Hutt Park volunteers pass trowel to new generation of park stewards

L to R: Susan Boerger, Wilson Leung, Beate Liepert, Ron Boerger
Ron and Susan Boerger, who have spearheaded the Hutt Park stewardship effort since the beginning, pass off the primary stewardship responsibilities to the new team, Wilson Leung and Beate Liepert. (L to R: Susan Boerger, Wilson Leung, Beate Liepert, Ron Boerger).

It was a busy Saturday morning at Hutt Park in the Seaview neighborhood as volunteers gathered to spend several hours planting 200 new native plants in an area cleared of invasive species earlier this year. The event was the latest in a series of work parties by this dedicated group of stewards that is making Hutt Park a showplace of how local volunteers can make a big difference.

Hutt park steward Susan Boerger (right) helps a volunteer get a new plant into position.

It’s been six years since the first volunteer cleanup of Hutt Park kicked off one of the most successful grassroots efforts of its kind to revegetate and restore a neighborhood island of greenery.

In the intervening years, the Edmonds Parks Department and EarthCorps have joined in the effort, helping neighbors and the loosely-organized Friends of Hutt Park plan and execute efforts to remove invasive species, replace them with native plants and restore the park. A volunteer work party on Earth Day 2017 was particularly successful, drawing more than 70 volunteers to pull ivy and replant with native species.

There’s still plenty of work to do in Hutt Park as Beate Liepert explains while standing in a patch of non-native invasive English Ivy due to be removed in the coming months.

Two stalwarts who have spearheaded these efforts since the beginning are Ron and Susan Boerger.

“We live in a downtown apartment, and Hutt Park has literally become our back yard,” said Ron. “We’ve been doing this for years, and feel such a strong attachment to this lovely piece of forest.”

“It’s been so gratifying over the years to watch the new plants become established and start bringing the park back to its natural state,” added Susan. “We’ll sure miss it.”

Miss it?

Yes, the Boergers are poised to leave Hutt Park behind as they realize their dream to move literally to the other side of the world.

Ferns in Hutt Park
The ferns in the background, part of last year’s revegetation efforts, are now well established. The new plants in front will go in the ground as part of Saturday’s work party.

“Now that I’m retired, we’re able to do what we’ve dreamed about for years — relocate to England,” said Ron. “We’ve already got a place on several acres in Lincolnshire, about 200 miles from London. We’re set to leave as soon as my visa comes through.  It’ll be a big change in a lot of ways, but one thing that won’t change is that we’ll continue our passion of working in the soil. Except now it will be right outside our door.”

So what’s next for Hutt Park?

The Boergers are turning over their primary stewardship responsibilities to the new team of Wilson Leung and Beate Leipert, who promise to bring equal passion to continuing the momentum at Hutt Park.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” beamed Beate. “Hutt Park is such a special place, and as stewards we’ll do everything we can to keep it that way.”

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

3 Replies to “Hutt Park volunteers pass trowel to new generation of park stewards”

  1. The last three years have been wonderful for the Friends of Hutt Park since Earth Corp under the guidance of the Boergers took over for bi-monthly clean up. Actually, Jack Bevan, Steve Tholl and I started the Hutt Park Clean up many years ago (2009) but the yearly cleanups never really gave it the “push” that was needed until we had the “Hutt Park Ivy Pull” about three years ago. It was a fantastic day which included many local neighbors, local Boy Scouts, and the City of Edmonds’ Park and Rec Members along with the Tree Board.

    The Park is lovely now with the consistent removal of ivy and planting of native plants. So, hopefully the new team will let the neighbors know about the work parties.

    Thank you so much Ron and Sue for caring and volunteering at this pocket park. Happy Trails in England.


  2. Dear Friends of Hutt Park,
    Thank you for your passionate care and we are grateful for the opportunity to help keep Hutt Park such a special place.
    Wilson and I will keep Sue and Ron’s regular schedule and will host an Earthcorps event every third Saturday of the month. More details and registration can be found here Upcoming dates are November 17th, December 15th, and January 19th from 10 am to 2 pm.
    Hope you can make it to one of the events.
    Your Hutt Park Steward,


  3. Thank you Ron and Susan for such dedicated devotion to Hutt Park. It has been a pleasure working with you and the Stewards program at this special place. I know Beate and Wilson will do you proud in the years to come, and look forward to supporting them until all that ivy and evil blackberries are gone!
    The Blackberry Queen


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