Visitors to the Southwest Washington Fair should never leave empty-handed.
Of course, a bag of scones is a necessity. Fortunately, fairgoers only need one hand to carry home a willow tree cutting.
After the recent establishment of the Lewis County Stream Team — an offshoot of the Conservation District that leads volunteer efforts to plant trees near salmon habitat streams — the agency is encouraging folks to take home their own trees by handing out willows at the fair. If guests don’t have a place to plant a willow, that’s fine too: they can bring the cutting to the next Stream Team event.
Willows are a benefit for riparian zones due to their thick, fibrous roots, according to Kelly Verd, special projects coordinator for the Conservation District. Plus, it only takes one small stick to grow a new tree. Beavers often knock down willow trees, and the fallen sticks will simply take root again.
“They’re a really cheap, low-tech way to help prevent erosion,” Verd said. “Because, if it’s eroding and you plant them and they wash away, well, just try again.”
The Conservation District’s booth at the fair will have employees throughout the week to answer questions for landowners. According to Nikki Atkins, watershed liaison, the group is non-regulatory.
“We are here to help people with problems or questions that they have on their property. They may have just moved here, they may have lived here for years and they don't know where to turn,” Atkins said. “We can direct them in the right direction to who they need to talk to or we can help them ourselves.”
To find out more about the Conservation District, visit its website at https://lewisconservation.wordpress.com/ or its booth at the fair inside the Wildlife Building.
The next Stream Team event will be held Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Stan Hedwall Park. Contact email@example.com for questions.
The fair will run through Sunday. Buildings close at 9 p.m.
Entrance at the gate for adults costs $10 and $6 for children (ages 6-12), senior citizens (ages 65 and over) and anyone with a valid military ID. Children ages 5 and under can visit the fair for free all week long.
For more information, visit https://southwestwashingtonfair.org/. The fairgrounds are located at 1909 S. Gold St., Centralia.