The most serious commitments we can make besides conserving the forest is one of stewardship. Our vision is to see the forest become a tremendous education tool so today's students become tomorrow's best scientists, educators, writers, artists and planners. We intend that ongoing restoration work strengthen the biological functions the forest provides to the North Creek Watershed. And we intend for the forest to become a refuge where people can go to experience rich forest habitat without driving to the Cascades. While Bothell continues to negotiate the purchase of the first 35 acres Friends of North Creek Forest is working with others to advance these activities.
On August 9th The Northshore School Board voted on a resolution to endorse North Creek Forest conservation and education. This is important because it means teachers may now develop science classes knowing they have the full support of the School Board. Prior to the vote members of Friends, District Superintendent Larry Francois, and others attending spoke to the education opportunity available to the district at no cost. Board members all voted yes with the exception of the chair who, though supportive, recused herself due to a conflict of interest. (see Resolution).
A small group of teachers is evaluating existing materials and an Education Action Plan adopted from Friends of Hidden River by UW student and Friends Board Member Darryl Nevels. Once revised to fit the forest, this Action Plan will eventually become the guideline for science programs that will take students all the way into and through college. But that is the "long view". Another group of teachers is beginning work on the first "test run". It will be modest, perhaps involving middle school, and elementary teachers, students and some support from UW students and faculty. It is a modest start but a year ago no one dreamed of this.
The UW Bothell/Cascadia CC Sustainability Organization, Darryl Nevels, President, (he gets around) has a program called Capstone. This program engages students in botanical identification, invasive plant removal, forest restoration and ongoing monitoring. Friends is working with the Sustainability Organization to provide a "walk to" forest location. We are fortunate to have one property ready for restoration now because a family bought it for that very reason. This gives us a 6 acre start on the forest. There is every indication this fall will see students engaged in the first restoration work in North Creek Forest. They will be assisted by individuals from the Eastside Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society and other citizens. It will be gratifying to see blackberries replaced with cedars, huckleberries and other native forest vegetation.
North Creek is a valuable salmon spawning stream. A couple of years ago the Department of Ecology issued a citation for discharge of sediments into North Creek due to erosion in North Creek Forest. Bothell jumped in and fixed this erosion problem for now. Since this occurred on the 35 acres currently under negotiations for purchase we must wait for that process to be completed before addressing a permanent solution. But Friends have already examined the problem and are planning to engage professional advisers to design a solution. The forest is a big filter. Without groundwater filtration salmon don't survive. What happens to the forest effects the salmon. What happens to the salmon effects endangered Orca Whales.
It's all connected.
Thank you for your continued support and optimism.
We are all connected.
Friends of North Creek Forest