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Local student starts own nature club

Snohomish County Parks Ranger Tom Cowper shows an injured owl to members of Nora Dentons Nature Club. -
Snohomish County Parks Ranger Tom Cowper shows an injured owl to members of Nora Dentons Nature Club.
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ARLINGTON A 9-year-old, Nora Denton has started a nature club and her fellow club members are learning all sorts of interesting things.
I wasnt sure what I wanted to be when I become an adult until I read about John Muir and then I decided I want to be a naturalist, Denton said.
The club members have started by learning about endangered animals and global warming.
The members, ages from 7 to 11, gather monthly at Denton Wellness Center in downtown Arlington, the office of Noras mother, MaryRose Denton.
Club members learned a lot from Tom Cowper, a Snohomish County Parks Ranger who brought several injured wild birds from Sarvey Wildlife Center to the February meeting.
Cowper told the youngsters that talking about animals and the outdoors is his most favorite thing to do.
What you are doing with the nature club here is very important. You should be very happy and proud, Cowper told the club members.
The park ranger for Flowing Lake Regional Park in Snohomish, Cowper has worked with birds of prey for 30 years. He is a great advocate of Sarvey Wildlife Center, which he said takes care of 4,000 injured wild animals every year.
Sarvey is especially good at returning its patients to the wild, Cowper said. He encouraged the youth to think about volunteering to help at the center, although he pointed out that volunteers must be 16.
You can accompany your parents, he told them.
Cowper appealed to the curiosity of the children to get them to think about why parks and wild animals are important.
After most of the children first thought of their own adventures in parks, like camping, hiking, swimming, picnics and playing on swings and slides, Emily Eulle, then thought about the animals.
The parks provide homes for the wildlife, Eulle said.
Cowper told the children that one of the county parks, the Centennial Trail, serves another unique purpose.
The Centennial Trail is a super highway for animals, Cowper pointed out.
He asked them to think about where animals go when houses are built on their habitats and the children thought maybe the animals would move somewhere else or die. Then he encouraged them to think about all the good things that animals do for humans.
One cougar and one coyote can prevent a billion baby rodents, Cowper explained, adding that each time a wild animal eats a mouse or a rat, that it prevents a multitude of offspring. When a cougar eats a mouse, then that mouse cant reproduce and make thousands more, he said.
These predators are important to have around, Cowper explained, noting that even big animals like cougars should not be feared.
He explained to the children that wild animals are not as dangerous to humans as many other more accepted things, like cars and TVs.
More people die from car wrecks, bicycles and cigarettes and even from TVs.
But you dont go out and shoot them, do you, he said.
He pointed out that cars cause 42,000 deaths a year and TVs cause 60,000 deaths a year.
He acknowledged that 21 people have died from bee stings, but you have to forgive the bees because they pollinate plants that provide food.
None-the-less, Jacklyn Bennett still admitted she doesnt like bees.
I wish they didnt have stingers, she said.
A home-school student, Nora Denton receives credit for organizing the club. She said she decided to start the club after reading about Muir.
He started a club, so I decided to start one too, she said. Part of the process for starting including planning some special speakers, like Cowper, and Bill Blake, who is the Natural Resources Manager for the city of Arlington.
Then I started inviting people to join, Nora said. The members of the club are a combination of home-school and public school students.
Each month the members are assigned a topic for research and bring back information the following month for discussion. The club members spent their March meeting creating a display about trees for the upcoming Arbor Day Celebration presented by the city of Arlington. They will present their display at the event as well as helping plant trees.

Arbor Day Celebration
Noras nature club will join 30 employees from Oso Lumber in planting trees at the upcoming Arbor Day Celebration planned by the city of Arlington for Saturday, April 14.
Presented by the city of Arlingtons Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission, which is also the citys Tree Board, the Arbor Day Celebration will be in Jensen Park, 7801 Jensen Farm Lane, this year.
The event will begin with a reading of a Tree City USA proclamation and seedlings of service berry trees will be distributed for free. There will be refreshments and fun activities along with plenty of trees to plant in the new city park.
Coordinator Sarah Hegge asks everyone to come prepared to work because about 50 trees need to be planted along the fence, along with several big leaf maples for the creek.
Bring your shovels, Hegge said.
All photographers are invited to bring their favorite five-by-seven-inch photograph of trees for a tree photo contest. Photos will be kept by the city and displayed in a public place. The best photo will be rewarded with a $100 certificate to Sunnyside Nursery, courtesy the Arlington Garden Club.
Artists and crafters, landscapers and architects are invited to submit arbor designs for potential use as an entry arch into historical downtown Arlington on the Centennial Trail or at the backside of the new Legion Park, in a project coordinated by the Arlington Arts Council.
For information about Arbor Day call Hegge at 360-403-3448

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