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Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Community Work Party

Jan 14 (Saturday) , 10:00 am 1:00 pm

Celebrate the collective power of community with the City of Bellingham, Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA), and many other community partners for a volunteer work party in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service, a federal holiday encouraging Americans to take an active role in improving their communities. The work party will take place on Saturday, January 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Little Squalicum Park.

Volunteers will restore habitat and improve water quality by planting native plants in and around the new Little Squalicum Estuary, an important shoreline habitat that the City began constructing in 2022 as a place for young salmon to grow before migrating to the ocean. This work party is a unique opportunity for the community to directly contribute to the project’s construction.

Through this work, we hope to exemplify the environmental justice movement, which was inspired by Dr. King through his concern for the urban environment. Environmental justice embodies the principle that all people have the right to clean air, water, and soil, as well as the right to live in safe and healthy communities.

Donations for Birchwood Food Desert Fighters

To further support our community, this event is partnering with the Birchwood Food Desert Fighters to accept donations for this organization’s work. Birchwood Food Desert Fighters works to promote greater food access and a sense of community through weekly events, a network of food share boxes, food delivery, community farming, advocacy, and more. Work party participants are encouraged to bring donations such as shelf-stable milk and proteins, unopened toiletries, and laundry detergent to the work party to support the Fighters’ work.

Event Details

Space at this event is limited and the estuary site will not be able to accommodate all volunteers. There will be additional work sites outside of the estuary. Registration is required to participate. You will receive additional information via email after registering for the event.

Everyone! All ages and abilities are welcome. No previous volunteer experience is necessary. Please contact us at pkvolunteers@cob.org if you would like to request an accommodation or language interpretation.

We will provide tools, gloves, instruction, snacks, and free Tony’s coffee and Papa John’s pizza, which are both being generously donated for this event. Please bring a water bottle, weather-appropriate clothing, and closed-toe shoes.

Volunteers will sign in and then be divided into small groups to begin volunteer work. We make sure to keep families and friends together in a group if requested. Volunteer work will include planting native trees and shrubs, removing invasive plants, and spreading mulch.

The event will conclude with closing remarks, free pizza donated by Papa John’s, and an optional tour of the Little Squalicum Estuary project. Various community organizations will have educational booths at the event to share more infomation about restoration work.

Volunteers will plant native trees and shrubs, which help filter pollutants from urban runoff to improve water quality, stabilize streambanks to prevent erosion, produce oxygen to improve air quality, and provide food for fish and wildlife. These native plants will help protect the new 2.4-acre estuary, benefitting the native species who will rely on it, including Endangered Species Act-listed Puget Sound Chinook and priority species such as steelhead, coho, and southern resident killer whales.

The Little Squalicum Estuary project began construction in June 2022. The project will restore 4.85 total acres of coastal habitat including a 2.4-acre estuary and will remove a fish passage barrier. A significant portion of the project has been constructed but some of the work was delayed and will resume in December 2022/early 2023.

Funding for this project is provided by:

  • City of Bellingham
  • Greenways Levy
  • Washington Department of Ecology Centennial Clean Water Program
  • Washington Department of Ecology One-Time Grant Program
  • Washington State Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account Grant Program
  • Washington State Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service National Coastal Wetland Conservation Grant Program
  • Port of Bellingham
  • Whatcom County
  • Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA)

A special thanks to Lehigh Northwest Cement Company, Port of Bellingham, Whatcom County, and BNSF for their coordination on this project.


Aerial map of Little Squalicum Park and Bellingham Technical College. Map indicates that parking is available at Bellingham Technical College and the sign-in area is in the middle of the park.

Directions: This event takes place at Little Squalicum Park at 640 Marine Drive. The sign-in area will be in the Northeast section of the park. Due to construction of the estuary, it is easiest to access the park from the Bellingham Technical College (BTC) parking lot on the north side of BTC, located off of W. Illinois Street. To get here, travel northwest on Eldridge Avenue until it turns into Marine Drive, then turn right onto W. Illinois. Turn right into the BTC parking lot and follow work party signs to the blue tents. Find directions to the site on GoogleMaps.

Travel by bike or bus: Find your bike route at cob.org/bike and your bus route using the online trip planner at ridewta.com.


Phone: (360) 778-​7105
Email: pkvolunteers@cob.org