Burien’s Environmental Science Center celebrates Earth Day

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By the end of Saturday morning, the beach was cleaner, the community was closer and two new trees were in the ground…but this wasn’t just any Saturday at Seahurst Park though – it was April 22: Earth Day.

The first one in 1970 energized millions of Americans, and is widely credited as inspiring the environmental movement. Earth Day has become a special day to celebrate the planet that gives us life, especially by giving back to it. Communities have continued to fuse environmental interests and Seahurst Park was recently a direct benefactor.

More than 60 Burien residents and neighbors attended the Environmental Science Center’s Beach Cleanup and Open House and removed 94 pounds of trash. Plastic piping, toys, cans, a sandal and a phone case no longer live on the ground, but in the belly of the Salmon Trash Sculpture north of the center. The 18-foot artwork was created by welding students at Puget Sound Skills Center and depicts how trash and poor water quality impacts the food chain.

Students from Highline High School’s Key Club added what they found and president Tramy Nguyen was happy to have her fellow members join in a selfless community event. Vince O’Neill and his daughter, Maddy, 9, were also easily drawn to help.

“We talked about what ways or things she wanted to do to help the community and the first thing she said was that she wanted to clean up the beach, so that was the inspiration for today.” By the afternoon, Maddy had paired up plankton and could point out species in a microscope.

In the open house, typical trash items turned into works of art, marine creatures came to life on a community mural and visitors learned ways to help wildlife, reduce stormwater impacts and be more sustainable in their everyday lives. The Burien Lions Club partnered with ESC to share more volunteering opportunities in the community and also pitched in to clean up the park.

The annual event was sponsored by the City of Burien, which also celebrated Arbor Day with a community planting of two vine maples near the center. 2017 marked the 16th year that the City of Burien’s Parks & Recreation Department has been a Tree City USA member. Five-year-old Adrian Mejia assisted in the planting with his family, who wore matching Science is Real t-shirts. “You have to help the Earth,” he said afterward.

ESC agreed. And although the cleanup and open house has come and gone, the impacts of it will last. If you missed out or want to help at the next one, join ESC in September for the International Coastal Cleanup. You can also learn more about the plant and wildlife on the beach during Open House Saturdays this summer.

Visit EnvironmentalScienceCenter.org or call 206-248-4266 for more information.

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