Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Around the Sound: Reaching out in Everett

By Darrah Johnson, education & outreach specialist, Toxics Cleanup Program

Darrah and Andy in Everett (photo by Andrea Matzke).
We have a lot of cleanup activity coming up in Everett’s Port Gardner Bay, so the Toxics Cleanup Program wants to make sure local residents have plenty of opportunities to find out what’s going on.

On Saturday, March 21, baywide cleanup coordinator Andy Kallus and I talked with kids, parents and community members about our Puget Sound Initiative work in Everett. The SnoCo Together Community Skills Fair, a free event at Evergreen Middle School, was hosted by Transition Port Gardner, Futurewise, WSU Extension, the city of Everett, and Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides.

The event’s goal was to inform the public about the 11 Puget Sound Initiative sites around Everett’s Port Garden Bay. Specifically, the goal was to reach out to populations that may not be adequately engaged with traditional outreach strategies.

Cleanup on Everett's waterfront

Ecology identified Port Gardner Bay as a high-priority bay under the Puget Sound Initiative. An Ecology team works with the Port of Everett, other site owners, area tribes, and other stakeholders to help shape cleanups at waterfront-area cleanup sites.
Dredging at Everett Shipyard in December 2014.

We may have up to eight public comment periods in the next several months for various steps in our cleanup process. (Stay tuned as those take shape.)

On Saturday, Andy and I talked with between 30 and 40 people who expressed varying levels of interest. Some were able to find their houses on the baywide map displayed, had personal connections to the industrial companies formerly operating at the sites, or wanted a closer look at some of the historical images in our slideshow.

And 'The Galloping Gourmet', too!

As a fun bonus, the keynote presenter was Graham Kerr, best known as the star of “The Galloping Gourmet.” His speech emphasized the need for greater social awareness and engagement to protect the environment.

His most recent trilogy of books compares the life cycle of the Chinook salmon to his own life, and more broadly to the human condition and the current state of the environment. It is titled “Flash of Silver,” referencing the shimmer made by a fish that has overcome an obstacle.

As one in the school overcomes an obstacle, the others see their own glimmer of hope and know that there’s a way to get to where they need to be. The metaphor applies to current issues of climate change and source control.

In addition to Kerr, the event also featured booths, workshops and a variety of youth performances.  

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