National Public Lands Day Celebration a great success
October 19, 2012 · 9:01 AM
More than one hundred people came out to enjoy and give back to their public lands for this year’s celebration of National Public Lands Day.
“Going to National Public Lands Day at Watmough reconnected me to our local treasure, and I was able to learn about the native ecology of that special place. The kids enjoyed the day as much as I did,” says Jennifer Ratza who brought her son and his friend to the National Public Lands Day celebration at Watmough Bay on Sept. 29.
Lopez Island Conservation Corps board member Tom Snowden was happy about this year's turnout.
“I was excited at the number of activities that were offered - service projects, talks, walks, and activity stations,” says Snowden. “I was honored to be able to photograph this special event. Plus, it was great that we had beautiful, sunny weather.”
Participants completed public lands maintenance projects and a beach clean up, participated in a Native American history talk and a native plant walk, and engaged with environmental education activities on the beach.
"The kids’ activity station led by Michael Reeve was one of the most popular spots during the day – there were creative art projects, nature toys, books, and other fun resource materials available,” says event organizer Sara Waugh.
Attendees enjoyed activities on the beach all day, including participant Heather Varnau and her two children.
“I enjoyed the chance to have my kids learn more about local wildlife and landscapes. It was fun to be part of a community event focused on appreciating and protecting public access to our beaches,” Varnau says.
Nick Teague, with the Bureau of Land Management, led a beach clean-up team at Point Colville: the volunteers removed approximately 400 pounds of detritus from the beach, including tires, styrofoam, and part of a boat, and deposited the debris at the dump.
"One of my favorite things about my job is an event like National Public Lands Day where folks come out to appreciate their public lands and engage in activities that benefit all,” he says.
Event leaders and their sponsoring organizations were: Nick Teague and Sara Waugh with the Bureau of Land Management, Russel Barsh and Madrona Murphy with Kwiaht, Tim Clark with the San Juan County Land Bank, Susie Teague with Whispers of Nature, Mike Higgins with the Lopez Community Trails Network, Michael Reeve with Islanders for a National Conservation Area, and Tom Snowden with the Lopez Island Conservation Corps.