blooming along the creek! The beginnings of Spring!


Written by Anna Hammond, Restoration Technician at Habitat Restoration Specialists.

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