By Gretchen Deo, Program Manager, Citizenship & Public Affairs

Microsoft has a tradition of volunteering on a large scale for United Way of King County’s Annual Day of Caring and this year was no different with over 5,000 Microsoft employees and over 200 Microsoft alumni participating in 213 projects benefitting 152 nonprofit organizations and agencies. As team leader of the Marymoor Park Habitat Restoration Project, I was one of 80 volunteers who spent the day supporting the efforts of Eastside Audubon, the East King County Chapter of National Audubon, digging out invasive scotch broom and blackberries, so that native plants have a better chance to thrive. This, in turn, creates a better habitat for birds and other creatures.

The area within Marymoor Park that we concentrated on is called the “BirdLoop Trail,” which features the best birding opportunities in the park. Our group was large, so we broke up into four smaller groups to tackle different areas of the BirdLoop. The Citizenship & Public Affairs team spent most of our time in the Grassy Meadow removing scotch broom. It wasn’t any easy task, but using some handy weed wrenches, we removed all of the scotch broom in the meadow. It was nice to know that we were giving native trees and shrubs a chance to grow and preserving the natural habitat.

Maintaining this natural area will continue to take effort from a dedicated team of volunteers. If you would like to learn more, visit Eastside Audubon or United Way of King County for volunteer opportunities.

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Citizenship & Public Affairs Team at Marymoor Park for United Way of King County’s Day of Caring 2011.