Thank you!

These last few months have been uncertain for everyone, and required us all to make changes in our lives. Due to COVID-19, Whatcom Land Trust’s regular Work Parties and Field Fridays were no longer safe, as they required large groups of people to gather. Much of the planting and stewardship the Land Trust does relies on these work parties, which made continuing with our restoration efforts difficult. Luckily, we have been supported by our amazing volunteers. Dedicated volunteers and land stewards have been leading small work parties across Land Trust properties, with a limit of five attendees and a mask requirement. This has allowed the Land Trust to continue our work in a safe and responsible environment. 

Volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds, and have found many different paths leading them to their work with the Land Trust. Roger Weiss has been volunteering with Whatcom Land Trust for almost twenty years now, and is land steward at the California Creek – Timberline property. During his time with the Land Trust he’s been able to see the work he’s done grow and mature. Several years ago he planted a series of young trees on the property, and at a recent work party went back to check their progress and clear out the weeds and brush encroaching on them. “I planted some of those, they’re my babies. It’s exciting to see them grow,” Weiss says. 

Hank Kastner knew even before he moved to Bellingham that he wanted to be involved in a land trust. He knew of other land trusts and saw how important they were to their communities and wanted to get involved with Whatcom Land Trust’s work. So far he has hosted one volunteer led work party at Fenton Nature Reserve, pulling the invasive tansy ragwort. Everyone at his work party wore masks, and were able to spread out over a distance, so everyone could participate in this important and fulfilling work while also staying safe. 

Others, like Katherine Dickonson-Poteet, see volunteering as a much needed escape to the outside, especially during these sometimes frightening times. “Habitat restoration and preservation seems like the most constructive thing I can do in this crazy world these days,” she says.  “After decades of working intensively with people and in windowless rooms under fluorescent light, I just want to be under the sky in the unpaved world. Many thanks to Whatcom Land Trust for making it possible.”

All of these volunteers and so many more, who give their time, love, and care to these lands we all love are the reason the Land Trust can continue our mission here in Whatcom County. Whether they’ve been volunteering for five years or twenty, the impact they make goes far beyond their time with the Land Trust, nurturing and stewarding the land for years into the future. The work they do now will only grow. To all Whatcom Land Trust volunteers past, present, and future, thank you!

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