Volunteer, help habitat tomorrow

Every Saturday until end of April community members can make local conservation effort



Plant the Palouse gives Pullman residents an opportunity to engage in work that maintains the local environment.

SARINA SHARPE, reporter and columnist

The first weekend of spring approaches quickly, and to celebrate its arrival, AmeriCorps and the Palouse Conservation District announced Plant the Palouse, an event that will be held over the course of several Saturdays during springtime.

Catherine Belme, an AmeriCorps member involved with the event, said Plant the Palouse is an effort to engage the Palouse community in an activity that will boost the quality of the environment.

AmeriCorps holds Plant the Palouse events primarily at the beginning of every spring and fall, Belme said, and expands over many project sites. She said that the events are opportunities for community members to help the environment, especially because soil erosion and water quality is a problem here.

“I think it’s a great way for people to learn about conservation issues locally,” Belme said.

Volunteers can see the benefits of their work at Plant the Palouse in the health of the soil and water, Belme said, which then helps the wildlife habitats in the area. It is a way to give back to the area by sustaining it, she said.

Belme said that before volunteers begin planting at the event, AmeriCorps members will explain some of the environmental problems the Palouse faces, as well as how Plant the Palouse and other events like it will help combat those problems. Volunteers can also learn ways to improve upon conservation efforts they may already be doing.

This will be the first spring where Plant the Palouse is a regularly scheduled event that the community can look forward to each Saturday, Belme said.

“We’re trying to broaden our reach and get more community members involved,” she said.

This weekend, there will be project sites along Paradise Creek on the Bill Chipman Trail, Belme said, because it is a high-traffic area in town. There have also been donors in Whitman County who have asked AmeriCorps to help plant in their area.

Belme said there are other advantages to volunteering, such as meeting other community members and making connections. Volunteers can also come back to see the progress of what they’ve planted for years to come.

“For these events, we’re planting trees and shrubs that are in their infant status,” Belme said. “People can come back in five, 10, 20 years and see all of the growth. It’s a tangible difference that people can see.”

AmeriCorps will hold the first event tomorrow starting at 9 a.m. and will continue each Saturday until the end of April. Volunteers will meet at 1615 NE Eastgate Blvd.