It was a busy Saturday morning at Hutt Park in the Seaview neighborhood as volunteers gathered to spend several hours planting 200 new native plants in an area cleared of invasive species earlier this year. The event was the latest in a series of work parties by this dedicated group of stewards that is making Hutt Park a showplace of how local volunteers can make a big difference.
It’s been six years since the first volunteer cleanup of Hutt Park kicked off one of the most successful grassroots efforts of its kind to revegetate and restore a neighborhood island of greenery.
In the intervening years, the Edmonds Parks Department and EarthCorps have joined in the effort, helping neighbors and the loosely-organized Friends of Hutt Park plan and execute efforts to remove invasive species, replace them with native plants and restore the park. A volunteer work party on Earth Day 2017 was particularly successful, drawing more than 70 volunteers to pull ivy and replant with native species.
Two stalwarts who have spearheaded these efforts since the beginning are Ron and Susan Boerger.
“We live in a downtown apartment, and Hutt Park has literally become our back yard,” said Ron. “We’ve been doing this for years, and feel such a strong attachment to this lovely piece of forest.”
“It’s been so gratifying over the years to watch the new plants become established and start bringing the park back to its natural state,” added Susan. “We’ll sure miss it.”
Yes, the Boergers are poised to leave Hutt Park behind as they realize their dream to move literally to the other side of the world.
“Now that I’m retired, we’re able to do what we’ve dreamed about for years — relocate to England,” said Ron. “We’ve already got a place on several acres in Lincolnshire, about 200 miles from London. We’re set to leave as soon as my visa comes through. It’ll be a big change in a lot of ways, but one thing that won’t change is that we’ll continue our passion of working in the soil. Except now it will be right outside our door.”
So what’s next for Hutt Park?
The Boergers are turning over their primary stewardship responsibilities to the new team of Wilson Leung and Beate Leipert, who promise to bring equal passion to continuing the momentum at Hutt Park.
“We’re really looking forward to it,” beamed Beate. “Hutt Park is such a special place, and as stewards we’ll do everything we can to keep it that way.”
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel