Locals bring a little fun to Sound clean-upBy snordquist | March 4th, 2009 | Category: Featured story, Get Involved, Society |
By Sound News reporter Scott Nordquist
Hacking through relentless blackberry and scotchbroom to plant native species isn’t normally the most enjoyable experience.
Nevertheless, I hear laughter ring out through the weeds. “At least 8 years!” Digging a piece of Styrofoam out of the ground and tossing it into a pile, Brian Sutter enthusiastically assigns an age to the decaying debris. Restless with the energy of cross-country runner, he barely pauses long enough to tell me about why he’s helping.
As founder and president of the Earth Corps at Monroe High, the senior was accompanied by a group of friends he’d recruited for the occasion. Combing mudflats for trash is not exactly what you’d expect out of 18 year-olds at 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Yet, it explains the success of the Union Slough Restoration Project. The combined effort of dedicated and light-hearted stewards has allowed the project to thrive. “It’s a ton of work” grins Keeley O’Connell from under her weathered People for Puget Sound baseball hat.
Whereas others might sigh at the size of the task, the rising tone in the Restoration Ecologist’s voice reveals her excitement to take on the challenge. With contagious passion that easily spreads to local volunteers, O’Connell is attempting to reverse the human-induced aging process and restore the Union Slough Estuary to a more natural habitat. Dense fog and temperatures hovering near freezing didn’t slow the 40-plus volunteers at the work party.
Strolling through the site I realized why so many were willing to come out and help. It’s easy to work in an atmosphere where the project director knows your first name and even collecting litter can be a comical group activity.