Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE), the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report yesterday that connects habitat restoration with fisheries. As the title of the report says, essentially, “More habitat means more fish.”
From the announcement:
“Investing in coastal and estuarine habitat restoration is essential not only for the long-term future of our fisheries but also because it helps support economies and communities through the recreational and commercial fishing industries,” said Jeff Benoit, President and CEO of Restore America’s Estuaries. “In order to have fish, we have to have healthy habitat. If we want more fish, we need more healthy habitat.”
By Jennifer Crain
Travelers have been eschewing tourist traps for decades, seeking out authentic experiences, eager to connect with real people and take part in something non-generic that’s outside their daily routines.
The desire gave rise, many years ago, to “cultural tourism,” a concept that re-frames the typical itinerary, defining must-visit spots as those that reflect a region’s culture and lifestyle rather than a string of visits to souvenir shops and imposter restaurants.
The challenge according to Procession of the Species Celebration founder and organizer Eli Sterling, is that travel focused on culture soon becomes part of the problem, unintentionally stripping cultural experiences of uniqueness, by way of demand. Think of an indigenous basket weaver who no longer weaves at home in the early morning but in a market stall, during hours when it’s convenient for tourists to come and watch.
A counter-response prompted a National Geographic employee to coin the term “geotourism” in the late ‘90s. It defines a “tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place – its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.” (A separate use of the term refers to travel focused on landscape and geological features.) National Geographic later expanded the concept and adopted a 13-principle Geotourism Charter that details values such as integrity of place, community involvement and conservation of resources.
In 2010, the organization released their Central Cascades Geotourism MapGuide, a publication that earmarks sites and practices in our region that reflect these principles, including the annual Procession of the Species Celebration. The Procession has been described as “the ‘crown jewel’ and ‘quintessential event’ characterizing the personality of Olympia.”
Sterling says the designation on the map fits the philosophy behind the celebration, which he envisioned as a vehicle for developing “a cultural exchange as opposed to an entertainment event, with a dynamic necessitated on an annual renewal of community engagement, authentic contribution, and meaningful participation in a manner that reflects people’s personal experiences of the landscape where they live.” This creates an exchange of creativity and story, and that is where culture resides. At the same time, the Procession is not a prescription: ‘You can’t just tell people ‘here’s the culture and this is how you have to do it.’”
Laura Killian has been participating in the Procession, and helping define its culture, for seventeen of its nineteen seasons. Killian teaches papier-mâché workshops at the Community Arts Studios and in years past has made a giant pull-toy dachshund, a fox, twenty-eight wild dog masks, a fake-cedar wolf mask and a winged pig, among others. Her kids, now ages fourteen and eighteen, grew up in the studios, busy with their own projects. Last year Killian helped her son with their biggest yet, a thirteen-foot T-Rex skeleton puppet.
Asked why she takes part, Killian says, “I love doing something that hasn’t been done before, where nobody knows if it’s even possible and there’s no textbook that has answers in the back. I love working with my friends and family to make their craziest, prettiest, most ambitious ideas come to life. I love the beauty and color and action of it all. I love ruining the idea that art is a spectator sport. I love being the opposite of television.”
Multiply Killian’s enthusiasm by 3,000, the average number of annual Procession participants, all carrying batiked banners, bedecked in homemade costumes or balancing giant puppets that celebrate the Earth. Another 30,000 people fill Olympia’s streets and sidewalks, chalking the pavement with a mosaic of swirls, suns and floral designs.
Sterling, who has a master’s degree from The Evergreen State College in environmental studies with a focus on the Endangered Species Act, culture and travel, says the Procession is based on this spirit of creative collaboration and sharing.
“If you provide people with the opportunity to have a creative relationship with where they live, they will naturally gravitate toward sharing their experience of that place,” he says. “When people share what they cherish about a place, then they’re going to be far more protective of that place. So the goal of the Procession is to get people in the urban corridor into creative relationships which translates into sharing” and into a stronger community identity.
Evidence that the concept works isn’t limited to the number of local participants: Olympia’s celebration has inspired similar programs in other cities in the Northwest, and a handful of communities elsewhere in the nation and in Canada.
The Procession grew out of a twenty-year-old conversation surrounding protection of endangered species and the involvement of community members with the natural world and with one another.
“We recognize the inherent polarization that accompanies a civic dynamic that separates its policy from its culture,” says Sterling. They created a framework comprised of only three rules, intending to place parameters on the event without restricting creativity.
Written or spoken words, as well as symbols, are prohibited. The Procession’s most impactful rule disallows participants and attendees from advocating any political, religious or ideological cause. It also prevents the usurpation by event sponsors who may wish to monetarily support the Procession in exchange for advertising their investment.
“Perhaps more than at any other time in history, the reality of our culture resides in our conversations. Whoever holds the greatest influence upon the faculties of media and communication holds the greatest influence upon the conversation that informs identity,” says Sterling, who wants the celebration to continue to “generate an open invitation for anyone who wishes to participate in a pageant of appreciation and protection of the natural world.”
The remaining two rules are designed to help people be full participants, focusing their attention on the people around them rather than the family pet or a mechanized float: no live animals and no motorized vehicles are allowed in the Procession. (Motorized wheelchairs don’t fall into this category. Those in wheelchairs are warmly encouraged to participate.)
“Our hope is for a community expression that is empowered through the languages of art, music and dance,” says Sterling. “In the end, it’s not so much that travelers see a Procession empowering a community rather, they see is a community that is empowered by the actualization of its own identity.”
The 19th annual Procession of the Species Celebration takes place this year on April 27 at 4:30 p.m. in downtown Olympia.
To join in and get started on a costume, mask or banner, head down to the Community Art Studios.
Marylin Ball-Brown, President of Generations Credit Union, is also a Generations customer. Recently she took advantage of the incredibly low interest rate loans the credit union offers to have solar panels installed at her home.
She couldn’t be more thrilled with the results. “This year I received a $10,000 rebate on my taxes, my energy bills are down by a third, and we produced enough excess power to sell some back to Puget Sound Energy. Not only that, but the panels and processors were all Washington made, so we are supporting the local economy,” she said. She also is able to calculate that in three or four years her loan will be paid off and she’ll start making money from the panels.
There are many reasons to improve the efficiency of a home or to upgrade or add technology. Comfort is a great reason; ditch the sweaters and turn up the thermostat. Saving money, lowering our environmental footprint, tax deductions, improving the local economy by hiring green contractors, or learning that homes that are energy efficient have a lower mortgage default risk, by as much as 32%!*
The one roadblock that may get in the way of home efficiency improvements is the initial cost. Some costs are low, such as the expense of replacing floor insulation; other costs are high, such as installing solar panels, or new high-efficiency windows.
Consider Financing Home Energy Improvements
Once homeowners decide to invest in their home to save energy and money, a great option is to turn to local lending institutions to borrow the upfront capital, and watch the energy savings pay off financing over the life of the loan.
Thurston Energy, a program of the Thurston Economic Development Council (EDC) has made it a priority to make special arrangements with local banks and credit unions to provide low-interest loans to Thurston County homeowners for energy-efficient home improvements. The great news is that often, by investing in energy efficiency, the monthly energy savings can meet or exceed monthly finance payments on the loan.
Currently, there are three green loan lending partners: Generations Credit Union, O Bee Credit Union and Olympia Federal Savings.
Generations Credit Union is a small credit union located in downtown Olympia.
Generations Credit Union’s Ball-Brown said that they issued $1.2 million in solar loans in 2012 alone. In addition to solar, Generations makes loans available for ductless heat pumps, solar water heaters and window replacement.
Through a grant received by Thurston Energy, Generations will even buy down interest rates on loans for qualifying energy efficiency improvements like high efficiency heat pumps.
*Finally, if comfort, cost savings and potential tax credits are not enough of a reason to consider improving the efficiency of your home, consider a recent study conducted by the University of North Carolina. This study found that the risk of defaulting on a mortgage is 32% lower for homeowners who live in energy-efficient homes.
For more information visit www.thurstonenergy.org.
This year’s Spring Seattle Restaurant Week is April 7-18, 2013. More than 160 restaurants participate in this twice a year event (also held in October). Three-course dinners are just $28 and many of the restaurants offer three-course lunches for $15. The website states: “Visit the award-winning hot spots you’ve always wanted to try and return once again to the neighborhood eatery you’ve loved for years during this dining frenzy.”
Tilth is located at 1411 N. 45th Street, in the heart of the Wallingford neighborhood in north Seattle. www.tilthrestaurant.com
Their website describes their food style as “new American cuisine prepared with certified-organic or wild ingredients sourced from as many local farmers we are able to support.”
Tilth’s executive chef and owner, Maria Hines, is a James Beard Award winner for Best Chef of the Northwest, as well as one of Food & Wine Magazine’s 10 Best New Chefs of 2005. In 2008, the New York Times deemed Tilth one of the best new restaurants in the country.
Janice and I met in downtown Seattle for a cup of tea before heading to Wallingford. From 3rd and Union in Seattle, we caught Metro Route 358 heading north. The bus travels along Aurora Avenue, where we exited at 46th Street. We walked down the stairs from Aurora, heading east. 46th meets up with 45th in a few blocks. A lively bright mural and spring flowers brightened our way. Continuing east a couple blocks on 45th we were in the heart of the Wallingford district. We were in the neighborhood well before our dinner reservations, so we browsed the shops along 45th.
Our first stop was to the eclectic Archie McPhee store; home of the rubber chicken (and a lot more!) It’s a toy, novelty, and stocking-stuffer store. Fun place to browse. http://www.mcphee.com/shop/
Up 45th is the Wallingford Center, a former Seattle school building turned into a wonderful collection of stores. You can find cupcakes, yarn, clothing, and gifts at this location. Across the street from the Center is a great little shoe store, and also an excellent travel and map store.
We then headed to Tilth, a bright green two-story house. The special menu for Restaurant week was fun to read; it was a hard choice! Janice and I each ordered different things, and shared bites. My favorite was the wild mushroom/pea risotto. Janice’s yogart/pickled ginger/charcoal lemon was excellent also. And how could you not love Theo chocolate pudding with rhubarb and pistachio? Tilth’s website lists and describes the menu choices.
After a leisurely and filling meal, we each headed to our respective destinations. Heading back to Seattle, I just crossed 45th to the bus stop where I caught Metro route 16 within five minutes. I got off the bus at 3rd and Pike (between Macys’ and Columbia Sportwear), then walked one block west to 2nd Avenue to catch the Sound Transit bus 594 to Lakewood.
Plan on participating in October’s Restaurant week! It’s a great way to try new restaurants for a reasonable cost.
By Jennifer Crain
As my nine-year-old daughter and I walked a path that curves around the mystery mounds (scientists have yet to settle on a satisfactory explanation for the landforms) she told me the wind in the dry grass reminded her of the fantasy book, which we finished reading together last week. The two of us spent the rest of our walk pretending we were stumbling toward a white fortress at the top of a lonely hill.
I wasn’t surprised that the setting prompted a flight of fancy. The otherworldly landscape at Mima Mounds is the stuff of imagination.
The designers of the new Capitol State Forest Map must agree. On the map’s Fun Guide, the mounds are labeled the forest’s “Most Mysterious” attraction.
The Fun Guide is a great introduction to the map, which has been updated for the first time since 2002. On it, people new to the over 100,000-acre working forest will find tempting suggested destinations such as “Best Berry Picking Spot,” “Most Peaceful Walk” and “Most Remote Campsite.”
Flip it over for the detailed recreational map with updated names of trails and roads, locations of trailheads and recreation sites. There’s a useful inset of the popular section of the forest that includes Mima Falls, the Middle Waddell trail and the Margaret McKenney campground. Shadings indicating land status and color-coded lines denoting roads and trails make the map both an indispensable guide and a work of beauty.
Elizabeth Eberle, one of three cartographers at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) who worked on the map, says the project was prompted by the need to update data. “Roads and trails had changed dramatically, including the numbering system for roads and trails,” she says.
She and the other cartographers, Mark McLeod and Don Hiller, worked with new software to create the map. They also collaborated with a diverse team from DNR and community members such as engineers, foresters, recreation planners and users of the forest to decide which elements would make the map both accurate and approachable.
Diana Lofflin, Recreation Communications Manager, says the team is pleased with the outcome and hopes the map’s new features will appeal to families who want to explore the natural beauty of the forest.
Almost any outdoor interest is accommodated in Capitol State Forest. The forest is split, with motorized trails in the northern half and non-motorized trails, such as those for equestrian and mountain bike use, in the southern half. Foot traffic is welcome on all trails though motorized trails aren’t necessarily recommended for hikers. A few trails are designated for particular uses, such as loop trail for equestrians and one designed with mountain bikers in mind. Motorized trails, equestrian trails and camping sites are open May 1 to November 30. Hiking trails are open year-round. There are restricted areas for target shooting.
A prime destination for outdoor recreation, Capitol State Forest is also a sustainable working forest. According to one of the map’s informational sections, over 800,000 seedlings were planted last year. Between 2005 and 2011 eight percent of DNR’s timber harvests came from the forest. “Habitats are carefully planned years in advance,” it reads, “and are designed to support a living mosaic of forest habitat for wildlife.”
Spring is a great time to explore the forest if you’ve never been. A one-time investment in the map and a yearly Discover Pass will give your family hours of recreation possibilities.
A paper version of the new Capitol State Forest map costs $9.00 and can be purchased online or at the State Department of Enterprise Services at 7580 New Market Street SW in Tumwater. The department says it will also be available soon at retail locations. A version of the map is available as a free smartphone app (mine downloaded in less than five minutes). I recommend springing for the paper version for its user-friendly guide and downloading the app as a backup.
A Discover Pass is required to use the forest’s recreational sites and gives your family access to millions of acres of recreation lands in Washington State. The cost for an annual pass is $30.00 or $10.00 for a day pass.
Throughout the rest of April, May and June, Mima Mounds will be transformed from the whistling and dry place my daughter and I visited to a field of color. Blue violets, buttercups, camas flowers and other native wildflowers will dot the swollen landscape with bright pinks, golds and blues. The rest of the forest will be waking up as well. So pack a picnic and head for the trees!
To purchase a Discovery Pass, click here.
Photos courtesy Diana Lofflin, DNR and the author.
Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County. The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.
Submitted by Mary Jo Buza
The last days of winter were unusually nice. So warm it felt like summer and the plants are loving it! Many plants are blooming early, confirming that spring has arrived. For example, Osoberry a native shrub, is blooming now.
Osoberry is a large shrub that grows along the rivers, streams and lakes. It is a very common shrub that you may notice even growing along roadsides. Osoberry is the first native shrub to bloom each year and its small white flowers are always welcome.
After the Osoberry, red flowering currant is the next native plant to bloom, but this year they are blooming at the same time. Red flowering currant is an important source of nectar for the hummingbirds. It appears that hummingbirds synchronize their schedules with the appearance of the red flowering currant and quince flowers. Is it possible that the hummingbirds time their arrival to coincide with the blooming cycle of this native shrub? I rarely notice the hummingbirds until the red flowering currants begin to bloom.
Very adaptable, red flowering currant tolerates a variety of soils including heavy clay. It blooms prolifically when planted in a sunny location, but it also tolerates light shade. The striking raspberry-red flowers attract lots of attention in any garden. Most nurseries sell out of this native shrub each year. If you want to plant one in your garden this spring, be sure to buy one soon before they sell out. Nurseries also sell a white flowering currant called ‘Icicle’ that is also popular, but I am not sure it will attract hummingbirds. Red and white flowering currants are large shrubs growing quickly to 8 feet tall and wide. Deer love red flowering currant.
Another early blooming shrub is flowering quince. Not a native plant, but a favorite of hummingbirds. Flowering quince blooms for up to three weeks. Flowering quince is an ‘old fashion’ plant. You are more likely to find it growing in your grandmother’s gardens rather than our own garden. Many varieties of quince are large, growing ten to twelve feet tall and wide. However, smaller compact varieties are now available. Flowers vary in color from red to reddish orange to salmon.
If you are like me and crave shrubs that bloom early to reassure you that spring is still on schedule, add red flowering currant and quince to your garden. Other early blooming plants include camellia, forsythia, winterhazel, Oregon grape, hellebore and the wonderfully fragrant evergreen clematis- a vine.
Author Mary Jo Buza, is a landscape designer. She has over 20 years experience maintaining, designing, and teaching gardening in the South Sound region. For more information on a custom landscape design or consultation call 923-1733 or www.maryjobuza.com.
Photos used with permission of the Washington Native Plant Society.
The proposed budget recently released by the state House of Representatives includes $7.3 million towards renovating the current Deschutes River hatchery in Tumwater and creating the Deschutes Watershed Center.
This new facility on the Deschutes River in Tuwater wouldn’t replace the current hatchery at the waterfall park in Tumwater, but would supplement it. The current program on the Deschutes is piecemeal. There isn’t enough room to rear the fish that will eventually be released. To have a successful program, everything from spawning to rearing and release, needs to be in the same place.
By keeping all aspects of the hatchery in one facility, chances of spreading fish diseases decrease and chances of salmon survival increases. Even though the number of fish raised and released won’t increase from around 3.8 million annually, the number of chinook returning every year will due to better survival.
The Deschutes River incubation and rearing facility will enhance existing operations at Tumwater Falls Park and create a new facility at upstream Pioneer Park, improving water quality and creating new opportunities for community involvement.
New Facilities Overview
Tumwater Falls Park
• Adult collection and holding facilities (enhanced)
• Egg collection facilities (enhanced)
• Fingerling rearing program (enhanced)
• Visitor facilities (enhanced)
• Effluent treatment facilities (new)
• River pump station (enhanced)
• Fry/fingerling rearing program
• Salmon yearling program
• Recreational fishing program
• Educational/community use facilities
• Integrate with other Deschutes River watershed activities
• Deschutes River trailhead
The Deschutes River hatchery by the numbers
Thurston here to there provides access to a variety of information about travel choices, public and private transportation services, and other transportation-related resources within Thurston County and the greater Puget Sound area.
Check them out at www.thurstonheretothere.org
You DON’T have to dump your car to be a Rebel by Bus.
Last week is a good example. Like many died-in-the-wool Pacific Northwesterners, I love our green and temperate climate… however, come winter I crave blue sky and sunshine. Around February I head somewhere for a dose of sun and warmer temps.
This year my destination was Sedona and Phoenix Arizona. The red rocks of Sedona are simply breathtaking. Every direction you turn is a new formation. The angles and light exposures make every glimpse a new experience.
After a few days in Sedona, I headed to Phoenix (passing through Peoria to watch a Mariner’s baseball game, which was stopped after a couple innings due to rain:-0) I had two attractions on my list: Taliesin West (winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright, architect extraordinaire) and the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden. Taliesin West was very interesting; I thoroughly enjoyed the tour depicting the architect’s philosophy of houses and life.
Now the purpose of this post: I used the Phoenix Metro bus service to get to and from the Desert Botanical Garden. From the financial district of Phoenix (and next to both the Phoenix Art Museum AND the Heard Museum) I caught Bus 17, eastbound from Central Avenue and McDowell. The adult fare was $2.00. The bus travels along McDowell for several miles. I exited the bus at McDowell and 64th. Directly behind the bus stop is a large “Welcome to the Desert Botanical Garden” sign. I followed the rock lined gravel path which led me through the garden’s parking lot to the garden. A huge trio of neon-bright chartreuse Dale Chihuly towers is placed at the entrance. An Adult entrance fee is $18 (60 and older is $15.)
After two days of rain and gloomy skies, the warm sun and blue sky were welcome. The garden has several sections, such as herb, cactus, wildflowers, and displays and information about indigenous people living in the desert.
Trails wandered throughout the park, with vistas to distant mountains and hills. Benches, playful sculptures, and comfortable patio chairs were scattered everywhere. One of the most interesting sculptures was a collection of four huge faces, each comprised of fruits and vegetables from each of the four seasons. Very colorful and clever!
I found the bus drivers to be exceptional friendly and polite. Neither driver knew that their route was next door to the Botanical Garden!
For more information about the Desert Botanical Garden: www.dbg.org
Yesterday was the last Rebel’s adventure for Winter quarter…another indication that Spring is coming!
Twelve eager travelers met at the Martin Way Park and Ride in Lacey at 9:00, where we talked about bus basics. We boarded to Intercity Transit Bus 605 at 9:20, arriving at the Lakewood Highway 512 Park and Ride at 9:50.
The next leg of the journey was aboard Sound Transit 594, which we boarded at 10:08. The traffic was light, since it was a holiday; so our bus arrived in Seattle a bit earlier than scheduled. We got off the bus at 4th and Seneca at about 11:15.
The wind was brisk, but at least it wasn’t raining! We crossed 4th Avenue, heading down the hill to 3rd Avenue. Again, we crossed the street at Seneca, heading north to the corner of 3rd and University and the entrance to the our destination: Benaroya Hall.
Benaroya Hall is the home of the Seattle Symphony. It takes up an entire city block; from 2nd to 3rd, and University to Union. The large foyer of the hall has many small tables, as well as a Starbucks and Wolfgang Puck café counter. Many of us bought a warm something to go with our sack lunches. We had a leisurely lunch, then entered the Hall just before the start of the 12:30 organ recital.
The huge 4,490 pipe organ fills the back of the stage. For more information about the organ see: http://www.seattlesymphony.org/benaroya/press/watjen.aspx
Yesterday’s recital was entitled “Variations on a theme”. The organist, Joseph Adams, spoke briefly about the composer and music before each part of the program. Very interesting, as well as informative!
The (free!) organ recitals (and hall tours) take place six times a year, on Mondays at 12:30. For a schedule of dates and recital themes, see: http://www.seattlesymphony.org/benaroya/tour/
We excused ourselves at a break at 2:00, and headed one block downhill to 2nd Avenue, then south (left) to Seneca for one block to our bus stop. Yes; we did cut it close… we waited only a few minutes for our 2:12 Sound Transit bus 594 to arrive.
Again, due to traffic we arrived at the Lakewood Park and Ride lot a bit before our scheduled time. We caught the Intercity Transit bus 605 just after 3:30, arriving back at the Martin Way Park and Ride at 4:00 pm.