Saturday, January 26, 2019

MLK Day of Service: A Day On, Not a Day Off!

“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Our four Americorps members. Photo credit: Wendy Feltham

This year, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center held its eighth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service “Weedpull.” This event is inspired by Dr. King’s example to serve the community. Thus, our four Americorps staff organize this activity inspired by the idea of “a day on, not a day off.”

Every year, we join forces with other local organizations like the Native Plant Society and the Friends of Fort Worden to discuss which area of Fort Worden State Park and species of invasive weed should be targeted. Once that is decided, the parks staff helps by providing transportation and disposal of the organic waste.

Local high school students involved in the Youth Environmental Stewards program.
Photo credit: Wendy Feltham

Monday, Jan. 21 was a lovely breeze-less day, with the sun even making an appearance, peeking out from behind the clouds. We had an amazing turn out of PTMSC and FFW volunteers, as well as many first timers. More than 40 individuals offered up their time.

Doug Rogers, excited to be done and cleaning up tools in the beautiful sunshine.
 Photo credit: Wendy Feltham
As a group, we conquered two large zones of invasive beach grass (ammophila) that have been present for many years. Each year the size of the patch gets smaller and smaller. With the intensity of our volunteers this year, we were able to completely clear the zone on the south side of the pier. It was a sight to see!

Volunteers tackling the dune grass patch near our pier.
Photo credit: Wendy Feltham

An event like this also provided the opportunity for public education. Several times we were questioned by individuals on what we were doing or why we were “making more beach.” We were able to educate people on the problem with invasive species in our environment. In addition, we explained how removing invasive plants provides native plants and the natural landscape the opportunity to flourish again.

It was remarkable to see the willingness of everyone who came out that day to get down in the sand and dig. I am constantly amazed by the talent and dedication of this community.

Thank you to the many organizations involved (see above) for their collaboration. It takes a team to tackle projects like this and it wouldn’t have turned out nearly as well as it did without their help and the amazing volunteers who turned out for the event!

Volunteers hard at work! Photo credit: Wendy Feltham
Written by Mandi Johnson, Americorps Volunteer Program Educator.

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