We have begun Phase Two of our Fairhaven Park Trail and Wetland Boardwalk project. We are starting restoration work this spring and the trail and boardwalk construction will be in July and August. As a comprehensive project to help restore damage to the wetland, we got our volunteer crew together to plant native plants at the direction of our wetland biologist, Perry Welch with Welch Ecological Services.
Working with City of Bellingham staff and permitting agencies, we identified the appropriate place to plant. To protect the virgin vegetation we were instructed to install a deer fence- to keep the critters out. And so our weekend began…
April, my co-ED, stands afar in the field as we lay out the posts to make our fence in the forest. At the bottom of the photo, you can see Perry’s work with a white and pink Wetland Delineation flag, identifying the boundary.
Action! Real action… Here I am, pounding the posts for the deer fence. A solid platform was necessary to put a step ladder on! Safety First.
Fortunately, my six foot plus wing span helped us measure out the posts- as general guidance.
By Sunday morning, we were ready to get to it! We had a competent crew of volunteers show up to help make it all happen! L to R: Perry, Richard, Susan, Dodd, Harriet, Omar, Todd, Kevin, Violet and Mike- photo credit April. Together, we got the plants laid out, in the ground and mulched in two hours!! Go Team.
Perry was the man with the plan. He directed us as to where the plants were to be planted for the best results. Our planting list for the day included: 10 Sitka Spruce, 20 Red Twig Dogwood/Red Osier Dogwood, 15 Black Twinberry, 20 Pacific Ninebark, 5 Hooker Willow, 5 Pacific Willow and 5 Sitka Willow. Thank you Fourth Corner Nurseries for working with us to fulfill our first order of native plants.
Below is our 3 pronged approach to getting these in the ground.
1) Clear a tire-sized area in the grass- “guy” in the blue hat (OR’s classic Seattle Sombrero).
2) Dig hole for plant & put it in ground- Harriet is a pro in her beige hat and red coat!
3) Mulch a doughnut shape around the plant- Richard in black “Sombrero“
Omar, in blue, came out to plant trees and make some friends! I believe both were a success. Dodd looks on from the left, supervising Susan’s approach and delivering mulch through the muddy mess.
Harriet and Violet work together to gently put the native vegetation in the ground. Harriet also volunteers at Violet’s school, so these two are old friends!
Two planting buddies, proud of their stewardship work in Fairhaven Park and the forested wetland they are restoring.
Susan takes a minute to look up and share her persistent smile! She is becoming a veteran volunteer with Recreation Northwest. She was also at our last Blackberry Removal party!
Yes, she’s my daughter but I think that she lived up to her nickname as an active participant! Go UltraViolet! If you’re wondering if you should get your kids out for our work parties- the answer is yes, please.
We found our groove and everybody was cruising right along! Chumming it up in the process.
With no room for idle hands, Kevin & Katherine also tackled some more invasive species that have been at the trailhead waiting to be removed. We still need to go back to get more! But, this was at least a start.
What a crew we had! All of the plants were in the ground within the 2 hours we had set out as our goal! For perspective, this is the meadow where the trail that we abandoned in 2015 used to pass through. It is now blocked off with fencing to protect the wetland and the plants in the ground- from both deer and bi-peds wandering through!
Our competent crew gather together to celebrate a job well done!
Thank you to our great volunteer crew and Perry Welch for leading the pack! Then, we were off to Stones Throw Brewery in Fairhaven to celebrate and enjoy more of each others company.
We thank Rae Edwards and Freya Fradenburgh at City of Bellingham Parks and Recreation for working with our team to help us hone our planting process and work towards recovery of the wetland. Our partners at Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association graciously loaned us the tools (shovels, buckets and gloves) to get the job done.
This work is not possible without the work of our “Trail Team” and the support of our generous funders and donors – like you! See our Fairhaven Park Trail and Wetland Boardwalk project for the details. And remember, your support makes this possible.
Please consider a donation to our Fairhaven Park project. Thank you.
As Executive Director of Recreation Northwest, Todd Elsworth promotes outdoor recreation and brings community together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play. His decades of extensive event production, marketing and writing experience propel this passion. You might bump into him and his daughter Violet while they’re biking, hiking, paddling or skiing in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.