Two months ago, we reported on The Heron’s Nest, a site in the West Duwamish Greenbelt where volunteers have been working on a plan to purchase a site for environmental education and repatriate it to the Duwamish Tribe, whose Longhouse is nearby. At last night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, Amanda Lee from The Heron’s Nest gave an update and announced the project had received a city grant of nearly a million dollars. We followed up with Lee this morning and received the announcement they’re making:
The Shared Spaces Foundation is excited to announce a major milestone in its efforts to fundraise for the Heron’s Nest, a project aimed at preserving 3.56 acres of land in the West Duwamish Greenbelt for community use, stewardship, sustainable education, and repatriating it to the Duwamish people. On October 5th, the City of Seattle issued a $900,000 grant from its Strategic Investment Fund to the Shared Spaces Foundation. These funds will allow Shared Spaces to purchase the land currently used for the Heron’s Nest, serving as the first step in the repatriation process.
The Duwamish people have resided in present-day Seattle and King County since time immemorial. Where they once inhabited 50 villages in the Puget Sound area, they now own less than an acre of land and have been unfairly stripped of their federal recognition. Preserving this land will increase the footprint of land access by 5x for Duwamish Tribal Services.
The Shared Spaces Foundation currently leases the 3.56-acre parcel just a short walk from the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center in West Seattle. This undeveloped parcel was, until recently, destined to become the site for a new housing complex. Now, with the help of the SIF grant, the Shared Spaces Foundation will be able to preserve the land from destructive development and allow the Heron’s Nest project to continue the steps they have already taken to restore its indigenous vegetation and ecology, improve its productive uses, and provide for public access and education. Over 5,000 hours of community volunteering has been put into the restoration and construction efforts since the Heron’s Nest founding at the beginning of 2020.
In time, the Heron’s Nest will include the development of sustainable, community-accessible facilities including campgrounds, an outdoor kitchen, outdoor classrooms, tool libraries, an urban farm and agroforest, a recycling center, and a natural aquaculture pool. Once restored and with the above amenities in place, the land will be given back to the Duwamish people and be used for community benefit.
However, the Shared Spaces Foundation must continue its fundraising efforts in order to bring the full project to fruition. The entirety of the SIF grant will be applied toward the purchase of the land. To fund the remaining services and facilities, Shared Spaces is driving a community-giving effort. Shared Spaces looks to raise another $500,000 for materials, staffing, and operational costs, and have set a target deadline for the end of 2021. A successful fundraising campaign this Winter will allow for many of the facilities to be operational by Spring 2022.
In addition to further grant funding, the fundraising efforts include an upcoming holiday market at the Heron’s Nest, a recent dinner and auction held on October 16th, and utilizing the space for community events, nature viewing parties, and workshops. To learn more about the vision for the land and the scope of the project, visit: www.TheHeronsNest.org
Lee says the holiday market is scheduled for December 11th – more on that when it gets closer.