by Devin Chicras
There was a little change of scenery for the Annual West Hill Action Mob (WHAM) Spring Cleanup this year. Instead of focusing primarily on litter pickup along the streets, the whole event moved down to beautiful Skyway Park, a nearly hidden, under-appreciated and much under-used gem in the heart of Skyway.
A half dozen firefighters, Interim Fire Chief Jon Parkinson and our favorite local award-winning Administrative Professional Sharon Greer from FD20 joined King County Sheriff’s Office Community Service Officer (CSO) Scott Dungan, King County Community Service Area (CSA) Program Manager Alan Painter, various West Hill Community Association board members and several more hard-working WHAM volunteers both familiar and brand-new to WHAM parties in working to reclaim the riparian area of Skyway Park (along Taylor Creek) from invasive and noxious weeds.
Personnel from King County Parks arrived earlier in the morning before the cleanup to remove trash and debris to make sure all our volunteers would be safe. They did a pretty good job – we didn’t find one thing that belonged in a haz-mat bin, and we all left the park safely and in one piece.
Our fearless leader for the day was Lina Rose, a Volunteer Coordinator for King County Parks.
We learned so many things from Lina, during a brief orientation on invasive weeds, we learned the difference between Himalayan Blackberry and Salmonberry (they’re pretty close!) and we learned about an invasive weed called Geranium robertianum… or STINKY BOB to us Washingtonians.
One of the coolest things we learned from Lina was how to use a heavy-duty weed wrench to pry up stumps out of the ground as though you were the Incredible Hulk.
Some of us even bagged a few trophy stumps with the weed wrench (or stump-puller-outer, if you like).
And it turns out that our firefighters are not just into saving lives, but the environment too!
At the end of the day, we had cleared away an entire truckload of nasty invasives, a big bag full of trash, and gave our native plants a little breathing room and space to grow.
Our wonderful group of volunteers had worked up an appetite, so we all had a wonderful lunch catered from PCC under the picnic shelter. Healthy and delicious, many of us went up for seconds (and thirds, and possibly even fourths – but who’s counting).
Lina says: “I had a really great time getting to know all of you, inspired by your hard work and commitment to community. I look forward to working at Skyway Park again in the future!” So do we, Lina!
As always, we’d like to acknowledge King County Community Service Area Grant Program’s support in helping us afford a portion of the insurance we need in order to do our WHAM events.
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