A Year in Review

It may not be snowing in Bellingham yet but it’s winter time in Whatcom County. As we enter this new year it is with grateful hearts here at Whatcom Land Trust. Reflecting back on 2019 shows big successes and continued growth and progress towards our long term goals and fulfilling our mission to preserve and protect the land of Whatcom County. All of this is due to continued support from the amazing Whatcom community and those beyond who love it. In partnership with everyone from individual donors and volunteers to local business’s, together we have continued our work to protect and steward the special places in Whatcom County for future generations.

One of the biggest successes of 2019 is the acquisition and protection of lower Skookum Creek, completing one of Whatcom Land Trust’s largest community campaign funded acquisitions to date. Nestled between The Twin Sisters and the South Fork Nooksack River this land is rich with opportunities for conservation. Skookum Creek will help provide clean reliable water sources for Whatcom County, nurture healthy forest land, increase and aid restoration of salmon habitat, buffer for a changing climate, increase landscape connectivity, and more. It was your donations, large or small, that made this huge win possible. Skookum Creek is one of four properties Whatcom Land Trust purchased this year in the South Fork Nooksack watershed, and in total and we have added over 1,400 acres of land to be protected in this critical area. Beyond our new acquisitions we have also continued to work with land owners implement conservation easements on their properties, and maintained our partnership with Whatcom County’s Agricultural Purchase of Development Right’s program which protects farmland in Whatcom County and ensure that local farmers can continue to succeed and thrive.

It’s also been a big year for stewardship. We’ve worked to expand our Volunteer Land Steward program, with over 120 volunteers now participating in the program and stewarding our lands. We’ve had 24 work parties, both public and partnered with local businesses, that have helped us to plant 10,431 trees and plants, remove 4,131 square feet of invasive species, and make a huge difference in conservation and restoration efforts on our properties. Dedicated volunteers from the community have also logged 1,000’s of hours of their time over the course of the year. From work parties in the field to helping with data entry in the office they have been with us every step of the way. Most importantly we are maintaining a continued commitment to long-term stewardship of all of our lands, now and into the future

The Land Trust has also been privileged enough to come together with the amazing community here in Whatcom County. From working with Kendall Elementary to turn the Land Trust’s Harrison property into an outdoor learning space, to our work with the Blaine-Birch Bay Parks District to create a public park in the California Creek Estuary 2019 has been a wonderful year for collaboration. Hosting events like the annual What’s the Point low-tide walk at Point White Horn or offering tours of our beautiful properties during Whatcom Water Weeks gives us the opportunity to engage with the people of Whatcom County, an experience which always leaves us profoundly grateful and inspired. The love this community has for the land they live on is clear in the passion and dedication with which they work to protect it, and we are proud to be a part of its conservation story.

None of these successes could have been accomplished without all of the volunteers, donors, and community partners who have given their time, energy, and care to make change here in Whatcom County. They are a testament to the commitment this community has made to conservation. With your generous and dedicated help we’ve been able to achieve so much, but there’s still work to be done. Our momentum going into 2020 is strong. We are working to protect another 1,000 acres in the upper Skookum Creek watershed, create a new public park in California Creek estuary, and continue to improve the health and safety of drinking water in our community by strengthening protections in the Lake Whatcom Watershed. We are approaching 2019 with gratitude for the support we’ve received, and ambition to ensure protection for even more of Whatcom County’s special places.

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