More than a thousand native plants are all tucked in for the season—and just in the nick of time! Volunteers helped us wrap up our last fall planting party merely hours before the heavy rains and floods came. Beginning in Octoberschool groups, Camp Orkila staff, and volunteers created new Garry oak groves on Orcas, Shaw, and San Juan Island, planted and seeded our Island Marble Butterfly patches, and augmented one of the last remaining Golden paintbrush populations in the San Juan Islands.

Each plant from Salish Seeds Project was handled with care. As planters made sure that the “plug” or root ball made good contact with the soil (to prevent air pockets that dry out roots) and was pressed firmly into the ground (to prevent frost heave), they were reminded that “this is the most important day of this plant’s life.” Set up for success, these native plants will create structure and sustenance for wildlife.

As we near the end of the year, we’d like to acknowledge the record number of volunteers who joined us in 2021. All told, they logged 5,340 hours—the equivalent of two and a half years of 40-hour work weeks. As Kahlil Gibran wrote, “work is love made visible”—an alchemy we are thrilled to witness every time volunteers join in planting parties, weed pulls, Western Bluebird and Island Marble Butterfly projects, trail maintenance, and more. Dear volunteers, you are the best!

2021 Fall Planting Season. Photos courtesy of Sharon Massey, Mary Miller, and SJPT staff