The poop fairies are gone — it’s time to bring a bag and clean up after your own dog

Whatcom Water Week, which celebrated local water resources across Whatcom County from Sept. 14-22, added something new to its calendar of events this year: the poop fairy.

The poop fairy’s job was to visit a handful of parks around Whatcom County — including Hovander Homestead Park and VanderYacht Park in Ferndale — and educate the community on how picking up dog feces can help keep the community’s waterways clean.

“We wanted to have a fun way to interact with people and easily start conversations about picking up dog poop,” said Erika Douglas, a water quality coordinator for Whatcom County Public Works. She’s also one of the poop fairies.

On Wednesday, Sept. 18, Douglas and helper Leah Robison visited Hovander Homestead Park, donning neon green fairy wings and wands.

The two posted signs encouraging dog owners to “scoop it, bag it, and trash it,” and marked spots where dog feces had been left with orange flags — many of which were near garbage cans or in close proximity to the Nooksack River.

“Because we have water quality issues in Whatcom County, we want to help people find those easy tools that we can use to all contribute to community solutions for clean water,” Douglas said.

The poop fairies also handed out human goody bags, poop bags and dog treats to dog owners in order to encourage them to pick up their dog’s waste.

Reducing the fecal coliform bacteria — a bacteria that can make humans sick — in Whatcom County waterways is part of a larger Pollution Identification and Correction Program that aims to increase water quality across the county.

Lacey Young is a visual journalist who interned at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, NASA’S Goddard Space Flight Center and Minnesota Public Radio. She’s a University of Montana graduate and life-long Washingtonian.