Reception honors Stewardship Leader Mamie Bolender

Saturday, October 15, 2022

A new plaque honors volunteer Mamie Bolender

Story and photos by Kim Josund

On a lovely autumn afternoon at Grace Cole Nature Park, a large group of people gathered to witness the unveiling of a new plaque honoring volunteer Mamie Bolender.

An appreciative crowd attended the reception

Mamie, now in her 90s, is a founding member of the LFP Stewardship Foundation and oversaw the volunteer restoration of the park for decades, before stepping down just a few years ago. 

Saving the land that is now Grace Cole Nature Park (map link) was the very first project for the LFP Stewardship Foundation, which formed back in 1998 in Mamie’s living room. 

During that long fight to protect the wetlands and steep forested slopes from becoming a housing development, Mamie’s strong leadership brought together neighbors and support from City, County and State elected officials. 

Mamie shares some of the history of her advocacy

Mamie wrote grants for acquisition, and later, wrote and managed grants for restoration work. In those early years, the Stewardship Foundation was dubbed “a scrappy band of neighbors” a.k.a. “Mamie’s Gang.” Once the land became a public park, Mamie stepped up to lead regular volunteer work parties to create what we all enjoy today at the Nature Park.

Mamie has always had the wisdom and the fortitude to know that partnering with Mother Nature is always a good investment; that big things can happen with persistent advocacy for what you know is right. Mamie is known for her way of speaking up, kindly, asking questions, countering with gentle logic to make her point. 

She is reliably the definition of a good neighbor. She was out in the park pulling ivy and blackberry, putting native plants in the ground, and teaching others how to do it, until well into her 80s. Her steadfast determination is an inspiration to all, building a strong base of support for stewardship in Lake Forest Park, which continues today.

Mamie’s impact on Lake Forest Park goes well beyond the protection and restoration of Grace Cole Nature Park. She has mentored students from Shorecrest high school on trail building and habitat restoration. Mamie coordinated with Volunteers for Outdoor Washington, Friends of Cedar River Watershed, Adopt-A-Stream and other groups to help improve the park.

She studied environmental issues such as the City Comprehensive Plan, Sensitive Area Ordinances, and the Urban Tree Management Plan, strengthening her advocacy for the natural resources of our watersheds. 

In addition to the Stewardship Foundation, where she served as Treasurer, Vice President and Co-President, Mamie was active for many years in planning the LFP Secret Gardens Tour, and guided the Community Wildlife Habitat certification through the National Wildlife Federation with Libby Fiene. Mamie also served on several City Commissions and Boards over the years.

Mamie and Chuck Bolender, son-in-law and daughter

Mamie attended the September 25th reception with her husband Chuck, and her daughter and son-in-law. She enjoyed visiting with long time friends and supporters of the Stewardship Foundation, including a few members of the original “Mamie’s Gang.”

Jean Reid, Mamie Bolender, Jean Robbins

LFPSF founding Board member, Dr. Jean Reid, spoke about Mamie’s legacy and LFP Mayor Jeff Johnson thanked Mamie. 

Jim Mead with Mamie Bolender

Current volunteer park restoration leader Jim Mead (a neighbor of Mamie’s recruited by her) had Mamie unveil the plaque which is mounted atop the park kiosk. Mamie shared some memories of work to save the park, and appreciation to those who have joined to help the cause.

Now whenever Mamie passes by the Nature Park, she can see that plaque as a heartfelt THANK YOU for her advocacy and leadership over the years!

Volunteer work parties continue monthly at Grace Cole Nature Park on the third Saturday from 9am -12noon. More information available on the Stewardship Foundation website at

Grace Cole Nature Park is located at 16735 30th Ave NE, Lake Forest Park, WA 98155


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