As part of our Outdoor Classroom project, we transformed our Fairhaven Park wetland mitigation site into a public space with the addition of the park bench. Most recently, we added Native Plant & Invasive Species identification signs for active and passive learning for people of all ages in our Native Plant Garden. Our Garden Gate is an entryway that reflects the Japanese Torii style. This style of a traditional Japanese gate is most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the mundane to the sacred.
Come on in…
In 2019, we received funding from Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery to support our ongoing stewardship work with our Trail & Wetland Boardwalk project in Fairhaven Park. As a thank you for their support, we planned to install a standard park bench to commemorate their community donation. The location we chose was the fenced mitigation plantings in our Upper Meadow Buffer area to become a public space with a garden gate for people to enter the maturing Native Plant Garden. The fence had been in place to provide security from animals, preventing them from eating our budding plants.
From the park bench, you can see signs for Douglas Fir, Himalayan Blackberry (invasive), Western Red Cedar, and Snowberry.
As you walk past the bench you’ll see the Douglas Fir group on the left as the trail winds around the backside and skirt the wetland boundary- and old trail alignment from “back in the day”.
Close up of our Douglas Fir interpretive sign. Each sign lists the characteristics, habitat ecology, and ethnobotany.
At the edge of our space is more blackberry that we just try to keep at bay. We included our invasive species signs to show examples of the three main invasive species that we fight to eradicate annually with the help of volunteers. These signs list the habitat ecology, characteristics, reasons to remove the invasive plant, and how to remove. We partnered with City of Bellingham Public Works and Parks & Recreation staff for this content and direction.
Follow the mulch path up through the edge of the wetland boundary. The path hooks back up with our main trail behind our rock bench.
If you want to do a little loop, you may turn left underneath the large English Hawthorne tree, with a sign for English Holly at the base. If you choose the loop you will come out near our Trail & Wetland Boardwalk project interpretive signs.
If you stay straight, you’ll be able to take your pick on the trail. If you go left you can choose to head down to 18th St. where the Fairhaven Park Apartments are located. Go right, and you’ll soon cross over our wetland boardwalk as you enter the trail network of the Hundred Acre Wood.
In the distance you can see the backside of our Recognition Rock Bench. GTFO and enjoy it for yourself.
This project had many cooks in the kitchen, if you will. We appreciate the volunteers and contractors that we worked with to make these super cool.
Rae Edwards – reviewed the content for correct science words. Yes, Rae, retired Parks Greenways guru!!
Leslie Bryson – editorial eagle eye. Yes, Leslie, retired Parks Director!!
Katrina Lyon Design – graphic design.
City of Bellingham Public Works and Parks & Recreation staff
Approved by Bellingham Parks & Recreation Advisory Board and Parks & Recreation staff
Recreation Northwest staff
Dan Remsen – welder
Content Source: Pojar & MacKinnon
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 plan to install Native Plant Identification signs to help educate the public as part of our new Outdoor Classroom project.
2023 – Ribbon Cutting with Nicole Oliver, Parks Director and Mayor Seth Fleetwood
Todd Elsworth is one of the many “Mossy-haired lunatics roaming the dripping peninsulas”, described in “I’m Here for the Weather” by Tom Robbins. As executive director, he works to fulfill our mission to teach the health benefits of nature, promote outdoor recreation, and steward the places where we play.