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Monday, April 23, 2012

Restoring for Earth Day

Conservation Intern Whitney Cox
gets excited about restoration!
We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to volunteer outside! Saturday, April 21st was the Duwamish Alive Restoration Event along the Duwamish River.  This single event brought together more than a thousand volunteers to help restore forests and greenways at 13 different sites along the river, which is one of the most polluted waterways in the country.  Washington Wild staff and volunteers, along with hundreds of others, participated in the restoration efforts at the West Duwamish Greenbelt site in West Seattle.  The West Duwamish Greenbelt is the largest greenbelt in Seattle, and is a vital habitat corridor for wildlife, as it filters and cleans rainwater runoff before it reaches the river.  This site was managed by the Nature Consortium and EarthCorps, and good gracious, do they know how to throw an event!
Oregon Grape

While we pulled invasive Scotch Broom and Hawthorn, musicians roamed around entertaining us.  An exceptionally talented woman belted out melodies on her saxophone, and a tuba player, percussionist, and clarinet player joined together to create an upbeat festival atmosphere.  After lunch, our team demonstrated awesome teamwork while filling buckets and wheelbarrows full of mulch, carrying it downhill, and spreading mulch around native plantings such as Oregon Grape, Douglas Fir, and Salal. We saw wildlife, such as a garter snake, worms, a bald eagle, ladybugs, and middle school students (I kid – these students were fantastic workers).  By the end of our four hours of work, we had transformed several thousand square feet of land - a pretty satisfying feat!

The Nature Consortium employee who managed our group, Phillip, was a dream to work with.  He managed adults and adolescents with skill and humor, stressed the significance of our work on improving the health of the forest and the Duwamish River, and he kept everyone busy and interested in the work.  In his debrief at the end of the day, Phillip asked us to acknowledge that humans are a part of the environment and that we play an important role in preserving it – worthwhile sentiments to bear in mind around Earth Day and throughout our daily lives. 

The day concluded with a gigantic pizza party and more live music.  I am grateful that I was able to spend a gorgeous Pacific Northwest Saturday creating tangible positive changes for our Earth in the company of interesting and hardworking volunteers.  Many thanks to all the people who contributed to making this a fun and successful day!

Christine Scheele is Washington Wild's volunteer coordinator. When she is not wrangling volunteers, you can find her chasing her dogs up mountainsides. Interested in volunteering? Contact Christine at christine@wawild.org.

Whitney Cox shows off her skills - and her Washington Wild t-shirt!

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