April Work Party at North Beach Park

Saturday, April 26th, 9 a.m.: Spring is in full glory in North Beach Park. All the leaves are fresh and bright green, more things are blooming every day. The birds are singing their hearts out and it’s just a joy to be there. Join us as we begin our 4th year (!) of restoration and clear new areas of invasive plants and work to restore this park to native diversity. Please sign up so we can make our plans.

We meet, rain or shine, 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 provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Bring water and a snack as you need them but there are no facilities at the park. All ages and skill levels are welcome, but children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Parking is 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.

Save the date for upcoming workparties: June 28th, July 26th , and August 23rd. They’re also 9 a.m. to 12 noon, and meet at the main entrance to the park.

Can’t join us for a work party? Save the date for GIVE BIG SEATTLE (May 6) and GIVE BIG FOR NORTH BEACH PARK. Give Big Seattle is a special one day online citywide fundraising event coordinated by the Seattle Foundation. A certain percentage of all donations will be stretched by the Seattle Foundation. There will be more information coming soon via postcard and email. All moneys received will go to restoration efforts for North Beach Park. Donating is an important and appreciated show of community support.

News: We would like to thank Groundswell NW for awarding one of their 2014 “Local Hero” awards to Luke McGuff for his work in the role of the restoration efforts at North Beach Park. The award is both flattering and inspiring. Thank you!

March Work Party Report

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.

March at North Beach Park

Saturday, March 22, 9 a.m.: Spring is busting out all over in North Beach Park. Skunk Cabbage is coming up in the wetlands, Pacific water leaf up in the trailsides, red flowering currant and Indian plum are blooming on the slopes, and everything is leafing and budding and getting ready to pop. Please sign up in advance on Cedar so we can make our plans.

We meet, rain or shine, 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 provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Bring water and a snack as you need them but there are no facilities at the park. All ages and skill levels are welcome, but children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Parking is 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.

After the workparty, starting about 12:30, join us for a Washington Native Plant Society field trip and restoration seminar. Here are the details:

Restoration Seminar of North Beach Natural Area, Saturday, March 22, 12:30 – 2:30
North Beach Park is a 9 acre ravine park in NW Seattle that has been under restoration since 2011. The bottomland is a permanently saturated wetland, yet there are also dry upland slopes, providing a variety of microenvironments in a small area. We’ll talk about some of the issues and opportunities facing restoration in small urban forests. We’ll also talk about the different forest types and what they mean to restoration efforts. We’d like this to be a seminar on restoration, and welcome any and all input.

Trail description: The trail has some moderate elevation changes, and is occasionally narrow and slippery. There are two log stream crossings.

Contact: Luke McGuff, 206-715-9135, lukemcguff@yahoo.com (email preferred).

Save the date for upcoming workparties: April 26th, June 28th, and July 26th. They’re also 9 a.m. to 12 noon, and meet at the main entrance to the park.

Can’t join us for a work party? Donate to the Seattle Parks Foundation to support restoration efforts at North Beach Park. Visit their website and click on the “Donate” button. Your donation is tax-deductible. Money will be used for tools, materials, and supplies. Donating is an important and appreciated expression of community support.

February Work Party at North Beach Park

Saturday, February 22, 9 a.m.: Show some LOVE to our favorite ravine with the Friends of North Beach Park. Join us to remove some of the bluebells that come up every spring. There are already plenty of other signs of spring: skunk cabbage is coming up, osoberry and other shrubs are starting to bud. Sign up in advance so we can make our plans.

We meet, rain or shine, 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 provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Bring water and a snack as you need them but there are no facilities at the park. All ages and skill levels are welcome, but children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Parking is 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.

Save the date for upcoming work parties: March 22nd, April 26th, and June 28th. They’re also 9 a.m. to 12 noon, and meet at the main entrance to the park.

Can’t join us for a work party? Donate to the Seattle Parks Foundation to support restoration efforts at North Beach Park. Visit their website and click on the “Donate” button. Your donation is tax-deductible.

January Work Party Report

The day started out cool and foggy, as a couple early arrivals helped us unload some late-season wetland plants.

Unloading the plants.
Drexie, Julie, Damore’ea, and Keishawn finish up unloading.

The Plants
The plants came to us in early December, and had been stored through the cold snap in the Carkeek nursery. Hopefully they’ve survived our benign neglect.

Sometimes we get ESRM 100 students at a work party. This is a class on the environment that everyone at the UW has to take. One of the assignments is to attend a 3 hour restoration work party and write a brief paper. I knew Damore’ea and Keishawn were from the UW from their address on the sign-up form, but I had no idea they were stars of the football team. Tad did, though, and was very impressed.

Football stars
John, Keishawn, Tad, Damore’ea.

Once we got all that sorted out, we set to work. First the ESRM students transported a few cubic yards of mulch into the forest, then Tad worked with them to clear some ivy and plant. As frequently happens, I didn’t get a picture of everyone working.

But here are three volunteers.
Headwaters Bowl
That’s Julie, Wenny, and Drexie (left to right) planting wetland plants into the bottom of the Headwaters Bowl. This is a permanently saturated area and everything we plant does well. So we’ll keep planting away as long as we’re able.

There were also some signs of spring in the park:

Siberian miner’s lettuce (Claytonia sibirica) is starting to sprout.
Sign of Spring
This is a very tasty little plant that goes well in salad mixes.

SIgn of Spring
The Pacific Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum tenuipes) is also starting to come back. This sprouts in the spring (I think this is a little early, because we’ve had such a relatively warm winter), blooms in early summer, and then dies back completely by August. The blooms are nothing to write home about, but the pollinators love them. I remember one summer the Waterleaf patches were humming with bees.

In addition to the planting that other people were doing, a high school student and I did some mulching.

Before
Before the mulching.

After mulching
After mulching — much better. This strip along 90th St. gets some street run off, so the mulch there will help slow it down and infiltrate the soil, rather than just run off onto the slope.

After that, it was mostly wrapping up. The last few plants were planted, Tad took the ESRM 100 students on a tour of the park, and we had time for a last group shot:

"After" group picture
Back row: John (left), Damore’ea (right). Middle, left to right: Morry, Tad, Julie. Front, left to right: Keishawn, Drexie, Wenny.

Our next work party will be February 22nd. All the usual details apply. We hope you can join us, the park should be much greener then!

There are a few more pictures on flickr.

Grantwriting I: Supporting Organizations

I’m going to try to pull together grant information, mostly so I have it in one place myself. Please feel free to add information you think may be helpful; I’m sure this is really incomplete to start with. The specific focus is for people doing parks restoration in Seattle.


Supporting Organizations
These provide information on how to write a grant, workshops or educational information about grantwriting, or are clearinghouses of information about grants.
How To Write a Grant Proposal
Provided by the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Foundation Center
Clearinghouse of information about grants and granting organizations.
Puget Sound Grantwriters Association
Professional organization, just as it says. There’s no information about the cost of membership that I could see on the website, although they offer scholarships.

January Work Party at North Beach Park

Saturday, January 25, 9 a.m.: Work off some of that holiday “celebration” and meet new friends with the Friends of North Beach Park. Join us to begin a year of after care for all the tremendous plants North Beach Park received in 2013. We also have some wetland plants to install (this work will be muddy). Sign up in advance so we can make our plans.

We meet, rain or shine, 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 provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Bring water and a snack as you need them but there are no facilities at the park. All ages and skill levels are welcome, but children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Parking is 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.

Another event of interest is the Project Heronwatch Open House sponsored by Heron Habitat Helpers. Saturday, January 18th, Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Learn about Heron Habitat Helpers and their proposed live streaming cameras. There will also be representatives of Green Seattle Partnership, Seattle Parks & Recreation, The Burke Museum, and the US Army Corps of Engineers. Chris Anderson, biologist with the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife, will give a speech at noon. We’ll be sharing a table with Groundswell NW.

Save the date for upcoming workparties: February 22nd, March 22nd, and April 26th. They’re all 9 a.m. to 12 noon, and meet at the main entrance to the park.

Can’t join us for a work party? Donate to the Seattle Parks Foundation to support restoration efforts at North Beach Park. Visit their website and click on the “Donate” button. Your donation is tax-deductible and all of the proceeds will be used to fund the restoration efforts.

Hemlock Planting

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.