Squad had another great summer stewardship event at Luther Burbank Park with the Mountain to Sound Greenway Trust. The restoration work has been progressing over the years- continued efforts to remove noxious species will always be needed (birds will always drop blackberry and ivy seeds from berries via their droppings) but a significant plateau of sustainability has been reached in our primary work area under the big Oregon ash tree.
Our task consisted of filling buckets of wood chips and hauling them from the great mulch pile to the restoration site. We sheet mulched by overlapping cardboard and thickly covering it with wood chips to kill weeds and protect growing space for native plants.
Naturally we had a wonderful swim in Lake Washington afterwards!
Squad braved the April showers to plant a variety of natives at the north end of Magnuson Park, not far from Lake Washington. Dedicated local forest stewards have worked this region of View Ridge for many years, most recently supported by the Green Seattle Partnership.
We also mulched and cleared a few weeds from around the young plants getting established. The overhanging native big leaf maple / Acer macrophyllum was in lovely full bloom.
We look forward to returning in the summer for Stewardship Squad's work/swim events! The lake will be very inviting after getting tired and grubby doing good work.
We tended our usual restoration site near Calkins Point on Lake Washington under the shade of the big Oregon ash tree / Fraxinus latifolia. This site used to be a dairy farm and the concrete stall remnants can still be seen (and played in).
We weeded and mulched around native plantings before partaking of the warm shallow waters on the lake.
Come on out and join us for our next stewardship/swim here on 8/22.
It must be summer, Squad has returned to Luther Burbank Park with the Mountains to Sound Greenway! We tended our usual restoration site near Lake Washington under the shade of the big Oregon ash tree / Fraxinus latifolia.
The site is looking terrific after years of attention. We continued maintenance-weeding of noxious species and over-vigorous natives such as horsetail that threaten the survival of young plants trying to establish, such as red osier dogwood, snowberry and roses.
A summer Squad event couldn't be complete without a run around the old concrete foundations of the former dairy barn as well as an extremely refreshing swim off the end of Calkins Point. We'll be back- come on out to enjoy this quiet spot on Lake Washington in the heart of the Seattle-Bellevue metropolis.
Squad was down along the wetland again at Luther Burbank Park in the Mountains to Sound Greenway. where we weeded amongst the native plantings of rose, snowberry, vine maple and more. Blackberry / Rubus armenicus and hedge bindweed / Convolvulus sepium take years to bring under control and vigilance to prevent from re-establishment, so consistent stewardship is vitally important. These vining plants will easily weigh down young natives so much that they bend over to the ground, after-which they are easily smothered. Once the natives are more established, they have greater resilience- just like children. Our children in fact worked hard to yank, haul, dig and chuck large quantities of noxious weeds away from the wetland boardwalk and the small natives, with a bit of help from their parents and our work party host Joe. Great work.
We were happily surprised to see that our favourite quiet swimming beach was busy with heavy machinery doing erosion control and restoration on the bank. While we couldn't swim there, we were delighted to find that the main lifeguarded swimming beach was sandy, warm and very fun. As was the land-art in the form of water-ripples, perfect for running around.
This is our third summer returning to Luther Burbank Park with the Mountain to Sound Greenway Trust. It was a warm day, but we knew swimming awaited and the tall Oregon ash provided dappled shade as we hauled buckets for sheet mulching. The area we worked used to be a trashy thicket but has been transformed by Squad and many others into a young native planting. The wood chips cover the cardboard, which helps significantly to suppress perennial noxious weeds such as blackberry & reed canary grass / Phalaris arundinacea. In the areas that sheet mulching hasn't been accomplished yet, we created 'rings of life' around the little natives simply by pulling away weeds & flattening or ripping them down. For plants only 24" high, a little goes a long way until they have time to get taller. Of course we dug blackberry too. And of course we played and swam on the gorgeous sparkling lake! We will be back in September on the 4th Tuesday.
Stewardship Squad returned to Luther Burbank Park with the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, a favorite destination for combining stewardship with swimming on hot summer days. The kids were excited to be working on a new spot, deep in the wetland. We felt like we were on a jungle expedition as we bushwhacked our way back to the site. Our mission: blackberry and ivy removal.
The kids deftly dug, clipped, and pulled as the temperature continued to rise throughout the afternoon. By the end we had cleared a substantial section and everyone was ready to cool off. We made our way to the shore of the lake and the kids swam, the parents lounged, and a bald eagle swooped low overhead.
Lake Washington was at its finest during the height of a hot summer. Fortunately the large Oregon ash / Fraxinus latifolia trees in the wetland buffer shaded us as we pulled noxious weeds from native plantings. After working at a leisurely pace in the sultry weather we were joined by even more homeschooling friends for a fun afternoon in the refreshing lake.
Conspicuous across our work site were thick mats of dead (for the summer) noxious stickyweed / Galium aparine that had clearly been smothering the small native plants back in spring when their growth is rampant. The dry mats of stringy, grasping stems made clear why it is also known by the name bedstraw and also cleavers, as evident by the grasping round seedballs left all over our clothes and gloves. Surely you know them. Indeed it was such small hooks on burrs that inspired the creation of velcro. Our less-seen native species of Galium include small bedstraw / Galium trifidum & boreal bedstraw / Galium boreale. They are in the family Rubiaceae, which includes coffee, and supposedly the seeds of G. aparine can be used as a substitute as well as having edible foliage with medicinal properties.
Mountains to Sound Greenway choose a shady spot for our weeding work beneath a large Oregon ash / Fraxinus latifolius at Luther Burbank Park. The soil was completely dry, but the native plantings were hanging on well. So were the weeds. We kept busy pulling noxious species away from the rose, mahonia & red osier dogwood. There were many invasive common hawthorn / Crataegus monogyna seedlings. To our chagrin, we looked up at our lunchbreak tree on the park lawn and saw a lovely small tree of just this invasive variety. The children were very confused as to why it was preserved by the park staff while we had worked all morning to eradicate its progeny. Perhaps an interesting lesson on multi-agency/organization coordination. This is certainly a tree that should be hit with the mower.
We swam at the quiet north end of the park, enjoying wide views across Lake Washington. We even had the amazing opportunity to see a dragon/damsel fly nymph (larvae) emerge from its watery lifecycle and gradually unfurl its wings over 10m or so. Stunning.