Dine on the Dungeness
What: Fundraiser in support of the Dungeness River Audubon Center and Railroad Bridge Park.
When: 6 p.m., Friday, July 8
Where: Railroad Bridge Park, 2151 W. Hendrickson Road
Cost: $95 per person or $570 for table of six
Registration: Space limited, register by Thursday, June 30, at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2554852
More info: Call 681-4076
Envision a warm summer evening perched on a historical bridge above a wild river, surrounded by your friends, family and immersed in the sound of the water’s rumble, highlighted with the soft singing of birds — that’s what Dine on the Dungeness offers.
For the second year, Dungeness River Audubon Center officials are hosting an unparalleled dining opportunity atop the Dungeness Railroad Bridge in support of the park and educational opportunities provided through the center. From 4-9 p.m., Friday, July 8, the bridge will be closed to through traffic to allow guests the full enjoyment of a dinner, as well as local beer and wine, catered by Kokopelli Grill.
“I think we came up with a really wonderful experience that gives people a fine dinning experience, but in the middle of nature where they can listen to the river,” said Vanessa Fuller, Dungeness River Audubon Center administrative services and development manager. “It’s just a totally unique experience that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Flood damage in February 2015 caused a multi-month closure of bridge and trestle, but turning lemons into lemonade, the closure allowed the first Dine on the Dungeness to be held.
“Guests had such a great time, they were asking for us to do it again,” Fuller said.
Assuming full participation, the proceeds from Dine on the Dungeness is enough to pay for the whole fifth-grade curriculum offered through the center, said Powell Jones, Dungeness River Audubon Center director.
The fifth-grade “Watershed Monitoring” program includes classroom visits from center educators linked with 25 field trips to the center and park by classes from Port Townsend, Sequim and Port Angeles.
At Railroad Bridge Park, students get hands-on experience using the scientific method from making observations and gathering data to identifying aquatic macroinvertebrates to determine whether the Dungeness River is healthy enough to provide good salmon habitat.
Field trips to the park and River Center are “important” for connecting youth and instilling both a sense of stewardship and ownership of the park and watershed, Jones said.
Also, by integrating the Dungeness River Audubon Center’s mission with the public schools’ curriculum, the center and its staff provide outdoor educational opportunities that likely wouldn’t be available otherwise.
“What we do here is really important because it gives them (students) a chance to connect with where they live, their own backyard and learn the importance of a healthy watershed,” Jones said.
The center provides school programs for grades 2-8, as well as some high school and college level internship opportunities.
Railroad Bridge Park is owned by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, but maintained as a public park through a collaborative partnership among the tribe, Dungeness River Audubon Center, Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society and the National Audubon Society.
Reach Alana Linderoth at email@example.com.