By Taylor Schmuki & Edited by Lindsay Warne
Volunteers: ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
In 1787, the famous words “We the People…” built the scaffolding for a better future powered by the hearts and minds of everyday people. Today, the challenges of our day loom large. In Washington State alone, salmon populations decreased by forty percent, critical estuarine habitat decreased by seventy percent and human generated pollution threatens people and animals alike. Under these conditions, it seems practically impossible to out-swim the wave of hopelessness.
And yet, people from all walks of life show up—an aspiring ecologist, a woman in her first trimester, a neighbor up the road, an old friend— looking to make a difference. As a non-profit, Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group (SFEG) would not exist without our persistent and devoted volunteers. During the three volunteer work parties this fall, our volunteers removed 15 shade clothes, built 18 capillary beds (which house around 200 nursery plants), potted 120 live stakes, and planted 1,160 plants. These efforts directly improve salmon habitat and build greater capacity for SFEG to continue restoration work.
Utopia Complex Project: A Success Story
Utopia Complex is an old farm turned restoration site now managed by Skagit Land Trust. This year, in partnership, we planted 12 new acres of conifers and willows. Our new plantings will grow among full-grown conifers and cottonwoods that were planted by SFEG volunteers 15 years ago. These plantings have reduced invasive species such as blackberry and reed canary grass while providing salmon and wood duck habitat.
Our volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization. They help us accomplish ambitious projects, such as Utopia, that we could never complete alone. Every volunteer helps. You have made a difference and we at SFEG are so grateful.
You make a difference!
One tree in a forest may be forgotten. However, it still produces 6,000 pounds of oxygen a year, houses numerous animals, filters water, and provides beauty for thousands of people. We can take cues from the trees and see that by donating 25 dollars or volunteering a few hours you have helped our community.
Thank you for your commitment to service and we hope to see everyone in many days to come.
Remember: ‘We the People’ can be successful. ‘We the People’ can make a difference. And ‘We the people’ make change happen.