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.

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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.
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.

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holyoutlaw: (me meh)

October and November are going to be busy months in North Beach Park, as we finish up clearing invasives and head into planting season.

October 12th (Saturday) and 23rd (Wednesday): EarthCorps will remove invasive plants in preparation for November planting. EarthCorps work parties are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit the EarthCorps website to sign up.

October 26th (Saturday): The Friends of North Beach Park welcome Nordstrom employees for a day of planting Douglas Fir and Hemlock trees to start the planting season. The Nordstrom employees should fill out our roster. We look forward to seeing you in November.

November’s events feature planting, the reward for the invasive removal we’ve done the rest of the year.

November kicks off with GREEN SEATTLE DAY, November 2nd, a city-wide celebration at 17 parks, including Carkeek and Golden Gardens. To find out more and to sign up, visit the Green Seattle Day website.

On November 9th, EarthCorps returns to North Beach Park for their planting party. They’ve cleared quite a bit of area, help them meet their fall planting challenge and bring native plants back to North Beach Park. Again, EarthCorps events are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

November 23rd will be the big Friends of North Beach Park planting party. We have plants to go into different environments all over the park. This will be the time to join us if you haven’t for a while. Build up that appetite for Thanksgiving! We’ll go from 9 a.m. to Noon. To sign up, visit the Green Seattle Partnership website.

All North Beach Park work parties meet at the main entrance to the park at 90th St. and 24th Ave. NW in Ballard. They also happen rain or shine, so wear weather appropriate layers that can get dirty. And wear mud boots as the park is very muddy during the fall and winter. Bring snacks and water as appropriate, but there are no facilities at the park. We provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Parking is available on 90th St., east of 24th. 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 and click on the “Donate” button. We use these proceeds for tools, materials, and outreach.

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holyoutlaw: (me meh)

It was pretty darn wet this morning, but at least it wasn’t cold. Five of us set out to do some survival rings on trees that desperately needed some help. As we walked down the trail, I tried what I remembered of the St. Crispin’s Day Speech. The bit about “those who lay warm in their beds” sounded entirely too tempting, so I stopped quickly.

Our goal was simple: put survival rings on some trail side trees on the south slope. The trees here desperately need it. There were four trees easily accessible, and we got them cleaned up in almost record time. Many of the trees that need work are in places inaccessible to volunteers — in some cases, just plain inaccessible. But these trees were very handy, with only a little brushing needed to get to work.

Here’s new volunteer Steve, posing beside a tree he cleared in record time.

Some of the ivy had been on the trees so long the roots had formed mats that came away in big sheets. Other roots had made furrows in the tree as they inhibited its growth.

Here’s Tad at the tree he cleared.

The stuff hanging down behind him is ivy that had reached the ground and rerooted. It would have broken off the branch it was dangling from in short order.

One of the last (“but not least”) things we did was get a tire in which a laurel tree had grown.
Laurel tree surrounding a tire

I’ve found this amusing since my early days exploring North Beach Park in 2008-9. I didn’t mourn its passing, though.

Usually work parties run for three hours, but since it was raining heavier by the minute, we were all bespattered, and had done the work we’d set out to do, we called it a day and headed out of the park. On our way out we found some more bottles’n'cans and took the opportunity to remove another tire.

All in all, a good, solid little work party.

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holyoutlaw: (me meh)

This spring, the Parks Department gave North Beach Park 1/4 acre of invasive plant clearance on steep slopes, an area volunteers are not allowed to work. I’ve always assumed it was a liability issue, which I think now is only partly the case. I now see it as a skill set issue as well.

I forgot about it until I was asked to review the contract a couple weeks ago. In the meantime, I had allowed a group of volunteers… um… to work on some steep slopes in the very area the crew was being contracted to work. Which caused some confusion we’re still resolving.

In the last week, the crew has come in and done some erosion control and some new invasion removal.

Erosion Control
Here’s a side view of some of the erosion control on the Headwaters Bowl slope.

The jute netting is rolled down the hill. Successive stretches of netting are stitched together. At the top of the slope, a narrow trench is dug, and the netting staked into it with 2×2 stakes. This is covered up when the trench is reburied.

Erosion Control
There were some restoration plantings at the top of the slope that they worked around. They also preserved some restoration plantings at the bottom of the slope. (After taking this picture, we mulched around the plants.)

Erosion Control
Here’s a side view of the HWB slope erosion control. It’s steeper than it looks from this angle. The wood and branches are laid on the jute to weight it down. Here is a view of the slope before removal, with some workers at the bottom to give a sense of scale.

The crew also did some work in another area of the park, even steeper, the North Slope.

Erosion Control
You can see the stitching a little better in this picture. The coir log is laid across horizontally to absorb any street run off from 90th St/25th Ave.

Here’s a side view of the North Slope work.
Erosion Control
It looks like this slope is even steeper than the Headwaters Bowl slope.

And here is the trash the crew got off the North Slope.
This seems about right, a few bags of cans’n'bottles, some fencing, a couple tires.

The full set of ten pictures is on Flickr.

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holyoutlaw: (me meh)

What with summer schedules and other things, only four of us were at the July work party for Friends of North Beach Park. But it’s frequently the case that summer work parties are poorly attended. I mean, look at that sky!

But those of us who were there got quite a bit done, and had a good time doing it. Plus, we were in the shade for the most part, so we kept cool as well.

Our main task was to mulch an area that had been cleared at the EarthCorps work party two weeks previous. I think I’m finally learning that (a) tasks will take longer and be harder than I think they will; and (b) it’s better to have a loose idea — sometimes called “solution neutral” — of what to do, because in the discussion and working out, the group mind will inevitably come up with a better idea.

We put mulch on the downslope side of the main trail, starting at about 150 feet from the entrance to the park.

At that end of the trail, the downslope side was not very steep. The main native plant here was sword fern, with a little low Oregon-grape. There have been a few restoration plantings, including a western red-cedar and a Douglas-fir. There had been very little ivy, but the plants there could use some comfort.

Pretty much dead center in this picture is the aformentioned western red-cedar. It’s still short enough to be under the fronds of the sword fern. But it’s looking good despite the drought.

As we moved further up the trail, the slope got steeper, and the sword fern thinned out. We were entering an area where the ivy and sword fern had mixed.

The last area we mulched was the beginning of the ivy monoculture on the very steep slope. We had a gravity assist for the mulching there. Dump the tarp or wheelbarrow full of mulch at the rim and watch it pour down. No need for raking!

This picture shows the extent of the mulching.

We finished the mulching for the day and had a little extra time, so we watered some plants that were looking a little peaked. Generally, plants should be left on their own. But we have a stream running through the park, so there’s no cost to the water. And it seems like even a little splash of water every week can greatly improve survival rates.

The next Friends of North Beach Park work party is Saturday, August 24th, 9 a.m. to noon. Sign up on Cedar. We’ll also be at Art in the Garden on August 10th. Hope to see you at one of these events!

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holyoutlaw: (me meh)

There is a stream that runs through North Beach Park, emerging from just under 24th Ave NW and running through the park, then through private property to the Sound. But there are also a number of broad horizontal seeps that enter the park. My research will ask a lot of questions about them:

  1. How many are there?
  2. Where do they enter the park?
  3. Where do they enter the stream?
  4. How seasonal are they? (Do they dry up in the summer?)
  5. What is their flow rate?
  6. How do they affect the water quality of the main stream?
  7. What IS the water quality of the main stream?
  8. Do the seeps cause erosion?
  9. How can we stabilize them if so?
  10. What grows on or around them?
  11. How can we remove invasives and plant on them without further destabilization?

There will be some data gathering before I can answer all these questions. The first three questions will be pretty easily answered with a couple walks through the park. Seasonality, obviously, will take at least a year. Flow rate will take several samples to get enough data points for a good average.

Here is a link to the set of pictures for the “Fallen Alder” seep, near, guess what, an alder tree that has fallen across the stream. And here is a link to the set of pictures for the 101 tree seep. These sets will grow as the research progresses.

If you have any ideas for research, please feel free to suggest them in comments.

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holyoutlaw: (picture icon iv)

Welcome summer to North Beach Park Saturday, June 22. We’ll concentrate on building ivy platforms to prepare for the EarthCorps work party in July. If enough people show up, we’ll send an expeditionary force into the park to do a survival ring or two. But come see the park in its summer splendor. It’s like a jungle!

Here are the usual details:

Saturday, June 22, 9 a.m. to noon
Meet at the main entrance to the park, NW 90th St. and 24th Ave. N. Parking is available east of 24th on 90th. Wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and mud boots. We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Bring snacks and water if you need them. North Beach Park has no facilities. All ages welcome, but children must be kept under supervision of their parent or guardian.

And to help your plans, here are the known dates we’ll be working in the ravine for the rest of the summer:

Saturday, July 13 — EarthCorps returns for the 2nd of four big work parties. They bring coffee, snacks, a port-a-potty, and lots of great enthusiasm. They’ll be doing the major ivy pulling this year. The 3rd work party will also concentrate on ivy removal, but the 4th work party will be a planting spectacular in the fall.

Saturday, July 27 — the regular Friends of North Beach Park 4th Saturday work party. We’ll be concentrating on survival rings for trees deep in the park. This could be adventurous! The hours are slightly different, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Saturday, August 24 — Friends of North Beach Park 4th Saturday work party.

We hope to see you one of these days! As an added enticement, it’s several degrees cooler in the ravine. ;>

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holyoutlaw: (picture icon iv)

We had 14 volunteers Saturday morning, for a total of 27 volunteer hours. It was an excellent turnout and we had a great time. The first thing we did was finish mulching Knotweed Hill. We’re glad to get that done!

Mulch delivery
David, Loren, and David deliver mulch while Drexie pulls ivy.

This was the result of all that effort:
Fully Mulched Hill

Another crew built platforms for the ivy that EarthCorps cleared two weeks ago. I didn’t get pictures of them, unfortunately.

Second Task
We had enough time left over to do some ivy pulling at the base of the Headwaters Bowl slope. (Yes, this picture looks very similar to the picture of EarthCorps volunteers pulling ivy.)

And we got a lot of trash out of the park — quite a bit more than usual these days.
Half the Trash
That’s about half the trash — for some reason, I never took a final picture of the trash pile.

Our next work party is June 22nd, but we will be in the park a few times in May. And there is always Golden Gardens on May 11, and Carkeek STARS on May 18.

If we don’t see you then, we’ll see you in June at North Beach Park.

Flickr has a few more pictures of the work party.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (picture icon iv)

Saturday, April 27th, 9 a.m. to Noon
(details below)

April has been a busy month so far for North Beach Park!

April 7th was the Groundswell NW Annual Meeting. There were two inspirational presentations, by Dawn Hemminger (about the 14th Ave. NW park) and Milenko Matanovic from the Pomegranate Center (http://www.pomegranatecenter.org). Very nice!

On April 13th, we hosted the first of four EarthCorps-sponsored work parties. About 50 volunteers moved several cubic yards of mulch into the park, and then up onto a previously-cleared slope. There was also a great deal of ivy and invasive removal at the bottom of the slope in the Headwaters Bowl. By the time I had a chance to send an announcement email, the event was full! But we’ll have a few more in the upcoming months.

Last but not least, April 17th will see publication of an article about North Beach Park in the Ballard News Tribune. Keep an eye out for it, online and in print!

As we begin our third year of restoration, we’re really beginning to see results. We’ve planted nearly 700 plants, ranging from Douglas-fir to woodland flowers. Lots of trash has come out of the park. We’ve removed lots of ivy and blackberry, and as the ground is uncovered from the ivy, we’re finding out that there are lots of beautiful native plants underneath.

There’s still lots of work to be done, we’re just getting started.

So, join us Saturday, April 27th! Here are the details about the work party:

Meet at the main entrance to the park, 90th St. and 24th Ave. NW.
Wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and MUD BOOTS.
Parking available on 90th st. east of 24th.
We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Bring water and snacks as you need them.
All ages welcome, children must be kept under supervision of guardian or responsible adult.
This work qualifies for community service credit.
Register online at http://cedar.greencitypartnerships.org/event/gsp/1787/

If you need more information, contact Luke McGuff at lukemcguff@yahoo.com

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holyoutlaw: (picture icon iv)

We had a great work party on Saturday, 2/23. The weather was perfect, several people commented as they arrived that we had really lucked out. The predictions were for rainy and cold, we got dry and warm.

We had a visit from the Natural Area Crew, which gave us a good energy boost.

Fallen Alders Removal
Theodor and Tod clean up some fallen alders.

Some alders had fallen across the trail several months ago, and this was the perfect job for them. The trees were so big, they had to send a guy out for larger chainsaws. But they took care of the job, which was a big help and a big relief to get it taken care of.

They also helped with cutting and “painting” some of the holly and laurel. If you cut either of these woody invasives, they just resprout. If you uproot anything larger than about 1″ diameter with a weed wrench, you leave chunks of root in the ground… which resprout into several trees, worsening the problem. So the only recourse is to cut and paint.

Holly Removal
Tod (left) and Darryl (middle) cut down hollly and laurel, and hand it off to Julie (right).

But there were plenty of volunteers as well. Not counting the NAC, we had 20 people there, including four students from Ballard HS getting community service hours. We also had a good crew working on putting survival rings around trees deep in the park. This is the most physically demanding work we currently do, and involves careful clambering on a steep slope. Generally volunteers aren’t allowed to work on slopes steeper than 40 degrees, but we only send experienced workers and don’t do any heavy-duty invasive removal. This crew put rings around 15 trees, which is a pretty good count for about three hours of work.

We also did about two or three hundred feet of invasive removal, particularly star ivy. This breaks apart very easily, and yes, it resprouts, so we’ll probably be doing some more removal in the same spot for a little while.

Post Work Pary Group Shot

Here’s a picture of the remnants of the work party — a number of people had left by then. We had finished with cleaning up and putting away the tools and were just gabbing a little. But left to right in the picture is Julie, Drexie, Darryl (NAC), Morry, Tod (NAC), Theodor (NAC), Doug, and Sylvie.

We’ll see you again on March 23, same time and location: 9 a.m. to noon at the main entrance to the park, 90th St. and 24th Ave. NW

Thank you to everyone who participated, it’s always fun and exhilarating work. There are a few more pictures from the work party on Flickr.

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holyoutlaw: (picture icon iv)

“Phenology” is the study of annual events in nature, such as plants budding or birds nesting. It also makes for a great excuse to walk through North Beach Park once a week or so. I’m not getting there as often these days, since my studies about how to restore the park are taking me away from the actual restoration, paradoxical as that might seem.

Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanum)
Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanum)

I did see some skunk cabbage. I remember in previous years there would be areas positively lush with it. I think it’s a very easily disturbed plant, though, and it seems to disappear from areas where we’ve done any work. It grow in places too wet to work in until after it’s died back, but that still seems to be enough of a disturbance. It’s one of my favorite plants, and seeing it in North Beach Park and finding out about it is one of the things that drew me to the park.

Pacific Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum tenuipes)
Pacific Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum tenuipes)

There was also Pacific Waterleaf coming up all over the place. Pacific Waterleaf grows from early spring until July or August and then dies back. While it’s around, it can form a very dense carpet. And when it blooms, it can hum with busy bees. This plant, too, appears to be disturbed by restoration work. It grows among ivy, and once it dies back the ivy gets to keep going. Pulling up the ivy and mulching can really cut back on the waterleaf return.

But it wasn’t all mixed news.

Nootka Rose (Rosa nootkensis)
Nootka Rose (Rosa nootkensis)

This Nootka rose was planted in March 2012, which is late in the planting season. Despite the long, cool spring, the plants we put in that late didn’t have much time to establish their roots before the long drought of August-September hit. But this plant seems to have survived, and is putting out buds nicely. Nootka rose was brought into the park by restoration.

Indian Plum or Osoberry (Oemlaria cerasiformis)
Indian Plum or Osoberry (Oemlaria cerasiformis)

This Osoberry looks in good shape, too. This is another very early plant, that blooms before almost anything else.

I didn’t do as good a job of recording what was planted where in 2012 as I might have. So one of my goals for 2013 is to better document the planting season (October — January).

In the meantime, there are plenty of invasives to remove.

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holyoutlaw: (picture icon iv)

Saturday, February 23, 9 a.m. to noon
Meet at the main entrance to the park, 24th Ave. and 90th St. NW
Parking along 90th, east of 24th.
Wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and MUD BOOTS.
Bring water and snacks if you need them; there are no facilities on site.
All ages and skill levels welcome, but children must be under the supervision of their parents.
For further information, please contact Luke McGuff at lukemcguff@yahoo.com

All that AND it’s fun! Meet neighbors and work together to restore a great ravine park.

The 2012 planting season went very well for North Beach Park; more than 400 plants went into the park. Many thank yous to Drexie Malone and Tad Anderson, who ran the January planting party.

Sala via Wikimedia Commons
Salal flowers courtesy Wikimedia Commons. Photo by Walter Siegmund, East Ridge Trail, Squak Mountain State Park, Issaquah, Washington.

We reintroduced to the main body of the park such native shrubs or groundcover as ocean spray, salal, twinberry, maidenhair fern, and wetland grasses (among others). Not to mention all the conifer saplings!

By the end we had run out of room! This is not the worst problem a restoration group can have, and gives us inspiration to make sure that we clear more ground in 2013.

Join us as we begin the main push for invasive removal in 2013. One work group will pull ivy and blackberry between the trail and stream, and the other will work throughout the park to put survival rings on trees (so far, we’ve put survival rings on about 70 trees).

Can’t make it to a work party? Please donate to the Seattle Parks Foundation. Your tax-deductible donation will be used to hire work crews for areas unsuitable for volunteers. Visit their North Beach Park donation page.

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holyoutlaw: (picture icon iv)

The usual details:

  • Saturday, January 26, 9 a.m. to noon
  • Meet at the main entrance to the park, 90th st. and 24th Ave. NW.
  • Wear mud boots and weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty. We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance.
  • Parking available north of 90th and east of 24th. Metro Route #61 stops near the park northbound.
  • Bring your own water and snacks.

More Plants for North Beach
Pictured here: Cascara, vine maple, silver spruce, tapered rush (for the wetlands) and others.

This month’s work party will be run by Drexie Malone and Tad Anderson, and they have a variety of plants ready for you to help place into the park. The plants come from Swansons Nursery‘s “Trees for Salmon” Program, the Parks Department, and private donations. Some are being introduced to the park, and others exist only because of previous restoration planting. Some are already found in the park growing wild.

Join us for what is likely to be the last planting work party of the season. Planting is part of the reward for the earlier work of removing invasives.

Can’t make a work party? Please consider donating to the Seattle Parks Foundation, which provides fiscal sponsorship to North Beach Park. Your donation to them is tax deductible and will go towards park projects. Click here to read about the park and donate.

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holyoutlaw: (picture icon iv)

Thanks to Morry, one of the best and most active volunteers at North Beach Park, we now have a nice little kiosk at the entrance. He was helping to upgrade the kiosk at Llandover Woods, another park at which he is one of the best and most active volunteers, and thought the replaced one should go to North Beach.

Late this morning, we helped a little bit with some of the last bits of installing the new one at Llandover, then rescued and installed the old kiosk at North Beach this afternoon.

Morry provided all the tools as well as the impetus and oomph.

Here I am in my park clothes:

Here is the installed post with a map and a flyer for the next work party:

I’d forgotten the push pins at home, thus the inelegant yellow duct tape. There could still be some more work done, making sure the dirt around the hole is tamped in better, putting some larger plywood onto the kiosk for more room. But what the heck, pretty good for a day’s work.

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holyoutlaw: (picture icon iv)

No work party in North Beach Park in December! But there are still plenty of opportunities to help restore our urban forests:

GOLDEN GARDENS is having a work and planting party on the 8th (this Saturday). It happens from 9 a.m. to 12 noon; meet at the dog park parking lot on Seaview Ave NW. Contact Doug Gresham at doug@greshamenvironmental.com for further information.

CARKEEK PARK is having a work party on the 15th. It happens from 9 a.m. to noon as well. Contact dalerayjohnson@comcast.net for meeting place and further information.

In both cases, tools, gloves, and guidance will be provided. Wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty, and bring your own water and snacks.

North Beach Park Workparty
Our first work party. Photo by Drexie Malone.

North Beach Park work parties will return on January 26th. Save the date! We’ll be planting some trees and plants provided by Swansons Nursery’s Trees for Salmons program. There are a lot of details still to be worked out, but the date and time are set!

2012 was a great year for North Beach Park. We had nine work parties, three visiting grade schools, UW ESRM 100 students, two major planting parties, two more forest stewards, and a separate project in the South Plateau working with young adults living in the Labateyah Youth Home. We also got fiscal sponsorship from the Seattle Parks Foundation, and received a microgrant from Groundswell NW.

You can support North Beach Park by making a tax-deductible donation to the Seattle Parks Foundation, and directing it to North Beach Park. Go to their donations page, and select “Friends of North Beach Park” from the Donation Designation drop-down box. Any money raised will be used to hire a natural area crew to work in the areas too steep for volunteers.

Photo by Kelsie Mhoon for MyBallard.com

For 2013, we have ten work parties scheduled: January-April, and June-November. All work parties are on the 4th Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon, and meet at the main entrance to the park, 90th St. and 24th Ave NW

As we learn more about North Beach Park, from stewarding it, working with its neighbors, and studying its ways, our appreciation deepens. We hope you can join us in 2013, and we are thankful for your support in 2012.

Group Shot
November 2012 work party. Photo by Keelin Curran.

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holyoutlaw: (picture icon iv)

This morning Drexie and I put about five hemlock trees into various places in the park. We didn’t take pictures of all five, but this one in particular was so amusing to us I thought I’d share.


It’s not very apparent from this photo, but this tree is planted directly into a nurse log. This is, in fact, a situation in which you’ll see hemlock trees growing in the wild, so this just might work. This log may have been on the ground for decades. There was enough actual dirt where we planted the tree to give its roots good coverage.

The other places we planted hemlocks were also close to much coarse woody debris and rotted wood. And then the rains started up again! So they’ll get a good watering now, as well.

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holyoutlaw: (picture icon iv)

The work party at North Beach Park on the 24th was directed to planting. We had 148 plants to get into the ground, in three different locations, and in a number of microenvironments, from perennial wetland (wet all the time) to upland slopes.

Slough Sedge Plugs
25 Slough Sedge plugs ready to go into the wetlands.

Each year, Green Seattle Partnership gives every park under its auspices 200 plants. This year, we concentrated the order on wetland plants and upland shrubs. There are a lot of seeps in the park, and although the water moves slowly most of the year, it doesn’t stop. This year, which went from record drought to record rainfall, change is noticeable on a weekly basis. Over the years, the seeps have carried away quite a bit of the park.

We had 12 participants at the work party, which turned out to be just enough for the work we had. I had been worried that we wouldn’t get all the plants in the ground, but in fact, we were able to wrap up and have all the tools wiped down and back in the Jobox by noon. Getting the work done was vastly aided by a couple prep sessions with Drexie, tagging the plants at the Carkeek nursery, and then transporting them to the park and putting them in place to begin work.

We also had a few brand-new tools, courtesy of a microgrant from Groundswell NW. Here are some of them, artfully displayed on a pile of mulch:
Tools purchased with the grant money from Groundswell NW

A couple of the co-stewards mentioned that they felt like this was the first “real” planting. We know the park better than last year, we knew where diversity was needed, and we knew how to plant them. The plants are healthy and they’re going in at the perfect time of year for native plants. Their roots will establish over the winter, and when they leaf out in the spring, they’ll be much better prepared to survive the dry spell. (Many of the plants we planted last year survived the drought, but it’s still unclear whether they had enough energy to make good buds for next spring. We’ll find out.)

It was a great experience of everyone working together, the weather cooperating, plans changing in good ways, and nobody getting hurt (always a plus!)

At the Wheelbarrow
Here are a few of us late in the work party, getting mulch into a bucket. You can see I’m not shy about getting dirty. Left to right, foreground: Clint, Luke, Alan, Morrie, Julie. Left to right, background: Selena, Drexie, Sam, Genie. Photo by Tad Anderson.

Here’s a group shot:
Group Shot
Left to right: Selena, Drexie, Luke, Julie, Morrie, Sam, Tad, Clint, Alan, Genie. Not pictured: Loren and David. All the pink flagging tape in the lower left corner is attached to just-planted plants. Photo by Keelan Currin.

This is the same group of folks, but the wider angle gives a good sense of the park:
Group Shot
Photo by Keelan Currin.

Thank you to everyone who participated and helped! It was great fun and very successful.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (picture icon iv)

Saturday, November 24, 9 a.m. to 12 Noon
Meet at the main entrance to the park, 90th St. and 24th Ave. NW
Parking along 24th, N. of 90th; and along 90th, E. of 24th.

Bring water and snacks. Wear sturdy shoes (or muckboots for wetland work) and weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty. We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance. All ages and skill levels welcome, but children must be under the supervision of their parent/guardian at all times. Email lukemcguff@yahoo.com for more information. Or register on line.

Take a break from Thanksgiving weekend and work off those calories with some community gardening. And we can be thankful we live in a place where the city and nature are so intertwined. As a special treat, 14 lucky participants will get a water bottle from Green Seattle Day.

We have nearly 200 native plants and shrubs to go into various areas of the parks, from the wetlands up the slopes. These plants will restore food sources and habitat for wildlife and will also help stabilize the slopes. Here are a few snapshots of the plants in their temporary home at the Carkeek Nursery.

We also will debut several new planting spades, gloves, and other tools purchased with the Groundswell NW microgrant. Thank you Groundswell NW!

We would also like to thank the many other organizations without whom this work would not be possible: Seattle Parks Foundation, for providing fiscal sponsorship. Green Seattle Partnership, for providing tools, training, and logistics coordination between volunteers and the Parks Department. Seattle Parks and Recreation, for providing all these lovely plants. And of course, the many volunteers who have given, in some cases, hundreds of hours to restoration work in North Beach Nature Area and other Seattle parks.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support the work of North Beach volunteers, please click here. Select “Friends of North Beach Park” from the drop-down list. Any money received will be used to hire a Natural Area Crew to work in the steeper parts of the park.

Thank you for all your support! We look forward to seeing you Saturday the 24th.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (picture icon iv)

On Sunday, Julie and I took a walk in two of our favorite parks: North Beach Park (you were surprised?) and Carkeek.

I wanted to go to North Beach to make some notes about the work done on Saturday, and to make some plans for the planting work parties (November 24! Save the date!)

While we were there, something started happening in a tree above us. We couldn’t see it, but we could sure hear it: A large murder of crows, cawing loudly and repeatedly. Julie thought they were mobbing a raptor sitting in the tree. As we watched, more crows joined every few seconds, and the cawing got louder and louder. Eventually there were so many crows that it became a chant, phasing in and out of unison. I felt like I was at the invention of song. We watched for several minutes, as the noise and chaos increased. It was still going when we finally turned away. Whatever was causing it, we’ll never know.

Carkeek — Puget Sound, rather — also had something in store for us. We went to look for salmon in Piper’s creek, missing them by about one day. On our way back up from the beach to the car, though, we noticed some people at the top of the bridge to the beach looking a lot more avid and engaged. We asked what they were looking for.

“Orcas are coming,” a woman told us. A man said that he had seen them off Alki, and that the J pod and K pod were swimming together. Hearing that news, we weren’t going anywhere. It didn’t matter how long it took.

Orca watchers

It did take some time for us to see the orcas, but it was worth it. Even though they were so far across the Sound that even with binoculars they were very tiny. But we could see their dorsal fins rising and falling above the water level. We saw breaches and tail flaps. Even at that distance, it felt so much more impressive and real than seeing a close-up on television.

But what I particularly liked was the loose community that developed. One woman had her phone out, and was passing on tweets from the Orca Network. Another woman, once we started seeing the whales, would comment on the behavior: “There’s a tail flap. There’s a breach.” If she hadn’t, we wouldn’t have known what was happening. There was some sharing of binoculars, and people constantly describing where they saw the orcas. We stood there at least an hour watching.

It was sharing the experience among ourselves that made this a uniquely urban experience. The way we came together, some people intentionally, some (like us) by accident, would never have happened anywhere else. On a whale watch cruise, we’d have been closer, but the community around the experience wouldn’t have felt as organic (mind you, if I have the opportunity, I’ll go on a whale watch cruise, now more than before). This was a pretty simple experience, after all, but with all the news about conflict and individualism and every man for himself, it was great to have.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.


holyoutlaw: (Default)

June 2017

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