Class lets EdCC environmental anthropology students dig dirt

EDMONDS — Courtney Honey took a short break from planting a tree to take a picture of her surroundings near Lunds Gulch Creek.

A photojournalism major at Edmonds Community College, Honey was one of 22 students in the college’s Learn and Serve Environmental Anthropology Field School who Friday helped plant 150 trees next to the creek at Meadowdale Park.

“It’s nice to get out and get in touch with your community,” said Honey, 20. “It’s nice to know your environment.”

Lunds Gulch Creek is a small stream located north of Edmonds that flows through the park from its headwaters near Highway 99 and into Puget Sound. Students teamed up with the Adopt A Stream Foundation, Snohomish County Parks and Recreation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to complete the project.

At least 30 of the small trees planted were returned to the Adopt A Stream Foundation after they were rented out in December for use as Christmas trees. Those trees and 120 others that were potted last year by Cub Scouts from the Lunds Gulch Creek watershed will provide long-term benefits for the creek and the salmon that use it, said ecologist Walter Rung.

“They’re native trees,” he said. “What’s good about them is they’ll provide a lot more shade than the deciduous trees will, and shade is very important because it keeps the water temperature cool and cool water holds more oxygen. And fish, just like people, need a lot of oxygen.”

An Adopt A Stream pilot project called Puget Sound Coastal Streamkeepers was funded in 2011 by a $75,000 grant from the Russell Family Foundation. As part of the project, Lunds Gulch, Perrinville and Picnic Point creeks were surveyed by Adopt A Stream ecologists and technicians who found areas that could be improved for fish and wildlife.

“We are in the midst of finalizing a report to the Russell Family Foundation that summarizes our Puget Sound Coastal Streamkeeper effort on Perrinville, Lunds Gulch and Picnic Point creeks,” said Tom Murdoch, director of the Adopt A Stream Foundation. “It will include recommendations on what is needed to ensure the long-term survival of salmon and trout in these and other coastal streams.”

Throughout the day Friday, students switched from planting trees with Adopt A Stream Foundation ecologists and Snohomish park ranger Doug Dailer, to receiving instruction from Thomas Murphy, who teaches the Learn and Serve Environmental Anthropology Field School, and taking their own field notes.

Edmonds Community College Running Start student Sarah Mortensen, 18, thought the course syllabus looked overwhelming at first glance. On the first day of class she was happy that she decided to sign up for the course.

“I get to text my friends and parents later and say my first day in class I planted trees,” she said.

It definitely wasn’t like other first days of class, said Rita Boonprasert, 19, who is studying interior design. She planted four trees along the creek and found the experience to be calming.

“It’s a good first impression (of the class),” she said.

Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; adaybert@heraldnet.com.

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