Caravans of volunteers plant mixture of trees along Hoko River
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Kristen A. Schroeder/Crescent High School
Planting trees on the Hoko River are, from left, Larissa Garrison, 15; Zoe Crawford, 15; and Karma Harrison, 16, students at Crescent High School in Joyce.

Peninsula Daily News

SEKIU — More than 75 volunteers planted some 6,000 trees and shrubs on a 1,500-foot stretch of Hoko River banks in one day.

Caravans of volunteer planters traveled across the North Olympic Peninsula to join with Friends of Hoko River State Park, a volunteer support group that works with park staff.

“I absolutely love planting trees. I would do this every day if I could,” said Jamie Landry, a Port Townsend resident who took the day off from work to volunteer.

The tree-planting depended to a large extent on students, according to Reed Aubin, volunteer and education program manager for the North Olympic Salmon Coalition.

Some 30 students — 26 from Crescent High School and four from Clallam Bay High School — planted about 1,500 of the 6,000 trees along a grassy stretch of riverbank, Aubin said.

“Students from Crescent High School in Joyce and Clallam Bay High School were essential to the project's success,” he said.

It was “a great adventure in the great outdoors,” said Kristen Schroeder, environmental science teacher at Crescent High in Joyce.

“The students were very proud of themselves and chatted about their accomplishments the whole ride home.”

The work party at Hoko River State Park on Feb. 19 was one of the largest volunteer planting days in the salmon coalition's 24-year history, Aubin said.

The trees will give protection to fish, Aubin said, adding that the Hoko River provides habitat for salmon — chinook, coho, chum — and steelhead.

Tribes, nonprofits, schools and area businesses collaborated on the project.

The Pacific Coast Salmon Coalition donated, delivered and helped install thousands of willows, bringing volunteers and its own crew from the Forks area.

Green Crow, the Port Angeles-based timber company, donated 300 Sitka spruce seedlings.

“What a great turnout, and what an awesome project,” said Stephanie Martin, habitat division manager and ecologist for the Makah tribe.

'Great turnout'

The Makah sent a crew of nine and provided technical support for project planning.

The Lower Elwha Klallam tribe brought a large group, too, including a seasoned Washington Conservation Corps crew that took a day out of its Elwha River restoration planting schedule.

“This recent riparian buffer planting is one of several projects that will complement prior revegetation work carried out by Lower Elwha Klallam tribe at the project site,” said Jamie Michel, project manager for the salmon coalition.

“Over time, these planting efforts will re-establish a healthy and diverse riparian forest that will provide habitat and reduce erosion and runoff into the Hoko River.”

Salmon coalition

The North Olympic Salmon Coalition is a non-regulatory nonprofit organization that works with willing landowners and government agencies to perform salmon habitat restoration on the North Olympic Peninsula.

It was founded in 1990 as one of 14 regional fisheries enhancement groups in the state.

For more information or to volunteer, visit www.nosc.org or phone 360-379-8051.

Last modified: March 22. 2014 5:05PM
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