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Volunteers get final digs in at Oyster Park

More than 200 new plants found a home this Tuesday at Oyster Plant Park in Poulsbo but the growth of community spirit during the finishing work may have been more notable than the thriving vegetation.

The tiny Lemolo Shore Drive site has become a huge catalyst in terms of bringing all types of folks together to improve a plot of land that has come to symbolize what a civic group can do when it gets city and volunteer support. Members of the Poulsbo-North Kitsap Rotary took the lead on the project last year, helping transform what was once a dilapidated oyster plant building into a beautiful waterside park.

West Sound Academy students once again provided the “strong backs” needed to make the renovation a success Tuesday, working in concert with their teachers Mark Darrach and Steve Youngs, grant writer Kathy Barrantes of the Liberty Bay Foundation, City Councilwoman Jackie Aitchison, landscape designer James Gerlach and Rotarian Bill Austin.

The Nearshore Habitat Enhancement Project, which Barrantes started via a successful grant, is sponsored in part by matching funds from the state Department of Ecology and the Environmental Protection Agency. Ecology’s Northwest Regional Office Project manager, David Pater, assisted Luis Barrantes and Tom Anderson with marine monitoring by boat at the same time.

“He stated that he is pleased with the survival results from plantings last year and the way the project is coming along,” Kathy Barrantes remarked, noting that Pater was also given a tour of Nelson park and remarked on the positive effect the combined efforts would have on the nearshore and marine environment.

“These particular events were made possible through the combined fundraising efforts of Central Market and Poulsbo Market Thriftway,” she said. The two Poulsbo stores assisted the project over Earth Day weekend, helping raise approximately $1,000 which in turn leveraged over $9,000 when matched with the grant.

Over the April 20 weekend, Thriftway held a dinner and a movie and Central Market hired six project volunteers assist with the sale of the compost systems.

“It just goes to show how much partnerships make things move along in our community,” Barrantes remarked.

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