Local officials say saving Puget Sound is a necessity. Apparently, it ought to be fun, too. Hence the mascot costumed in brown fleece.
That’s the product of MudUp!, a new public-awareness effort by the Nature Conservancy, People for Puget Sound, and the Trust for Public Land. The three organizations have embarked on a three-year, $80 million campaign for the region’s ecosystem; it also involves a get-out-the-help campaign with a web site and the Mud Monster, dressed in brown and green seagrass. At mudup.org, Puget Sound residents can look for upcoming Sound-related cleanup parties, low-tide nature walks, or other ways to know and love the 2,500-mile shoreline.
“This is primarily about web presence,” says Jeff Compton, outreach manager of the Nature Conservancy’s Washington chapter. “We’ve made a one-stop shop for folks to get involved in cleaning up and restoring Puget Sound’s shorelines.”
MudUp! is not aimed primarily at the average enviro who’s already plugged into a given restoration effort, says Compton. “For folks who are already involved or aware, the difference they’ll notice is there’s kind of a muddy community,” he says. “They can find more people doing good work and can share their stories.”
The campaign started with $3 million in seed money from the Russell Family Foundation, which has tied future grants to seeing results, says Compton, particularly in MudUp! directing volunteer muscle to dozens of small, volunteer-run cleanup efforts around the region.
The three groups are one year into a decade-long campaign to restore fragile habitat by forming 10 new waterfront parks and natural areas, restoring 100 miles of shoreline, and protecting, through regulations or landowners’ incentives, another 1,000 miles. More info is at www.shorelinealliance.org.