EOS Alliance Offering “Birding 101” Intro to Birds Class

The EOS Alliance is offering a Birding 101 class with indoor and outdoor segments next Thursday at Seattle University and the following Sunday at Discovery Park.

The classroom session of this 2-part course will be held on Thursday, March 24th at 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on the Seattle University campus at the Pigott Building in room #202 (see campus map here). The field trip will be held on Sunday, March 27th from 8:00 to 10:00 am at Discovery Park.

This workshop will provide participants with education, information and insight into the world of birding. Participants will learn to indentify local and migratory birds during the in-class session and will have the opportunity to practice these skills during our optional field trip.

This workshop will be hosted by Dave “Caveman” Friedman. Caveman is an avid birder with years of experience. The intended Audience is individuals wishing to expand their knowledge of birding.

After completing this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify local and migratory birds;
  • Know of areas/locations for bird viewing;
  • Have an increased knowledge and understanding of birds.

No reference books will be provided. It is recommended that participants bring a bird identification book, preferably one detailed in birds of the Northwest. It is also recommended that individuals bring binoculars and bird book for our birding field trip.

This workshop will cost $10 dollars, which includes education and field trip costs. The field trip is optional, but recommended for increased know-how. If you are interested in participating in this course, please R.S.V.P to Tom Bippart, tbippart@eosalliance.org.

Smart Garden Planning Class Saturday @ White Center

Seattle Tilth is offering a “Smart Garden Planning” Saturday, March 26, at 10:00 am at the White Center Cultural Community Center, 9421 18th Ave. SW, Room 12.

Learn how to create a delicious and productive four season garden plan. Course fee is $36, or $25 for Seattle Tilth members. Advanced registration and payment are required and can be done at this web link http://seattletilth.org/learn/classes-and-workshops/smart-garden-planning-2.

For more information on this program or on Seattle Tilth programs in general, contact Liza Burke, Communications & Volunteer Manager, Seattle Tilth, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N., Room 120, phone 206-633-0451 ext. 103, and email  lizaburke@seattletilth.org.  Check out more about Seattle Tilth at their website www.seattletilth.org.

Seattle Tilth inspires and educates people to garden organically, conserve natural resources and support local food systems in order to cultivate a healthy urban environment and community.

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SWS & WS Chamber Restart Sustainable Brown Bag Lunches

Have some ideas about how to make your business more sustainable.  Bring those ideas and something to eat or snack on to the Sustainable “Brown Bag” luncheon Wednesday, March 23, from noon to 1:00 pm.

A few years ago, the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce hosted a monthly brown bag – entitled (and it truly was) the “Sustainable Brown Bag.”

The meetings were always a delightful opportunity to simply sit down with fellow business owners, share information, help brainstorm ideas, and help spread the word about the good work of so many local businesses.

We are happy to announce – they’re back! The Sustainable Brown Bag is returning on a monthly basis and will be co-hosted by Sustainable West Seattle! There is no cost to attend. Bring your own lunch. Space is limited, so please call the Chamber at 206-932-5685 to reserve your spot.

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Westcrest Park On Highland Park Action Committee Agenda

A quick reminder to please join us at our regularly scheduled Highland Park Action Committee meeting tonight, March 23rd at the Highland Park Improvement Club, SW Holden St. at 12 Avenue SW.

Please remember that kids are welcome – there is a lot of space to run around, and we have some activities for them too.

Some things of interest on the agenda:

  • Westcrest Park: Seattle Parks and Seattle Department of Transportation staff plan to provide updates on the park project and the sidewalk project on SW Cloverdale St. between 8th and 9th Ave SW.
  • Name Change: Final vote! The survey results are in… Be there, we want your opinion.
  • Meeting protocol: Should we rethink the pre-meeting potluck?
  • Goals for 2011: Time permitting… this may have to move to April’s meeting. We have some ideas but would like to hear from all of you about the direction of HPAC.

Dont’ miss out, hang out with your awesome neighbors, get involved!

Doors open at 6:30 (bring some dessert if you like), 7:00 meeting. For more information check out the website at www.highlandpk.net.

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Parks To Conduct Patron Count At Community Centers

Beginning Monday, February 28, Seattle Parks and Recreation will ask customers at its 25 community centers (Rainier Beach is under construction) to sign in indicating their age group and time of arrival.  This is a pilot project which will help gather data and will help Parks staff respond to a City Council directive to reconsider how community centers are operated. After two weeks Parks will evaluate the information and decide whether to extend it for 10 more weeks. The process, which includes public meetings to discuss with the community ideas for how centers can be run differently, began with a public meeting on February 2.

The directive comes in the context of the budget: the cost to run the 26 centers far exceeds revenue brought in from center programs. Because of the current difficult budget situation, Parks is exploring alternatives that would offer continued services for the public, while reducing costs, including new methods of management, staffing, fundraising, and partnerships. Learning the average age groups, frequency of visits, and numbers of people visiting community centers each day will help this work.

Parks has also convened a Community Center Advisory Team comprised of community members, representatives from the Board of Park Commissioners, representatives of employee unions, employees, the Associated Recreation Council, and City Council and City Budget Office staff.

Parks staff are in the process of using the public input to develop options, and Parks will hold another public meeting in the spring to get input on those specific options.

Tool Library tool of the week: Hammer Drill

By Patrick Dunn

Some folks have a downright fear of drilling through masonry, even if it’s just to hang a picture. Though largely irrational, it’s still understandable. After all, masonry can eat drill bits, especially if you use the wrong kind. And the actual drilling often takes forever, especially if you use the wrong drill. That’s why it’s almost a heavenly experience when a person finally picks up a hammer drill and a masonry bit and realizes that the job is actually a heck of a lot easier than they’re making it.

A hammer drill works a lot like a regular power drill with one extremely important feature. Instead of just spinning a drill bit, a hammer drill also creates a percussion effect that rapidly hammers a bit into the material at a rate of thousands of blows per minute. The spinning action can then draw the waste material out of the hole. While it’s a simple little feature, that percussion is what allows a user to easily drill hole after hole into common masonry, rock, and concrete. As an added bonus, you can also simply turn off the percussion and use a hammer drill on wood, drywall, and other, less dense materials just as you would use a normal power drill.

With all this effectiveness and versatility, it’s no wonder that a hammer drill is often a prized tool among contractors and DIYers alike. The only real trick is figuring out which type of hammer drill meets your needs: the percussion hammer drill or its brute cousin, the rotary hammer. Both drills can perform largely the same task, but rotary hammers do it with a strength that puts the standard percussion drill to shame.

The cause of the added power is the rotary hammer’s piston mechanism, which delivers a much stronger blow than the percussion drill’s specialized chuck. By using a piston rather than the chuck to generate the percussion, a rotary hammer can actually deliver its blows without spinning the bit, which effectively can turn it into a little manageable jackhammer with the flick of a switch.

That power and function comes at a price, though, which often makes rotary hammers the domain of professional contractors rather than homeowners or DIYers. But if all you need to do is drill a few holes in your foundation, the percussion drill will do just fine.

Luckily, a percussion hammer drill is one of over 1,000 tools available now at the West Seattle Tool Library, which is free to use and run primarily on user donations. If you or someone you know you would like to be involved in The Tool Library, feel free to drop in on our Ask an Expert event this Saturday from 10am-Noon to explore the Library, meet our community of DIYers, and maybe sign up for a membership. In any case, we look forward to seeing you there!

The Tool Library is located in the LHO Complex off the North Entrance to South Seattle Community College, 6000 16th Ave SW.

Follow us on:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/WSToolLibrary
Twitter: @WSToolLibrary
and Meetup: www.meetup.com/West-Seattle-Tool-Library/

Seattle Parks Funding Report & Online Survey Released

In February the Seattle Parks Foundation released a report which reveals that the Parks Department lacks a sustainable source of ongoing operations and maintenance funding and faces an annual $25 million shortfall. This has led to a backlog of major maintenance projects in excess of $200 million, increased user fees, and reduced community center hours. Left unaddressed, the problem will only worsen over time.

To preserve our wonderful parks system, it will be necessary to find and implement solutions to this funding challenge. Sustaining Seattle’s Parks: A Study of Alternative Strategies to Support Operations and Maintenance of a Great Urban Parks System is a first step in that direction. The report outlines a range of potential solutions based on a nationwide review of best practices. Many of these solutions are only available to Parks, and not to other core city services.

The roll-out of these findings is the beginning of a community conversation.   Along with the report, we have launched an online community survey to get input from the people of Seattle about our parks system. In the coming months, we will use these perspectives to help shape a set of community recommendations about how we will work together to address this challenge.

We strongly encourage Seattle residents to take this survey, http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QLFDK3J.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or Becca Aue, 332-9900, ext. 12 or becca@seattleparksfoundation.org.

Enhanced Delridge Playfield Dedication Set for March 12

Join your neighbors , Seattle Parks and Recreation, elected officials, and the athletic field community Saturday, March 12, from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm for the opening celebration of the Delridge Field Complex located at 4501 Delridge Way SW, adjacent to the Delridge Community Center.

The new complex supports soccer, lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, softball and baseball.

The fields’ inauguration, cosponsored by West Seattle Soccer Club and DiscNW, will include special soccer and disc games and a dedication ceremony.

Come enjoy light refreshments and sporting fun for the dedication:

  • Disc Games at 12:30 pm
  • Dedication / Official Throw In  at 1:15 pm
  • Soccer Games at 1:45 pm

Thank you for your support of the Parks and Green Spaces Levy which funded the renovation of this field complex which now supports baseball, softball, ultimate frisbee, soccer, and men’s and women’s lacrosse.

For additional info rmation please visit: http://seattle.gov/parks/projects/delridge_playfield/ or contact: Karen O’Connor, Seattle Parks and Recreation at 206-233-7929 or karen.o’connor@seattle.gov.

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King Conservation District Supervisor Election Coming Up

The King Conservation District (King CD) is holding a public election for the Board of Supervisor position #2 through March 15th.

You can vote online at: http://www.kingcd.org/new_ele.htm or in person on March 15 between the hours of 9:00 am to 9:00 pm at the King Conservation District office: 1107 SW Grady Way, Suite 130, Renton, (across the parking lot from the former King County elections building).

In-person voters should bring proper identification.

Additional information can be obtained by contacting Susan Wermus by phone at 425-282-1900 or email at susan.wermus@kingcd.org.

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City Fruit Offers Healthy Tree Classes @ Mt. Baker Park

Once again City Fruit is offering classes to help you grow better, prune better and make better use of your trees and shrubs.

The next class is Saturday, March 19, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and covers Permaculture and Orchards.  The class takes place at Bradner Gardens Park classroom: 1733 Bradner Place S, Seattle in the Mt. Baker neighborhood.

Learn permaculture best practices for planting and maintaining healthy fruit trees including how to establish “plant communities” (or permaculture plant guilds) that activate the soil, support the ecosystem, and promote low maintenance tree health.

Co-instructor Jenny Pell is a permaculture teacher, designer and consultant specializing in urban permaculture, edible perennials and vertical gardening. Jacqueline Cramer has worked the land for twenty years as farmer, teacher, gardener, designer, and activist, and has worked in urban settings designing, installing and maintaining landscapes, including over 15 school food gardens.

All regular City Fruit classes cost $15 for members, $20 for non-members. Register online at www.cityfruit.org or send a check, the name of the class, and your contact information to: City Fruit, PO Box 28577, Seattle 98118.

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