Volunteers step up for their planet

Earth Day activities include digging ivy at Priest Point

ckrotzer@theolympian.comApril 21, 2013 

Seven-year-old Sylvia Harrington stood in the middle of a path Saturday at Priest Point Park, keeping an eye on a plant she had just buried in the ground.

She and her father, Sean, had just watered the plant and needed to add a layer of mulch.

“I found this plant and my daddy helped me dig a hole and I put this fence thing around it,” Sylvia said, referring to a berm of dirt to keep the water from running away from the roots.

The pair were lending a helping hand during one of more than a dozen Earth Day-related work parties around Thurston County.

Other planned projects included a cleaning crew in downtown Olympia, free Earth Day at the WET Science Center, and a shred event at the Saint Martin’s University campus in Lacey.

This was the third year the City of Olympia hosted a work party at Priest Point Park focused on removing invasive ivy and replacing it with native plants.

The ivy does not allow any other species of ground cover to grow, pushing out native plant species.

About 30 volunteers grabbed gloves, pitchforks, shovels and spades to work on paths behind kitchen shelter No. 2 adjacent to the beach trail.

In addition to potted plants, there was a truck bed filled with ferns, Indian plum and salmon berries salvaged from an area that will soon become more parking for park visitors.

Part of the planting process was to detour park goers from using trails that are unsafe.

“We will be planting on a trail where people have been walking on and it’s too steep — people have been slipping on it,” said Sylvana Niehuser, park ranger.

Sean Harrington was happy to expose his daughter to volunteer work, a requirement of her Girl Scout troop.

“We love coming out to the parks, and we are about the environment while we are doing this and learning about how we care for the environment,” he said.

There were two other girls from Girl Scout Troop 40116 based out of Olympia helping out Saturday. The girls were working on service projects.

Chelsea Krotzer: 360-754-5476 ckrotzer@theolympian.com theolympian.com/thisjustin @chelseakrotzer

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