More than 1,000 volunteers spent hours on Saturday giving TLC to the Duwamish River and its watershed, during the twice-yearly Duwamish Alive! mega-work party at multiple sites (11, this time, from West Seattle to Tukwila).
This time, it started with a special event marking Duwamish Alive’s 10th anniversary, featuring the presentation of the John Beal Environmental Stewardship Award, in honor of the tireless volunteer who, as the program pointed out, “dedicated decades of his life to the health of the Duwamish River and Puget Sound,” especially Hamm Creek, where his work “became a beacon of all the good a single person can accomplish directly benefiting our river, the Puget Sound, and the overall health of our communities.” (Mr. Beal died in 2006.)
Six volunteers were honored:
– Brooke Alford (who couldn’t be at the ceremony)
– Mike Arizona
– Scott Blackstock
– Marianne Clarke
– Susan Ward and Peg Peterson
We recorded the presentations on video:
The pre-work party event at Terminal 107 Park on the river in West Seattle was emceed by James Rasmussen of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition (as you can see in our video), who reminded all present that it’s a river, not a “waterway.” Volunteers also heard from longtime river advocate and Tukwila City Councilmember Dennis Robertson, who urged them to keep the pressure on local elected officials regarding the health of the Duwamish River and other areas that are vital to our area’s sustainability:
The artists working on Duwamish Revealed spoke too (you’ll hear that in a separate story about the project) – and volunteers were greeted by Cecile Hansen, chair of the Duwamish Tribe, whose longhouse is right across West Marginal Way SW from the park. She shared history as well as words of welcome:
After the ceremonies – it was time to work. One of the award recipients happens to be the steward of a site here in West Seattle. So we went to Roxhill Bog, where we photographed Scott Blackstock with his plaque:
The bog – which has its own challenges – is at the historic headwaters of Longfellow Creek, which feeds into the Duwamish River after making it through a somewhat torturous route – piped beneath Westwood Village, for starters. And it’s in a park that has some challenges of its own, making cleanup all the more vital:
We were shown one of the items found strewn at the site:
At both sites we visited on Saturday, what was stressed was this: One person can make a difference (as Blackstock has done at Roxhill Bog, for years). So if you can take some time – watch for word of work parties. Or opportunities to comment on a project or proposal. The next Duwamish Alive! event, by the way, will be in October, and that’s a great time to get involved too.