It’s been a year and we hope everyone is having a good 2022 and getting out in the forest, no matter how bad the weather is. In this newsletter you can find out about the next madrone walk on 4/23 at Swan Creek Park in Tacoma, get an update on an outplanting project, and meet some students who are doing research on madrone.

A madrone branch and some douglas-fir trees at Point Defiance Park

The first part of 2022 had several events including a madrone walk at Point Defiance Park, Tacoma on January 18. This was sponsored by the Tacoma Tree Foundation. If you missed it, there will be another one on April 23 at Swan Creek Park. More information below:

Spring Madrone Walking Tour co-hosted by Tacoma Tree Foundation

Swan Creek Park is home to East Tacoma’s largest madrone forest. It is one to be admired - TOGETHER. We timed this springtime walk to coincide (hopefully) with an abundance of flowering trees.

The park is known for its salmon-bearing stream, mountain bike trails and now, a new dog park and other amenities. We will amble through the drier, upland mixed Douglas-fir - madrone forest to seek out flowers while also learning more about symptoms of tree health. Together, we will safely celebrate and connect in-person again. Keep the following in mind before and while we stroll:

  • Mask optional and dress appropriately for Grit City weather

  • Move at a conversational pace for all ages and most abilities

  • Join the iNaturalist Arbutus ARME project and practice making mobile observations during the walk

Click here to Register

Find us at the “Lister School entrance.” As you reach the top of the hill, we will be at the new, small shelter near some madrones. Some of us will probably be wearing our orange camo hats!

Start time: 10 AM on Saturday, April 23

Duration: Approximately hour and a half

Location: Swan Creek Park (start at the Dog Park) 2106 E 44th St, Tacoma, WA 98404. Enter from E T St. & E 44th St near Lister Elementary School


Thanks to Tacoma Tree Foundation for making these tree walks accessible, celebrating the coolest trees, while also planting and maintaining our future urban forest. More about them at

Schuster Slope planting

In 2019 seedlings left over from the common garden trial that were being held at WSU Puyallup were donated to the City of Tacoma Passive Open Space program. The program manages urban natural areas, including many steep slopes, for stormwater and habitat benefits. The madrone seedlings were planted at Schuster Slope above Schuster Parkway, and are now being monitored annually for growth and signs of disease development in the same way as the common garden seedlings. This will provide some information about how well the different seed sources perform at this additional location.

On 2.22.22, a very cold 'twos-day', volunteers from Washington Conservation Corps helped collect Year 2 data and learn about madrone ecology. Madrone is of particular interest to City ecologists given its ability to intercept rainfall year-round with evergreen leaves, stabilize steep slopes, and withstand lengthening summer droughts.

Student Projects

This year we are pleased to be working with three students on their research projects. All of them will be using the common garden plantings in their studies. Briefly, Anthony will be looking at germination of madrone seed stored for 10 years, Stu is looking at the effects of soil moisture and other site characteristics on growth and survival, and Priya will be working in the two common garden sites in BC, studying the microbial communities in healthy and unhealthy trees. Read more about them and their projects below: