(Photo courtesy Nature Consortium)
Two weeks till Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day – which has become more than a holiday; it’s become the MLK Day of Service. We are often asked in the days leading up to it “where in West Seattle can I volunteer that day?” – and this year, we have an early heads-up from WS-based Nature Consortium, including the preceding Saturday. Here’s the NC announcement:
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Nature Consortium will host a Weekend of Service with two opportunities to volunteer in Seattle’s largest remaining forest, the West Duwamish Greenbelt. The events commemorate Dr. King’s life and legacy as the father of environmental justice. On Saturday, January 19 and Monday, January 21, volunteers can spend “a day on, not a day off” as part of an ongoing effort to restore the forest to healthy condition.
Nationwide, minority communities are disproportionately affected by pollution, and Seattle is no exception. The Duwamish River is a toxic waste site impacting thousands of residents in South Seattle, the majority of whom are people of color. Philip Pantaleo, a South Park resident and Nature Consortium volunteer, describes how environmental injustice has affected his diverse community.
“The soil in South Park was so contaminated with pollutants introduced by local industry that it was not safe to grow food in our front yards,” says Pantaleo. He volunteers in the West Duwamish Greenbelt to help improve environmental health in his neighborhood.
Extending over 500 acres in West Seattle, the West Duwamish Greenbelt plays a critical role in filtering the air and water pollution in the Duwamish River corridor created by urban runoff and industrial waste. Nature Consortium’s work in the West Duwamish Greenbelt will aid the restoration of the watershed, creating a healthier environment for South Seattle and allowing more equal access to its natural resources.
On MLK Weekend, Nature Consortium and volunteers will plant trees and other native plants in an area of the greenbelt known as the Soundway site, 32 acres of land the City of Seattle had intended to sell to developers. Community members including Nature Consortium banded together in 2004 to save the property from development and have since worked year round to restore the urban habitat.
In the spirit of Nature Consortium’s mission to “connect people, arts, and nature,” these outdoor events will also feature live musicians to entertain volunteers while they work. Saturday’s event will also offer free chair massage for volunteers provided by Essence of the Sun Bodywork and Massage as a show of gratitude for their hard work.
For more information or to register for a volunteer event, visit www.naturec.org.
Any other MLK Day service opportunities in West Seattle/White Center/South Park? Please let us know – email@example.com – so we can help get the word out. Thank you!
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