Make a Difference Day 2019

Take Climate Action on Make a Difference Day and Arbor Day

October 07, 2019 - by Stefanie Cilinceon, Public Works - Natural Resources

Community members are invited to take climate action this Make a Difference Day and Arbor Day by joining the City of Bellingham for a community work party that will help restore riparian vegetation along Padden Creek. The event will be 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 26 at Fairhaven Park. Volunteers will build upon work started at the City’s Earth Day work party earlier this year by planting native plants in areas where English ivy was removed. 

Planting native trees and shrubs is an important way to help slow climate change, since these plants absorb carbon dioxide and other pollutant particulates from the air, produce oxygen, protect biodiversity, reduce heat island effects and protect streams from rising temperatures. Volunteers will also remove invasive plants, which compete with native species for moisture, sunlight, nutrients and space. 

The work party will conclude with free pizza and a closing statement from Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville. No RSVP is required for this free, family-friendly event. Tools, gloves and instructions will be provided. Volunteers need only bring weather-appropriate clothing, closed-toe shoes and a water bottle. 

What: Make a Difference Day and Arbor Day Community Work Party.

When: Saturday, Oct. 26 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Where: Fairhaven Park, 107 Chuckanut Drive North. Sign in at the tents near the playground.

Travel by bus or bike: Several Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) bus routes stop near Fairhaven Park. The park is also accessible by bike. Find your bus route using WTA’s online trip planner or your bike route by visiting

Travel by car: Parking is available in the three parking lots within Fairhaven Park.

Who: All ages and abilities welcome. For questions about ADA accessibility, please email

You need: Weather-appropriate clothing, closed-toe shoes and a water bottle.

We provide: Tools, gloves, and instructions. Pizza donated by Papa John’s.

Hosted by: City of Bellingham Parks Volunteer Program and Public Works Natural Resources, in partnership with Treekeepers.

Work party contact: Vanessa Young, Parks Volunteer Coordinator, at or 360-746-9551.

Details: RSVP is 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 

Protecting and restoring forests are important tools in mitigating climate change. Since 2014, $9.5 million has been invested by the City into restoring the Padden Creek watershed and its ecological functions. One example of this restoration work is the Padden Creek Daylighting project, a project that was completed by the Public Works Natural Resources Division in 2015 to improve water quality, restore streamside vegetation and improve fish passage. Ongoing restoration work at Padden Creek includes work parties and school stewardship programs led by the Parks Volunteer Program and Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA). 

This ongoing restoration work involves planting many native trees and shrubs which, in addition to their climate change mitigation benefits, prevent streambank erosion and filter pollutants. Native trees and shrubs also provide critical shade for the stream, which helps keep stream temperatures cool and allows the stream to retain more dissolved oxygen. Cold water and dissolved oxygen are necessary for the survival of the fish that live in Padden Creek, which includes chum, coho, Chinook and kokanee salmon in addition to steelhead and sea-run cutthroat trout. 

Volunteers can contribute to ongoing restoration and climate action efforts by attending the 2019 Make a Difference Day and Arbor Day work party, as well as by taking the following actions:

Media Contact

Analiese Burns, Habitat and Restoration Manager
City of Bellingham – Public Works, Natural Resources
(360) 778-7968​​

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