Gene and Liz Brandzel have spent the past 11 years turning the 37th Avenue East road end into a nature habitat and popular neighborhood destination, and they’re inviting the community to lend a hand for Earth Day.

“It has turned into really the destination walking place,” said Gene Brandzel, and one that attracts people from around the city.

Located on the northeast border of Broadmoor, meeting the water’s edge at Lake Washington, the Beaver Lodge Sanctuary is so named because beavers actually have a lodge in Union Bay.

Brandzel says the numbers counted around the lodge next to the old pier in the sanctuary are around seven, up from a previous count of four.

Residents had worried the beavers wouldn’t return when Broadmoor conducted dredging back in 2010 to improve pumping operations for the gated community’s golf course, but they’re now a counted population.

“We’re also keeping track of what kind of birds they’re seeing there over the period of the year,” Brandzel said, referring to an information board left at the sanctuary for visitors to mark the date, time and numbers of birds they’ve seen.

Forty-five different types of birds had been reported in the Beaver Lodge Sanctuary as of April 4, he said.

It’s come a long way from what it was before the Brandzels and other committed neighbors began working on it.

“It had become really a garbage dump,” Brandzel said, “and it was a place for kids to do what they would not do in their own backyard.”

Brandzel said that through community support more than 300 native species of plants and 33 trees have been planted at the sanctuary.

“It’s been a big task, and last spring we planted 90 news species and 13 trees,” he said.

There was some vandalism at the sanctuary in mid-March.

“Paint was thrown on our beautiful new walnut sign and on the dock,” Brandzel said, but it has since been cleaned up.

Ridding the sanctuary of blackberries has been a task for many years, Brandzel said, but an Earth Day work party will be focused on another invasive species — ivy.

The work party will take place 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 22. Volunteers are asked to bring gloves and wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. There will also be kid-friendly tasks.

There’s been a pattern over the past three years of wetter winters followed by months without adequate precipitation, Brandzel said, which usually starts around June.

Because a neighboring property owner wouldn’t let them tie into their water line to irrigate the sanctuary, and the Department of Ecology wouldn’t let them use the lake to create an irrigation system, Brandzel said he worked with a friend to acquire two stainless steel milk tanks with a combined capacity of 1,300 gallons.

At the height of summer, it can cost $400 a week to keep plants adequately watered, Brandzel said, and last year the Madison Park Community Council continued to support that effort with a financial contribution. He said he will be raising money again for this summer.

Last year buckets were put out for people to adopt plants that needed additional watering. Volunteers put flags next to thirstier plants, and left buckets for people to use. Visitors to the Beaver Lodge Sanctuary will be asked to help out again this summer.

“It turned out to be amazingly successful,” Brandzel said, “as well as really providing a wonderful connection for families and kids that realize they have a responsibility to try to take care of the planet.”

“It has turned into really the destination walking place,” said Gene Brandzel, and one that attracts people from around the city.

Located on the northeast border of Broadmoor, meeting the water’s edge at Lake Washington, the Beaver Lodge Sanctuary is so named because beavers actually have a lodge in Union Bay.

Brandzel says the numbers counted around the lodge next to the old pier in the sanctuary are around seven, up from a previous count of four.

Residents had worried the beavers wouldn’t return when Broadmoor conducted dredging back in 2010 to improve pumping operations for the gated community’s golf course, but they’re now a counted population.

“We’re also keeping track of what kind of birds they’re seeing there over the period of the year,” Brandzel said, referring to an information board left at the sanctuary for visitors to mark the date, time and numbers of birds they’ve seen.

Forty-five different types of birds had been reported in the Beaver Lodge Sanctuary as of April 4, he said.

It’s come a long way from what it was before the Brandzels and other committed neighbors began working on it.

“It had become really a garbage dump,” Brandzel said, “and it was a place for kids to do what they would not do in their own backyard.”

Brandzel said that through community support more than 300 native species of plants and 33 trees have been planted at the sanctuary.

“It’s been a big task, and last spring we planted 90 news species and 13 trees,” he said.

There was some vandalism at the sanctuary in mid-March.

“Paint was thrown on our beautiful new walnut sign and on the dock,” Brandzel said, but it has since been cleaned up.

Ridding the sanctuary of blackberries has been a task for many years, Brandzel said, but an Earth Day work party will be focused on another invasive species — ivy.

The work party will take place 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 22. Volunteers are asked to bring gloves and wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. There will also be kid-friendly tasks.

There’s been a pattern over the past three years of wetter winters followed by months without adequate precipitation, Brandzel said, which usually starts around June.

Because a neighboring property owner wouldn’t let them tie into their water line to irrigate the sanctuary, and the Department of Ecology wouldn’t let them use the lake to create an irrigation system, Brandzel said he worked with a friend to acquire two stainless steel milk tanks with a combined capacity of 1,300 gallons.

At the height of summer, it can cost $400 a week to keep plants adequately watered, Brandzel said, and last year the Madison Park Community Council continued to support that effort with a financial contribution. He said he will be raising money again for this summer.

Last year buckets were put out for people to adopt plants that needed additional watering. Volunteers put flags next to thirstier plants, and left buckets for people to use. Visitors to the Beaver Lodge Sanctuary will be asked to help out again this summer.

“It turned out to be amazingly successful,” Brandzel said, “as well as really providing a wonderful connection for families and kids that realize they have a responsibility to try to take care of the planet.”