Inmates restoring Hood Canal habitat also cultivate a new life

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 NEWS

NWCN.com

Posted on January 6, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 6 at 8:42 PM

BELFAIR, Wash. -- It's not usually described as a dream job, but for some women tending to organic gardens, clearing streams of invasive plants and digging drainage lines from livestock fields, it's the perfect way to spend a day.

They are inmates from the Mission Creek Corrections Center in Belfair and the salmon restoration program is a breath of fresh air.

Thursday they tended to a farm operated by The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group. The farm is a model to show how the thriving relationship between salmon groups and farmers can be enhanced with a few chemical free practices.

The inmates are learning how manure from a nearby alpaca field can be bad news for salmon streams, but if collected and used to grow organic crops, it's a wonderful and very safe fertilizer.

It's on the job training for a growing sustainable food industry and ever-emerging salmon enhancement techniques.

The inmates are allowed to free their minds while discussing the use of leaves to protect farm plants fields during heavy rains.

They are learning skills that may help them adjust to life on the outside when their sentences are served, and they're helping communities that depend on organic food and salmon fishing to bring in money.

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