Oak Harbor Lions enhance wildlife habitat

Members of the Oak Harbor Lions Club planted over 100 native shrubs and trees at Fort Nugent Park May 5 to commemorate Arbor Day 2012.

Hank Nydam of the Oak Harbor Parks Division organized the work party which helps the city earn the Tree City USA certification for the ninth consecutive year and keeps the Arbor Day tradition of tree planting alive.

Douglas firs, Sitka spruce, willows, service berry and numerous other varieties of native shrubs were planted along the east side of the park to enhance a greenbelt buffer between the park and the neighboring residents.

“Besides adding to the natural screen for homes, it gives families a place for outdoor discovery and healthy interaction with the natural world. Once native plants are established they take little water and care to maintain which make them a good option of any landscape,” said Maribeth Crandell, the city’s environmental coordinator.

This greenbelt also creates an extension of the nearby forest providing a wildlife corridor and increasing biodiversity of plants which attracts a greater variety of animals.

The lush plantings provide habitat for native birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals.

Native plants offer food, shelter and a place to raise young and a nearby stream provides water which is required for Backyard Wildlife Habitat Certification.  Fort Nugent Park, along with three other Oak Harbor city parks, was certified by the National Wildlife Federation in 2009.

Whidbey Audubon headed a campaign to help Whidbey Island qualify for the Community Wildlife Habitat Certification in 2011.

So far over 300 homes, five schools, five farms, four businesses, one place of worship and four parks have been certified on Whidbey Island.

“Thank you to the Oak Harbor Lions for making Arbor Day 2012 a success and helping to restore and enhance this natural habitat,” Crandell said.


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