ILWACO - Kathleen Sayce said, "It was Gail Borchard's idea." Borchard countered, "This was Kathleen's doing." Then the two agreed that spending a couple of hours Jan. 19 cleaning up and replanting in the Mariners Memorial Park and Lewis and Clark Historical Garden behind Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum was President Barack Obama's idea.
The newly innaugurated President had called for a national day of volunteer service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the two ladies and several others got together and "spruced up" the grounds at the garden. Sayce told Sandy Nielson, "Pull up the plants with the large branches, that's invasive lotus and not native to our area, but leave everything else."
Sayce explained, "We have to be very careful to keep the native plants alive and get rid of the non-native vegetation. Usually in a garden we try to make non-native things grow and get rid of the native plants, but since this is a historical garden with plants indigenous to the area we are doing just the opposite." Betsy Millard, CPHM Executive Director added with a grin, "We're keeping what most people would call weeds and getting rid of the other stuff."
Joining Sayce, Borchard and Millard were CPHM board member Bill Garvin, and Patti Jacobsen, Debby Halliburton, Nielson and Janet Volchok among others. "We found a nice window in the weather and we were able to weed and in some areas replant," Millard said. "We try to have a work day in the garden a couple of times each year and we welcome anyone who would like to volunteer."
The work is not the kind a rotary tiller could be used for, however as the various kinds of plants need to be carefully identified and the natives handled with white kid gloves, or at least hands that are supervised by an expert such as Sayce.
The Mariners Memorial Park and Lewis and Clark Historical Garden honors community members lost at sea and the journey of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery, as well as Chinookan historical uses of indigenous plant species.
Another project CPHM is tackling is creating a book for Arcadia Publishing Company consisting of original photos of the railroad that ran in South Pacific County and the Peninsula.
CPHM is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday's noon to 4 p.m. and is located at 115 SE Lake Street in Ilwaco. For more information about the museum or about volunteering call 642-3446 or e-mail (email@example.com).