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Earth Day 2010: More than 500 volunteers clean up Federal Way

Hollie Shilley, Federal Way water quality specialist, shows off the morning results of a volunteer cleanup Saturday at Lakota Creek.  - Andy Hobbs/The Mirror
Hollie Shilley, Federal Way water quality specialist, shows off the morning results of a volunteer cleanup Saturday at Lakota Creek.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/The Mirror

It was a record breaking Earth Day for Federal Way.

More than 500 volunteers showed up for Earth Day cleanups Saturday in Federal Way.

"I think it went very well despite the rain and all that," said Jason Gerwen, parks and facilities supervisor. "I believe it's one of our largest events. This is my fifth or sixth Earth Day and I can't remember it ever being over 500. Despite the weather, that we turned out that many people is fantastic."

Preliminary numbers have the volunteer total at 506, Gerwen said. That meant volunteers racked up about 1,500 hours of labor cleaning up at eight different sites around the city. Dumas Bay Park, Dash Point State Park, West Campus Trail, Wedgewood Park, Saghalie Park, Lake Killarney, Lake Grove Park and Lakota Creek all received a cleanup.

The bulk of the projects involved ivy removal, but workers also removed other brush, including blackberry bushes.

All told, there were 480 cubic yards of green debris that were removed, Gerwen said.

Among the volunteers were members of the Parks and Recreation Commission, Brooklake School, Sunrise Rotary and a large contingent from the Latter Day Saints church.

The city also got some extra help from the Redondo Ace Hardware, which donated tools and gloves for the event. Although the city does have some supplies, there was not nearly enough for the amount of people who showed up to help. Volunteers were encouraged to bring their own tools and gloves, but Gerwen said that Ace's donation really helped.

That wasn't the only local Earth Day event. Schools from around the area participated in the AmeriCorps-sponsored Earth Fair on April 23 at Saltwater State Park. About 760 students from surrounding public and private schools participated. AmeriCorps members from all over the state helped out, teaching students about watersheds, salmon life cycles, hazardous waste management and recycling. There were also guided beach walks, a live sea creature touch tank and a musical presentation by the Washington Flute Circle.

"Amazing, it was an amazing event," Federal Way AmeriCorps director Monda Holsinger said.

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