A sudden opportunity provided itself a few weeks ago: The Seattle Channel was interested in doing a piece on Distant Lands Coffee, and how the burlap sacks they donate are being used in Seattle Parks for restoration. Always eager to get my face out in front, I leapt at the chance.
It became a Thing, with representatives of the coffee company, the Parks Department, people from Vital Content PR (who set the whole thing up) and several volunteers willing to put up with the disruptions. Still, we got some good work done. Well, the people who actually did the work.
What we did was build wattles to place against the ravine wall. The main path into the park is probably a logging road cut straight into the ravine side, leaving some places where it’s sheer. Wattles, made of burlap sacks half-filled with wood chips, can help support the wall while plants in front of it establish. As the wattles decay over time, they provide more planting surface and gradually (we hope) build enough structure in front of the wall to stabilize and buttress it.
Here are some volunteers starting to work on the wall.
And here is a completed wall. Some of the sticks in front of the wattles are Pacific nine-bark (Physocarpus capitatus) live stakes. They’re pretty burly, so even if they don’t establish, they’ll provide support. And we can keep putting in woody shrubs (and eventually trees) to buttress the wall.
But I was taken up with the video.
Mark Mead (left; from the parks department) being interviewed by Nicole Sanchez (right; from the Seattle Channel) about Green Seattle Partnership. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good shot of the representative from Distant Lands being interviewed.
I also didn’t get a shot of the demonstration mulching project in-progress, but here it is finished:
That’s new wood chip mulch laid down on empty burlap sacks. This will help hold the trail in place for a while.
Finally, they talked to me about restoration in general and the use of burlap sacks.
Ms. Sanchez and her camera operator are amused that I pulled out a camera and took a picture of them (and I’m amused by the smart phone reaching up in the background).
This was at the foot of a slope we worked on in 2012. It was an ivy monoculture, and when we removed the ivy it turned out to be much steeper than it had appeared. So we had to cover it with burlap sacks, plant into it, and then cover all that with mulch. The last planting was in the fall of 2013. So far, it has a very good establishment rate. In fact, I stood right next to a big leaf maple sapling that was happily putting out leaves (another thing I forgot to get a picture of).
After that, we wrapped up with some b-roll and then the camera crew and publicists and all associated personnel departed. The people who were actually doing the work that day had finished by then as well, so we wrapped things up with a tour through the park. Among other things we saw:
Slough Sedge flowers! There is a large stand of slough sedge in the park, but it’s growing in the shade. This slough sedge, which we planted last fall, is getting enough sunlight to flower. The flowers aren’t pretty, but I was sure happy to see them.
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) and Oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia) that looks to be establishing well.
And finally just a great view of the park in full-on spring:
All the big leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum) in the background had ivy covering the trunk and reaching into their crowns. They now breathe a little easier.
Our next work party isn’t until June 28, but there is plenty to keep you entertained until then, not to mention work parties at Golden Gardens (May 10th), Carkeek Park (May 17th), and Llandover Woods (May 11th).
And don’t forget Give Big Seattle, coming up on May 6th, which Friends of North Beach Park will be participating in. More information to come!