Sustainable Path

2013 – 2014 Grantees

Over the past 10 years, Sustainable Path Foundation has granted over $1,200,000 to science and systems based projects focused on regional sustainability. We are proud to showcase our current grantees and their projects.

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  • Community Sharing Project: Zero Waste WA

    zero waste wa projectShared ownership is a model that allows for less consumption and waste. Zero Waste Washington’s project will explore the creation of a neighborhood “lending library” in an under-served community.



    Zero Waste Washington has laid a strong foundation for building a Community Sharing Project.  They performed outreach in south King County over the last several months and have decided to focus on communities in Auburn and Federal Way to build the Sharing Project.

    Zero Waste Washington performed outreach to 38 organizations, community groups, and religious institutions, all potential collaborators for the project. They gave presentations at four  community meetings and gained input on this project from approximately 120 people.  his is a multi-year project and this grant award was for “seed money” to get the Community Powered Sharing Project off the ground. A few months into this grant period, Zero Waste Washington received significant funding from the Department of Ecology for the Project. The Sustainable Path “seed money” allowed them to research existing projects and efforts and to begin to outreach to community organizations about the Sharing Project.

  • Thriving Communities: Whidbey Institute

    This project brings together community leaders, concerned citizens, innovators, and visionaries in a conference and workshops.  A series of videos to complete this project will tell the stories of local leaders and organizations striving to build more sustainable communities.

  • Connecting Green Schools: WA Green Schools


    Washington Green Schools has grown to include 282 schools from across the state with 107 schools certified at one or more levels. This year 47 schools certified as Washington Green Schools in categories such as Waste, Energy, and Water. About 34,000 students were reached through the program in the 2014-2015 school year. Nine schools certified in our new School Grounds and Gardens certification category by taking action to create and/or improve the green spaces around their schools. For example, at Maple Elementary in Seattle, students, educators and families collaborated with community partners to create compost and worm bins, raised beds, and both a butterfly and native plant garden. Washington Green Schools provided planning, supplies, tools and volunteers for the event, which united the community around a shared sense of purpose. This diverse school now has an outdoor classroom and students can take pride in being a certified Washington Green School.

    The 47 schools that certified as Washington Green Schools this year achieved meaningful conservation results. For example, the 14 schools that certified in water collectively conserved 307,814 ft3 of water through their action projects. In addition, teacher surveys revealed that participation in the Washington Green Schools program strengthened students’ skills in collaboration, communication, problem solving, and science. Ninety-three percent of the teachers surveyed reported that participation in the Washington Green Schools program increased students’ interest in caring for the environment.

    View their powerpoint presented at the Grantee Celebration this October.


  • Neighborhood Bird Project: Seattle Audubon Society


    Seattle has over 430 parks that provide essential habitat for wildlife. These urban green spaces offer birds and other wildlife refuge for nesting and foraging as well as providing rest stops for migratory birds. seabirds in flightAs indicators of overall health, birds offer a special opportunity for better understanding of pre- and post- restoration habitat health. For 15 years, citizen-scientists have collected extensive data on avian diversity in urban habitat. Our grant supports the analysis of extensive data on bird populations, collected over 15 years from four major Seattle parks, to examine the effectiveness of habitat restoration in these parks.

    You can read their full technical report and view their slideshow presented at the Grantee Celebration this October.

  • Preventing Negative Impacts from Shoreline Armoring: NW Straits Marine Conservation Foundation


    natural shoreline (left) and armoring (right)

    Shoreline erosion is a natural process. However, sea level rise and poorly planned shoreline development projects can accelerate natural erosion rates. The solution to shoreline erosion is not as simple as hardening our shorelines with bulkheads, rip-rap or groins to wall off the sea (known as armoring). Seawalls and other hard shoreline stabilization structures disrupt natural shoreline processes, destroy shoreline habitats and place significant stress on eelgrass, shellfish beds and Chinook salmon habitat.

    North Puget Sound shoreline property owners were educated about the negative impacts of using physical structures to prevent shoreline erosion. They were also encouraged to apply proven management approaches (known as soft/non-stabilization shore protection) that work with natural systems and processes.


    Project outcomes exceeded the anticipated outcomes. These include:
    • 98 shoreline landowners were educated about natural shoreline processes through attendance at workshops in Jefferson County, Whatcom County and on Whidbey Island (Island County)
    • 19 shoreline landowners received professional managmeent advice through property site visits: 10 in Jefferson County, 4 in Whatcom County, and 5 on Whidbey Island
    • All partners have a better understanding of workshop and site visit effectiveness through analysis of evaluations and qualitative feedback from contractors.

     View their slideshow presented at the Oct. 9 Grantee Celebration.

  • Innovative Penn Cove Surface Water Runoff Control Project


    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASurface water runoff is the leading cause of the deteriorating health of the Puget Sound. Rainwater washes pollution from our everyday activities into one of the 6,700 documented outfalls that discharge directly, without treatment, into the Sound. Storm water pollutants undergo biological magnification as they move up the food chain, becoming lethal to wildlife and toxic to humans.

    The demonstration project will construct an innovative constructed wetland facility that will collect, clean and cool surface water runoff before the water is discharged into Penn Cove. Some of the cleaned water will also be used for irrigation during the summer months. The project will assess the effectiveness of this facility to reduce the harmful effects of human activities on water quality and habitat in Penn Cove, which has a robust commercial shellfish industry.



  • Organic Seed Project – Production and Networking Initiative: Greenbank Farms


    seeds greenbank farm

    Seeds, and the genetic wisdom they contain, are at the core of our agricultural-based food system. Seeds are the living heritage of over 10,000 years of our ancestors’ planting activities. However, over the past 100 years, a seed system has developed that threatens seed diversity and preservation. Our grant provides resources for farmers a seed-collection and storage system will help create a diversity of produce adapted to our regional food system.



    Held seminars that were well-attended on:

    •  The Fundamentals of Seed Production
    •  Breeding Self Pollinated Crops
    • Seed Harvesting and Cleaning

    View their slideshow presented at the Oct. 9 Grantee Celebration.

  • Forest Monitoring Team: Earth Corps


    In 2012, Seattle’s “Climate Action Plan” aimed at making Seattle the first city in the world to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. An important part of the plan is to maximize the City’s green infrastructure; for example, by increasing tree canopy Earth Corp Green Teencover from 23% to 30% by 2037.  Prior to 2010, reforestation projects were initiated in Seattle parks without any kind of ecological baseline data gathering.

    The Forest Management team of Earth Corps has implemented a best practice protocol for collecting standardized baseline data. This project will include analysis of data that has already been collected and pilot an educational summer camp for “Green Teens and Monitoring.


    EarthCorps has made very good progress on the outcomes highlighted in the grant proposal by implementing 25 new monitoring plots, plus an additional 2 baseline plots in Carkeek and 1 baseline plot in the Kincaid Ravine at the University of Washington, for a total of 28 monitoring plots in Seattle.

    Brief Overview of Results:

    Surpassed our goals for monitoring in 2013
    Established relationships with new volunteers and institutions
    Strengthened relationships with many of our existing volunteers
    Increased our volunteers field knowledge and skills
    Raised volunteers up to a mentorship role and connected them with local Forest Stewards

    With Sustainable Path Foundation’s grant, EarthCorps was able to empower community members in four different cities with the skills and technology needed to become citizen scientists…… we have monitored 200 sites across Puget Sound, gathering invaluable information on the impact of the restoration movement. This grant helped pilot and leverage the investments of Seattle’s Parks Department – one of the most innovative and forward-looking city parks departments in the country in terms of caring for and actively managing the health of the city’s urban forest.

    – Dylan Mendenhall, EarthCorps Volunteer Specialist /Forest Monitoring Team

  • Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project: Conservation Northwest

    Grizzly Bear - Conservation NW

    Management and recovery of wildlife and habitat raise complex issues. Agencies such as the WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife have limited budgets and personnel for field monitoring of sensitive wildlife species such as the wolverine, gray wolf and grizzly bear. Volunteers will be recruited and trained in snow-tracking and monitoring of remote-sensing cameras.  The collected data are shared with wildlife and habitat managers for use in making important decisions.


    The Citizen Monitoring Project has had an exciting year completing two monitoring seasons: 2013 Spring-Fall Remote Camera Monitoring and the  2013-2014 Winter Remote Camera and Snow Tracking. In May 2014, they also kicked off the 2014 Spring-Fall Remote Camera Monitoring season with a two day training for team leaders and general volunteers in Cle Elum, WA. During the 2013 Spring-Fall monitoring season, they engaged 79 volunteers in camera monitoring throughout the Cascades and Northeastern Washington. Over the course of the season, they documented several species of interest including wolverine, Cascade red fox, American marten, and mountain goat.

    For some fun photos view their slideshow presented at the Oct. 9 Grantee Celebration.

  • Northwest Biocarbon Initiative (NBI): Climate Solutions

    Through scientifically grounded practices and policies, NBI will evaluate the role that biological systems play in ensuring long-term climate stability by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide in plants and soils.

    NBI Landscapes“Thanks to Sustainable Path’s critical, early funding for the Northwest Biocarbon Initiative, we were able to gain traction with key innovators, generate media attention, and create the intellectual framework for biocarbon to play a critical role in addressing our climate crisis.”  – Gregg Small Executive Director

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