Shadow Shadow

Scenic Trail Offers Lessons in Ecology

The L.I.F.E. Trail was designed in collaboration with ecologists Russel Barsh and Madrona Murphy to support scientific research, participatory study and stewardship. Located on the south campus of school, the fitness course of 9 stations is enhanced by its route through three distinct ecosystems that includes a rare deciduous willow wetland and habitat for the endangered Island Marble Butterfly. Last seen in 1908 and presumed extinct, a few small populations were found 90 years later in the San Juans. This beautiful white and green butterfly with a marbled hind wind is only found in the San Juan Islands.

As part of their environmental studies curriculum, Lopez High School students, under the guidance of ecologists Barsh and Murphy, staked out a habitat restoration area in the meadow featuring weedy mustards that thrive in disturbed soils around farming or colonies of native vole. The stewardship program, supported in part by state funding, is located on the lush southern field of the Vita Parcours where students and community can enjoy the reintroduction of this delicate species. To learn more, visit Kwiaht: Center for the Historical Ecology of the Salish Sea www.kwiaht.org.

The woodland area of the L.I.F.E. Trail is an opportunity to enjoy the sights and sounds of an otherwise undisturbed native island deciduous forest. The dense tangled growth of willow, crabapple, bitter cherry, ocean spray and other native shrubs is home to more than 30 native western Washington songbirds, many of which are year-round residents; others come to nest in spring.

The trail offers students and residents lessons in ecology, biology, botany and natural history: this is Lopez before its wetlands were drained and forests felled more than a century ago.  The L.I.F.E. Trail represents the hope of humans living peacefully in and around our native ecosystems. 

 

Programs for Change

Cultivating Change

The L.I.F.E. Garden Program teaches K-12 students how to grow and eat organic, healthy food...

Nourishing Change

Evening Meals at School serve up organic, affordable communal dinners for the whole community...

Demonstrating Change

S&S Homestead Farm demonstrates principles of sustainability and takes a leadership role in educating youth...

Inspiring Change

The Vita Parcours Lopez Island Fitness and Ecology Trail offers a scenic fitness experience for all abilities and ages...

Promoting Change

Local initiatives support cultural diversity, a connected community, and healthy, well-informed individuals...

Healthy Change

Collaborating with a local effort to bring clean water to a village in Ethiopia with the Water for Anasi project...