Walking your dog in Fauntleroy Park? 2 students’ message for you

(WSB photos)

If you had passed that family on the trail in Fauntleroy Park on Saturday, you might have assumed they were just out for a family walk. Except for the clipboards carried by daughters Estela and Vivian as they walked with dad Eddie and mom Carina

… and these flags they placed at 10 spots along the trail.

Estela and Vivian, 4th- and 1st-graders at Arbor Heights Elementary, are in their third month of a volunteer project in conjunction with the Fauntleroy Watershed Council. They’re gone out every month to survey the trail – through the watershed of salmon-bearing Fauntleroy Creek – for what visiting dogs left behind. We went along on Saturday afternoon for this month’s survey. Every place they found something, they marked with a flag.

The 10 flags they placed this time were fewer than their first two times (17 and 14). The flags are intended to both warn – one side says “Watch your step!” – and educate. They’re rain-resistant and made from paper, says creek steward Judy Pickens, and are removed two weeks after placement. Pickens’ community-connection work is what got Estela and Vivian involved – their family went to a fall “drumming to call the salmon home” event at her house and asked what they could do to help. They’re also involved with the Salmon in the Schools program at Arbor Heights Elementary, and might present their findings at school as well as to the Watershed Council, which has been tracking this problem since 2004.

So what do they hope to accomplish? Estela says it’s simple – convincing dog owners to pick up after their pets. “We don’t want it to get into the creek … we hope this helps the salmon. And we hope people understand there are things they can do” such as gentle reminders to other parkgoers. The sisters will be doing their part to help – and making a map and list of their findings – through August.

32 Replies to "Walking your dog in Fauntleroy Park? 2 students' message for you"

  • UnknownSample May 23, 2021 (6:38 pm)

    Thank you!

  • justme May 23, 2021 (7:00 pm)

    this is great! now if we can get cat owners to take the same amount of responsibility for their cat droppings, or keeping them inside, we’d be in great shape 😊

    • John Townsend May 24, 2021 (8:37 am)

      You are making a valid point. It’s absurd that cats are allowed to roam freely in this area. 

  • Junction Lady May 23, 2021 (7:39 pm)

    Thank you very much!

  • MARIANNE May 23, 2021 (7:49 pm)

    Thank you for taking action!

  • Auntie May 23, 2021 (7:50 pm)

    And to those people who left the “surprises” – how does it feel to know you are not as smart or kind as a 1st or 4th grader? Scoop your dog’s poop, people!

  • Denise May 23, 2021 (8:38 pm)

    Great Job. Thank you

  • herongrrrl May 23, 2021 (8:49 pm)

    Good for you, Estela and Vivian! Thanks for the good work!

  • Mike May 23, 2021 (8:58 pm)

    Great civic spirit.  Thank you.

  • Woof May 23, 2021 (9:54 pm)


  • ACG May 23, 2021 (10:20 pm)

    Thank you!!  We’ve seen the signs!! It also might help if dog owners would keep their dogs on a leash in the park. It is such a natural and wild setting that when the dog runs ahead on the trails, with all the foliage there is no way for the owners to see what and where their dog is pooping. Every time I’m in the park we come across dogs off leash running well ahead of their owners. 

  • Lori Kothe May 23, 2021 (11:34 pm)

    Hey! Yay you! We need to combine our efforts!! The Poogooder Wayward Poo Hunt started TODAY for West Seattle, and the goal is to get EVERYONE virtually flagging wayward dog poo they see now through June 12 using a free research app called Pooper Snooper so we can generate awareness and put dog poo hot spots on the map, literally.  Here’s a screenshot of my walk just from the beach to Alki Elementary TODAY, day 1 of the hunt. Let’s map the entire community.Lori KothePoogooder Founderpoogooder.com/zeropoo

  • Jaewook May 24, 2021 (7:08 am)

    Thank you so much! People who own a dog when they can’t do simple tasks like picking up poop, should NOT get a dog. Period. If we could also include “$50 fine,” that would be great! Great job!  

  • Woof May 24, 2021 (7:20 am)

    Appreciate this stewardship for salmon, good work kids and parents!

    Dog poop is a great start, but how to get get more people concerned about the massive amounts of human waste polluting the sound and harming salmon and other sea life?




    Also, wishing someone might create a spin off of this smart poogooder idea to address human trash/littering. If there was a system to help us take more responsibility as a community in addressing the litter problem, maybe we could better clean up our neighborhoods and keep more pollution out of the sound and wildlife habitats?

    Thanks again for your good work, @poogooder too, it takes concerned efforts like these to change things for the better!

    • Lori Kothe May 24, 2021 (12:35 pm)


      • Woof May 24, 2021 (3:08 pm)

        Thanks Lori, this is cool! I was also envisioning something like neighbors hosting bins for trash/recycling, similar to what you’ve created for dog waste. Maybe less trash would end up littered, and litter could be more easily picked up and properly disposed of by others, if there were more receptacles around neighborhoods, just like with the dog poo problem. Awesome work you’re doing, and thanks for the inspiration!

        • KM May 24, 2021 (5:18 pm)

          Maybe the Nestle, Mondelez, Coca-Cola, Amazon, etc. could take that on. It could be a start to taking responsibility for the copious amounts of waste they put out into the ecosystem. 

          • Woof May 25, 2021 (8:40 am)


            Big business polluters should definitely take more responsibility, and take immediate actions to reduce their environmental impacts, and as consumers we should hold them more responsible.

            Also, believe as consumers and stewards of our planet, we have responsibilities too, and there is much more we could all be doing individually to reduce harmful impacts to the environment.

            When I see trash along the side of the road or sidewalks, I feel compelled to pick it up, and wish it was easier to do this on a whim rather than planned litter pick up event.

            Lately I’ve been thinking about the whole take out coffee industry and the amount of trash created by this. It has to be astronomical. Our society seems so addicted to this daily paper cup and plastic lid habit, and although we could all bring our own mugs, or sit down and enjoy coffee with a ceramic mug, it’s like we’re addicted to that packaging along with the coffee, and perhaps the sense of convenience and freedom to have one whenever we want? It concerns me, though up to this point I’ve participated as well. Maybe 2021 is the year to finally disrupt this habit and make a different choice. I’ll remember to keep a favorite travel mug or mason jar in my bag or ask Starbucks to dust off one of their old ceramic mugs and stay for awhile, maybe even read a book and quit the smartphone addiction too!… it’s a little late for New Year resolutions, but better late than never :)

            I wonder if others have similar concerns about this or other industries or trash items in particular that worry you. Maybe we all do, just like these folks are concerned about the dog waste issue, maybe there are other issues we could each focus on and try to make a difference.

          • Woof May 25, 2021 (8:48 am)

            (sorry for the tangent, was trying to edit it down but published before I finished ;)🙏

  • CM May 24, 2021 (7:51 am)

    Nice work, Estela and Vivian! What a great impact you are having on our community. 

  • Sillygoose May 24, 2021 (8:31 am)

    Nice efforts ladies.  Sadly I have been cursed at so many times when I ask dog owners to pick up after their dogs I gave up.   I just don’t get it, be responsible dog owners.

  • Laura L Van Fleet May 24, 2021 (8:57 am)

    If we all do our part maybe we can keep our earth. Thank you. 

  • Abi May 24, 2021 (9:27 am)

    Thank you  Estela and Vivian for helping Mother Earth! You deserve a big star ⭐️⭐️!! 

  • Rico May 24, 2021 (9:34 am)

    Great job Estela and Vivian !    I have been walking by dogs in the park for 30 years and have noticed a huge uptick of people and poop this past year.   Please consider a donation to PooGooder!!   Many studies have shown dog ownership has tremendous benefits to mental health, etc.  yet the City of Seattle has limited off leash areas.   Please pick up after your pet and with more Poogooders, disposal is easy.  

  • wseaturtle May 24, 2021 (9:38 am)

    Cool. How about hitting Hiawatha, Madison, Lincoln and Alki parks next.

  • Schools Brown May 24, 2021 (9:50 am)

    Example of how impactful gentle activism can resonate with all of us! 

  • Michelle S May 24, 2021 (10:15 am)

    Love it Love it, You girls are SOOOOOO GREAT keep being you!

  • Schools Brown May 24, 2021 (10:42 am)

    Example of how gentle activism can impact awareness and action. Good work young ladies! 

  • Al King May 24, 2021 (1:36 pm)

    Kids are smarter, and more observant than a lot of adults!!!! To WOOF’s comment. We DO need to hold municipalities accountable for handling waste but sorry, you DON’T get to use that as an excuse to not pick up after your pet!!!

  • Melissa May 24, 2021 (2:02 pm)

    Additionally, let’s not forget those free-ranging cats that no one picks up after. It’s crazy that we somehow think that’s just fine.

  • Kas May 24, 2021 (11:53 pm)

    Awesome job ladies! Thank you.

  • esdot May 26, 2021 (2:46 pm)

    Awesome job ladies! Thank you.!!!!I like your style…maybe you could run this pesky bridge repair for us?

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