Remember the Steamboat Conservation Partnership in Your Year-End Giving

This time of year, many of us are receiving requests to make year-end contributions to various worthy causes. With the Steamboat Conservation Partnership there exists a unique opportunity to give in a manner that will directly benefit those of us living here in the Griffin area. If your year-end planning includes making contributions to non-profit organizations, consider this your invitation to learn more about the SCP.

The Steamboat Conservation Partnership is a unique-in-the-nation collaboration between a local neighborhood group and the very successful Capitol Land Trust. The mission of the Steamboat Conservation Partnership is “to conserve the rich and diverse natural landscapes of the Steamboat Peninsula region.” Since this collaboration took effect, we have been able to protect more than 300 acres in the Steamboat Peninsula region.

The Capitol Land Trust has a proven record of working with land owners, businesses, and government to identify and preserve shorelines, rivers, forests, prairies, and working lands. You can learn more about the Steamboat Conservation Partnership on our web page at steamboatisland.org/scp  You will find a video there, that describes the work of the Capitol Land Trust.

We welcome contributions of any size.

Should you choose to make a contribution to the Steamboat Conservation Partnership, you will find a link on our web page and you can make a secure donation using a credit card. If you prefer, you may mail a check directly to the Capitol Land Trust. Insert “SCP” or “Steamboat Conservation Partnership” in the memo part of the check so we can receive credit. Your check should be mailed to Capitol Land Trust, 4405 – 7th Ave SE, Suite 306, Lacey, WA 98503. In reply you will receive a letter, for your tax records. And thank you, for supporting the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.

Our Community Credit Union Opens Branch in Steamboat Square

Steamboat Square OCCU branch photoOur local business district is on the grow as Our Community Credit Union announced the opening of their newest branch located in the newly-expanded Steamboat Square, at 6541 Sexton Dr. NW. The 2100 square foot facility includes seating and ample space to provide customer service. There’s also an indoor teller machine that accepts both check and cash deposits. Current members of OCCU will certainly benefit from the closer location. And local residents who are looking for alternatives to for-profit banks now need not go very far to learn of the advantages of joining a credit union.

“We believe this is a perfect fit for the families and businesses in the Steamboat community, in addition to being a great convenience for our OCCU members who commute from Shelton,” said Bert Fisher, President/CEO of OCCU. “We are excited to get to know the Steamboat community and have the opportunity to provide them with local, affordable, financial products and services.”

Our Community Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service, financial alternative to a bank. One member’s savings deposit is another member’s loan. As a member-owned financial cooperative, credit unions are not-for-profit. They function to serve their membership. As a result, credit unions can pay very competitive dividends on savings and offer great interest rates on loans. Anyone living, working, or attending school in Washington State can join. You can even join OCCU online. A minimum deposit of $25 into a savings account is all it takes to become a member.

OCCU offers a wide variety of financial services. Personal checking and savings accounts, different kinds of loans, mortgages, and home equity lines of credit, and Visa cards. Retirement planning and investment advisory services are available. For those of you seeking business services, including an assortment of merchant services, “you will get the kind of rates and attention you deserve as a business owner.”

An online banking portal and mobile apps are available, too. You can access your OCCU account details and perform various tasks, online, from practically any location on the planet. Click here for more details regarding their mobile apps.

Founded in 1941 by employees of Simpson Logging Company, OCCU is now a $350 million, 5-star community-oriented financial institution with 29,000 members. Steamboat Square is their 8th branch. Their other locations are in Shelton, Union, McCleary, Elma, Montesano and on Vashon Island.

To learn more about OCCU, come to their new branch and visit. Their hours are Monday through Thursday, 9:00 am to 5:35 pm, and Friday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Or visit their web site at www.ourcu.com.

Feline Friends Asks Community to Assist with Building a New Shelter

Feline Friends logoFounded in 2000, Feline Friends is a non-profit, volunteer-only operated, no-kill cat shelter that provides rescue, rehabilitation, medical attention and rehoming to at-risk cats in and throughout Thurston and Mason counties. Their mission is to, “provide unconditional love and care for any cat in need no matter what the circumstance may be.” Feline Friends Volunteers receive calls from Grays Harbor, Lewis, Pierce and many other counties in Washington State. They take in cats rescued from natural disasters such as the recent Oregon wildfires and they operate a trap-spay/neuter-release program for ferals in an effort to decrease unwanted breeding.

To raise funds for their new cat shelter, Feline Friends is hosting the 1st Annual Purr-fect Hearts Affair. This gala event will be held February 3, 2018 at Pellegrino’s Event Center in Tumwater. But before we can get to an evening of dinner, drinks and live music, culminating with a silent and live auction, Feline Friends is asking for donations of gifts and services from friends in the community.

Your generous donation would assist in building our new, larger facility and in turn allow us to provide our services to a greater number of cats in need. Our goal for the evening is $20,000, which would provide the necessary funding for construction, landscaping, and supplies at our new 8-acre location! In addition to service items and gift donations, we are also seeking sponsorships to help fund the event. Donors and sponsors of all levels will receive recognition for your charitable assistance with this event. For more information on how we will recognize your sponsorship or donation please click here.

If you can donate an item or service – pet sitting, tax preparation, landscaping, etc. – download a copy of the donation solicitation. If you would like your donation picked up, please contact Rebecca Reavis.

If you would like to make a financial donation, the donor/sponsorship levels may be of interest to you. Those details are on the donation solicitation, too.

If you have friends, family, or businesses that would want to help out as well, please send them a copy of the donation solicitation. Our feline friends need you.

Whether you can make a donation of goods and services or not, don’t forget to mark your calendar for the Purr-fect Hearts Affair.

Feline Friends Purr-fect Hearts Affair
February 3, 2018
6:00 PM
Pellegrino’s Event Center
5757 Littlerock Rd SW, Tumwater 98512

The evening will begin with a silent auction, Italian vegetarian buffet, and cash bar. Live music will be provided by Roger and Deb Hamilton. The live auction is hosted by Garrison Auctioneers. Each $40 ticket includes all you can eat and a beverage token. Event tickets are available online (click this link).

Thank you, neighbors, for your support of Feline Friends!

Feline Friends banner art

Feline Friends Holiday Bazaar with Santa, December 2

Click for a larger image.

It’s a Griffin area tradition! The Feline Friends Holiday Bazaar will be held Saturday, December 2nd at the Griffin Fire Station (3707 Steamboat Loop NW, US-101 at the Steamboat Island exit) from 10 AM to 3 PM.

Many hand crafted items by local artisans – jewelry, Christmas decorations, homemade soaps, jams and great gift ideas.

Fresh coffee, hot apple cider, bake sale with lots of cookies.

Come have your children or leashed pets have pictures with Santa.

The Feline Friends cat house (6515 Sexton Drive NW) will be open for adoptions.

Saturday, December 2
10 AM to 3 PM
Griffin Fire Department Headquarters
3707 Steamboat Loop NW

Thank you for your support!

Town Hall with Thurston County Sheriff, November 30

The Griffin Neighborhood Association has invited the Thurston County Sheriff to give us a safety report on Thurston County as a whole and to answer any question our neighbors may have regarding safety/crime reports in the area. Please make time to attend if you have questions or would like to be more informed about the status of our neighborhood. With all that we see on Nextdoor, we believe it is time we hear from Sheriff’s office about what is or is not being reported, as well as anything we should be doing to be safer during the upcoming holidays.

Thursday, November 30
6:30 PM to 8 PM
Griffin School
6530 33rd Ave NW

The meeting will be in the Griffin School gym.

Please support the Griffin Neighborhood Association. Join us today. For more information and to join online, see our page at steamboatisland.org/joinus/

Camas Restoration and Traditional Pit Roast, October 21st

Click to read more about camassia quamash.The camas plant is ecologically important to western Washington prairies. It is also important to the cultural history of the Pacific Northwest. “Camas,” according to Native American Netroots, “is very high in protein: 5.4 ounces of protein per pound of roots. In comparison, steelhead trout (Salmo gairdneri) has 3.4 ounces of protein per pound.” Generations of local people have gathered and consumed camas. Early white explorers, too, learned how to find and prepare camas. “Some American explorers report eating camas that had been prepared 36 years earlier.”

Click image for a larger version.

The camas plant is an important part of South South prairies and we recently published an article regarding efforts to restore a piece of the prairie many of us pass through, every day.

You are invited to join the Squaxin Tribe and Thurston Conservation District to celebrate prairies, community, and camas.

Community for Camas
Saturday, October 21
11 AM to 2 PM
6710 Sexton Dr. NW, Olympia
Parking will be on the street with overflow parking at Griffin School.

This project brings together the tribe and community members to restore a small prairie in the Steamboat Island/Highway 101 interchange by planting camas and removing invasive species. Through restoration and partnerships, this parcel of land can be used as a teaching space for students of all ages!

Highlights include:

  • Learn about the cultural and ecological importance of camas from Squaxin tribal members
  • Plant camas bulbs on the site
  • Share food prepared in a traditional pit roast
  • Meet neighbors in your community!

If you have questions, contact Stephanie Bishop, of the Thurston County Conservation District, at sbishop@thurstoncd.com or 360-754-3588, ext. 108.

Many thanks to the event sponsors: Squaxin Island Tribe, Thurston Conservation District, Washington Native Plant Society, Washington State Department of Transportation, Steamboat Conservation Partnership, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Let Us Not Pollute

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!

JamesNugent

James Nugent is a local author who now has 104 e-books, 95 paperbacks, and 53 audio books available at Amazon.com

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."

Lions Club Invites You to Help Make a World of Difference, Here in the Griffin Area

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 ProjectHomeless 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.

Update:

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 karenlsell@gmail.com and she will reply with all the details.

39th Blueberry Bash is Sunday, August 20

This Sunday, August 20th, is the 39th Blueberry Bash at St. Christopher’s Community Church!

The Oly Mountain Boys

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

Information Booths

  • 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

Many thanks to this year’s sponsors of the Blueberry Bash

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

Click for a larger image

You won’t want to miss this annual summertime event, celebrating its 39 years here on the Steamboat Peninsula!

Steamboat Neighbors Pull for Prairies

Camas blooming on the prairie (photo: Stephanie Bishop)

Camas blooming on the prairie
(photo credit: Stephanie Bishop)
Click for a larger image

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.

Volunteers remove invasive species (photo credit: Joanne Schuett-Hames)

Volunteers remove invasive species
(photo credit: Joanne Schuett-Hames)

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.

Griffin students visit the prairie (photo credit: Shawna Zierdt)

Griffin students visit the prairie
(photo credit: Shawna Zierdt)

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 sbishop@thurstoncd.com to learn more about the project and/or how you can get involved.

By Stephanie Bishop, Thurston Conservation District