Cherry tree in Hickman Park, courtesy of the City of Edmonds.

Cherry blossom images have taken up a large part of my social media feed this week. The trees at the University of Washington Quad are in full bloom and although this year my only view was via other people’s photos, it looks amazing. I’ve already seen how amazing it is in person. We packed my in-laws and kids into the back of the van and drove off. There was parking, a doable walk with an elevator providing access for all of us, and plenty of space to take photos on the hot weekend even though it was busy.

If a crowd or a ride isn’t your thing or if taking a toddler on a train excursion doesn’t offer a quick enough escape plan, the town of Edmonds has an option for you. They posted a beautiful photo of the cherry blossom tree of around 64 years old at Hickman Park, which offers shade and had a lunch table next to it. It’s not exactly the same as the UW quad, but it would still make for great photos. They say the tree was likely planted when the old Woodway Elementary was built in 1958 and is “extremely old” for a cherry blossom tree! The city asks that we treat the tree with care when visiting in hopes of having it for years to come.

More than 25 volunteers showed up at Yost Park for an Earth Day cleanup in 2019. (File photo by Larry Vogel)

While we’re talking local parks, Earth Day at Edmonds Parks is April 23 from 10 a.m. to noon at four different city parks. Participants of all ages and experience levels are welcome, although Yost Park volunteers must be at least 13 years old and all minors must be accompanied by an adult. Attendees will “work under the direction of city staff and volunteer Edmonds Stewards of Sound Salmon Solutions, who have been leading volunteer stewardship events in our community since 2015.” Volunteers will help plant 100 trees in Yost Park, pulling out overgrown ivy and Japanese honeysuckle in Pine Ridge Park and removing litter from Marina Beach and Brackett’s Landing parks. For more information on working groups, including registration (which is free but limited), how to prepare, and what to bring, you can visit SoundSalmonSolutions.org or contact Jennifer Leach, Program Coordinator, at [email protected]

If you are unable to make it to the city’s Earth Day event, there are other ways to help. Volunteers can help by “picking up litter that would otherwise go into our storm drains, planting native plants in your own yard, or pledging to eliminate single-use plastics like water bottles.” You can also join the Edmonds Stewards for the Saturday work parties they host throughout the year.

The City of Mountlake Terrace is also hosting a volunteer spring cleaning on Saturday, April 23 from 9 a.m. to noon at Veterans Memorial Park and the city’s Civic Campus, followed by a volunteer lunch. This event is held in honor of Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 29). If you have a small group that would like to participate, contact Superintendent of Parks and Facilities Ken Courtmanch at [email protected] or call 425-776-1811 to register in advance. A limited number of tools will be available for sharing. The city asks that you bring your rakes, weeders and non-electric pruning tools and help with pruning, removal of blackberries and invasive plants, weeding, raking and garbage collection. Work or gardening gloves are strongly encouraged and boots are recommended in case of recent rain. Volunteers should meet at City Hall (23204 58th Ave. W.) in the council chambers (large hall next to Jerry Smith Town Center Plaza) for a brief meeting at 9 a.m. Learn more HERE.

Arts Festival volunteers. (Photo courtesy of Edmonds Arts Festival)

In 2019 the children and I volunteered for the Edmonds Arts Festival in one of the student art exhibition halls. We had a great time and the kids got a good experience at their pre-employable age. It was one of the main things I was sad to miss when the festival was canceled in 2020. I received an email today saying that the festival, which runs from June 17-19 in Frances Anderson Field, is hiring volunteers beginning April 1. You can “sign up to meet your neighbors, help your community, and celebrate the return of artists” in one or more of the different areas where they need help. “Volunteers perform a myriad of jobs during the festival, including vetting artwork submitted to the jury, assisting with the sale of artwork during the festival, staffing the information booth, food delivery to performers, volunteer check-in, etc.” For more information and to register as a volunteer, you can visit EdmondsArtsFestival.com.

If your children are of working age, the town of Lynnwood offers part-time summer options. Lynnwood is hiring for over 50 part-time summer jobs and says she currently has more demand for programs than she has staff! While most positions are for people 18 and older, the city hires lifeguards who can be 15 or older and are eligible for the “golden ticket” program to receive a free lifeguard certificate. For more information, you can visit www.governmentjobs.com/careers/lynnwood or call Joel Faber, Superintendent of Recreation, at 425-670-5508.

In one of the parent group chats I participate in, I receive information about many local events because one of the parents is active with his school’s parent group. They recently shared the link to an event hosted by the Edmonds School District. The first annual student leadership conference, “Becoming Leaders of Change, will take place on Wednesday, April 20 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts. The goal of the event is to provide high school students with “an opportunity to learn/develop leadership, advocacy and racial literacy skills to bring about transformational and lasting change in ourselves, our families and our communities”. This one-day event features keynote speaker Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association and leader of the Chicano civil rights movement. For more information and to register, you can click on HERE.

International Kids Yoga Day is Friday April 1st and Yoga Sanctuary Studio in Perrinville is celebrating by offering two FREE workshops. The first is from 2-2:45pm for ages 3-5 and will include movement and mindfulness sprinkled with creative fun. The second, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., “will include a gentle flow that both relaxes and inspires confidence.” This will also include “packing feminine hygiene care kits for refugees fleeing Ukraine” in collaboration with girls days. For more information on these courses, visit YogaSanctuaryStudio.com.

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, a mother of two boys in Edmonds, is always on the lookout for a fun place to take the kids that tires them out enough to go to bed on time.