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In a march about species, they’ll point out it’s downtown that might be endangered

On April 28, Olympia’s streets will fill with fanciful fauna and flora taking part in the 24th annual Procession of the Species.

Those viewing the parade will see a rhino, a lion, a giraffe, flowers, flocks of birds and many other creature creations.

They’ll also get a preview of what Olympia might look like in the future if the sea levels continue to rise. Pilings as they appear at low tide — encrusted with clay barnacles and real mussel shells — will roll down the street surrounded by blue-fabric water.

“It will be like downtown is underwater,” said environmental artist Carrie Ziegler, who is leading workshops to build the pilings and a float on which some of them will be placed.

“We want to raise awareness about climate change and about sea level rise being part of climate change,” said Michelle Stevie of Stream Team, which is spearheading the High Tide Project.

The project will also be on display April 27 at City Hall, 601 Fourth Ave. E, Olympia, as part of Arts Walk.

The pilings were inspired by the David Suzuki Foundation’s 2010 Tideline Project, which decorated Vancouver, B.C., utility poles with mussel-encrusted wraps, as if high tide found the city under the sea.

The depiction of sea level rise has been a community effort.

Students at Avanti High School, Lincoln Elementary School, Nova Middle School and Olympia Regional Learning Academy made barnacles from clay at workshops led by South Sound GREEN, Thurston County’s watershed education program.

Taylor Shellfish welcomed Stream Team members to gather mussel shells.

Volunteers are gluing the shells and barnacles to vinyl wraps printed with a photograph of a piling and creating posts to serve as pilings. Work on the wraps and pilings will continue at a workshop April 14.

“They look very realistic,” Ziegler said. “It’s pretty neat.”

Some pilings will be fitted with wheels, while others will be attached to a float depicting the façade of the Olympia Farmers Market.

The translucent fabric water that will surround the float is already a familiar part of Procession. Cascadia Research Collective created it and porpoises and other creatures that swim in it.

This year, spectators will experience those creatures swimming through downtown Olympia in a different way.

High Tide Project

What: Help create depictions of pilings at low tide that will be used in the Procession of the Species and displayed during Arts Walk.

When: 10 a.m.-noon Saturday

Where: Procession of the Species Studio, 406 Water St. SW, Olympia

Tickets: $20 donation suggested

More information: mstevie@ci.olympia.wa.us, streamteam.info

Procession preparation

What: All are welcome to participate in Olympia’s annual street celebration. Get your costume, float, banner or windsock ready at home, or get help and inspiration at the Procession of the Species Studio.

When: Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and by appointment noon-6 p.m. Monday-Friday through Wednesday, April 25

Where: Procession of the Species Studio, 406 Water St. SW, Olympia

More information: procession.org, 360-705-1087

Procession of the Species

What: The 24th annual procession — a parade with no words and no motorized vehicles except wheelchairs — celebrates the natural world and human creativity with music, dance, floats, costumes, masks and more.

When: 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28

Where: Begins at Cherry Street and Legion Way, Olympia, and ends in Heritage Park.

Tickets: Free; donations to the Thurston County Food Bank encouraged

More information: procession.org, 360-705-1087

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