What better way to honor Earth Day than to improve habitat and water quality in a well-loved local park? Join the more than one billion people worldwide that celebrate Earth Day every year by participating in the City of Bellingham’s annual work party on Saturday, April 21 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at Little Squalicum Park. Volunteers will plant native plants, remove invasive species and apply mulch to improve water quality in Little Squalicum Creek.
No RSVP is required for this free, family-friendly event that is open to the public. Tools, gloves, instructions and refreshments will be provided. Volunteers need only bring weather-appropriate clothing and closed-toe shoes.
What: Earth Day community work party. This event was chosen as a Comcast Cares Day project.
When: Saturday, April 21, 2018 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Where: Little Squalicum Park. Enter the park from the parking lot on the north side of Bellingham Technical College (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 Street. Turn right into the BTC parking lot and follow work party signs to the work site at the northern end of Little Squalicum Park. Find a map for the event at www.cob.org/workparties.
Travel by bus: Use the online trip planner on the Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) website to find routes that stop near Little Squalicum Park.
Travel by car: Parking is available in the parking lot on the north side of Bellingham Technical College (BTC). From Marine Drive, travel north on W. Illinois Street and turn right into the BTC parking lot. Follow the signs to the work site.
Who: YOU, your friends and family, and other community members (all ages welcome.)
You need: Weather-appropriate clothing, closed-toe shoes and a positive attitude.
We provide: Tools, gloves, and instructions. Pizza donated by Papa John’s and snacks provided by Comcast.
Hosted by: Bellingham Parks Volunteer Program and Public Works Natural Resources.
Work party contact: Jackson Lee, Restoration Environmental Educator with the City of Bellingham Parks Volunteer Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-778-7105.
Details: RSVP not required for this free event. Unaccompanied youth under the age of 18 must provide a Bellingham Parks Youth Liability Form signed by their legal guardian, which can be found at www.cob.org/workparties.
Little Squalicum Creek has a long history of industrial uses that have altered the location of the stream channel and degraded water quality. The creek and its surrounding area have been used for log storage, sand and gravel mining, stormwater discharge from a wood treatment facility, and landfills. In 2010-2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency replaced contaminated soil with clean soil and moved Little Squalicum Creek back into its historic channel in an effort to improve water quality.
Protecting native plants is an important way to improve the water quality of Little Squalicum Creek, since native plants help control erosion, reduce flooding, and filter out sediment and pollutants. Community work parties hosted by the Parks Volunteer Program, Bellingham Public Works and Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association have helped prevent invasive plants such as Himalayan blackberry, clematis and English Ivy from dominating the restoration site.
To further enhance water quality and habitat availability in Little Squalicum Creek, the City of Bellingham will be constructing the 2.4-acre Little Squalicum Estuary in the lower portion of Little Squalicum Park this summer. This project will create important habitat for several fish and wildlife species, including threatened Chinook salmon. City staff from Bellingham Public Works will be available at the Earth Day work party to share more information about the estuary.
The Parks Volunteer Program will be introducing the Bark Stewards program at the Earth Day work party with a “Turd Toss” game, plastic of course. Have fun learning how to pick up and properly dispose of dog poop. Cleaning up pet waste plays a vital role in protecting our waterways and will be necessary for protecting the future estuary. Check out the City’s We Scoop webpage for more information.