Saturday, September 27, 2014

25th Nisqually Watershed Festival

Above: Cate Bellanca staffed a community information table for the Olympia Coalition for Ecosystem Preservation at the Nisqually Watershed Festival today.
Bellanca said she joined the three month old organization to help save the Great Blue Heron rookery endangered by a proposed development in her northwest Olympia neighborhood, and said she recently spent five hours gathering signatures on a petition to help save the rookery. For more information, go to
By Janine Unsoeld

Starting as a glacier on Mt. Rainier, the Nisqually River flows 78 miles down the Nisqually River valley to meet Puget Sound. The freshwater of the Nisqually River mixes with the saltwater of Puget Sound and creates one of Washington’s largest undisturbed estuaries. The word “Nisqually” means “river of grasses,” or “flowing grasses.”
Located eight miles east of Olympia, this area, a former dairy farm and traditional land of the Nisqually Indian tribe, is now a spectacular national wildlife refuge. Every visit is different and provides rich learning opportunities and experiences.
A place of tranquility, September and October is an exciting time at Nisqually. Migrating waterfowl and wintering songbirds arrive. The entire food chain can be witnessed as peregrine falcons and American kestrels will also arrive, and feed on wintering birds. Bald eagles will hunt waterfowl flocks. Identifying species, watching behaviors and camouflaged activities, hearing songs and calls, and witnessing territorial movements is truly a treat.
Now in its 25th year, the Nisqually Watershed Festival today featured plenty of educational, hands-on activities, music, and of course, the opportunity to appreciate the history and environmental beauty of the Nisqually watershed. Today is also National Estuaries Day, established in 1988 as part of Coast Weeks.
Several hundred people parked at nearby River Ridge High School to take school bus shuttles to the festival.

Above: At the festival, Finn the Fish never disappoints, welcoming children small enough to explore the wonders featured inside. 
Above: A mother and son created a beaded salmon life cycle keychain. Each bead represents a part of the cycle: the first bead, a red bead, represents a redd, a salmon nest where salmon lay their eggs.
Above: The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. One always comes home refreshed, flowing in mind and spirit. 
 For more information, go to