Interpretive signs at Marine Park

Published on Thu, Mar 15, 2001 by Soren Velice

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Interpretive signs at Marine Park

By Soren Velice

To answer questions about many of the sights encompassed by Marine Park’s wide vistas, the parks department and Marine Education Foundation came together to install interpretive signs.

“A lot of the questions that come up are for interpretation,” parks board member June Auld said. “There’s birdwatchers, dog-walkers and nature-lookers – a lot of people that are interested.”

“The interpretive signs are about birds, the history of the park, the old sawmills and volunteer work that’s been an instrumental part of Marine Park,” said Jim Jorgensen, president of the Marine Education Foundation. “It gives some insight into what you’re looking at – they tell about Peace Arch, Point Roberts and White Rock.”

Jorgensen was especially enthusiastic about the birdwatching information. “I taught ornithology at the high school,” he said. “That makes it pretty special for me.” He proposed the signs to the tourism advisory committee in August of 1999; the committee eventually decided to pay for fabrication of the signs with hotel/motel tax revenues.

Wendy Walker, an environmental studies professor at Western’s Huxley College and member of the Marine Education Foundation, designed the signs.

“I did it for free in return for letting students work on it ” she said. “Karsten Carlson helped draw some birds, Shelby Smith researched bird migration and Ryan Hilpert’s researched the history; they did the research and writing and I edited.” She said the students spent between eight and 20 hours each on the project and guessed her design and editing work totalled about 40. Sue Sturgill helped with the history, while Jim Jorgensen contributed his expertise to the information about birds.

“I think it adds one more positive element to the park,” Jorgensen said. “Whether it’s people going on their daily strolls or visitors coming by, they’ll not only know something about birds and the Pacific flyway, they’ll know about the history of the area. It’s very rewarding to see it at the stage it’s at.”

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Birds to look for in Blaine Marine Park
Spring/fall
caspian tern, western sandpiper, kingfisher, red-winged blackbird, cormorant, mallard duck, bufflehead, wood duck, mourning dove, stellar jay, barn swallow, robin, gold finch, rufus-sided towhee, common bush tit, house finch, hummingbird, whimbrel, dunlin

wildflowers
bull thistle, himalayan blackberry, western buttercup, perennial pea, Queen anne’s lace, common vetch

Fall
American widgeon, shoveler, American goldeneye, Barrow’s goldeneye, old squaw, green-winged teal, ruddy duck, pintail

Year-round
bald eagle, giant blue heron, common loon, Canada geese, herring gull, american crow, marbled godwit, osprey, glacous-winged gull, mew gull, California gull, common merganser, eared grebe, red-necked grebe, western grebe, horned grebe.

Other Critters
squirrel, rabbit, bat, garter snake, chipmunk, skunk, fox, mole, vole, coyote, harbor seal

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