As a student and WEC intern, I care about our environment. I moved from the Midwest to attend college at UW and was amazed by the mountains and incredible forests – Washington really lived up to its name as the Evergreen State.
One of my most exciting projects at WEC was helping deliver petitions in the form of origami marbled murrelets. A petition we posted on Change.org collected over 6000 signatures asking Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark to protect state forests and marbled murrelet habitat.
Right now, Commissioner Goldmark is working on a federally-required conservation plan for the marbled murrelet. Finalizing these plans often takes a long time. Unfortunately, the murrelet can’t wait. In the last decade, Washington has seen a 50% decline in its population.
At the July Board of Natural Resources meeting, fellow students and I went down to Olympia to deliver the petitions and ask the Commissioner and board to take two important steps: stop logging in designated murrelet management areas until a conservation plan is finalized and provide a larger protective buffer around nesting sites.
Each signer was represented by one origami bird. Displaying that many birds really made a visual impact! I was so grateful to the 6000 people who signed the petition – and proud to be there representing them.
Washington cannot aid the recovery of the murrelet without ensuring the preservation and regrowth of old forests. As an “indicator” species, these birds also help us gauge the overall health of our entire forest ecosystems.
This is one of a number of issues that WEC is working on with DNR – to help ensure that the two million acres of state forests are managed in a way that provides the maximum environmental and economic benefits to our state – now and in the future.