This FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page is divided into the following categories to help you find your answer faster:
If you don't see the answer to your question, please let us know!
Do I have to apply to be a volunteer?
No. You just have to sign up for a project, although you should make sure that project is appropriate for your age and fitness level. Learn more about what to expect
How fit do I need to be?
Most people in good health have no trouble with our projects. The most physically demanding projects are trail work, and many enjoy the workout. The least physically demanding projects are at our nursery, although they do involve a lot of standing, walking, and lifting of up to 30 pounds. If you have any physical restrictions please contact us to ask which project might suit you best.
Do I have to sign up or can I just show up?
You must sign up before coming to a project. This helps us provide the right amount of staffing as well as tools and other project materials. Once you sign up we’ll send you all the details and directions you need.
What do I need to bring to the project?
Volunteers always need to bring a daypack, sack lunch, water, and a pair of gloves if you have some. You must also dress appropriately which means wearing jeans or work pants, a long-sleeved layer, waterproof rain gear and sturdy shoes. Tennis shoes are usually okay for restoration projects but for trail work leather above-the-ankle hiking or work boots are required. Rubber boots are strongly encouraged in the wettest months. We provide all the tools and project materials, and have some adult-sized gloves to loan out. Learn more about what to expect.
What if I don’t have my own transportation?
For most sites, you’ll need to find a friend or family member to drive you or borrow a car. Unfortunately, we cannot arrange carpools for you. There are very few sites which are accessible by bus. They include the Mountains to Sound Nursery at Lake Sammamish State Park (Metro #271) and Tibbetts Valley Park since we usually meet at the Issaquah Park and Ride at SR-900 and Newport Way (multiple routes). If you plan to take the bus it's a good idea to check in with the Volunteer Program in advance since we may have different directions to give you from the bus stop.
Is there a minimum age limit?
It depends on the project. Trail work is the most restrictive because it is the most physically demanding, so volunteers must be 14 or older. Most other projects are best for kids age 11 and up. We recommend that very small children work at the Mountains to Sound Nursery. All youth under 13 must be accompanied by an adult in order to participate in a volunteer event.
Can I volunteer without my parent/guardian?
Sure (although if you're under 13 you'll still need to have an adult with you). You’ll just need to bring a completed to the project if you are under 18. If you need us to fax or mail one to you just give us a call at 206-373-1600.
I filled out a youth waiver last time. Do I have to do it again?
Yes! It’s critical for us to have complete medical information on hand for each minor at every project in case of an emergency. If you'll be coming to many events it's okay if you fill it out once and bring us a copy every time. Just update the project site and date and check to make sure none of your medical or emergency information has changed.
Why don’t you have directions on your web site?
Because you need to first. It’s very important for us to know how many people will be coming to a project. This affects our staffing, tools and supplies, and our planning for future events at any given site.
Can you send me the address so I can make a map?
Most of our sites don't have addresses because they're natural areas or trailheads. We strongly recommend that you follow the directions we send you, not the ones that may be generated online. However if you'd like a visual, you can use the last intersection mentioned in the directions to help you make a map online.
How do you decide whether to cancel a project?
If we feel that extreme weather has made working at the site dangerous or the nearby roads unsafe, or if we do not have enough volunteers we may cancel a project. All volunteers will be emailed (and usually called, too) by the afternoon before the event. If severe weather happens overnight, volunteers are encouraged to contact their event leader directly for an update.
Do I have to stay for the whole event?
It depends. For trail work and other remote projects, yes. We often hike in and can’t stop the project to hike out one volunteer. For restoration projects, it is sometimes okay to leave early (please contact us regarding the project in which you’re interested). It is not okay to arrive late. We give a thorough orientation at the beginning of the event and it’s important that all volunteers hear this information. If you know you can't do a full 6-hour project, please sign up for a half day shift.
Will there be bathrooms at the project site?
Usually no. Occasionally there is a port-a-potty but most of the time we go in the woods. If you want to know what the facilities are for a specific site please contact us.
Does this work count as community service?
It’s hard to believe, isn’t it. Even though it's fun, the time you donate to us can be used for credit for school or other requirements. The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Do you accept court-appointed volunteers?
Usually. We do ask that you tell our staff the nature of your offense before you sign up since it’s our job to keep all of our volunteers safe. Most non-violent crimes (traffic violations, vandalism, illegal clam digging, etc.) are permitted. When you have finished your service with us we will send a formal letter detailing your hours to you or anyone else you specify. Most of our court-ordered volunteers have been a great asset to our projects and enjoy the opportunity to serve.
How can I get credit for doing required service hours in the Greenway?
If you are only coming to 1 project, ask the staff member on site to either sign your form, if you have one, or to sign the generic service form we have. If you are coming to multiple projects, we track your hours in our database system. As long as you write your name clearly and sign in and out every time you volunteer, we will keep a record of your time. Then you can ask us to send you a formal letter verifying your total number of hours at any time.
How can I get academic credit for volunteering?
Because each school has different rules about service learning, check with your instructor or service learning coordinator. If you've met the requirements, we'll be happy to provide you with a letter or sign-off on any paperwork they require.
How do you decide where the projects will happen?
There are many places in the Greenway that could use the attention of a hardworking volunteer crew. Some of the project sites are chosen by the Greenway Trust, some by land managing agencies and some by community members. We consider many elements when choosing projects including the potential for ecological value or recreational benefits, ease of access, logistics, historical Greenway involvement, maintenance required, and availability of funding.
How is all of this work funded?
Stewardship projects are funded by a combination of government grants, private foundations, corporate support and donations from individuals.
Who will be running the project? What kind of qualifications or background do they have?
Projects are led by permanent Greenway staff or AmeriCorps members, some of whom work in cooperation with the Washington Conservation Corps and the WA State Dept. of Natural Resources, and others who are with the Northwest Service Academy. All staff have Wilderness First Aid and CPR training, as well as training on running safe and fun volunteer events.
Do you ever partner with other organizations?
Always! The Greenway Trust doesn't own any land, so we are always working in partnership with a government agency such as the WA State Dept. of Natural Resources, or the City of North Bend. We also frequently partner with other non-profit organizations such as WTA (Washington Trails Association), SCA (Student Conservation Association), and EarthCorps.
Can we do a project on a different day/at a different time than is listed on your calendar?
We frequently create special projects for groups. Call 206-373-1600 or email the Volunteer Program to inquire. This page can help group coordinators plan their event.
What if some people in my group don’t show up/come at the last minute?
As the group leader we’re counting on you to give us the most accurate count possible on the number of people who will be coming. There are always last-minute reasons some people can’t come, but it can be very hard on us when more than 25% of your group doesn’t show. It's usually okay for up to 5 more people to join at the last minute, as long as they have all the information they need to be prepared for the project.
Can I earn a Discover Pass by volunteering with the Greenway?
Yes! Volunteers who work 24 hours or more on agency-approved projects are eligible for a complimentary Discover Pass. Only some of the Greenway's projects qualify, so look for the note in the project description to see if it counts towards earning a Discover Pass.
Launched in July 2011, the Discover Pass is now required for visiting various Washington State lands, including Tiger Mountain, Little Si, Lake Sammamish State Park, and others. The pass normally costs $10/day or $30/year. Learn more about how to earn your pass.
I have plants or pots that I’d like to donate to the Greenway.
Lisa Nelson manages the Greenway Nursery and can tell you which plants we might be able to use. This varies based on our current inventory and how much space is available. Call her at 206-373-1598. If we can't accept them, try the King County Nursery.
Can I bring my dog?
No. Even the nicest dogs don’t mix well with lots of strange people who are working with tools. You won’t be able to spend any time with your pup during the project and none of the project sites allow dogs to be off-leash.
Where is the Greenway trail?
There is no single Greenway trail (although Greenway logos are posted on some urban and regional trails). The Greenway landscape encompasses our region's interconnected network of trails. Learn more about the regional trail system and also some of the great backcountry hiking trails in the Greenway.
How can I get a job as a Greenway field crew member?
Positions open at various times throughout the year so resumes and cover letters are accepted year round. Go to our page to find out more.
Learn more about What to Expect