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Field Notes

Covering the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest

November 8, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Volunteer opportunities this month in the Elwha

Jill Zarzeczny of Olympic National Park recently checked in with the following information about how to help volunteer to help out with the revegetation project on the Elwha, part of the $325 million restoration of the Elwha River and its watershed:


Spores boldly sprout on some of the 800 acres of bald sediment in need of revegetation on the former reservoir lake beds on the Elwha.

Photo by Steve Ringman, The Seattle Times

Here’s what she says on how to help out, starting this month:

“It’s that time of year: the rain has returned and the Elwha revegetation crews are preparing to put 47,000 native plants into ground in (former) Lake Mills and former Lake Aldwell. From November to March, Olympic National Park staff, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe staff and two Washington Conservation Corps crews will be tromping around and revegetating the dewatered reservoirs — rain or shine.

In November, January, February and March, there will be opportunities for small groups of four to five volunteers to join in on the fun of planting in the muck. We will meet in Port Angeles around 8:45 a.m. and depart from the reservoir at 3 p.m. Tools, planting gloves and transportation from Port Angeles to the reservoir will be provided. The work party will always begin with a project and site orientation, a safety talk and a planting demonstration. Volunteers should come prepared with water, lunch, sun protection, rain gear, warm layers (non-cotton is best), sturdy boots (muck or hiking), and a readiness to get dirty!


Replanting is necessary to jump start native plants on bare sediment where invaders, such as this forget me not, will otherwise crowd the new ground.

Photo by Steve Ringman of The Seattle Times.

The minimum age for volunteering with the project is 14. Volunteers must be able to travel over uneven and slippery terrain, kneel for extended periods of time, wield hands tools (shovels, hand hoes, etc) and work in the rain.

At the beginning of each month, I will announce work party opportunities and register volunteers on a first-come basis. Below you will find four November opportunities. Please respond with preferred date(s). For those attending, I will reply with details and electronic copies of forms that need to be completed/returned on the day of the work party.

  • Thursday, November 8th
  • Thursday, November 15th
  • Tuesday, November 20th
  • Tuesday, November 27th

While space is limited, there will be ongoing opportunities to help plant this season (through mid-March) and for the next several years. Additionally, there are always opportunities to help at our native plant nursery. Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. are drop-in days — come help us pack and prep the plants for their return to the Elwha.”

Here is how to contact Jill for more info:

Jill Zarzeczny

Elwha Revegetation Project

Olympic National Park

Tel: 360.565.3047

For more on the revegetation effort, read my stories in The Seattle Times.



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