Youth Volunteer Group at the Seattle Japanese Garden

Youth volunteer group with our gardeners Pete Putnicki, Andrea Gillespie, and Miriam Preus

Youth volunteer group with our gardeners Pete Putnicki, Andrea Gillespie, and Miriam Preus

By Pete Putnicki

Tuesday July 11th the Seattle Japanese Garden hosted a group of Youth volunteers as part of the Seattle Parks and Recreation Youth Enrichment Program.  The Natural Resources Unit (NRU) Youth Enrichment Program is a six-week program, which provides youths with hands on work experience, life skills, career development training and 21st Century skills.

The program focuses on the exploration of the five departments within the NRU facility: Trails, Green Seattle Partnership, Urban Forestry, Horticulture, and Environment, addressing community needs, which includes team-based efforts for environmental restoration, urban agriculture, advancing the green industry and building community through events, projects and programs. The youths are expected to develop good work habits, strong communication and leadership skills, while building strong soft skills and connecting with future career opportunities in the Green jobs sector.


This was a great opportunity for local high school students to experience the Japanese Garden and learn about the specialized work that we do to maintain and improve this precious public resource.  The students helped with the pruning of some hedges as well as receiving a tour of the Garden with an emphasis on the unique design elements, history and maintenance considerations of the Seattle Japanese Garden. 

Volunteers pruning hedges

Volunteers pruning hedges

We are extremely excited about the further development of the individual and community involvement that this program entails.  It is part of our Mission here to foster the Japanese Garden as a place of connection to the heritage, culture, craft and community of the Japanese Garden.

On Friday, August 18th, the Japanese Garden Staff hosted this group of volunteers for a special Chado (The Way of Tea) presentation at the Japanese Garden Tea House.  As an additional thanks to them for their dedication and to help maintain the connection to the Japanese Garden, each participant was given a free one year pass to the Garden provided by our partners at the Arboretum Foundation.  The experience was enriching, and hopefully will foster a long-lasting connection to the Japanese Garden and the work that we do here.


Pete Putnicki is the Senior Gardener for Seattle Japanese Garden and a contributor to the garden’s blog.

Additional information provided by Chukundi Salisbury, Trails Coordinator,

Seattle Parks and Recreation