On September 14th, over 290 families, runners, walkers, dog owners, and community members joined the Whatcom Conservation District to celebrate Healthy Water, Healthy Habitat, and Healthy People.
The race took place at Cherry Point and Point Whitehorn, which is an area used for farming, recreation, and provides habitat to a number of different wildlife including, salmon, owls, hawks, coyotes and many more.
As racers arrived they were greeted by Wayne Drop, Sammy the Salmon, Oreo the Orca, and the Poop Fairy! Various organizations were set up along the entrance of the race to share information on tips to improve habitat and water quality through everyday actions.
At 10am, the event kicked off with a kids’ 1k Smolt Sprint. The salmon themed obstacle course featured large woody debris, cobbles, boulders, and a culvert made out of fishing net to challenge the young racers as they made their way across the race course. The obstacle course was meant to simulate the challenges smolts face as they travel downstream, from freshwater spawning grounds to the open ocean. Every smolt sprinter received a ribbon for their efforts!
At 10:30 racers started making their way through the 5k course, which featured a scenic loop through forestland, along a coastal bluff, and through farmland. Similar to previous years, various informational signs were placed throughout the course to highlight various water quality and conservation tips for racers to read as they walked/ran by.
New to this year were bright blue, orca fact signs, which were distributed throughout the course. The signs were created to bring awareness to the issues our Southern Resident Orca Whale population faces. The three main threats to orcas include: Loss of habitat, Lack of prey, and vessel noise. The orca was not only seen throughout the 5k loop, but was featured on the back of every racer’s t-shirt. Whatcom CD aims to make the connection clear between orcas, habitat restoration, and salmon restoration, since 90% of the orca diet is chinook salmon.
Whatcom CD along with seven other organizations cheered on racers as they made their way back towards to Finish line. At the end of the race, a raffle featuring fish-themed prizes kicked off.
Thank you to the following businesses that generously donated to this year’s raffle: Edaleen Dairy, ModSock, Flax4Life, HYDAWAY Collapsible Water Bottle, and Leah Serna Photography
Thank you to our 2019 event sponsors:
Kafe 104.1, NSEA, Whatcom Watershed Improvement Network, BBWARM, Blaine-Birch Bay Park and Recreation District 2.
Curious what you can do to help our local orca population?
Join us on Saturday, October 19th for the 2nd annual Orca Recovery Day. We will be planting various native plants along the Nooksack River in Ferndale to restore critical chinook salmon habitat. We will work together to plant his property, owned by WA Department of Fish & Wildlife, in order to conserve the habitat that salmon thrive in.
For more information visit: www.whatcomcd.org/orca-recovery-day