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Volunteering on MLK Day? Around here, that often means pulling weeds

Jane Futterman of Olympia takes a break from digging up blackberry roots on Capitol Land Trust property near Henderson Inlet on Monday.
Jane Futterman of Olympia takes a break from digging up blackberry roots on Capitol Land Trust property near Henderson Inlet on Monday. aspegman@theolympian.com

Someday students from across the region will come to the east side of Henderson Inlet to explore the shoreline, a tidal lagoon and nearby forest with western red cedars and big leaf maples.

But first: the weeds.

On Monday, about 20 volunteers pulled invasive blackberry and English ivy, careful to leave behind the native Oregon grape, on this stretch of shoreline purchased by Capitol Land Trust last year.

“If you just cut them off, they grow right back,” said Dan Saul, a regular volunteer for Capitol Land Trust, digging at blackberry roots.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is traditionally a day for volunteering. Around here, there is a good chance that involved pulling weeds.

At Woodland Creek Community Park in Lacey, volunteers planned to pull ivy and blackberry, while volunteers at the Glacial Heritage Preserve south of Littlerock planned to tackle invasive Scotch broom. Over the weekend, the city of Olympia had volunteers pulling ivy at Priest Point Park.

Capitol Land Trust, which owns an adjacent property, plans to turn the combined 108 acres into an outdoor classroom called the Inspiring Kids Preserve, with trails that take visitors past different ecosystems, maybe a native garden and a meeting area near the shoreline.

On Monday, volunteers arranged logs for seating in that area.

“Can we get some young people for this?” Annie Links called out as she struggled to push a 10-foot log uphill.

Links, who hadn’t volunteered with Capitol Land Trust before, was looking to spend her MLK Day volunteering. Since the property isn’t typically open to the public, volunteering is one way to see it.

Missed your chance Monday? Jill Maes, Capitol Land Trust’s Americorps restoration coordinator, said the group does this work year-round — including pulling weeds.

“That’s like a weekly thing for me,” she said.

Abby Spegman joined The Olympian in 2017. She covers the city of Olympia and a little bit of everything else. She previously worked at newspapers in Oregon, New Hampshire and Hawaii.


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