Growing Old: Tales from an Urban Canopy

Contiguous (episode 8)

Episode Summary

In the season one finale of Growing Old, travel forward to the year 2070, and explore the contiguous forest of Seattle’s future. Visit Eagle Village, where residents came together to turn concrete into a medicine garden during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reflect on the first season of Growing Old, and share your vision for what our city might look like in the year 2070.

Episode Notes

Learn more at  

Subscribe on your favorite streaming platform, and follow the Growing Old Project on Instagram.  

This series was created in collaboration.  


Created by:

Lylianna Allala, Colleen Echohawk, and Tamara Power-Drutis


Produced by:

Katie Mosehauer


Written by:

Tamara Power-Drutis


Narrated by:

Zoey Echohawk-Hayashi, Collen Echohawk, Lylianna Allala, Tamara Power-Drutis along with various members of the Growing Old team.


Music for the series by:

Black Stax, Glass Heart String Choir, Lacey Warrior, and Talaya Logan Marque Studios with engineering and mixing by Katie Mosehauer and Greg Fields and mixing and mastering by Pierre Ferguson.


Music in Episode 8 by:  

Chris Zabriskie, C. Scott, Kai Engel, and Tamara Power-Drutis.  


Recording by:

Katie Mosehauer and Tamara Power-Drutis


In Partnership With:

Chief Seattle Club and Earth Day Northwest 2020

Episode Transcription


This is the kind of story that begins in a forest, on the traditional lands of the Duwamish, Suquamish, Muckleshoot, and Coast Salish People, past and present. It’s a story about Seattle’s urban forest and the humans that live within it. It’s told with gratitude, to honor the trees who care for us, and those who care for this land. To learn, or to remember, the medicines that have been a part of this place since time immemorial. 

We start in the year 2070, imagining what our City might look like if we planted the right seeds today. We follow the story of Chief Seattle Club, as they turn concrete into a Medicine Garden at Eagle Village. And we end each episode with you. You. And me. And how we might work together so that the humans and trees in our community can grow old. 

This is Growing Old, from Seattle Washington. 


In this episode, you’ll continue to hear from the Growing Old Project team: 

Colleen Echohawk. 

Lylianna Allala.  

Tamara Power-Drutis

Katie Mosehauer. 

Jace ECAJ. 

Felicia V Loud. 

Lacey Stevenson Warrior. 

Ian Williams. 

Zoey Echohawk-Hayashi 


Thanks for being a part of the Growing Old Project. 

And a special thank you to our public radio listeners at KBCS in Bellevue, KMRE in Whatcom County, KVSC out of Minnesota, and KFAI in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

This is the last episode in our season, but not the end of our project. 

We invite you to join us on August 5th, 2020 with a virtual concert, featuring musical guests and storytellers from Season 1 of growing old, and the release of our soundtrack. 


And keep an eye out later this summer for the release of the very first Growing Old Project Zine. 

Learn more at Growing Old Project dot come. 

Over the course of the past seven episodes, we’ve traveled together through some of Seattle’s most extraordinary greenspaces. 


Now, in the final episode of our season, we travel to exactly where we are, but fifty years in the future. 

And we’d like to hear from you. 

What’s your vision for Seattle in the year 2070? 

What do you see, when you imagine walking down the street, in 50 years? 

Record your vision on your phone, or whatever device you have handy, and share it with us at Growing Old Project dot com. 

We’ll continue gathering visions to share when we return to you in Season 2. 



In today’s Seattle, it’s easy to feel as fragmented as the urban forest we live in.

Yet in spite of our fractures, when we explore visions for what Seattle might look like in the year 2070, those lines seem to disappear. 


In the Seattle of 2070, we can be contiguous. 



I think I didn't learn what that word meant until I was working at Nature Consortium. And I was like, contiguous. That looks like a typo. And then I looked it up. I was like, oh, no, that's a word. Okay.


Lylianna’s not alone. We could make a blooper reel of just the word contiguous from our first season. My favorite being the covidian slip recorded in Colleen’s office at the Chief Seattle Club, surrounded by stacks of face masks, gloves, and smudge sprays.



In 50 years, will our city be carbon neutral? 

Will our forests be contagious? 






Continuous. God. 

It might be nice if they were contagious. 



Maybe there should be contagious forests. 



I think, it is important to note that contiguous is different from continuous in the sense that there is breaks in in that forest. It isn't one giant connected swath. And it's important to note that because that is a huge resource in an urban space. 



A contiguous forest is one which stands united. Their connected roots and resulting ecosystem act as a sponge, soaking up runoff and pollutants. Wildlife move uninhibited throughout their breeding lands, finding shelter and supporting future generations of their species. The biodiverse forest mitigates risks to preserve the health of all who live there.



And as the City was colonized and settled and populated, humans slowly encroached and cut into that forest in different ways. 



A fragmented forest, such as what you’ll find in most of Seattle today, is scattered and disconnected. It exists wherever we’ve built blockades to separate humans from the natural world, splitting a forest into first two parts, then three, then thousands of disconnected sections.

Cut off from the support of the rest of their network, these tiny patches of green stand alone as they battle pollution, stormwater runoff, human use, and climate change.  

Blockades can take a lot of shapes, like a fence around a yard, an 18 ft wall of blackberry, a road or a freeway, a lawn, or a building like the ones I live and work in. When we lay down infrastructure, we reduce our forest’s connectivity, and we increase the risk to each tiny patch of green, and to ourselves. 


I always likened it to colonization in different ways. So we have this Native forest. And at some point, people started traveling here and bringing with them plants that reminded them of their home country. And so they're like, oh, English Ivy’s so beautiful. And, and then these plants like, escaped the pots and went rampant in the forest, and then started taking over and it's almost visceral. 

I remember being in various forests and, you're pulling these hairy ivy vines off of a tree and then you hear the cr eak of the ivy, kind of release the tension from wrapping around the tree.



Fragmenting Seattle’s forest happened incrementally, and reuniting it will likely only happen incrementally as well. 

Yet restoring a contiguous forest across our city’s fences, roads, and buildings would provide expansive benefits to those alive today, and the coming generations.

And, who knows, we could just make urban reforestation contagious. 


As Seattle progressed through the phases of reopening, Chief Seattle Club’s Eagle Village was able to open their doors again to visitors. 

The last time I had been there, prior to the pandemic, the concrete yard was host to a picnic table, but no residents were present on the open grounds. 

 On this visit though, I was greeted by large wooden raised beds, well tended foods and medicines growing, and a consistent cluster of residents hanging out in the new green space. 



My name is Dinalda Lyons and I am the site manager for Eagle Village, the bridge shelter for Chief Seattle Club, and we are currently here in the community room at Eagle Village.    


Donalda is part of the team that makes Eagle Village possible, continuing to serve the community through the pandemic.  



Unfortunately, you know, a lot of the members here, I would say like 70% of the members did have some type of employment but once Covid hit everybody lost employment. 

People were running low with their food and they were starting to panic. So, we were able to provide them with food boxes and you know, we've had donations that for a rainy day type thing. 

Really came in handy because we're able to make meals for people. Whether it was something so simple as soup today like Patricia, she was like, I felt like making frybread. so she ended up making like 50 some fry breads. And she was very grateful to do it. 

And as simple as making fry bread, it really touched a lot of people today, and the days before that we've randomly done things you know, chili dogs, just so simple. Just so we know that they ate you know, checking on people. Hey, how are you? You know going putting a mask on putting gloves on you know, going door to door How are you doing? How's your mental health? How are you physically mentally? How you do got food? Are you okay?

Asking those questions and that really just brought our little community here together, they all started really supporting each other. 


Donalda says that, in spite of the situation, many of the members at Eagle Village have used the time to start looking for work, find their own place, and achieve goals that have been on the back burner for years. 



So in a bad time there was, you know, a lot of good that came out has come out here in Eagle Village.


Some of that good Donalda attributes to the member-driven effort to establish a Medicine Garden there at Eagle Village, an effort that began before the pandemic, but refused to be put off until after.  



The thing about this was in February, there are asking about when we can set the medicine garden Oh, we still can do the medicine guide is the medicine guide is still gonna happen? February they're asking about it March. People are asking about it April and I'm just like, you know we're in the middle of the Coronavirus right now I don't know what to tell you guys like, not right now once we get over this Coronavirus and things get back to the new normal. We will definitely start that up. 

And then, here comes Erica on her white horse.


Erica and the Na'ah Illahee Fund donated two raised beds, food for the members, as well as soil and plants to get the members started. 


So last week, she came by, dropped off two beds. They actually bring the U haul and it has all of these plants in there in pots and some soil. 

And we had Ricky we had Ricky, Ron, Morrow, Thomas just get out there and they started raking up the the picnic tables and Morrow started picking up the cigarettes cleaning it up out there, making it look nice and then they tell me Oh, we need a pic and I'm like, okay, we'll get a pic. 

And before I knew it, I came we come back and they had a one bed already planted. They had enough soil, they had plants already in there. 



Where once there had been only concrete, now there grows a medicine garden in the middle of SODO. 



It's really been a positive experience through the whole Coronavirus, obviously, with everybody here because they all come out. They're all working together. 

So they're the ones who literally map out how they want and they're like, Is that fine? I was like, that's up to you guys. You guys are a group here. You guys are here as community you guys decide how you would like to set this up. 

And so they asked around those who were there. There was quite a bit of people out there and they said, Everybody gave their opinion on it and they laid it out, so it's been very exciting for them, and for the members here and keeping their mind off of things occupied and watching it grow.



 Rather than being prescriptive, Donalda and the Eagle Village team left it up to the members what they wanted to see growing in their medicine garden, and how they wanted to be involved. As a result, in a matter of weeks, the garden has become an integral fabric in the Eagle Village community. 



Something as a medicine garden really has bring medicine, and has really cheered  up the members here and has really just given them something to be real excited about, you know, bring them great joy and you know, one of the guy says, I'm not gonna be living here when this stuff is ready to eat, but I'm coming back to get mine. 

I'm definitely coming back making me a sandwich with that lettuce because I planned it you just talking to the lettuce? It's just those little things, you know, just makes them so happy and it makes me happy. That we're really able to help them in whatever they were worried about or dealing with prior to that moment, in that very moment, they were happy and they had joy, and they were able to express that you've seen that joy because some of them you, you know, they were bothered with stuff, but just seeing them out there getting down on their knees and helping out, planning stuff.

There's this elder man came out here told us we were doing it wrong and tell them they needed to dig deeper and he told one of the guys move out of the way and he got down and dug it taught him how it needed to be dug in a different way. He went on about the roots educated us on the roots for a minute, and then did it and he just got it like, looked at us, just it literally dusted his knees, clapped his hands, and went to his room was like, classic, classic grandpas chewed us all out in the yard. 



 As donations for the medicine garden continue to arrive, Eagle Village residents have taken charge to create a welcoming environment for the Native community. 



It’s bring a little bit life because then it also bring the members out to work together, and somebody donated some really nice outdoor patio chairs out there, and they really change that little area.  

Everybody has been very excited to be a part of it, you know, those people who are just stay in their room, and mind their business, so to speak, and come and go, have I seen them over there talking to people. 

A lot of them realize that, the medicine garden is something big, especially for Chief Seattle, something new. 



 The residents at Eagle Village aren’t just part of the Medicine Garden, they’re leading the way, and growing foods that will provide for future residents, even after they’ve moved on to permanent housing. 

It’s brought a sense of shared purpose, and further strengthened what was already a connected community.



The other night I came in, and it was probably about nine o'clock at night and everybody was sitting out there, those chairs were taken,and so they're really enjoying being out there. And literally, they were sitting around those plant beds.

In the morning that they'll be sitting out there, some of them sitting out there drinking their coffee just hanging out.

So that little the little the medicine garden to the two black beds have brought a lot of literally good medicine here has made a lot of people feel good here, you know, the good thing about it is like everybody here is community. And so the medicine garden is just one more thing added into it. I can't say enough good things about what is done for some of the members here, some people who have really struggled, especially during this time to be just sitting out there, it's good to see them out there and enjoying the sun and join the people, the members that are out there enjoying just being outside, and it's just because they were curious about what is the medicine garden? 

It's so cool when you really think about it, you know, you're like in the middle of Seattle, there's nothing about concrete roads, traffic noise, you know, all of that. Then all of a sudden we have in our community over here, these two plant beds in it. 

Just those two little plant beds have done a lot for the members here.



Hearing from Donalda about how the act of planting a Medicine Garden had itself been medicine for the members of Eagle Village reminded me of something Valerie Segrest shared back in Episode 4. 



So many times in my career, I have been working with vulnerable populations where we go out and harvest a medicine and you just sort of witnessed this light come on inside of people where they begin to remember how their grandmother used that plant, what they might have called it, how they would use it. And that that memory was medicine, and is medicine for people. Remembering our teachings. 

Plants are our greatest teacher. And when you can have them growing right outside the door, it makes sense to make sure that that access is available.



What if everyone in Seattle had medicine growing right outside our door, like the residents at Eagle Village?

What if, eventually, those gardens intersected, and began connecting our fragmented ecosystem across yards, streets, and neighborhoods?

And instead of waiting to be told how to do it, waiting for some policymaker to press reset or give  permission, what if we followed the lead of Eagle Village, and began planting medicine right where we need it most?

Perhaps this is how we’ll make Seattle’s forest contiguous. 


As we near the end of our first season together, we feel an immense amount of gratitude for the collaborators on the Growing Old Project, the voices you’ve been hearing throughout our season. 

We asked the Growing Old team to share reflections from the first season, and what will stick with them moving forward. 



For me, growing old is a blessing, like, you know, to be able to grow old enough to have experiences that you can share, to be able to have seen things happen and able to relate those two things that are happening today.

It makes you think about value, like how much you really mean to the Earth, when you go out into the, you know, into the environment and you're just out there. 

Like how much do you really matter? How much are the things that you're doing really matter?



From the moment we met together amongst the old growth trees in Schmitz Park, I knew that we were planting a seed of possibility that allowed us to imagine a grand vision for Seattle. A vision of care, one of love, and of hope. 

I love that saying we stand on the shoulders of giants. We stand on the shoulders of giants of giant Western Red Cedars and Sitka Spruce, on the shoulders of our ancestors, of Seattle's giants like Bernie White Bear, Rebecca Myositis, Bob Santos, Larry Gossett.

We are in a time of growth and learning right now. And I have hoped that the big bold visions that we've spoke about in the Growing Old Project those are already becoming our new reality.



I've learned things that I had no idea I would I would learn. like the, the history of Seattle the history of of the First Nations, very specific things people working, directly on the ground in these areas and that firsthand account of the natural and human history of of Seattle that I, I don't I was not expecting, and it's been really, really amazing feel really lucky to to have learned so much already.


For me personally, when I think of trees, I don't think of just one tree, I think of a forest. And I think of all the creatures in that forest, all the little squirrels and birds and deer and the insects, all the insects, little ants and bees and all the things that depend on the trees to keep growing and be strong. 

And so a lot of how I approach my work at the Club is I think of those teachings and I think of the trees and how they support all the other creatures and animals, and how can I do that? Because when our trees are strong, all of everything that's in our community forest is going to be strong too. 



Trees have a very unnamed role in our current society and the way we live our daily lives I think there are impacts that our natural environment have on our culture and the way we come together in our creative sense, but we don't look to it to name it very often. And so it's very much just perceived rather than cultivated.



If there were no trees, we'd be done.



We'd be done. We'd be absolutely done. Yeah. We continue to absorb nature as if it's a sponge, and then you wrench it out.  We seem to be backwards in terms of then not giving back, and so that's that's unnatural, yes, unnatural. 

Trees are just vital to our existence. 



Yeah, crucial. Yeah.

I hope that this reaches multi disciplines. Like it's not just for those who already care about the environment, or nature, those who care about respecting the Native or Indigenous folks in their plight and their history, but I hope it I hope it crosses disciplines like all the disciplines start to talk about it, using music, using visual arts, using spoken word, using, you know, all those things that touch people.  And that people are able to find their connection to what however it touched them.



Collaborating with this incredible team on the growing old project has been amazing. With each interview and new episode, I learned something new about myself, something new about my ancestors, and about my community. 

I have really been meditating on the strength of women this season. My mother always told me that I come from a long line of resilient women, from women who organized for the right to vote, strong back to women who worked in the fields of migrant farmworkers, qullianderas who passed on plant medicine knowledge from generation to generation women who gave up the dream of going to college to raise families. 

I've really connected with my own trust in my ancestors. I'm going to trust in the wisdom of the women who guide me. I'm gonna trust in the wisdom of the women who are guiding us all.



I think especially in our current environment, it's really easy to see how we tackle the stuff that feels the most urgent as kind of a local and national government. And that, to me is how you end up in the situation we're in now where we have a fractured society that doesn't actually take care of everyone who's in it, or the environment that's around it. So I think it's always really hard when there are things that are incredibly urgent to also think about the long term, but it seems like 50% of the job has to be where do we want to be in 50 years, and how do we get there? 

So not just knowing we're going to take the next step that's in front of us, but we're actually going to turn slightly because going directly, the way we're going now doesn't get us to where we want to go. So some kind of commitment and statement of like a long term vision that our city or state or country wants to go towards, feels like that's how we get there. Incremental change is important and it's how you achieve it. But if you don't know what you want that to add up to, you don't usually end up in a very good place.



I think we're a city that's okay with acknowledging that we've really messed it up. And I think that sometimes we get kind of stuck there. Because we're like, Oh, yeah, we really like you know, we have racism, Native homelessness, because we kicked any people out years ago. Right. And so people are willing to look at that and do that. That is to me an excellent start. 

I can say for myself that there are opportunities within our city systems, city planning, urban and public spaces that are just ripe for opportunity. We have to be innovative about the way that we think about these public spaces that are being developed now. We have a whole brand new waterfront that's coming up and in the in the city, most of it is already planned. But there's opportunities in those in those environments to encourage, just one idea to encourage you know, an Indigenous garden, right that says, hey, here's, here's a space where we're going to say these were the these were the some of the original plants. 

I think that we have to be committed to understanding new ways of design, and new ways of thinking about public space planning, and who's there and who's not there and why and why they have why those voices have to be there. And I think that architecture that reflects all of the community and not just the white majority, is going to be really important as we move forward in this work.        

And I think that we have the right kind of community to get there. It take it will take a lot of sacrifice. It will take a lot of courage. But we have just some of the most amazing people that live in this city. And this is the city that that can see that can make that happen.              

We've done a lot in the city. We have the whole world drinking coffee. We have people you know, flying on airplanes, like huge, huge, I mean, we're talking about it's really like it's crazy that we get on a plane and like relax, fly in the sky, and we trust that. We have Microsoft and we have Amazon and we have incredible, things that changed it incredible ways. 

So we should be hopeful within our city that we can do some major things. like I think it's really important for us and not to not let the weight of climate change... overwhelm us, we have to be full of hope. And we have to be full of plans and innovation in order to see this planet be what our ancestors dreamed it would be. 



Imagine that you’re standing in Downtown Seattle.

Except it’s not like the downtown you see and know today. 

This is Seattle in the year 2070, a Seattle where trees and humans grow old. 

You walk along the waterfront, and catch sight of Orca swimming through Elliot Bay. 

You meander up hill, past architecture that was designed by and reflects the Indigenous, Black, and immigrant communities that call Seattle home. 

Stepping off concrete, your drawn into the corridor of green that stretches throughout our city, connecting a fragmented forest into one, contiguous ecosystem. 

You munch on a few salal berries from a shrub as you pass through the bountiful landscape, stopping to share some of the water from your pack with a young western red cedar growing near the Chief Seattle Club’s ?Al?Al building.

It’s been a hot day, but you find cool respite under the shade of a white oak. 

Breathing in the clean air, you pause at a bench, taking in the humans and wildlife in the bustling downtown forest. 

The nutritionist tending to a medicine garden, where once there had been only concrete curbside. 

The youth group digging up rouge blackberry vines. 

The group of coworkers sharing a picnic spread under a western white pine, where once there had been an avenue for cars. 

A bald eagle swoops down near the coworkers to snatch it’s prey from beneath a fern, and you hear them retelling the story all the way back to the light rail station. 

You continue on your way home, following street signs bearing both Lushootseed and English place names, down the wooded path to Rainier Beach, or Eagle Village, or Unincorporated King County. Wherever it is, it’s safe, it feels and looks like home. And whether you own it or rent, you’re paying an affordable price. 

Especially considering how many dougfirs and pacific madrones you have growing on your block. 

You’ve reached the restored salmon stream by now, and you follow it down what used to be an alley, picking up a piece of litter from the bank. It’s rare to find litter in the Seattle of 2070, but you pick it up any chance you get.

This is your city, afterall.  

Your beautiful, emerald, anti-racist city. 

And wherever you are when you arrive back home, you feel linked to the ecosystem and commu

nity around you. 

Like the mycelium that runs beneath your feet, you grow only more connected to this place, to your neighbors, and to the trees on your block with each passing year. 

This is the contiguous Seattle of 2070. 


We’d like to hear from you.  

What’s your vision for Seattle in the year 2070? 

What do you see, when you imagine walking down the street, in 50 years? 

Record your vision on your phone, or whatever device you have handy, and share it with us at Growing Old Project dot com. 

We’ll continue gathering visions to share when we return to you in Season 2. 


While this is the end of our first season of Growing Old, this isn’t the end of our project. 

We’ll be back with more stories and songs from Seattle’s urban canopy, and we’re grateful to all of the incredible collaborators and partners who joined us on the journey through the urban forest. 

Season one was made possible by an immense number of volunteer hours from our team, and funding from partners to support stipends for our musical collaborators. 

We’d like to share a message now from our premiere sponsor, the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, who was the first to come on in support of the project. They share that:

The Henry M Jackson Foundation was founded in 1983 to continue the unfinished work of the late Senator Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson. We tackle critical policy issues and seek to make a lasting impact, perpetuating the Jackson values to benefit future generations.

We proudly sponsored this podcast to celebrate Earth Day. Two of our core issues are environmental policy and stewardship, and supporting the next generation of public leaders. This innovative project - developed by Jackson Leadership Fellows Tamara Power-Drutis and Lylianna Allala and their team - provides an example of how we strive to foster leadership on the climate crisis and natural resource issues.

Looking to the future, we need people in our city, state, and country to demand that our national leaders take action on climate change now, so that in 2070, we can live on a healthy planet – with a diversity of plants, animals, and insects – that sustains us all.


We’re grateful to have had you here with us listener. 

We invite you to join us on August 5th, 2020 with a virtual concert, featuring musical guests and storytellers from Season 1 of growing old, and the release of our soundtrack. 

And keep an eye out for the first Growing Old Project zine.

To all of you out there listening, may your soil be rich, may your restoration efforts be in good cheer, and may you live to grow old in the company of very large trees. 

From Seattle, Washington. 

This is Growing Old. 



This series was developed in collaboration. 

It was co-created by Colleen Echohawk, Lylilanna Allala, and Tamara Power-Drutis. 

It was produced by Katie Mosehauer. 

Music for the series was created by Lacey Warrior, Glass Heart String Choir, and Black Stax.

Promotion and marketing was provided by Katie Myers and The Vida Agency. 

Support for this project is provided by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and Arts in the Parks, a partnership between the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and Seattle Parks and Recreation. 

This is Growing Old.