Fairhaven Park Work Party in Bellingham, WA Helps Clear Invasive Species To Restore Native Northwest Plants
The first rain Bellingham had seen in 52 days was welcomed by volunteers during Recreation Northwest’s August 7th volunteer work party. Like the rain, word of the event had trickled through town and new faces joined familiar faces to help weed invasive species and restore native plants in Fairhaven Park. It was figuratively and literally refreshing to see the community come together.
Safety is a primary priority so we started the event with a brief safety talk. Afterwards Lori, a new volunteer, demonstrated the proper way to effectively remove buttercup which was the primary objective of the work party. Buttercup is a highly invasive species that has rooted itself near the entrance of Fairhaven Park’s native plant garden. It’s so invasive it just takes over native foliage. But, buttercup removal wasn’t our only focus.
The three main goals of our Fairhaven Park Work Party:
- Eradicate small invasive blackberry plants from Recreation Northwest’s stewardship area.
- Eradicate buttercup (as noted) allowing native saplings a chance for growth.
- Spread the remainder of the cedar mulch over newly weeded areas.
After discussing our plan, everyone was assigned an area and off we went to divide and conquer the restoration project at hand!
We are grateful for our partnership with the City of Bellingham who lent us the tools needed so we could successfully reach our goals.
What Would You Like To See In This Newly- Cleared Open Space?
It was good to see Gary return to our work party. This area was once filled with invasive blackberries, and we put Gary to work, tackling the relentless new blackberry vines that thrived despite being covered with mulch. We have a big open space here now, what would you like to see this space become?
Slowly but surely removing stubborn buttercup.
Kathryn was all smiles as she worked to free the nearby cedar tree from an invasive buttercup takeover.
Sustainable, On-Site Composting.
Once again we brought all of our weeds to the designated composting area where the plant matter will naturally decompose and turn back into soil.
We caught Jim, the master composter, in action at the beginning of the morning. Keep scrolling to see how this compost pile nearly doubled in size!
Our Volunteer Crew in Action at Fairhaven Park
We’re always thankful to see new faces from the community helping the restoration of Fairhaven Park. Captured here is Josh, spreading some mulch behind the stone bench to help keep invasive species at bay.
Persistence is quite rewarding as Scott continued removing buttercup through its knotted system of roots. Then he struck gold, well not quite, but he did find a buried supply of pennies!
The cache of pennies that Scott found on top of a couple pieces of slate.
Kenny was on mulch duty, as he moved loads of mulch to its respective areas throughout the morning.
Another new Recreation Northwest volunteer, Bob is captured here hard at work removing small invasive blackberries and making sure they never return.
The compost pile of invasives was the star of the day as it practically doubled in size over a 2.5 hour period!
A space that continues to evolve over time, branches now line an area so guests have a clear idea of where to explore.
At the end of the morning, we had a happy crew and well protected native species in Fairhaven Park’s Native Plant Garden. Look at that huge blackberry root we unearthed?!
Huge Thanks to Everyone who Came Out to Support the Fairhaven Park Work Party!
It was a jubilant morning and we are very grateful to be able to work alongside you to help protect and preserve the places where we live and play!
Also a huge thank you to Amy Brown https://whatcomvolunteer.galaxydigital.com/agency/detail/?agency_id=2763, Volunteer Coordinator with the City of Bellingham, Amy partners with Recreation Northwest, loaning tools and other resources to help make our work parties successful!
This restoration project would not be possible without the generous support of your donations. Donate today https://www.recreationnorthwest.org/recreation-northwest/donate-now/donate-online/. Thank you for helping to keep our mission going!
We look forward to seeing you at the next Fairhaven Park work party!
Thank you kindly,
Caleb originally hails from Massachusetts, however, he has been living in Washington since the winter of 2019. A recent resident of Bellingham, he has been immersed in the field of Environmental Education for the past 7-8 years. He has taught hands-on science inquiry-based lessons to all ages in a diverse range of ecosystems throughout the country. He has also led backpacking and whitewater rafting expeditions while helping his participants gain a sense of place. He has a passion for the local community, the environment, and encourages his participants to be present in the here and now when exploring the outdoors. When Caleb is not working you may find him exploring the wilderness around Mount Baker or the Chuckanuts, biking through Bellingham, going to see live music, and creating delicious food.