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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!
When I was a teenager and young adult, I cared about the environmental pollution. I would SCUBA in Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. I was acutely aware that the salt water I got in my mouth, eyes, and my ears needed to be somewhat pure or I would get sick.
My peers dumped oil and fuel as they felt it necessary. There was really, nowhere, to dump small amounts of petroleum products safely. Even the most environmentally sensitive of my peers would dump a quart of old gasoline on a gravel road with the hope that it would evaporate instead of run down stream or get into the water table.
I did everything in my power to use up the gasoline which I used in outboard motors and lawn mowers. Yet from time to time I had leftover fuel. I would try to evaporate it on hot days in the summer in a pie tin. It was a slow and dangerous process and obviously contributed to air pollution.
Over the recent decades, I refused to dump or try to evaporate fuel. Every few years some agency would be accepting fuel or oil and I would save it until I could dispose of it properly.
Over the past five years, I saved eight gallons of fuel and oil. In desperation I loaded up the car and went over to the Thurston County Dump. At the dump is a place called "hazo-house."
Instead of me begging for information about where to properly get rid of the hazardous materials; they opened up my car and took it away while I was talking to somebody. I asked how much it would cost. It was free!
So get rid of your lawn mower and outboard motor fuel, when it spoils, at the dump. Don’t pollute!
In his book, An Alternative Boating Guide to Southern Puget Sound, Mr. Nugent "will examine five of the Southern Puget Sound Inlets from a recreational and a personally reflective point of view. Perhaps this unique perspective of not rushing from one place to another; a connoisseur’s perspective, will inspire you to go and be there. As I describe what I did in each inlet at one time or another; you are invited to add your expertise and seamanship, and create your own plans for adventure and leisure."
You may know them as the people who recycle your eyeglasses. That is part of activities begun by the Lions after, in 1925, Helen Keller “challenged Lions to become ‘knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.'” There has been a Lions Club in the Olympia area since 1935. Now there is a Lions Club being formed right here on the Steamboat Peninsula. You are invited to come this Monday and learn more about this organization of “1.4 million men and women who believe that kindness matters.”
Olympia Steamboat Peninsula Lions Club
Monday, August 28
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Griffin Fire Station 2, 8113 Steamboat Island Rd NW, Olympia, WA
Please take note: The meeting is not at the fire department headquarters. The meeting is being held at Station 2, more than halfway up the peninsula.
Local resident and Lions Club member Karen Sell and others have come together to form the newest branch of the Olympia Lions Club. According to an event notification on Nextdoor, “We have selected officers and project leads and invite anyone interested to join us as we develop more ways to enhance our community here on the Steamboat Peninsula. Projects we are already planning are local apple sales, vision and hearing screenings for our area school children, and the distribution of dictionaries to local third grade students.”
For many of us, the Lions Club is a name with which we are familiar. But what and who are the Lions? Lions Clubs International traces its roots back to 1917, in Chicago. Their mission is “To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs” and “To be the global leader in community and humanitarian service.” In the Olympia area, you may have seen Lions working to support organizations such as the the Little Red Schoolhouse Project, Homeless Backpacks, Senior Services for South Sound, and the Thurston County Food Bank.
Now there is a branch of the Lions Club forming to identify projects of interest here in the Griffin area.
“If you are excited about improving the sense of community here on the peninsula – and getting involved in some local service projects – this could be for you,” wrote Karen Sell, on Nextdoor. “Come to a meeting to learn more.”
The Lions Club Annual Fuji Apples Sale Has Begun
The new Olympia Steamboat Peninsula Lions Club branch is now taking orders for 40 pound boxes of Fuji apples – fresh from the orchard in Wenatchee – for just $30. Proceeds benefit Camp Leo summer camp for children with diabetes and Lions vision screening/eyeglasses for children.
“October is just around the corner, just think of the pies and other great treats you can make as the temps start down,” wrote local member Mike Reavis. Orders must be in by September 25 – Apples will be delivered to you in October. If you would like to order or have questions, email Mike at TechL0rd1992@Gmail.com with your phone number for a call back or your email address.
Congratulations to Elaine Moore of Steamboat Island Road, who has won the free 40 pound box of Fuji apples given away by the Olympia Host Lions to advertise their apple sale and the formation of a new Steamboat Island peninsula Lions branch.
And if you did not win the free apples from the Lions, you still have a chance to get a 40 pound box of those luscious Fuji apples at the ridiculously low price of just $30 – that is just about 75 cents a pound.
The Steamboat Lions will induct 10 new members into their branch September 10. If you would like to be a part of the new Lions club working on projects for the Steamboat Peninsula, contact Karen Sell at email@example.com and she will reply with all the details.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the project and/or how you can get involved.
By Stephanie Bishop, Thurston Conservation District