River center raising funds with green valentines

SEQUIM — Locals can show a little love this Valentine’s Day by going green.

The Dungeness River Audubon Center is raising funds to purchase native plants that will adorn landscaping around the new building at Railroad Bridge Park, currently under construction.

The $30 donations got to the purchase of plants in one’s Valentine’s name. Each also will receive a hand-signed “green valentine” just in time for Valentine’s Day next Sunday.

Valentines can be ordered now at dungenessrivercenter.org on the river center’s secure payment site. The deadline for ordering valentine(s) is Tuesday.

The $4.5 million river center expansion is scheduled to open in early fall.

Planting will begin when trees are dormant in March, and will continue throughout the year as sections of the project are completed.

“Selected native plants will be low maintenance, drought resistant and will be chosen for year-round color,” said Annette Nesse, a former chief operating officer for the Jamestown S’Klallam who managed landscaping projects for the tribe and is overseeing the river center project.

The vegetation, she said, will include such plants such as Serviceberry, Ocean spray, Oregon grape, red-twig dogwoods, huckleberry, vine maple and snowberry.

With construction set through to the fall months, the road to Railroad Bridge Park has been rerouted off Hendrickson Road through an adjacent field that will be planted with trees, shrubs and plants native to the North Olympic Peninsula.

Plantings also will include enhancement of the 60-space paved parking lot with hedges and trees, river center representatives said.

A sunken “rain garden” is planned for the center of the lot to offset parking lot runoff. There, plants that thrive on moisture but can also tolerate period of dryness will be placed.

“We will be planting vegetative screens that provide both sheltering habitat and berries for birds,” Nesse said.

Before the project began, the river center was visited daily by a large family of quail and hundreds of birds drawn to suet and seed feeders, river center representatives said.

A natural garden planted between the center and the Dungeness River was designed for birds, animals and insects that thrive in the understory of fallen leaves, downed branches and logs, has been relocated during construction of the new, 5,000-square-foot building.

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Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

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