To locate the kiosk that talks about rain gardens and send us a photo of the sign! Along the way you may spot wildlife, native plants, and wetlands full of reclaimed water.
Hawks Prairie Ponds and Recharge Basins is a 40-acre site with a series of five constructed wetland ponds with a looping walking trail. LOTT Clean Water Alliance owns and maintains the park.
To complete this mission, follow the trail to the right and loop back to the parking area.
Be sure to keep your eyes open for the native oak tree which has been restored to this site!
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
- Dogs are permitted on leashes.
Look for the informative signs about the reclaimed water ponds and learn what they are all about!
What is reclaimed water? It is wastewater that has been super cleaned so it can be used for almost anything except drinking.
What is wastewater? Wastewater is any water that has been contaminated by human use such as water that goes down your house drain and toilet.
FACT! If you see a purple sprinkler head or purple pipe, you know reclaimed water is being used.
Learn more about how wastewater is treated and reclaimed water is made at https://lottcleanwater.org/programs/outreach-education/videos-about-lott/.
Have you spotted the kiosk with rain garden information? How does a rain garden work and why are they important? (Don’t forget to take a photo and send it to us to complete your mission!)
Rain gardens are gardens made by people to mimic nature and filter stormwater.
Stormwater is the rain that runs off roof tops, roads, and parking lots. As rainwater runs off of these hard surfaces it picks up many pollutants such as oil and heavy metals from cars, fertilizer, pesticides and even pet waste.
Most stormwater is not treated and flows directly to our streams, lakes, and Puget Sound carrying these pollutants with it. Rain gardens and other types of stormwater treatment help filter and clean the water before it goes into the ground or into our waterbodies.
Learn how to build a rain garden by visiting https://apps.ecology.wa.gov/publications/publications/1310027.pdf.
Explore the Wetlands
Along this trail, you will see approximately 12 acres of constructed wetlands. The wetlands are supplied by LOTT’s reclaimed water.
What is a wetland and why are they important? A wetland is an area of land where the ground is saturated (full) of water causing the land to be covered by water.
Wetlands benefit the ecosystem by storing and cleaning water and providing valuable habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife.
Wildlife in Wetlands
Can you think of wildlife that may use wetlands for their food, water, or their home?
Here you might spot the blue or green darner dragonfly.
Did you know that Washington State’s insect is the green darner dragonfly? Learn more about damselflies and dragonflies by visiting https://www.pugetsound.edu/academics/academic-resources/slater-museum/biodiversity-resources/dragonflies/washington-odonata/.
You might also spot a muskrat, great blue heron, northwestern salamander or beaver!
For more information, watch this National Geographic 25 minute special on beavers of North America!
Where is the Water Going?
Groundwater recharge: These reclaimed water ponds were built to recharge groundwater. Groundwater is water that is held underground in the soil and between cracks in rocks. It is a very important water source for our streams and lakes and most of our drinking water in Thurston County comes from groundwater!
It might look like not much is happening, however, water from the ponds flows into the sandy recharge basins. From there, the water soaks through the soil replenishing our groundwater.
Groundwater is a part of the larger water cycle. Check out this cool interactive water cycle!
Restoring the Land
When the wetland ponds were created, the site was replanted with native plants common to our area.
See if you can find and identify at least three of these common Pacific Northwest plants:
- Red flowering current
- Bald hip rose
- Ocean spray
- Large leaf lupin
- Red elderberry
- Mock orange
Look for Garry Oaks
What tree was here before the ice age? Hint: It stands tall and often spindly, has lobbed leaves and grows acorns as its seeds… It’s an oak tree!
Along the trail see how many oak trees you can spot!
These are called Garry oak or Oregon white oak and they are a native tree species often found on our prairies. The fruit of the oak tree is the acorn and it is a food source which Native American people continue to use. Animals use it for food too.
Can you name an animal that may depend on acorns? Douglas squirrel and Washington’s threatened Western gray squirrel!
Can you solve this riddle? I am quite large for my species and have tiger like black stripes on my wings. I like sweet spring blossoms to eat from and dew drops or water puddles to drink from. I often lay my eggs on the leaves of the willow. What am I?
Western swallowtail butterfly!
All these beautiful blooming native plants attract several animal species. How many others can you name?
You might see the Western bumble bee or the Rufous hummingbird!
Many migrating birds and year-round-birds, nest in the lush trees and shrubs along the trail. Have you heard them singing or seen them amongst the leaves?
Can you find any nesting boxes that have been installed on the pond? Those nesting boxes are for the colorful wood duck!
To learn more about birds in our area, visit https://birdweb.org/birdweb/birds.
You have completed your mission to locate the kiosk that talks about rain gardens and send us a photo of the sign! Don’t forget to login to the Goose Chase App and submit your photo for this mission to collect your park specific sticker!