blue heron at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

Alki Middle School and the Shores of Nisqually

by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS

Since 1974, the Nisqually river delta has been set aside for public enjoyment as the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. This biologically diverse estuary covers over 760 acres, the largest delta refuge in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a birdwatcher’s delight, with over 200 species alighting there each year, including bald eagles, great horned owls, peregrine falcons, sandpipers, wood ducks, wrens and yellowthroats. It’s appropriate, then, that after a field trip to the Nisqually refuge, Alki Middle School chose to represent shorebirds in this year’s Procession of the Species.

Under the guidance of Debbie Rowe and two Alki parents, these students turned batik, plastic and other recycled materials into shorebird costumes. “Despite the plastic-bag ban in Olympia,” Rowe notes, “there is still plenty of plastic in our shopping cart.”

Teacher Randy Weeks says, “Integrating art into our lessons helps our students on every level.” And the students understand the Procession’s ever-timely, ecological message. As one student wrote, “(It’s) a way we can come together as a community, loving and celebrating our earth.” Or, in the words of another, “Procession of the Species helps (us) connect with nature. It’s lit!”

What: Alki Middle School

Where: Procession of the Species,
from Jefferson St. and Legion Way to Water St. and Capitol Way, Olympia

When: 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29

How much: free

Learn more: 360-313-3200 | Alki Middle School




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