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Weeders are Winning on the BirdLoop at Marymoor

It’s the month-in, month-out Eastside Audubon volunteer work parties that make Marymoor Park in Redmond a healthy place for birds and a happy place for birders.

Glenn Eades, by Mick Thompson“Ongoing maintenance is critical if we want to make a long-term difference,” says Glenn Eades, leader of the volunteers who turn out on the first Saturday morning of every month to do habitat restoration on the Audubon BirdLoop. “It’s what keeps the blackberries down and allows native plantings to mature.”

Explains Ella Elman, a botanist and Marymoor volunteer, “While [non-native plants like] blackberries and thistles are used by birds, it’s only because they are displacing everything else and removing all of the complexity and diversity from our forests. When we plant many native species instead of one invasive species we take out, the wildlife habitat is greatly enhanced and many more species can use it.”

Volunteers as Reliable as the Sunrise

Other groups’ habitat restoration projects may founder for lack of follow-through, but not Eastside Audubon’s.

“The East Meadow, our special place, will always need maintenance, yanking out Scotch broom and hawthorn,” says Glenn. “And we are on a sustainable path to do it. Our volunteers see the vision and are willing to support it.”

At the core of the maintenance regime is a corps of regular work partiers, including: Patricia Clarke, Glenn Eades, Ella Elman, Bev and Hugh Jennings, Tim McGruder, Jim Rettig, Karen Roll, and Leslie Waters.

No Work is Wasted

More volunteers pitch in as their time allows, including high school students earning community service credit for their work.

Glenn and others on the regular team tee up big projects to get the most out of help from big corporate groups that turn out on occasions like Comcast Cares Day in April and Amazon’s Day of Caring in September.

Among the most visible results of this year’s effort are seen around the newly built observation mound overlooking the East Meadow, where the Eastside Audubon crew installed native plants and removed as much poison hemlock as could be eradicated by hand before King County sprayed the rest.

It was a bad year to be a thistle on the BirdLoop, too.

Community Education on the BirdLoop

On June 1, the work party coincided with National Trails Day. Volunteer Diane Crestanello staffed a table and made about 30 new friends for EAS, while Hugh Jennings led a birding walk.

Tim McGruder continues to spearhead creation of new interpretive signs that enhance the experience of visitors to the BirdLoop. This year saw the installation of one more, with two in the pipeline for 2014.

In the fall, the information kiosks got a makeover to make them more informative for trail walkers.


Photo: Glenn Eades, by Mick Thompson

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The mission of Eastside Audubon is to protect, preserve and enhance natural ecosystems and our communities for the benefit of birds, other wildlife and people.