Recreation Northwest’s stewardship project area in Fairhaven Park is open to the public as a Native Plant Garden.
Starting in 2014, Recreation Northwest’s project goal was the installation of the Fairhaven Park Trail & Wetland Boardwalk that now leads south into the Hundred Acre Wood. This location is a former invasive blackberry patch that community volunteers eradicated in 2017 to clear the space for required project mitigation. The mitigation requirements were to plant native species in these spaces, now the site has been transformed to invite the public in to enjoy. The park bench and gate were installed in 2019 for you to “Get Your Dose of Nature”- the motto of our Parkscriptions program.
Native Plant Identification signs educate the public about local flora in the park and throughout the Northwest. Each sign lists the characteristics of the plant for identification; Habitat Ecology for examples of where else to find these species; and Ethnobotany outlining the traditional uses by Coast Salish peoples.
You will also find Invasive Species Identification signs to be able to identify the noxious weeds. “Noxious weed is the legal term for invasive plants in Washington that are so aggressive they harm our local ecosystems or disrupt agricultural production. These plants crowd out the native species that fish and wildlife depend on.” With volunteers, Recreation Northwest continues to work to remove invasive species from the area and keep the nutrient rich material on-site in Compost Piles.
We have transformed one of our four mitigation monitoring sites, planted with native plants, into an outdoor public space.
We chose the Upper Meadow Buffer to become our open-to-the-public Native Plant Garden. This space was originally a large patch of invasive blackberries that a series of volunteer work parties over the years has worked to clear and maintain.
Here’s a work party in February 2020 continuing to clear out invasive species and caring for our native plants.
Native Plant Garden Milestones
March 11, 2017 – Blackberries and other invasive plants removed/cleared by a work party sponsored by Brio Laundry and supported by local volunteers.
April 28th, 2017 – In preparation for the pending mitigation for Phase TWO of our Trail & Wetland Boardwalk project, we installed Native Plants in this newly cleared area adjacent to the abandoned trail from Fairhaven Park, leading into the “Hundred Acre Wood”.
2019 – We installed a r Public Park Bench and Garden Gate
2020 – Continued clearing of invasive species and care for native plants by volunteers.
2021 – Idea morphs to transform this space into an Outdoor Classroom zone with Native Plant Identification signs.
2022 – Spring Fundraising campaign to support this project kicks off! We installed Native Plant Identification signs to help educate the public as part of our new Outdoor Classroom project. See sample sign:
Composting Weeds Onsite
Bellingham Parks chose Recreation Northwest to pilot this approach in 2021 when we cleared the blackberry patch at the intersection into the Hundred Acre Woods. This is the space that will become our Outdoor Classroom amphitheater. We use this document to guide us. Download the Composting Weeds Onsite PDF.