Whatcom Girl Scouts Help Restore Watersheds
Here in the Northwest, we’re pretty keen on all things salmon-related! As part of the It’s Your Planet – Love It! Journey, our Girl Scouts learn how they can take action to be personal stewards of the environment, helping make the earth a healthy, happy and overall better place.
In their adventures for the Brownie WOW! Wonders of Water Journey, one of our Whatcom county troops trekked out to Squalicum Creek with The Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) for a work party. There they discovered how important it is to protect our water sources and that there are ways to get involved to make an impact on their local ecosystem. Not only were our girls enthusiastic about helping with the watershed, but they were showcasing their dedication to the Forever Green pledge. And of course, it was a great excuse for them to play in the mud!
NSEA focuses on restoring freshwater habitats in watersheds, especially around the Nooksack River basin, near Mount Baker. To kick things off our Girl Scouts learned that watersheds are areas where water from several sources drains into a common point, and that there are watersheds all across the world. Watersheds are key for protecting the environment and come in all shapes and sizes, crossing county, state and national boundaries. For waters where wild salmon spawn, it’s important to have clear water – if the watersheds are damaged, this can also hurt the salmon. Damaged watersheds (part of habitat degradation) is a problem for local wildlife because it can change everything from water temperature to the types of plants and animals that can survive there.
Did you know in Whatcom County alone there are almost 100 watersheds? Our girls were eager to help, and were excited to learn they could prevent erosion along Squalicum Creek by planting native trees and shrubs, which would clear the water for spawning salmon. Altogether the girls (and their parents) planted a total of 30 maples, willows, pine trees, salmonberry bushes and more!
Fun Trick: How to Remember the Salmon Types
Our girls also shared this nifty trick from NSEA for remembering the five types of salmon: Hold up your hand. The thumb, it rhymes with chum. The pointer finger sometimes socks you right in the eye, just like the sockeye. The middle finger’s the biggest, so it’s the king! The ring finger’s perfect for wearing silver. And the pinky, well that’s easy – pink!