Engaging with kids at river festival

WASHINGTON — Olympic National Forest employees staffed a booth at the 17th annual Dungeness River Festival Sept. 29 at Dungeness River Audubon Center. This annual festival highlights watershed stewardship, and the forest has participated for at least 10 years. National forest lands cover much of the Dungeness watershed and other watersheds on the peninsula.

Photo: Two people in Forest Service uniforms stand under a tent. A child looks at display.
Field Ranger Michael Becker and Wildlife Biologist Karen Holtrop staff a Forest Service booth with a poster about pollinators at the Dungeness River Festival. Forest Service photo.

The event provides an opportunity for hands-on activities, food and fun for all ages. Karen Holtrop, Michael Becker and Susette Huett engaged young students with the topic “What the Forest Service does for your Watershed” and discussed all kinds of things the agency does, including protecting pollinators, wildlife and fish habitat; providing forest products; and playing a key role in fire prevention. Smokey Bear was on hand as well to share his message of fire prevention.

Participating in the Dungeness River Festival is a wonderful opportunity for Olympic National Forest employees to engage with the community and with local youth. They get to interact with a variety of people, including hundreds of local elementary school children. Local public schools brought 28 classes of third- to fifth-graders; other participants included private schools and home-school groups, teachers and community members.

This event provides a chance to talk to partners and build relationships as other festival participants include federal, state, tribal and private nonprofit organizations.