In the twelve years that the Wild Rose Meadow neighborhood has matured as a warm, hospitable place for humans, another sort of community has taken root along with it: a diverse, green native plant community in the restored wetlands that form a buffer on the Meadows’ south and west sides.
John and Vicki Clancy in the Wild Rose Meadow wetlands
Repair or replacement of wetlands, located both on the Wild Rose Meadow acreage and the Stonebridge Wetland off Terrill Beach Road, was part of State approval for Wild Rose Meadow’s creation. This required an initial planting by Robin Kucklick and Joe Bullock, and years of professional supervision by Scott Rozenbaum from Lopez.
Key to ensuring the growth and health of the wetlands in Wild Rose Meadow has been the years of dedicated work by neighborhood volunteers John and Vicki Clancy, steadfast stewards of the land who adopted the wetlands as their ecological ward.
Walking the wetlands through a gentle network of paths they have created and maintain along with their son, Willie, John and Vicki can tell you about the history of individual plants. Like how this cedar tree has shot up 12 feet overhead in a “sweet spot” of soft ground while its nearby siblings are growing more slowly, punching their way through more compact soils on parts of the former home- construction staging site the Clancys have now helped reclaim.
The Clancys have been busy over the years. Planting, transplanting, strategic pruning, watering by hand with buckets from the pond when needed, fencing to give the new plant community safety from hungry deer. All of these activities have resulted in a diverse enclave of native plants and even produced a landing spot for ducks –a flock of five, so far.
For the human community, the neighborhood wetlands have also become a visual and sound buffer between their homes and the traffic on Mt. Baker Road.
The State has now declared the wetlands sufficiently established and not in need of further supervision. Yet John, Vicki, and Willie intend to continue their stewardship for the years to come as this plant community continues to mature.
Soon some fences will be coming down for plants that have made strong enough claims to withstand the deer. John is grateful for the opportunity to become intimate with the wetlands, and is happy to continue helping “nature use her intelligence” to prevail.
– Written by Margaret Mills, President, OPAL Board of Trustees