Audubon Birdloop to open at Marymoor

For the past two years, more than 200 volunteers have put in more than 2,300 hours of work restoring and replanting the interpretive nature trail at Marymoor Park.

  • Tuesday, July 29, 2008 1:47pm
  • Life

Project Manager Jim Rettig (kneeling with clippers) and Eastside Audubon Executive Director Jan McGruder (behind Retting in hat) with some of the volunteers.

For the past two years, more than 200 volunteers have put in more than 2,300 hours of work restoring and replanting the interpretive nature trail at Marymoor Park.

The trail, now known as the Audubon BirdLoop, has been

transformed into a showcase for the birds and other wildlife in our area. It will be officially opened at noon Saturday, Aug. 2 by King County Executive Ron Sims and Eastside Audubon President Christy Anderson.

The 2.2-mile Audubon BirdLoop lets people stroll through a grassy meadow, investigate thickets and sheltering forest, experience the diversity of a rich marsh, stroll along the river and savor a conifer grove.

The Audubon BirdLoop features extensive new native plantings, interpretive signs by a local artist, and two informative kiosks featuring photographs of the wildlife that might be seen along the trail.

Eastside Audubon has restored sections of boardwalk in the wetlands area of the trail and removed large areas of invasive plants such as blackberries and scotch broom. According to Jim Rettig, Audubon BirdLoop project manager, one of the most rewarding aspects of the project for him has been the chance to witness the enthusiasm and perseverance of so many dedicated volunteers.

“It was such a great feeling to come out here on Christmas Day last year,” Rettig says, “and find seven people ready to go to work despite the holiday and the terrible weather.”

Eastside Audubon began work on the idea of “adopting” the interpretive nature trail at Marymoor Park in September 2005.

At the urging of Megan Lyden, an avid birder and frequent visitor to Marymoor Park, Eastside Audubon began work on a proposal for the King County Parks Community Partnerships and Grants (CPG) program.

In June 2006, Eastside Audubon received a $100,000 grant to restore and update the trail, and also signed a five-year contract with King County Parks to take over stewardship of the area.

Marymoor Park bird expert Michael Hobbs, who has been doing weekly bird surveys at the park since 1994, is an enthusiastic supporter of the Audubon BirdLoop. According to Hobbs, Eastside Audubon’s involvement reflects Marymoor Park’s status as a premier place to view wildlife and experience nature.

“Over the years,” Hobbs says, “Marymoor has gone from a place ignored by birders, to one that attracts people from all over the country.”

Eastside Audubon (formerly East Lake Washington Audubon) connects people with nature through bird and plant walks, conservation activities, and a wide variety of classes for both children and adults. The mission of Eastside Audubon is to protect, preserve and enhance natural ecosystems and our communities for the benefit of birds, other wildlife, and people.

Eastside Audubon was established in 1980, and serves the urban and rural communities east of Seattle.

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