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Puget Sound Volunteers Pay Off; More Help Needed

June 6, 2008

Everett, WA – This Sunday (June 8) is "World Oceans Day," and Washington has a special reason to observe it. Our little piece of ocean, Puget Sound, is in serious need of cleanup. Groups leading the effort are hoping to see a new crop of volunteers pitch in, this weekend and throughout the summer, from around the state.

Keeley O'Connell, habitat restoration coordinator for People for Puget Sound, suggests a worthwhile summer activity for Washington families would be to spend a couple of days on a cleanup crew. Some folks don't realize, she explains, how closely the future of the state's economy is tied to the future of the Sound.

"Whether it's shellfishing or tourism around having healthy pods of orcas, all of that funnels into having a healthy state budget. It's an important part of the economy, and an important resource for our entire state."

In the past two years, volunteers have restored 38 miles of shoreline and helped build three new waterfront parks. O'Connell says there's plenty more to do.

"Plant trees, dig out weeds, count oysters, spread oyster seed – these are all things that we need volunteers to help do out there. And people are doing it! At every event, we always see new faces and meet new people."

In addition to improving Washington's environment, O'Connell says, the cleanup crews get some good exercise and learn more about marine life. Many of the volunteer opportunities are listed on this Web site: The "mud," of course, should give you a clue that the chores can be messy, but fun.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA