Whale Trail Presents Discussion On A Protected Zone for Puget Sound Orcas

Protected Orca Zone posterThe Whale Trail will present the ideas behind “A Protected Zone for Puget Sound Orcas,” a presentation by Bruce Stedman, of Orca Relief, on Thursday, October 30, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at C&P Coffee, 5612 California Ave SW.  There is a five dollar ($5) suggested donation, kids free!
Tickets are available from brownpapertickets.com. The event is presented by The Whale Trail and will feature additional speakers on harbor seals and clean-up efforts for the Sound.

The Southern Resident Killer Whales are endangered and seriously declining; their 2014 population of 79 is the lowest since 1985.  To aid their recovery, Orca Relief is urging NOAA Fisheries to conduct a public process that will result in a Whale Protection Zone for the Southern Resident Killer Whales.

A well designed and enforced WPZ would provide the Southern Resident Orca a safe-haven in the very core of their critical habitat, and a relief from vessel impacts including noise, disturbance and air pollution. Bruce Stedman, Executive Director of Orca Relief will describe the key aspects of how a protected area for the Orca should be developed and how it could help the SRKWs begin to recover.

Join us to hear the latest about the orcas, and updates from Robin Lindsay (Seal Sitters), and Diver Laura James (tox-ick.org). This is the first in a new series of Orca Talks hosted by The Whale Trail in West Seattle.

Buy tickets ahead of time and we’ll save you a seat! And hurry – this will likely sell out.
About the Presenter
The Executive Director of Orca Relief Citizens’ Alliance, Bruce Stedman has more than three decades of experience in marine conservation, ocean health issues, and whale conservation.  He was one of the core team that built the Whale Museum (Friday Harbor, WA) and was its first curator.
He has directed five other conservation and environmental organizations, as well as working as an environmental mediator for 15 years.  He has facilitated or mediated more than 100 decision-making or information-sharing processes on many environmental topics, and designed/conducted more than 55 workshops or study tours for public officials and technical specialists from over 40 countries. Trained at University of Washington and MIT, Mr. Stedman has taught conservation and environmental courses at Harvard, MIT, Tufts, and Western Washington Universities.
About The Whale Trail
The Whale Trail (www.thewhaletrail.org) is a series of sites around the region where the public may view orcas and other marine mammals from shore. The mission is to inspire appreciation and stewardship of whales and our marine environment by establishing a network of viewing sites along the whales’ trails through the Salish Sea and the coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest. The goals are to increase awareness that our marine waters are home to orcas and other species; connect visitors to orcas, other marine wildlife and their habitat; inspire stewardship and build community; promote land-based whale watching. The Whale Trail’s over-arching goal is to ensure the southern resident orcas do not go extinct.

The Whale Trail provides simple, powerful, and long-lasting reminders to visitors and residents alike that orcas and other whales live in our waters.  Through the current sites and signs, including two on every Washington State ferry, Whale Trail reaches more than 22 million people each year. They are currently adding sites from BC to California, throughout the southern resident orcas’ range.

The Whale Trail is led by a core team of partners including NOAA Fisheries, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Seattle Aquarium, the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, and the Whale Museum. The Whale Trail is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, registered in Washington State. Join us!

Metropolitan Parks District Now Reality: City Seeks Oversight Committee Members, Applications Due October 20

MPD logoThe Seattle City Council and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray are seeking candidates to fill seven positions on the Seattle Park District’s newly created Community Oversight Committee. The Seattle Park District was approved by Seattle voters in August 2014, creating a sustainable and long-term source of funding for the Seattle parks system.

The Community Oversight Committee will provide advice to the Mayor, City Council and the Superintendent of Parks and Recreation, as well as provide oversight of projects, programs and services undertaken by the City and the Seattle Park District. The committee will meet quarterly to:

  • Make recommendations on the allocation of the Major Projects Challenge Fund;
  • Hold public meetings and make recommendations to update the next spending plan;
  • Review the Department of Parks and Recreation Annual Report; and
  • Provide the Mayor, City Council and Superintendent of Parks and Recreation with annual reports on the progress of expenditures and projects.

The Committee will be composed of 15 members, seven members of the public (one from each Seattle district), four Board or Commission members to be recommended by Seattle City Boards & Commissions and four members from the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners.  Each will serve either a one, two or three year term, to be determined during the selection process.

The City seeks to appoint Community Oversight Committee members with a diversity of expertise and perspectives including, but not limited to parks management, public financing, urban horticulture, landscape architecture, contract management and the interests of low-income and communities of color. The Committee’s first official meeting will be held in April 2015, but members should be available to meet before this date, in early 2015.

The Council and the Mayor are committed to promoting diversity in the city’s Committees. Women, persons with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community and persons of color are highly encouraged to apply.

To be considered, please send a letter of interest indicating which district you represent and resume by October 20, 2014 to Councilmember Jean Godden, jean.godden@seattle.gov. Please title subject line: Oversight Committee Application. Electronic submissions are preferred. To send a paper submittal, please address to:

Councilmember Jean Godden
PO Box 34025
Seattle, WA 98124

Green Go Solar Teaching Rural Baja To Make Solar Panels, Helping Out After Hurricane Odile, Could Use Funds Help

BajaCrewWorkingThe Green Go Solar project is helping out in Baja, Mexico.  Many residents of rural Baja have no or very limited access to electricity and Green Go Solar has been working to change this.

Baja has a tremendous solar resource yet solar panels can be overly expensive and distant for many. This keeps solar technology out of financial/logistical reach for many, leaving them without access to electricity. Many residents of the outlying fishing and ranching communities have resigned to living completely without power.

In addition, hurricane Odile ravaged the Baja peninsula on September 14th and 15th of this year. As a category 3 hurricane, it blew 140 mph winds and dropped some 14 inches of rain in places causing widespread and dangerous flooding. It was the strongest hurricane to hit Baja peninsula in the satellite era. It left thousands homeless and desperate in its wake. This will increase the gap in access to electricity for years.

An organization is trying to change this situation by empowering local communities to create or rebuild their own renewable power in Baja, Mexico with affordable DIY solar panels.

inside GreenGoSolar trailerThe Green Go Solar Project teaches people how to build their own solar panels, mostly from everyday household materials.  The hands-on teaching process provides education in the basics of solar/photovoltaic technology for residents and visitors alike. The organization is demonstrating that solar is a viable and affordable alternative to running a generator or burning tires, with the end-goal of providing locally built electric power to people without light.

The project was founded in 2008 by Keith Bonarrigo soon after he arrived in San Juanico, Baja Sur, Mexico.  Keith is a surfer and was drawn by the legendary wave in “Scorpion Bay” (as it known amongst surfers). Upon arrival he was captured by the local culture and geographic beauty.  He also recognized the notable need for accessible and affordable power, and began to strategize a way to bring this technology to the area.

Green Go Solar is also trying to raise funds to provide more storm area workshop material, to help repair the pickup vehicle they use, to get more tools for the workshop students, and to provide a more sustainable local bathroom.  You can help by contributing at their IndeGoGo funding site.

cosmetic issue solar panel

Solar Cell Solution

The solution lay in what could be considered a waste product of the solar industry; all cells used in these workshops are cosmetic rejects from the solar cell production process. The solar cell fabrication process produces perfectly functional but cosmetically imperfect solar cells which are not used in retail-grade panels. These cells are sometimes destroyed or broken down at the factory, consuming time, energy, and resources. When the cosmetic defect in question is slight, the cells can also be purchased in bulk for pennies on the dollar. The project acquires and imports these B/C-grade solar cells and puts them to work.  The solar cells are used as a vocational resource to illustrate basic electric principles critical to the design, construction, maintenance, and expansion of any solar system of any size.

Solar panel prototypes were built using this material and methodology. They were installed for field testing, leading to the evolution of their concept and designs over time. The panels lasted, proving themselves to be functional over a period of years, and the process has led to further improvements in both methods and materials.

working on panel

Workshop Approach

Workshop students test the electrical integrity of these solar cells and then connect them together into strings for a larger, pre-calculated electrical output. Students are taught construction methods to create custom housing structures to protect the contents from the harsh Baja environment. They ultimately assembled  all this to comprise a fully-functional solar panel.  Teaching methods put an emphasis on the re-use of regular household materials for panel construction to reduce the amount of material going into landfills, and to generally encourage the idea of recycling.

The methods, materials, and tools employed by the group are specifically tailored to meet local challenges.  Everything needed for a DIY solar panel is within the economic and physical reach of any resident of this remote area.  The most common panel construction method used in the workshops results in a solar panel that produces about 80-90 watts of power for roughly 650 pesos (+-$50 U.S. dollars) of solar material. This same amount of solar power in a commercially manufactured panel is currently available for roughly 6500 pesos ($350 dollars) in the nearest outlet, the B.C.S. capital of La Paz, located about 6 hours away from the project’s base. Solar workshops are conducted based on the working schedules of local people, as fisherman and ranchers can have quite varied day-to-day routines – oftentimes based on environmental factors like tides or rain. Workshops are scheduled based on these factors and communal feedback in an attempt to run during downtime in many local’s lives. This enables workshop students to keep lost potential work time to a minimum, which allows them to keep their family finances working.

Green Go Solar panelTrained Students Have Solar Skills

Upon completion of the workshop, all solar students are provided with solar cells, wire, and a diode to build their own solar panel. The workshop usually takes 1-2 days, including hands-on instruction in solar system design and sizing as well as battery maintenance.

After the initial panel build, the workshop group normally identifies a family, business or institution in need.  A modest solar system is designed for the site selected, based on their estimated energy consumption.  The system is installed and the panel is put to work, creating renewable power for the local community, and a practical demonstration of DIY solar at work.

The group has built and maintains a base vocational facility known as “el Rancho Solar” which they open to the public to learn to build and run solar power. A renovated Airstream trailer serves as the workspace for the workshops themselves, as well as a tool library. The doors are open for general public interface for any kind of guidance/advice to help solar students succeed.

Since the inception of the project, the success rate has been high and local interest has grown rapidly. Interest from surrounding areas has spawned the development of a mobile workshop program where the material and methods are brought to surrounding areas and taught there.

Baja gangIn addition to the solar experience, students of the project are encouraged to enjoy the incredible natural playground that Baja has to offer:

San Juanico Is Beautiful

San Juanico is nestled between the beautiful Pacific coast and the rugged San Pedro Mountains on the Baja California peninsula.  Its remote location has kept this a slow-paced fishing village, which continues to offer an escape in a tranquil setting. The town sits on a pristine bay with a rich and vibrant marine ecosystem.  It has long been known by surfers as the legendary “Scorpion Bay” for its incredible point breaks.  This location provides one of the best waves to learn to surf on in the world, excellent fishing, snorkeling, tide-pooling, and a vast desert expanse which makes for miles and miles of wide-open ATV/moto touring.  Nearby Laguna San Ignacio offers up-close whale watching experiences unlike any other (and has served as another test-base for the solar project). The project encourages and emphasizes responsible appreciation of the surrounding environment so it can continue to serve as a constant reminder of the benefits of preserving these beautiful natural resources.

Surfboards, fishing/snorkeling gear, and motorcycles/ATVs can be made available for solar students through the Green Go Solar Project’s workshop facility, known as “El Rancho Solar” or available for daily/hourly rental at the nearby Burro En Primavera restaurant and bar.

There are several options for accommodations in San Juanico, ranging from free beach camping or trailers at the project workshop facility to affordable local hotels/casitas and local rooms/houses for rent.

Please see http://greengosolar.org for more information on the organization, accommodations, and upcoming workshop/events schedule.

Keith Bonarrigo and student in front of Baja work trailer.

Keith Bonarrigo and student in front of Baja work trailer.

Pathfinder K-8 School Has New 2500-gallon Cistern for Earth Project Garden

pathfinder cistern

Sustainable West Seattle is excited to announce the completion of a new 2500-gallon rainwater harvesting system at Pathfinder K-8 school that will be used to irrigate its  extensive school garden.  SWS was a significant part of this project, donating volunteer labor through school parent Bill Reiswig and through a small grant from SWS’s storm water project Tox-ick.org.

The newly-installed system harvests rainwater that falls on the metal roof of the school and stores it for future use.  It has a 50+ gallon first-flush feature that removes potential pollutants from the water, and features an irrigation line that runs to a conveniently located hose-bib.  The system is gravity-pressurized at this time, but could be modified in the future with a solar-powered pump.

The rainwater system is an essential piece in the growing Pathfinder school garden.  The garden is designed with ecological principles and this system reflects that.   Water harvested from the roof diverts stormwater from the City of Seattle’s sewer system, saves money and uses local water rather than water moved from a great distance.  Water harvested in the winter and spring by this system can water vegetables grown in Seattle’s dry summers.  The rainwater system represents a great learning opportunity for students in understanding our water cycle, the mathematics of rate and flow, and the ecological principles involved.

This system reflects the work of teachers, parents, and students thru Pathfinders Pathfinder’s K-8 “Earth Project”.  The Earth Project  is a collaboration between local non-profit Nature Consortium and Pathfinder teachers, parents, and greater community.

Bill Reiswig, Bruce Hostedder and Patrick Loderhose (both of EarthSystems NW) by the cistern they installed at Pathfinder School.

Bill Reiswig, Bruce Hostedder and Patrick Loderhose (both of EarthSystems NW) by the cistern they installed at Pathfinder School.

The project was funded through small garden and water grants from BECU, Whole Foods, and from local non-profit Sustainable West Seattle and it’s Tox-ick stormwater project.

The system was designed and installed by EarthSystems NW, who offer innovative and economical ideas for conserving and harnessing our most vital resource: water.

Bill Reiswig, Bruce Hostedder and Patrick Loderhose (both ESNW) installed the sytem in 5 days of work during the past couple of weeks.  It is being recieved with excitement by the school, students and teachers.

Seattle Parks Offers Challenge Course Facilitator Training @ Camp Long

camplong_upsidedownSeattle Parks to offer ‘challenge course’ facilitator training at Camp Long

Seattle Parks and Recreation worked with Washington State University Extension 4-H to build a “challenge course” in the trees in West Seattle’s Camp Long. This fall, interested members of the public are invited to join other educators and counselors in learning how to use adventure education to promote team building and personal development in their communities.

The introduction to facilitator training takes place Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 18-19, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. The cost is $160. The low course facilitator training takes place Wednesday evenings, Oct. 22 and 29, 5 to 9 pm. and Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 1-2, 8:30 am. to 5:00 pm. The cost is $240. The high course facilitator training takes place Friday through Sunday, Nov. 14-16, 8:30 am. to 5:00 pm. The cost is $240. The training location is 5200 35th Ave SW at Camp Long in West Seattle. Camping is available during the training.

After successful completion of the training, participants will be able to facilitate events at the Camp Long challenge course. The course is designed to meet the 4-H certification requirements to host and facilitate group activities at Camp Long. Certified facilitators receive reduced rates when bringing their own groups. The trainings are designed to sequence together.

At the Camp Long course, several elements of the ropes course are integrated into the forested areas. WSU 4–H, through 30 years of adventure education experience, has developed curricula that strengthen critical life skills including decision making, self-confidence, positive risk taking, self-esteem, teamwork, and leadership.

For more information and to sign up for the challenge course training, please contact Challenge Course Manager Ken Turner at 206-684-7434 or keno.turner@seattle.gov.

Camp Long is one of Seattle’s best kept secrets. Located in West Seattle, this 68-acre oasis in the city offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy nature, hike in the forest, camp overnight in rustic cabins, rock climb, learn about natural history, and visit or rent the rustic Lodge. For more information, see http://www.seattle.gov/parks/environment/camplong.htm.

 

Learn Sustainable Garden & Water Management Practices @ UW Botanic Center Classes

UW Botanic GardenLandscape for Life™ demystifies sustainability for home gardeners

The University of Washington Botanic Gardens is hosting four Thursday evening classes on sustainable garden practices and water management.  The classes are on Thursday, September 25  through October 16, and start at 6:30 pm and end at 9:00 pm.

Are you a homeowner who wants to create and maintain your own healthy, sustainable landscape? Through instructor-led presentations, class discussions, and activities, you will deepen your understanding of how to get the most out of water in your garden, how to build healthy soils with minimal outside inputs, how to use native and climate-adapted plants for the Pacific Northwest, and how to find the most environmentally-friendly landscape materials. Students will analyze their own home landscape focusing on soils, water, plants, and use of materials. Landscape for LifeTM was developed by the US Botanical Garden and Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center to the University of Texas in Austin.

There is a cost, $125 before September 19, and $150 after. You can Register Online or call 206-685-8033 to register.

The classes will be taught by instructor Barbara DeCaro, a horticulturist working for Seattle Parks and Recreation. She develops best practices for managing public landscapes and provides training programs in landscape management for parks staff. She is a certified Instructor for Landscape for LifeTM and also develops teaching materials and provides instruction for the landscape industry in the ecoPRO – Sustainable Landscape Professional Program. Barbara is a life-long gardener and life-long learner, with over 40 years working in public gardens and landscapes.[mappress mapid=”539″]

Arts & Culture $1200 Community Grants Open to Art Councils, Festivals & Events

ArtsCulturePhotoThe Office of Arts & Culture‘s Neighborhood & Community Arts program helps Seattle’s neighborhood arts councils and community-based groups produce festivals and events that enhance the visibility of neighborhoods, promote cultural participation, celebrate diversity and build community through arts and culture.

In 2014, the program provided $1,200 each to 42 organizations to support annual public festivals and events.

ELIGIBILITY

Neighborhood arts councils and community-based groups may seek support for a recurring festival or event that has been in existence for at least one year, has a significant arts and cultural component, is open to the public and takes place in Seattle. Applicants do not have to have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

FUNDING

Funded organizations will receive two (2) years of funding support (for events in 2015 and 2016) of $1,200 per year to support direct project expenses: artist fees, marketing and promotional fees, project management and personnel costs, supplies, equipment rentals or other production-related costs.

DEADLINE

The deadline for applicants is 11:00 pm, Wednesday, October 22, 2014, Pacific Daylight Time. To apply, click here and fill out the online application. 

There will be an information session on Wednesday, September 10, 6:30 to 7:30 pm at the
2100 Building, [mappress mapid=”538″], Seattle. Attend the session and pick up pointers on putting together an effective application. To reserve a seat, RSVP to Jenny Crooks, 206-684-7084, by Monday, September 8.

Lowman Beach-Murray CSO Project Update

IMG_1508Crews finished installing the outer wall of the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Control Project storage tank on Wednesday, August 13. The 80-foot deep underground wall is made out of four-foot wide concrete cylinders called secant piles. The secant piles interlock to form a watertight ring that will house the storage tank. Crews began installing the secant piles in late May. The secant pile drill and crane will leave the site by August 22. King County and its contractor know that installing the outer wall was loud and disruptive. Thank you for your patience during this work.

The County contractor will spend the rest of August preparing to dig out the area within the outer wall where the tank will be built. Pumps will be installed to control groundwater inside the ring and excess concrete will be removed from the work area. Platforms for the digging equipment will also be built.

To protect public safety, the eastern side of Beach Drive SW is closed. Pedestrians and bicyclists should use Beach Drive SW’s western sidewalk. Southbound vehicles should use the access road southwest of Lowman Beach Park when turning around to head north on Beach Drive SW.

What to expect:

  • Work from 7 am – 6 pm on weekdays
  • Backhoes, pumps and trucks working on and around the project site
  • Equipment stored within the fenced-off area of Lowman Beach Park
  • Increased noise and activity
  • No parking or access on the eastern side of Beach Drive SW
  • No access to Beach Drive SW’s eastern sidewalk during work hours
  • Limited parking on the western side of Beach Drive SW
  • Continued access to Beach Drive SW and Lowman Beach Park

As always, please let us know if you have any questions. You can email Doug Marsano, KC Wastewater Community Liaison at Doug.Marsano@kingcounty.gov or call the 24-hour construction hotline at 206-205-9186.

SoDo MakerSpace Opens August 9; Drop by Any Saturday to Preview Space & Tools

SoDoMakerSpaceLogoOn August 9 a new local resource will open in SoDo.  Eric Renn, Founder of the “Make It Locally” Educational Campaign, says their  15,000 square foot facility, SoDo MakerSpace, will be a community workshop with rapid prototyping tools and a place to make (just about) anything. The vision for the 15,000 square foot facility includes a community classroom and event space, a certified commercial kitchen, a co-working area, and a fabrication and entrepreneur incubator space in Seattle’s light industrial neighborhood.  Address fro SoDo MakerSpace is 1914 Occidental Ave South.  This is immediately east of the Krispy Kreme donut shop on First Avenue and is the long structure adjacent

A growing number of dedicated volunteers and generous donations have helped to build out the community maker space over the last three months with materials, machines and resources that would have otherwise headed to a neighboring landfill. Eric says they’ve never experienced such serendipitous encounters and happenstance from incubating an idea into reality.

Eric also says that they need your help! Please join them on any Saturday from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm for a tour and to volunteer with weekly projects. Simply show up – you’ll feel welcome as SoDo MakerSpace works to build out the community classroom. If you have something that you are passionate about and would like to teach to the local community, SoDo MakerSpace would love to hear about it. They can also discuss your next project idea and put it on the calendar!

Grand Opening of SoDo MakerSpace

So, drop by on August 9 for the opening.  Eric says that SoDo MakerSpace is excited to open their doors to the public on August 9th! Their main goal at SoDo MakerSpace is to empower a community of consumers to be
transformed into producers through the exposure and education of today’s fabrication technology. We are starting by building onto the foundation that has been established for STE(A)M education reform in a few of Seattle and South King county schools.  The West Seattle Tool Library is also collaborating with SoDo MakerSpace to have some of the oversize tools made available in SoDo.

Help Is Needed To Finish the MakerSpace Build-out

Each day SoDo MakerSpace is encouraged at the support they get to help get the workshop/entrepreneur incubator venture up and running. They also need help with administrative tasks, spreading the word through marketing efforts, making financial connections and teaming up with individuals and corporations that will continue to allow SoDo MakerSpace to move from concept to reality unusually fast. Eric says they would like to expand their space from the current 2,000 square foot classroom to the entire 15,000sqft warehouse in this Fall/Winter!

The SoDo MakerSpace group is highly motivated and has a diverse set of skills spread among the participants and volunteers. They are hoping to continue this collaboration of like-minded individuals. They are asking folks to reach out to their social and professional networks and to collaborate so this evolution can continue to thrive in Seattle’s many burgeoning neighborhoods.

If you can’t make it on the open-house Saturdays, contact Eric Renn directly at 206-423-9253 to schedule a tour, or contact Eric by email at eric@sodo.ms  Eric can further explain the vision and identify the many opportunities for collaboration.

[mappress mapid=”537″]

Seattle Trees for Neighborhoods: Get Up To 4 Free Trees for Yard or Parking Strip

trees for neighborhoods logoFree Trees for Your Home!

Trees for Neighborhoods helps Seattle residents plant trees around their home. Through the City of Seattle’s Trees for Neighborhoods program, Seattle residents have planted over 4,000 trees since 2009. That’s 4,000 more trees that help clean our air and water, make our streets more walkable, and our neighborhoods safer and healthier. Join the movement this year—plant a tree and help grow Seattle’s urban forest!

The 2014 application season kicks off on Monday, August 4th at 10:00 am. Seattle residents are eligible to apply for up to four free trees to plant in their yards and within their planting strips. Residents who participate also receive free watering bags, training on proper tree planting and care, and workshop opportunities. This year, the program is offering 12 tree species ranging from large native conifers to small deciduous trees appropriate for planting under power lines and along the street. Some favorites this year include Douglas fir, black tupelo, and incense cedar. Check out the complete list and see photos at our website here: http://www.seattle.gov/trees/availabletrees2014.html.

Trees4NeighborhoodsReady to plant a tree? Visit www.seattle.gov/trees for a list of this year’s tree species and a link to the online application, which opens Monday, August 4th. Trees go very quickly, so mark your calendar and apply early!

All questions about the program should be directed to TreesforNeighborhoods@seattle.gov or 206-684-3979. Katie Gibbons is the Seattle reLeaf Project Manager doe Seattle Public Utilities,  Contact her at Katie.Gibbons@Seattle.gov or at the number above.