holyoutlaw: (me meh)

Join Friends of North Beach Park for the wrap up of the planting season on Saturday, January 23, 2016. We’ll meet at the main entrance to the park, 24th Ave and 90th St. NW. The work party will run from 9 a.m. to noon, rain or shine.

We’ll be planting at the main stream crossing and streamside up and down from that point. We’ll also be transporting some mulch down to the planting areas. The plants we’ll be planting have been provided by Green Seattle Partnership and the Washington Native Plant Society.

We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Please wear weather appropriate layers than can get dirty (likely very dirty) and closed-toe, waterproof shoes. Rain gear will be helpful; expect late-January weather, whatever that means these days. Even in cold weather, it’s a good idea to bring some water and a snack. Note there are no facilities at the park.

Please sign up in advance so we know you’re coming.

All ages are welcome; volunteers under 18 must sign and bring a waiver (link next to the sign-up form). The #48 and #40 buses stop a few blocks south of the park; check Metro for details. Parking is available on 90th St. east of 24th Ave.

As always, you can support Friends of North Beach Park by making a directed donation to the Seattle Parks Foundation. All money donated will be used to fund the restoration efforts of North Beach Park.

If you’re looking for something on Martin Luther King Day, there are a number of special events all over the city.

If you can’t join Friends of North Beach Park in January, save the date for one of our upcoming work parties: February 27, March 26, or April 23. All work parties are 9 a.m. to noon, and will meet at the main entrance to the park, 90th St. and 24th Ave. NW.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

The weather was crisp, with frost riming the grass and leaves in the park. Good work kept us warm, though, and the sun shone through the thinning canopy to help.

Thirteen people were Friends of North Beach Park Saturday, ranging in age from 8 to 80 and from completely new participants to those who have been to every work party (a better record than I have, in fact).

The main goal of the day was to install plants. Some areas had been cleared by volunteers, and other areas had been cleared… by trees falling. In fact, in the last week and a half, two trees have fallen in North Beach Park, an alder and a big leaf maple.

This picture shows two fallen alder trees. The more recent one is in the center of the picture.

Two fallen alder trees. The more recent one is in the center of the picture.

This picture looks along the fallen maple trunk, from the root ball towards the crown.

Looking along the fallen maple trunk, from the root ball towards the crown. In the foreground are two replacement trees, a big leaf maple and a grand fir.

A fallen tree is an important part of the forest ecosystem, and the deciduous trees in North Beach Park are at the end of their life spans. The problem is that there aren’t enough young trees to take over the canopy. North Beach Park is lucky in that we do have younger deciduous and coniferous trees (ranging from saplings up to mid-canopy), but if we hadn’t started restoring it, the forest would be in serious danger. The canopy gaps create light cones to the forest floor; in a healthy forest, this would create a great burst of energy for the next generation of trees. However, in an urban forest, the danger is that the invasive plants will really take over.

The forest floor of North Beach Park is in better shape than it was when we started. There are nearly two thousand plants installed, ranging from trees to groundcover. These will benefit from the new light from the canopy gap, and the nutrients put into the soil by the decaying wood.

Today, in fact, we planted two trees at the base of the new falls and some falls from last year: a big leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum) and a grand fir (Abies grandis). This combination went into at least three places. We also planted a number of shrubs, groundcover, and wetland plants, including several that are underrepresented or were nonexistent in the park before restoration.

In all, we planted nearly two hundred plants. The table below lists what we planted.

  Genus Species   Common Name
Abies grandis grand fir
Acer macrophyllum bigleaf maple
Amelanchier alnifolia serviceberry
Asarum caudatum wild ginger
Dicentra formosa Pacific bleeding heart
Gaultheria shallon salal
Juncus acuminatus tapertip rush
Mahonia nervosa low Oregon-grape
Myrica californica Pacific wax myrtle
Petasites frigidus coltsfoot
Prunus emarginata var. mollis bitter cherry
Tiarella trifoliata threeleaf foamflower
Nicole, Morry, Julie, Kirstie, and Lina (with Jesse nearby) work in the Central Valley. Can you find them all?

Nicole, Morry, Julie, Kirstie, and Lina (with Jesse nearby) work in the Central Valley. Can you find them all?

Jesse found a bug!

Jesse found a bug!

The stalwart crew!

The stalwart crew!

Our next workparty will be January 23, 2016. We’ll be doing a lot of planting then, too, if you want to join us.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

Join Friends of North Beach Park for some post-Thanksgiving green calories on Saturday, November 28, 2015. We’ll meet at the main entrance to the park, 24th Ave and 90th St. NW. The work party will run from 9 a.m. to noon, rain or shine.

We’ll be planting in different areas in the main body of the park. The plants we have range from small groundcover to giant conifers (well, they will be giant conifers in a couple decades). We will also transport mulch down to the sites using wheelbarrows and buckets.

Low Oregon-grape (Mahonia nervosa), salal (Gaultheria shallon), wild ginger (Asarum caudatum), and Pacific bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa).

Low Oregon-grape (Mahonia nervosa), salal (Gaultheria shallon), wild ginger (Asarum caudatum), and Pacific bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa).

Here is a complete list:

Genus Species
Common Name
Number
Abies grandis grand fir
10
Acer macrophyllum bigleaf maple
10
Amelanchier alnifolia serviceberry
9
Asarum caudatum wild ginger
20
Blechnum spicant deer fern
30
Dicentra formosa Pacific bleeding heart
20
Gaultheria shallon salal
25
Juncus acuminatus tapertip rush
25
Myrica californica Pacific wax myrtle
15
Petasites frigidus coltsfoot
10
Prunus emarginata var. mollis bitter cherry
10
Tiarella trifoliata threeleaf foamflower
20
   
204

We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Please wear weather appropriate layers that can get dirty. Rain gear will be helpful; expect late-November weather, whatever that means these days. Even in cool weather, it’s a good idea to bring some water and a snack.

Please sign up in advance at the Green Seattle Partnership Cedar website so we know you’re coming.

All ages are welcome; volunteers under 18 must sign and bring a waiver (link next to the sign-up form). The #48 and #40 buses stop a few blocks south of the park; check Metro for details. Parking is available on 90th St. east of 24th Ave.

Can’t make the work party? Help out the Green Seattle Partnership by taking the 20 Year Plan Update Community Survey. In order to guide the update to the GSP 20 Year Strategic Plan, we have a NEW survey that is targeted towards regular volunteers and/or non-volunteers. This survey is looking to gather information on how GSP can support volunteerism citywide.

Here is some more on the Green Seattle 10 Year Update.

And as always, you can support Friends of North Beach Park by making a directed donation to the Seattle Parks Foundation.

All money donated will be used to fund the restoration efforts of North Beach Park.

If you have any questions about the work party or Friends of North Beach Park, feel free to write lukemcguff@yahoo.com.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

The “Outdoor Academy” at Tahoma Senior High School is a year-long, integrated program designed to teach stewardship in alignment with language arts, health and fitness, and AP environmental science. 85 students participate in this program annually, and King County Parks provides opportunities for several field trips in line with the academic goals of the program.

Today (Tuesday, 11/10/15) they came to Log Cabin Reach, a natural area along Issaquah Creek. This was once a farm, and is being returned to forest. Issaquah Creek provides cold water to the Cedar River, important for salmon. The task for the day was planting, more than 400 trees and shrubs. The weather was very cooperative — sunny while we worked, then it cooled down and clouded over almost as soon as we were done. About 75 students were able to join us today.

Tina Miller (left, on truck) and Tracy Krause (right, on truck) call the students to order and get the day rolling.

Tina Miller (left, on truck) and Tracy Krause (right, on truck) call the students to order and get the day rolling.

Tina Miller (on truck) gives the tool safety lecture to the students.

Tina Miller (on truck) gives the tool safety lecture to the students.

Everyone gets a shovel!

Everyone gets a shovel!

After everyone got a shovel, we had a short walk to the work site. There were 400 plants laid out in a field that had been mowed and treated for blackberry. The students made short work of the plants, quickly getting them into the ground.

Students and plants.

Students and plants.

Working students

Working students

A large group of working students.

A large group of working students.

Sign of a successful planting work party!

Sign of a successful planting work party!

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

It was rainy for the 10th annual Green Seattle Day, but this was hardly the worst weather I’ve experienced. There were about 16 events all over the city; I went to St. Mark’s Greenbelt. We had 300 plants to put in and ably met the task. There are five forest stewards at St. Mark’s, some of whom have been working there as long as ten years, some only a couple.

Low Oregon grape, sword fern, salal, and some other plants ready to be installed.

Low Oregon grape, sword fern, salal, and some other plants ready to be installed.

There was a good crowd of people, about 25 to start with.

Getting to work

Getting to work

The rain never got too hard to be soaking, but it did give all the plants a nice thorough drink as we planted them. We installed Douglas and grand fir, tall and low Oregon-grape, sword and deer fern, nootka and bald hip rose, cascara, and a few others. In preparation for the planting, invasives had been removed over the summer and the work area covered in burlap. When my coworker pulled the burlap aside once, we found two different kinds of insect eggs, I have no idea what kind.

Two kinds of insect eggs.

Two kinds of insect eggs.

Getting all the plants in took less than the allotted time. A number of people took off before we had the chance for a group photo, but here are the stalwarts.

About half the workers.

About half the workers.

The fun wasn’t over yet, though, as we set to removing ivy that had grown up into the canopy of a few nearby trees.

They could sure use it.

They could sure use it.

Attacking the problem.

Attacking the problem.

Result!

Result!

Two important clarifications: (a) The two people in the second-to-last photograph were not the only ones who worked. (b) There were several more trees worked on than in this photo.

By this time, almost everyone but the forest stewards and four or five die-hard volunteers had left. There was still the all-important “must be present to win” raffle. I even think it went to the hardest-working volunteer.

Angel, with the backpack donated by REI.

Angel, with the backpack donated by REI.

One thing I like to do when volunteering at Green Seattle Day or Duwamish Alive, or any other large planting effort, is think about all the people all over the area (the Green/Duwamish watershed or the city of Seattle) who are pitching in to help make the future a little better, and how all our work connects together.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

Duwamish Alive! is an annual event held to bring awareness about the Duwamish River and its importance to the history and ecology of Seattle. It also provides a focus of energy, as all the different groups involved in the restoration of the Duwamish River sponsor events. This year there were more than 15 events, including a shoreline restoration challenge, a kayak clean up, and numerous native planting work parties. Sponsors included Forterra, EarthCorps, Nature Consortium, the Rose Foundation, and many others.

Cecil Moses Memorial Park

Cecil Moses Memorial Park

King County Parks held a work party in Cecil Moses Park, located at the north end of the Green River Trail, which travels along the shore of the Duwamish River for 19 miles, to the North Green River Park in Kent. Cecil Moses is located at an important transition point in the river, where tidal influences mix the fresh water of the river and the salt water of Puget Sound. Young salmon pause here on their way to the ocean to acclimate themselves to salt water. Cecil Moses is also located close to North Winds Weir, an important historical location to members of the Duwamish tribe.

The day started cool and cloudy, with just three of us and an awful lot of plants.

Tools at the ready for eager volunteers.

Tools at the ready for eager volunteers.

We kept plugging away, though, and as the day continued, the sun came out more strongly and we were soon enough joined by two families. That made the rest of the day a breeze, and we got all the plants in the ground and most of them mulched.

Left to right: Cam (red shirt), Theresa, William (white shirt), and Leslie. Theresa is giving the planting demonstration.

Left to right: Cam (red shirt), Theresa, William (white shirt), and Leslie. Theresa is giving the planting demonstration.

Left to right: Kirstie, William, Ann, and Theresa.

Left to right: Kirstie, William, Ann, and Theresa.

Cam (red shirt) and Moss (behind Cam) watch as Leslie plants a shrub.

Cam (red shirt) and Moss (behind Cam) watch as Leslie plants a shrub.

I like to see children at a restoration event. The families live near the park and regularly walk the trails together. They’ll be able to see the changes over time as the restoration progresses. That’s what it’s all about.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

Combined plant record

The attached PDF is an edit of a spreadsheet that lists every one of the plants in North Beach Park either (a) seen growing in the park; or (b) planted as part of the restoration efforts; or (c) listed in a target forest type but not yet planted (very few of those). The total is 160, of which 41 (a little over 25%) are invasive.

I’ve left in the columns that give the form (tree, shrub, etc), wetland status, and a few other things which are explained in the notes at the bottom of the file. For an explanation of target forest types, please see this post.

I’ve edited OUT the columns for each of the habitat management units (ie, “HWB”, “CV”, etc.) Those columns get a “G” (for Growing) or an “R” (for planted during Restoration).

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)


The Conscientious Gardener: Cultivating a Garden Ethic
Sarah Hayden Reichard
University of California Press, 2011

An important aspect of ecological restoration is the private garden. By adding native plants, decreasing the use of pesticides, more carefully recycling and reusing materials, the home gardener can, in aggregate, have a tremendous impact on the landscape as a whole.

In “The Conscientious Gardener: Cultivating a Garden Ethic,” Sarah Reichard (Director of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens) lays out the principles of the garden ethic as inspired by Aldo Leopold’s “land ethic” – that is, being aware of not just the plants in your garden, but the web of interactions with the soil, the sun, the water, and the other plants and life forms. She describes the problems of the home gardener, such as over watering or over use of fertilizers and pesticides, citing both general and technical literature. She also describes many solutions that can work in all areas of the country.

She is a strong advocate for native plants, of course, but does NOT advocate ripping out your entire garden. Natives can be integrated with general horticultural plants to great effect. Using the same horticultural plants can makes gardens look alike the whole world around, but if everyone were to rip out all exotic plants, we’d be left with PNW filled with the few horticultural workhorses. We’d be left with LESS diversity in our gardens, not more. Integrating the gardens with native and exotic horticultural plants is the way to go.

Being aware of the interconnectedness of all gardens, of how they connect to local watersheds, the wildlife that might come from a nearby park or greenbelt, or even the garden next door, can help guide one’s choices. Maybe use a less water hungry plant, or decrease the VERY resource-hungry lawn. Widen the bloom time of your garden to increase food for pollinators. Add plants that will go to seed and provide food for birds. Leave the seed heads for the birds.

Reichard’s book is valuable because it describes things people can do in their home gardens that will have a definite impact on the environment. It’s an important part of a growing body of literature on how to increase the ecological value of the home garden.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

The weather forecast was for warm temperatures and “decreasing rain” — we had no rain at all and perfect temperatures.

We had a great crew of fifteen people, including forest stewards and students from the Delta Tau Delta fraternity at the UW.

We planted 75 plants, spread over the South Plateau.
The South Plateau
(This is looking into the South Plateau, which is the largest flat, dry area in the park.)

We planted four Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), more than eleven Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor), and about 15 each dwarf Oregon-grape (Mahonia nervosa), sword fern (Polystichum munitum), bald-hip rose (Rosa gymnocarpa), and Nootka rose (R. nutkana). All these plants are under-represented in the South Plateau and have been reintroduced by restoration planting (although not this time). They’ll help to stabilize and buttress slopes and add more visual texture to the currently open and bare area.

Here is an “after” picture of the hearty crew:
The hearty crew

All in all, this was a pretty easy-going work party. We had plenty of time for some ivy and herb robert removal and even some attempts to help slow the water flow down.

The next work party for the Friends of North Beach Park will be February 28, at 9 a.m. We’ll be planting shrubs in the main body of the park. Please sign up here if you’d like to join us.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

November is the second of FOUR planting work parties in North Beach Park. We hope to plant just over 1000 plants (total). Join us for this quest and help make North Beach Park even better.

Saturday, November 22: We’ll be working in an area that was cleared last winter. Now it needs some extra attention before being planted, so this will be a mixture of a work party. We’ll clear the area first and then plant – 72 plants. It all should go rather quickly.

We’ll meet at 9 a.m. at the main entrance to the park, 90th St. and 24th Ave. NW. We’ll go until 12 noon.

At this work party, Friends of North Beach Park will be joined again by students from North Seattle’s iCARE program for international students, and students from the University of Washington Circle K International.

Please sign up in advance so we know you’re coming.

Remember to wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and bring water or a snack if you need them. We provide tools, gloves, and guidance. All ages are welcome; volunteers under 18 must sign and bring a waiver (available online). The #40 and #48 buses stop within a few blocks of the park, check Metro for details. Parking is available on 90th St. east of 24th.

November 22 will be the first of two planting work parties installing plants provided by Green Seattle Partnership and Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation. On January 24, we return to the South Plateau for more GSP plant installation. The last planting work party will happen on February 28, when we install shrubs and small trees in the wetlands provided by the Washington Native Plant Society stewardship grant.

As always, if you don’t have the time to join us for a work party, you can support Friends of North Beach Park by making a directed donation to the Seattle Parks Foundation.

All money donated will be used to fund the restoration efforts of North Beach Park.

If you have any questions, feel free to write lukemcguff[at]yahoo.com for further information.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

The October work party for Friends of North Beach Park was, once again, a tremendous success. The weather cooperated: it was raining in the morning, but during the work party itself, there were even occasional sunbreaks. It didn’t start raining again until we were safely back home.

We were joined this time by about eleven volunteers from the North Seattle College iCARE program. The students worked hard and well and with the guidance of the forest stewards, we got 450 plants into the ground, which were:

The list

Those are all wetland obligate (they have to live in a wetland) or facultative wetland plants (they prefer wetland environments, but about a third of the time they can be found in drier spots). The Carex amplifolia and Glyceria elata have been seen growing in isolated patches in North Beach Park, but the C. stipata has not been seen in the park at all. The other three have been planted during restoration in small quantities. None of the plants have been seen growing or have been planted near where they were planted Saturday, which will make monitoring of the project in the spring and summer easy.

Julie sorted them into five buckets, 10 or 20 per bucket.

Sorting

The five buckets were to correspond with five areas for receiving the plants. All the plants got put in where they were intended, and we had some extras to spread around.

Working in a seep

Above, we see Loren (bareheaded, in black jacket to the left) and Drexie (kneeling in purple jacket to the right) leading a group of the North Seattle students in planting. They’re working in a seep that wasn’t in the original planting plan, but I was really glad to see get something put into it.

Duckboards

The photo above shows Doug leading other students in planting. They’re standing on “duckboards,” a technical term for sheets of plywood (in this case, just particle board) that you can pick up and move around to avoid churning up the soil of a wetland and breaking the structure. The leaf-fall makes it a little less obvious, but the area they’re about to work in is bare soil, the result of a new shift in the water flow.

Everything went smoothly enough that we were actually done early. Here’s the group picture:

The victorioous crew!

Doug had gone back into the park to plant one straggler. In the back we see Morry on the left, with Drexie, Loren, and Tad in the back center. Julie is kneeling in the front. Everyone else is from North Seattle.

These plants were purchased as partial fulfillment of a stewardship grant from the Central Puget Sound chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society. As I said above, these are all plants that are under-represented in North Beach Park or have not yet been observed growing there. Planting them in such great quantities will greatly increase the ecological diversity of North Beach Park at the herbaceous level, and will help stabilize the seeps against erosion.

As usual, there are a few more pictures on Flickr. And there are even some pictures on Facebook, posted by the iCare coordinator.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

Planting season has hit the Pacific Northwest, and restoration projects all over the place are getting their shovels dirty. No less is happening in North Beach Park — we have planting parties planned for the next FOUR work parties, October, November, January, and February!

October
The October work party happens Saturday, October 25, from 9 a.m. to noon. Please sign up here. The Friends of North Beach Park will be joined by international students from North Seattle College, volunteering with their I-CARE program.

October features wetland graminoids (grasses) and one forb. These plants will come from 4th Corner Nursery in Bellingham, and are purchased with monies from a stewardship grant from the Central Puget Sound Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society. We also appreciate the support of our fiscal sponsor, Seattle Parks Foundation, for processing the money.

These will be planted in the Headwaters Bowl and Central Valley habitat management units of North Beach Park.

Scientific Name Common name Size Form Number
Carex amplifolia Broad-leaved sedge br Gr 50
Carex stipata Sawbeak sedge br Gr 100
Deschampsia caespitosa Tufted hair-grass br Gr 50
Glyceria elata Tall mannagrass br Gr 100
Juncus ensifolius Daggerleaf rush br Gr 50
Scirpus microcarpus Panicled bulrush br Gr 100
Veronica americana American brooklime br Fo 100

Although this is 550 plants, they’re all pretty small.

November
The November work party will happen on Saturday, the 22nd. Build up that appetite and enjoy your Thanksgiving feast that little bit more, because you’ve done some good for Seattle parks! Sign up here. Friends of North Beach Park will be joined again by international students from the North Seattle College I-CARE program.

November will see more plants installed in the main body of North Beach Park. These plants are provided by Green Seattle Partnership. There will be one tree, one shrub, and two grasses and two forbs.

Scientific Name Common name Size Form Number
Acer macrophyllum bigleaf maple 1 gal Tr 6
Asarum caudatum wild ginger 1 gal Fo 20
Oplopanax horridus Devil’s club 1 gal Sh 10
Petasites frigidus coltsfoot 1 gal Fo 20
Scirpus acutus hardstem bulrush 1 gal Gr 8
Scirpus microcarpus panicled bulrush 1 gal Gr 8

For the first three years of restoration, we planted hundreds of conifer trees in North Beach Park. Now we’re going to switch gears for a while: Let the new conifers establish and get well-situated for the next three to five years, and do some replacement of the deciduous canopy.

We skip December, because the 4th Saturday falls between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. We hope you have a good holiday.

January
In January, we return to the South Plateau to plant the last of the plants provided by Green Seattle Partnership. The entrance to the South Plateau is at NW 88th St. and 27th Ave. NW. The January work party will happen on Saturday, the 24th. The event is not posted to Cedar yet, but it will have full directions and information. We DO know what we will be planting, though.

Scientific Name Common name Size Form Number
Holodiscus discolor oceanspray 1 gal Sh 11
Lonicera involucrata twinberry 1 gal Sh 7
Mahonia nervosa dwarf Oregon grape 1 gal Sh 25
Malus fusca Pacific crabapple 1 gal Tr 5
Polystichum munitum sword fern 1 gal Fe 25
Pseudotsuga menziesii Douglas fir 1 gal Tr 5
Rosa gymnocarpa bald-hip rose 1 gal Sh 25
Rosa nutkana Nootka rose 1 gal Sh 25

February
This will be our last planting work party for the 2014-2015 planting season. Well, that we’re planning on as we write (four months in advance). Who knows what the future portends?

This work party will feature shrubs and small trees, the second half of the stewardship grant purchase from the Washington Native Plant Society.

Scientific Name Common name Size Form Number
Fraxinus latifolia Oregon ash 6-12″ br Tr 50
Malus fusca Pacific Crab Apple 3-6″ br Tr 50
Physocarpus capitatus Pacific ninebark 6-12″ br Sh 50
Salix lucida Pacific willow 6-12″ br Tr 50
Salix sitchensis Sitka Willow 6-12″ br Tr 100

The February work party will be back in the main body of the park, and will happen on the 28th. As soon as the information gets posted to Cedar, we’ll link to it on Nature Intrudes.

We also plan to do a little experiment: Hold back some of the plants of each species, and keep them in a well-tended nursery for a year or two. The question is: Will the plants that get the extra attention have a better survival rate than the plants installed immediately?

That’s a little over a thousand plants altogether. Most of them are going into wetter areas of the park, which means they should make it through the summer drought fairly well.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

March work party crew
The valiant crew: Loren, Drexie, Morrie, Ryan, and Tasha (left to right).

The day was cloudy, but dry; the temperature cool enough to get us moving, but not warm enough to make us uncomfortable. The ground was wet from the March rains and we were all eager to get some work in. All in all, this made for a very productive work party.

TIdying the mulch pile
Loren tidies the mulch pile.

We started by tidying up the mulch pile. We’d ordered it last summer for a big project that cooler heads decided should be done by people experienced with steep slope work but have been nibbling at it ever since. This has allowed us to do some low-priority but still important mulching — such as along the 90th St. edge.

90th St.
Drexie, Ryan, and Tasha spread the mulch.

This doesn’t get much run off, but it’s a visible little slice of the park — not only the people who live up on 25th Ave. drive past it, but the moms’n'dads picking up their children from North Beach Elementary park along the other side of the street.

The mulching didn’t take long at all, which allowed us to go to the newly cleared area at 850 feet. We started working in this area in February, and we’ll work our way upstream until we meet where EarthCorps left off last year. In the fall and winter, we’ll plant it up.

We picked this area because it’s fairly dry and stable, and so overgrown with blackberry it’s a monoculture.

Cleared area
Everything at Loren’s feet is blackberry cane; rising up behind him are the brambles.

One nice side effect of the clearing was that it made more of the park that’s across the stream visible, such as this grove of skunk cabbage.

Skunk cabbage grove

Before we cleared the blackberry, it was completely obscured. The area we’re working in is also a big gap in the canopy, so it will be a good place to prioritize conifer reintroduction.

In April, we’ll continue working here. We have to balance where we work against a couple logistics: Don’t want to work too close to the stream bank until the summer, when it’s dryer; and don’t want to work in areas with a lot of piggyback or Pacific waterleaf until those have bloomed and died back. One lesson (among many) I’ve learned repeatedly is that a gradual approach is best, to take some time and learn the lay of the land and get to know the processes of the forest better.

Our next work party is April 26th, 9 a.m. to noon. As ever, we’ll meet at the main entrance to the park, at 90th St. and 24th Ave. All ages and skill sets are welcome.

If you can’t join us for a work party, you can support our work by making a donation to the Seattle Parks Foundation and earmarking it for North Beach Park. All proceeds donated will go to support the Friends of North Beach Park in our restoration efforts.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

This year, on the spur of the moment, I decided to “borrow” one of the trees to be planted in North Beach Park for a Christmas tree. This is neither strictly forbidden nor an accepted practice. Most people buy cut trees, after all, and the trees for planting are only a foot or so tall. I picked a hemlock and decided I would plant it on January 6th.

Which I then immediately realized would have been my mother’s 100th birthday. So it had to be. Further reinforcing this idea was that the 6th was a Monday, the day three of us usually work in the park.

The Hemlock
Here it is on the kitchen table. We didn’t really decorate it, just a couple strands of LED lights.

Planting
Here is Tad, planting the tree. I’d picked a magnificent cedar stump that is one of a pair I call the Grandfathers because they’re so large. They’re upended in the stream, and must have fallen there after a landslide.

Nurse Log Garden
Fallen trees or stumps become nurse logs for the next generation. They will be nurse logs as long as they were alive, and contain more living matter as a nurse log than they did as a “living” tree.

This picture shows how complex a nurse log garden can be; there is red huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium), salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), sword and wood ferns, and several mosses and lichens. Red huckleberry and hemlocks are known for growing in cedar nurse logs and stumps. Another plant that grows well on cedar and conifer nurse logs is bunchberry (Corylus canadensis), a dwarf shrub in the dogwood family. We’re going to introduce that to the park soon.

A sense of scale
To give you an idea of the size of this stump, this picture was taken at my eye height, about five and a half feet. It reaches well over my head.

Hemlock I
Here it is, all mulched in place and with its happy flagging tape. This lets us know it was planted in the 2013-14 planting season.

As we walked away, I thought a little bit about calling the stumps the Grandfathers. Both my grandfathers were dead before I was born, and one grandmother died within a few months of my birth. The remaining grandmother was stern and not very warm. She lived down the street from us in a small apartment, then with an uncle, then with an aunt on the other side of the country. So I never really had the experience of grandparents.

My nieces and nephews, however, had a great experience of grandma in my mother. She had 30 years as a grandmother, and loved every minute of it. Everyone called her Honey, all her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and so on.

My father, on the other hand, had very little experience as a grandfather, dying about two years after my first nephew was born. I felt that my parents were reunited now, and Honey could tell Daddy all her stories of being a grandmother.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

Note: On another venue (Dreamwidth), people were declaring December a “topic open house,” and asking for topics to write about. So far, the requests I’ve gotten are on-topic for this blog as well, so I’ll post them here (probably more spread out than every day). The first question was “What is my favorite NW Plant?”

My first thought was: how could I choose between osoberry and skunk cabbage? Both are very early bloomers, the first plants you’ll see blooming in the forest — skunk cabbage starts appearing in early March.

Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanum) Madonna

North Beach Park looks like a terrible wreck during the late winter: all the seeps look highly eroded, the leaves have rotted, everything is all twigs and branches. When these plants start appearing, I feel a sense of relief that it’s going to be all right.

But soon enough, osoberry is joined by red-flowering currant (another early-blooming shrub), then a number of shrubs burst out at roughly the same time, and osoberry blends into the shrub layer until late August, when it’s one of the first to drop its leaves.

However, skunk cabbage remains distinctive, and that’s why it’s my favorite. Its leaves are bigger than anything you’d expect outside of a tropical rain forest (four and a half feet/ 1.5 meters), which makes it stand out all season long. In the wet areas it thrives in, there isn’t a whole lot else growing. There have been times when we’ve cleared an area but been unable to plant it in the fall, only to see it come back lush with skunk cabbage in the spring.

Also, I know more of its uses: It was an early-spring famine food, even though it’s not very tasty. The leaves were used to line baskets, berry drying racks, and steaming pits. I like this story, related in Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast (Pojar & Mackinnon):

In the ancient days, they say, there was no salmon. The Indians had nothing to eat save roots and leaves. Principal among these was the skunk-cabbage. Finally the spring salmon came for the first time. As they passed up the river, a person stood upon the shore and shouted “Here come our relatives whose bodies are full of eggs! If it had not been for me all the people would have starved!” “Who speaks to us?” asked the salmon. “Your uncle, Skunk Cabbage,” was the reply. Then the salmon went ashore to see him, and as a reward for having fed the people he was given an elk-skin blanket and a war club, and was set in the rich, soft soil near the river.

Here are all the photos on Flickr tagged “skunk cabbage.” The variegated purple ones are Eastern Skunk cabbage, and there’s a white one that looks like Calla lilies to me, but the one around the PNW is the yellow-flowered one.

I also have a favorite groundcover, Pacific Water leaf (photos) and a favorite fern, maidenhair fern (photos).

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

The November work party was a fine end to a great year for North Beach Park. We had 12 volunteers who got more than 150 plants into various places through out the park, including some wetlands. It was great to emerge from the cool park into an atypically warm, dry, sunny November day.

2013 Plant Order
Here’s what we had to work with — 200 trees, shrubs, and ground cover. The order was placed in June and delivered in late October. By fortunate coincidence, it did not duplicate too much the plants installed by EarthCorps and the contract crew.

Signing in
These guys signed up in advance and when asked what brought them to North Beach Park, just said it was “their philanthropy.” Everyone who worked with them enjoyed the experience.

Spot the volunteers!
Later that same day: The volunteers shown signing in above are now hard at work.

Slough Sedge (Carex obnupta)
More slough sedge
There’s a naturally-occurring stand of slough sedge in another part of the park that works with salmonberry to hold a good toe of a slope against erosion. This is planted in a bottom area that is very wet. If it establishes, it will help hold the slope and even push back the ivy.

Julie, Wenny, and Drexie did a lot of planting in the Headwaters Bowl.
Headwaters bowl
Julie shows their handiwork: more slough sedge, Dewey’s sedge, and some rushes.

As usual, there are more pictures on flickr.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

EarthCorps coordinated five work parties in North Beach Park, starting in April and ending last Saturday, November 9th. They accomplished a tremendous amount of work, clearing more than 10,000 square feet of space and more than 240 plants, ranging from ground cover up to conifer and deciduous trees.

The day started earlier than usual, with some volunteers arriving a little before 9 a.m. to stage and place plants.
Early Morning Workers
Yep, the weather was gorgeous and stayed that way throughout the work party.

Here are two of the 24 or so volunteers that were there.
Volunteers
I think they were UW students, but I’m not sure.

Here is a family group (well, the kids are from different families) from Meridian School.
Family group
I really like family groups at work parties. I think (hope) it gives the kids the idea that nature is not something that we just visit, but that we have to take care of as well. And the work is fun and invigorating. Well, that’s a lot to ask, so if the kids just have fun playing in the woods, that’s great.

Some empty buckets:
That's a lotta plants!
This was taken just before the lunch break, which means there were plenty more buckets added to the stack by the end of the work party. (Also, just noticed I forgot to “fall back” on the camera timestamp.)

It was a great experience having EarthCorps at North Beach Park. We’d love to have them back another time.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

2013 has been a tremendous year for North Beach Park. Between EarthCorps, Friends of North Beach Park, and a Parks Department contract crew, we cleared more than 20,000 square feet of new area. This is a significant percentage of our little park.

November will feature two major planting parties, one coordinated by EarthCorps and one by the Friends of North Beach Park. Both are on Saturdays.

Saturday, November 9, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: THIS SATURDAY join EarthCorps for their last work party in North Beach Park. There is a LOT of planting to be done. EarthCorps cleared ivy and other invasives from a long strip of the park between the trail and the stream. Now it’s time to plant it up! Please register in advance at the EarthCorps website — select the North Beach Park event on Nov. 9 (the 2nd one listed for that day). EarthCorps provides coffee, energy bars, and a sanican.

Saturday, November 23, 9 a.m. to Noon: Join the Friends of North Beach Park for their fourth Saturday work party. Build up your appetite for Thanksgiving! This is the last one of the year, and we have 200 plants to put in the ground. This includes some plants well-represented in the park, but also many that are being reintroduced to the park. In addition to their beauty, these plants provide food for insects and birds and other species. The different bloom times give the park a visual texture that lasts well into the summer. Register for this work party at the Green Seattle Partnership Cedar website. Please register in advance so we know how many shovels and buckets to provide.

Both events meet at the main entrance to the park, 24th Ave and 90th St. NW. Wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and sturdy shoes or mud boots. We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Bring water and a snack as you need them but there are no facilities at the park.

Events happen rain or shine, but if it’s VERY windy, we might cancel at the last minute.

There is parking on 90th St. east of 24th Ave. The #61 bus stops across the street from the park, and the 40 and 48 stop at 85th and 24th; check Metro for details.

Can’t join us for a work party? Make a year-end donation to Seattle Parks Foundation to support restoration efforts at North Beach Park. Visit their website and click on the “Donate” button. We use these proceeds for tools, materials, and outreach.

We hope to see you in the woods!

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

The October work party for Friends of North Beach Park featured a number of employees from Nordstrom as part of their participation in Forterra NW’s Carbon Capturing Companies program. This allows Washington based companies to reduce their carbon footprint by helping to fund the planting of native conifers in parks and natural areas — such as North Beach Park.

Donated Coffee
We also had coffee donated by Ballard Coffee Works, greatly appreciated on a chilly morning. And pastries from Larsen’s Bakery, courtesy of a generous donation from a neighbor.

Happily tagged and flagged
Here are the trees, tagged and ready to go. Mostly you see the western hemlock in this picture, of which we had 40. On the left in back are some Douglas Fir, of which we had 20.

We were ready to go by 9:10!
Before
Here we see the folks ready to head into the woods. This picture includes Nordstrom employees, UW students, and forest stewards. (The buckets were for mulch and later for watering.)

This many people meant planting 60 trees took hardly any time at all. In fact, even after mulching and watering and a brief coffee break, we had enough time for a tour of the park. I don’t need much encouragement to lead a tour through the park, stopping every 20 feet to talk about something or other. We did make sure everyone got to see the mature hemlocks in the park.

We also found The Tire.
The Tire II.

It’s such a tradition to find at least one tire per work party, after everyone left the forest stewards were wondering what we’d do if we ever ran out. Unlikely to happen. I do remember the first several work parties we would bring up hundreds of pounds of trash as a matter of course. So a tire and a bag of bottles’n'cans is a vast improvement.

Here’s an after picture.
After
The weather cooperated not just by being pleasantly brisk while we planted, but the sun came out during the time on our tour when we were in the biggest gap in the canopy, allowing us to bask and enjoy it. And just before taking this picture, during an opportune moment of silence, a soft wind came through the park that was too gentle for people to sense but brought a rain of leaves down from the maples.

All in all, a great day.

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Next Saturday, November 2nd, is Green Seattle Day, with planting and cleaning events in parks all over Seattle (including Golden Gardens and Carkeek Park in Ballard). On November 9th, EarthCorps returns to North Beach Park for another planting work party. And on November 26th is the last Friends of North Beach Park work party of the year.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)


by Russell Link

One thing I didn’t mention when talking about Bringing Nature Home is the production. The book is illustrated throughout with hundreds of full-color photographs by the author, all illustrating important points from the text. The pages are thick, opaque, and glossy, which makes the photos really pop out. This makes it a great reference book as well as an interesting read.

If “Bringing Nature Home” is a reference book, then Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest is a workbook. This is a book made for marginal notes, comments, post-its, multiple bookmarks, working in the field, cross-referencing, and all-in-all giving it the provenance of a book that shows it’s well-loved by being well-used. Most of the pages (except for a color photograph section) are newsprint. There are line illustrations throughout, of plants, water flows, landscape designs, and more.

There are five parts to the book, each at least four chapters long: habitat design and maintenance, pacific northwest wildlife, special features of a wildlife habitat, and co-existing with wildlife. Part five is a long section of appendices that includes information on PNW habitats; plant lists, tables and maps; wildlife information for specific plants; and construction plans. The last appendix is a list of resources for each specific topic (ie, birds, wildlife maintenance, reptiles and amphibians, etc.). This book was published in 1999, with a third printing in 2002, and to my knowledge hasn’t been updated. The organizations and books listed in the resource section are still around, but the list of native plant nurseries in particular should be double checked. If anything, there are likely to be more specialized native plant nurseries supporting the restoration industry.

But that slight caveat aside, this is a book that belongs in the work room or greenhouse of anyone interested in landscaping for wildlife. As “Bringing Nature Home” demonstrates, landscaping with native plants in home gardens can go a long way towards restoring some of the imbalances and destruction of nature our sprawl is creating. “Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest” gives you the specific tools and resources to do that in our region.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

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