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Audubon sponsors TogetherGreen Volunteer Days event

This Saturday, the Weminuche Audubon Society (WAS) will pitch in with the U.S. Forest Service in completing a forest restoration project off Plumtaw Road. Members of the public — ages five to 95 — are welcome to assist with this simple and rewarding task, as Audubon provides everyone a full lunch.

Billed as another TogetherGreen Volunteer Days event, the seven-hour project will involve removal of plastic sleeves from about 2,000 young ponderosa pines planted in 2003. The sleeves have served to protect the tiny trees since their planting, but must now be removed to accommodate accelerating growth.

Contrary to recent reports, the undertaking, entitled the “Gordon Creek Ecosystem Restoration Project,” is located along FR 625, approximately half-a-mile off Plumtaw Road (FR 634). To get there, participants should meet at 8 a.m. at the cattle guard marking the end of the Piedra Road pavement and carpool 16 miles to the site.

At 9 a.m., Forest Service Small Sales Forester Gretchen Fitzgerald will discuss the restoration project and agency policy concerning resource management. Audubon will provide clippers and trash bags necessary in removing and collecting the sleeves, and work gloves will be available on loan for those feeling the need. Because FR 625 passes through the project area, much of the work will be very near the roadway.

Attendees should dress appropriately for a fall day outdoors. Organizers recommend the use of a hat and sunscreen and, due to tall grass and low-lying shrubbery in the project area, boots or hiking shoes will be useful to those wandering further into the site. Please leave all pets at home.

To assure comfort, WAS will also provide a portable toilet, extra water (and bottles), a few tables and some shade in the form of mobile canopies. Personal outdoor folding chairs will be beneficial, especially during lunch.

As extra incentives to prospective participants, blue skies and warm temperatures are forecast, as views are spectacular and the surrounding forests are awash in early autumn splendor. Those planning to attend should e-mail WAS at weminuche.audubon@gmail.com, or call Dottie George at 731-5759 by noon tomorrow (Sept. 17), to order lunch and gain additional information.

TogetherGreen is an environmental alliance between the National Audubon Society and Toyota Motor Corporation. A $20 million Toyota grant — the largest Audubon has received in its 106-year history — is currently supporting TogetherGreen over a five-year period, which, in turn, funds conservation projects, trains environmental leaders and offers volunteer opportunities to significantly benefit the environment.

Earlier this year, WAS received its second TogetherGreen grant in three years (this time, $2,500), to fund two separate projects. The first, of course, is this Saturday, which loosely corresponds with Public Lands Day (Sept. 25), and the second will take place next spring as an Earth Day activity.

For more information on these and other Weminuche Audubon Society meetings and events, visit the chapter website at weminucheaudubon.org.

chuck@pagosasun.com