Ruby Dance lets environment shine like a diamond

It was a victory for environmental enthusiasts in Federal Way last weekend.

The Ruby Dance fundraiser, the largest fundraising effort by the Friends of the Hylebos Wetlands, was sold out on Saturday and event-goers were lining up at the silent auction.

The amount of total funds raised was not yet calculated at press time, said Chris Carrel, executive director of Friends of the Hylebos. Organizers hoped to raise $30,000.

The Friends of the Hylebos aim to preserve and restore 745 acres of streams, wetlands and open space, from Federal Way to Commencement Bay, in the next 20 years. The group has preserved more than 395 acres since forming in 2000.

Restoring areas requires building salmon spawning streams and planting native trees, shrubs and plants.

Chris Carrel, executive director of Friends of the Hylebos, gave an impassioned speech at the fundraiser about how people are the most important part of conservation.

"Aside from the work of preserving open space and restoring healthy forests and streams, a core aspect of our work is creating a culture of stewardship in the communities of the Hylebos," Carrel said.

Carrel said that in order for the impacts made by planting trees to last, people must encourage their children and grandchildren to also care about the Hylebos and preserving nature. Seedlings planted today won't be fully developed for 100 years.

"Somebody once said that environmentalists make great ancestors," Carrel told the crowd. "I look around this room and see hundreds of people who are supporting the vision of the Hylebos Initiative. I see a room full of great ancestors in the making."

Contact Margo Horner: or (253) 925-5565.

Get involved

HomeStreet Bank is raising funds to plant trees by matching donations to Friends of the Hylebos through Nov. 15 as part of the HomeStreet Bank Tree Challenge. For more information or to donate, visit

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