Cedar River Watershed Education Center

Tours teach about the journey of water in the Greenway

Just this past week, the Greenway education staff was joined by a few Greenway board members for a tour of the Brightwater Treatment Plant. We came away impressed by our region’s efforts to preserve clean water and efforts to educate the public. Although not technically located in the Mountains to Sound Greenway (we made the trip up to just northeast of Woodinville), the Brightwater Treatment Plant plays a big role in making sure sewage from communities within the Greenway gets processed correctly. In fact, during the tour we discovered it takes 4 to 6 hours from when you flush your toilet to when the water and solids arrive at Brightwater. Bet you didn’t know that! We learned how wastewater and human waste can be recycled into reusable water, energy and electricity, and nutrients for plants and soil. Thanks to Casey Plank, King County Wastewater Treatment Division employee, who gave an interesting and fun tour of the Brightwater Plant.

Don’t miss it! Free tours are available on January 21st and February 25th. No reservations required.

We also participated in a tour of the City of Seattle’s Cedar River Watershed at the invitation of Brightwater staff. Did you know it took 100 years to acquire the lands for the watershed? We all felt a deep appreciation for the people who went the distance to complete that task. Cold, strong winds, stunning beauty, and a sense of purity heightened the remote feel to the land (which, by the way, covers 90,638 acres!) There was a real sense of encountering the past when we found a piece of jasper that was ‘worked’ by hands 800 to 4,000 years ago. Special thanks to Pierre Labarge of the Cedar River Watershed for sharing his in-depth knowledge on the facility.

The Cedar River Watershed is carefully managed to support and supply clean drinking water to 1.4 million people in the greater Seattle area. Contact them for tour information: crwprograms@seattle.gov.

I can’t recommend enough either of these tours for families or interested individuals. Check them out!

Sally Kentch is the Greenway Education Program Manager. The Mountains to Sound Greenway Education Program brings an environmental educator into 4th through 10th grade classrooms in King County schools to teach inquiry-based science curriculum, takes students on a field study trip to a nearby forest, and provides an ecological restoration component, all with the goal of teaching about the challenge of sustaining a healthy, natural environment in balance with the needs of a growing population.