Annual Festival Teaches People About the Importance of the Nisqually Watershed

By Jacob Dimond / jake@yelmonline.com
Posted 9/27/22

The 33rd annual Nisqually Watershed Festival returned live and in-person for the first time since 2019 and was viewed as another successful rendition of the longtime celebration.

Throughout the …

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Annual Festival Teaches People About the Importance of the Nisqually Watershed

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The 33rd annual Nisqually Watershed Festival returned live and in-person for the first time since 2019 and was viewed as another successful rendition of the longtime celebration.

Throughout the day on Sept. 24, those in attendance at the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge were treated to different interactive exhibits based on the Nisqually watershed. The event featured several live performances throughout the day which included the Reptile Lady, Wolf Haven International, the Nisqually Stream Stewards and Bats Northwest.

The first group to take the main stage was the Olympia Highlanders.

Justin Hall, the executive director of the Nisqually River Foundation, said the Scottish bagpipers represent the history behind the Port of Nisqually and were the first non-Native people to live in Washington.

Following the Olympia Highlanders, there was a blessing to officially open the event.

“The Nisqually Watershed Festival is a celebration of the history and natural resources of the watershed,” Hall said. “The majority of the festival is geared toward education about the watershed and its natural resources. We try to teach ways we can preserve the watershed and enhance the things that we have.”

Throughout the course of the day, guests were treated to several unique live performances, which Hall said were the most popular events of the day.



“The biggest draw and the highlight for a lot of the people was the different animal acts,” Hall said. “That really just fascinates people to have the chance to have a live interaction with different animals.”

Hall said each of the different performances represented a different aspect of the watershed. There were different fish dissections of dogfish and salmon, as well as a guided nature walk along the watershed.

The Nisqually Stream Stewards also taught attendees about the watershed in a family-friendly environment. 

“We have a lot of opportunities for kids and families to interact through fish printing, an insect exploratorium (and) salmon dissection. There are a lot of different things for families to come learn about the watershed,” Hall said. “It’s about our exhibitors and to teach about what the individual is trying to get across.”

Hall, along with the Nisqually River Foundation, had the opportunity to highlight the importance of the watershed during the festival. He said he enjoys seeing parents and their children get involved with various activities at the event.

“My job as executive director of the Nisqually River Foundation is to collaborate with the tribe and various organizations on projects that promote, preserve and protect the watershed. This event has been around for nearly 35 years and I believe we’re doing a good job at promoting the quality of our Nisqually River,” Hall said. “The festival presents the opportunity to promote that the Nisqually Watershed is a special place and that we should treat it as such. It seemed to be quite the successful event.”

The Nisqually Watershed Festival takes place on the last Saturday of each September. It is tentatively scheduled to take place next year on Saturday, Sept. 30.

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