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Who is the Griffin Neighborhood Association?
The Griffin Neighborhood Association (GNA) is s registered with the State of Washington as a non-profit organization. We are a nonpartisan group of neighbors living within the boundaries of the Griffin School District, Thurston County, Washington.
Any person owning property, a business, or residing in the Griffin area is eligible to become a member and participate fully in the Association. Membership is also open to community groups and students of the Griffin School District. If you live or work in the Griffin neighborhood or Steamboat Peninsula, the Griffin Neighborhood Association is you.
Originally organized as the Oyster Bay Neighborhood Association in 1990, we were registered with the State of Washington as the nonprofit Griffin Neighborhood Association in December, 1995.
The mission of the Griffin Neighborhood Association is to help build community consensus on major issues confronting the Griffin area, including growth, land issues, habitat, water quality, transportation and school planning. When appropriate, we research issues as honest brokers of information, provide forums for debate, attempt to arrive at community consensus and issue resolution, and present this consensus to appropriate decision makers.
The Griffin Neighborhood Association also undertakes and supports projects that benefit our community, help to build a sense of community, and educate the community on topics of interest.
Our Board and Officers
Our Board is comprised of current members of the Association, elected by members of the Association present at the Annual Meeting. Officers are elected from Board membership by members of the Board.
Our Upcoming Events
Local residents: Join Nextdoor to see GNA events, plus many more goings-on here in our neighborhood!
This year’s Bash will benefit the Thurston County Food Bank. Bring a canned food donation and buy a pie to support the Food Bank.
Sunday, August 20
12 noon to 4 PM
St. Christopher’s Community Church
7902 Steamboat Island Rd. NW
Free, live entertainment by the Oly Mountain Boys, from 12 noon to 3:30 PM.
- Silent Auction
- Bingo Garden
- Great Prizes
Summertime Family Fun!
- Activities for the young at heart, from 12 noon to 4 PM
- Bounce House
- Giant Bubble Station
- Face Painting
- Many more kids activities
- Thurston County Food Bank – St. Christopher’s Church is an official food bank satellite location
- Open Hands Garden – Growing food and collecting donations from gardens in the Steamboat Island peninsula community
- Griffin Fire Department – Blood pressure tests and CPR demonstrations
Awesome Local Food
- Famous homemade blueberry pies – plus other fruit fillings supplied by Spooner Berry Farms
- Brats and 100% beef Polish sausages
- Ice cream milkshakes – thanks to a generous donation by Olympic Mountain Ice Cream
- Xinh’s eggrolls and geoduck chowder – courtesy of Taylor Shellfish Farms
- Buy a homemade pie and support the Thurston County Food Bank
You won’t want to miss this annual summertime event, celebrating its 39 years here on the Steamboat Peninsula!
There are two magnificent oak trees on the corner of Steamboat Island Road and Sexton Drive. As a Griffin parent, I have driven by those oaks hundreds of times on the way to school, marveling at the dense mats of moss and ferns growing on strong limbs and the remnant prairie plants growing beneath. Late last winter, I stopped. I walked under the oaks and imagined how this native prairie habitat would look with rivers of camas running through it like long ago. The picture of a restored prairie in our backyard was too pretty to let go of, and is what prompted me to start doing some digging.
It turns out this small parcel is a part of Schneider’s Prairie and owned by the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT). WSDOT also happens to be very supportive of protecting the oaks and restoring the prairie. Native prairies like this used to cover large sections of Thurston County, though mostly down south near the Glacial Heritage Preserve and Mima Mounds where some are still present. Today only about 3% of this habitat still exists. Scotch broom and sun-loving Douglas fir thrive in these open areas and conversion to forest can happen quickly without the traditional land management practice of controlled burns. Camas, that beautiful blue flower growing in pockets around the Steamboat/101 interchange, is a culturally important “First Food” cultivated by indigenous people of the area. Burning prairies not only increases this food source, it improves soil conditions to support myriad pollinators and endemic species. According to local historian Steve Lundin, Schneider’s Prairie was probably last burned more than 200 years ago.
Presenting the idea of prairie restoration to the Steamboat community was like setting a spark in a dry field. A single email to members of the Steamboat Conservation Partnership (SCP) this spring resulted in an immediate site visit and two work parties. Outfitted with gloves, chain saws, weed wrenches and clippers, SCP volunteers and other friends and neighbors removed the encroaching Douglas fir seedlings, cut down non-native black locust trees, pulled scotch broom and whacked back 10’ high Himalayan blackberry! After reaching out to Griffin School, seventy-five 4th graders helped out this May by removing brush from the prairie. They also learned about traditional camas harvest from Shawna Zierdt (Griffin parent, Native Plant Specialist and member of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians) who demonstrated digging techniques and showed students how the relationship between Native people and the prairies is deep and present.
This project has had a tremendous jump start, thanks to the outpouring of interest and support from the Steamboat community. I wish I could say that the prairie has been fully restored, but there is still work to be done. Invasive plants will continue to move in and will need to be removed manually unless the property is burned, which is an idea for the future. In the meantime, 1,000 camas bulbs are on order and will be planted this fall, most of which are expected to bloom the following spring. Some of the invasive plants will be covered with black geotextile material to kill the plants and roots, while others will be hand cut and pulled to keep them under control.
The progress that has been made at this site in just a few short months is impressive. Special thanks goes out to SCP members and volunteers Jack Sisco, Paul Meury, Bonnie Blessing-Earle, Mark Fischer, Jim Leonard, Steve Lundin, Skip McGinty, Peter Reid, Elizabeth Roderick, and Joanne and Dave Schuett-Hames for sharing knowledge of this site, offering suggestions on how to proceed, and most of all showing up at work parties ready to work! We are also grateful to AmeriCorps member Hanna Jones, the US Fish and Wildlife’s Connecting People with Nature program, WSDOT, Griffin School, and the Washington Native Plant Society for their support and interest in this project. We welcome new ideas and volunteers to this project. Feel free to contact Thurston Conservation District staff member Stephanie Bishop at email@example.com to learn more about the project and/or how you can get involved.
By Stephanie Bishop, Thurston Conservation District
You are invited to join us this Sunday, July 30, for a community picnic at the Prosperity Grange and Tin Cup Golf Range!
There will be plenty of complimentary food, a showcase of local organizations and businesses, animals and activities for families, and a special musical guest.
An illness prevents the Olympia duo, “Austin Radio“, from appearing at this year’s picnic. Instead, musicians Roger & Deb Hamilton will perform. Roger Hamilton crafts fine, handmade guitars at Hamilton Guitars in Rochester. Contact Roger at (253) 722-3442 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
You won’t want to miss the delicious seafood dishes served by Xinh Dwelley, proprietor of the fabled Xinh’s Crab & Oyster House.
The Griffin Fire Department will hold a benefit car wash, this same day. Please come on by and get your car or truck washed, for a good cause.
Here’s a sample of some of the organizations and local businesses who will be attending:
- Emmit’s Magic Animal Rescue
- Feline Friends
- Griffin School Foundation
- Mail Boss
- Nicholson & Associates Insurance
- Our Community Credit Union
- Olympia Host Lions Club
- Olympia Synchronized Swim Club
- Providence St. Peter Hospital Sexual Assault and Child Maltreatment Center
- Silver Service Transitions
- St. Christopher’s Community Church
- Steamboat Island 4H
- Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool
- Steamboat Tennis & Athletic Club
- Thrive Life
And many more!
If you are a new member who joins the Griffin Neighborhood Association, at the picnic, your name will be entered into a drawing to win a $25 gift certificate donated by Character’s Corner.
The Olympia Host Lions Club are raffling off a 40-pound box of fresh fuji apples, to be delivered in October. Make sure you stop by their table to get entered into the raffle.
Special thanks to our event sponsors:
Steamboat Trading Post
Tin Cup Driving Range
Lots of opportunities still exist, if you are able to volunteer to help with this event. There are tasks that take little time and people are needed to work for as little as an hour or so, the actual day of the picnic. For information about how you can help, please contact Becky at FurAcres@gmail.com
Bring your family and visit with your neighbors, enjoy a delicious meal, and listen to the sounds of Austin Radio at this free community event.
The Steamboat Conservation Partnership recently released its latest annual report. As many of you know, the SCP’s fiscal year begins July 1st of each year. Among the highlights are an eighth successful year of operation, continued planning, and collaboration with the Capitol Land Trust to identify important parcels in our area, for preservation. Here are excerpts from the CLT’s annual report:
Donations: During our 2016 – 2017 fiscal year (July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017), we raised $20,727 for Capitol Land Trust, earmarked to finance part of their activities within the Steamboat Peninsula Region where most of us live and/or own property. Donations during the month of June were enhanced by three of our donors matching, dollar for dollar, any donations not exceeding a combined total of $1,500. This allowed us to exceed our annual goal of $15,000 in collections by more than 33.3%. This matching program was a first for the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.
Over the eight years of our existence, we have raised $134,129 for Capitol Land Trust, which is $14,129 above our goal of $120,000 for that eight-year period. We should all be very proud of generating these funds to ensure that many of our natural areas will be available to our children, grandchildren, and beyond.
Activities: This spring many of us in the Steamboat Conservation Partnership, along with friends and neighbors, began restoring a remnant portion of Schneider Prairie. The remnant is located on the north side of the Highway 101 overpass, where the majestic oak tree stands on the SW corner of Steamboat Island Road and Sexton Road. Many of us pass this site on our daily commutes.
We removed blackberries, scotch broom, and invasive non-native trees. Later, 4th Grade classes from the Griffin School worked the site to prepare for fall plantings of native prairie wildflowers and grasses. The project is led by Stephanie Bishop, a parent of Griffin School kids who works for the Thurston Conservation District. Long-time Steamboat Conservation Partnership participants Jack Sisco and Joanne Schuett-Hames helped organize the efforts.
This special project builds on past efforts of the Griffin Neighborhood Association. Years ago, members of the Griffin Neighborhood Association planted Gerry oak trees and other native vegetation in this and other areas after the freeway overpass was built on Steamboat Island Road. At that time Griffin School teachers initiated a long-term monitoring project on the nearby Schneider Creek. This newly restored area will be will now be used as a second outdoor educational site where students learn about our local prairie, and the traditional uses of prairie plants by Native Americans.