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Watershed Watcher Spotlight: Mitchell Family

An older man and woman standing with two children in front of a beach
Gary & Bette Mitchell with their grandsons Mitchell & Bennett Burke at Birch Bay State Park

Gary and Bette Mitchell know how to make stewardship fun! As Watershed Watchers, they volunteer to pick up trash in their neighborhood and invite their grandsons, Bennett & Mitchell Burke, to join in their volunteer activities. When their grandkids help out, they keep it enjoyable by bringing along a trash grabber and make the cleanup into an adventure game.

However, trash pickup is not only fun and games for the Mitchells. The Mitchells believe it is essential to care for their community. Picking up trash is one way they can do that.

“Times are tough for all of us, and a simple act of helping others and your community should be a natural course of action for us all. We are hoping to impart that spirit to our grandkids.” –Bette Mitchell

Having lived in Maple Falls for many years, they dreamed of retiring to Birch Bay. Three years ago that dream became a reality. Aware of the damage caused by trash, they wanted to help keep the Birch Bay watershed beautiful and healthy, so they joined the Watershed Watchers.

“We [are] thrilled to play a small part in helping to protect our waterways, it is after all a true luxury to be blessed with water to protect. I have family that are in parts of the country where water is so precious it is rationed, so I take no small pleasure in living where we do and being able to have fresh clean water!” – Gary Mitchell

You can join the Mitchell family in caring for the Birch Bay community by joining the volunteer program. The Whatcom County Watershed Watchers Program provides concerned residents and environmental stewards with opportunities to improve water quality in your community by:

“Where we live, we have a view of two countries, Mount Baker in its glory, and a bay which changes flavor each day. At night we get to see the lights from the industrial complexes and know that there are others out there working hard to keep us in energy…. We hope that the area, as it develops, retains its small community atmosphere and people truly appreciate the gem that Birch Bay is and all it has to offer. It can decline and go downhill quickly, or it can retain its charm and character with a small effort from those of us who call the area home, as well as those who visit from close and afar.” –Bette Mitchell


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