Fostering Future Generations of Stewards

Fostering Future Generations of Stewards

Nestled along a bumpy dirt dead-end road, the entrance sandwiched between two houses, is one of Whatcom Land Trust’s smallest properties. However, while it may be just 5.5 acres of land along Kendall Creek, the Harrison property’s impact is anything but small. From the habitat it provides for native fish, birds, and many other wildlife species, to the opportunities it is bringing to the surrounding community, Harrison is providing value far beyond its size. The property was originally donated to the Land Trust almost 20 years ago in 2001, by Anne Harrison and her family in memory of their husband and father J. Arley Harrison.

Harrison is a testament to the power of collaboration, more than 10 organizations have come together to participate in restoration and site improvements and ensure that it will always be there for future generations to appreciate and learn from. From Superfeet planting a record 3,575 plants during a single work party to a Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Agency and Whatcom Conservation District partnered work party which tore down an old beaver cage and planted 1,500 willow trees on Harrison, every organization involved has contributed valuable resources, time, and volunteers. Between all of the organizations over 900 hours of volunteer time have been invested at Harrison.

Kendall Elementary in particular has a special relationship with this small pocket of land. Students from the elementary school have been using Harrison as an opportunity to learn about and experience the land they live on. They have been an integral part of the stewardship efforts on Harrison, participating in planting over 2,000 Sitka Willows and Red Osier Dogwoods and clearing the land of downed branches and logs. Kendall Elementary is bounded on either side by Highway 542 and Highway 547 which are both heavily used roads with minimal shoulders. The Harrison property however is within safe walking distance of the school, providing the perfect opportunity for outdoor access and learning experiences. Whatcom Land Trust is working with Kendall Elementary and other organizations to create an outdoor learning site at Kendall.

Steps are being made in this direction. There are plans to install a viewing platform on the property in late spring. This will allow students to view Kendall Creek and the surrounding wetland habitat without impacting it, and facilitate Harrison’s use as an outdoor classroom. Whatcom Land Trust is proud to participate in growing the next generation of land conservationists. This opportunity fosters positive values such as teamwork, research and observation skills, and helps develop leadership in the community. Every one of these students has the potential to become a future steward of the land, and the Land Trust is honored to provide the experiences and opportunities that can guide them on their way.

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