Lake Love

Forty years and counting


What: 40th Anniversary Reception

When: 4 pm Fri., Nov. 30

Where: Tennant Lake Interpretive Center, 5236 Nielsen Ave., Ferndale

Cost: Free

Info: ww.fotlhp.org

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The brochure for the Tennant Lake Interpretive Center’s boardwalk resembles a treasure map, but instead of leading its followers to a secret cache of gold coins or pirate’s booty, the colorful artwork by Margaret M. McCandless uncovers the riches of the natural world.

The map posits that those who choose to follow the roundabout path from the historic Nielsen house on the outskirts of Ferndale through the lake’s swampland, marshes, wetlands and sloughs should be on the lookout for a variety of creatures—from bald eagles to yellow warblers, beavers, cedar waxwings, wood ducks, a couple of different species of frogs, meadow mice, dragonflies and great blue herons.

While these seasonal sights will likely be hidden by darkness by the time the Friends of Tennant Lake and Hovander Park host a reception celebrating the center’s 40th anniversary on Fri., Nov. 30, those who’ve traversed the acreage during daylight hours are likely already aware of its status as a gem of Whatcom County.

When the Whatcom Parks and Recreation Department facility opened its doors in December of 1978 with support from elected county officials and state representatives, they made sure to include interpretive displays crafted by Western Washington University faculty and students that told the story of the nearby Nooksack River and its source in the Cascade Mountains, through its mouth in the Salish Sea.

A recent press release for the event notes that the wetland in Tennant Lake not only helps with flood control, but also serves as a sanctuary for the aforementioned wildlife and native plants. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) helps manage the site, supports seasonal hunting and fishing on the lake, and is also planning an extension of the lake’s perennially popular boardwalk trail.

On Friday afternoon, attendees can visit with parks staff, WDFW representatives, local educators and the Friends group at the free celebration to find out more about both the past and the future of the site, including the possibility of bringing more environmental programs to the center in 2019.

Budget cuts ended formal outreach in 2008, but the Friends group still hosts a “Skulls and Skins” event every summer, and works with the Parks Department to put on an early-morning “Swan Watch” in the winter that sees local birding experts sharing their knowledge about the migrating swans that rise from the lake at sunrise (this year’s takes place Sat., Feb. 9).

Volunteer opportunities and details about historical programs, nature hikes and additional advocacy can also be explored. While you’re there, be sure and pick up a treasure map. You never know when you might need it.

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