Vashon Audubon, in collaboration with the Heritage Museum and Vashon Nature Center, is creating a garden at the museum that shows how native plants can help sustain wildlife, reduce our carbon footprint, and create more balanced ecosystems and beauty around our homes.
Led by Audubon board members Adria Magrath, Jim Evans, and Dana Schuerholz, dozens of Vashon residents showed up over three wet Saturdays to lend a hand in transforming the museum garden site. Vashon Green School students arrived with shovels and cardboard and prepared the area with the first layer of sheet mulch during one of their Wednesday field trips.
Initially, the site was largely under water. The volunteers shoveled drainage material, mounded organic matter, and planted native groundcover, shrubs and trees surrounded by a circular gravel pathway to create a garden that’s above the water table now.
“This was truly a Vashon community effort with people donating time, plants, information, laughter, coffee and tea, and lots of enthusiasm,” said Schuerholz. “Thanks to all who helped out!”
“We hope to encourage people to dedicate parts of mowed lawn areas to native plants, providing food and shelter to wildlife—and to birds in particular,” she said. “Less mowing also means less carbon released. Did you know that one hour of mowing a lawn with a gas-powered mower is the equivalent to driving 650 miles on the highway?”
That was one of many statistics shared with folks who showed up during the work parties. People were also encouraged to replace non-native plants that die out with natives.
The Audubon Habitat Garden will be a permanent educational feature on the museum site.
The next phase will be the creation of signage with information about each plant’s benefit to insects and birds of Vashon, as well as the traditional indigenous uses of each plant.