“An Evening with Community Pediatricians” is Latest in a Series to Strengthen Our Community

The Griffin School District Presents “Strengthening Our Community,” the third in a monthly virtual series for parents, caregivers, community members, and anyone interested in attending.

This month’s topic is “An evening with Community Pediatricians.” Special guests are Dr. Beth Harvey and Dr.Maria Huang. The event, which takes place on Zoom, is Thursday, May 13, from 6 to 7 PM.

The Zoom meeting link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83416513461?pwd=V2VLbnNUbTdBZ0VrbGkyWHVtUWxSZz09

Please join us for an evening featuring our special guest speakers Dr. Harvey and Dr. Huang, both local pediatricians. They will speak about the impacts of the COVID pandemic on our youth, vaccines, mental health, ongoing preventive measures, and answer any questions you may have.

Here’s your chance to talk to the experts!

If you have questions for this event’s guests, you are invited to email them to ehagen@griffinschool.us

Save the date for next month’s event in the series, “Family Support During the Summer.” That event will be held on June 10th and will feature local service organizations speaking about programs offered in our community.

We thank the Griffin School District for making this series available to us.

Trunk or Treat This Halloween at Griffin School and Companion Cove

Click the image for a larger version.

Join the Griffin Neighborhood Association and Griffin PTO for a Trunk or Treat on Halloween evening. This drive-through event will be held at the Griffin School and Companion Cove parking lots.

Griffin School and Companion Cove
Sunday, October 31
5:00 to 8:00 PM

Social distancing will be observed and we ask you remain in your vehicle. Non-costume masks are required.

Donations of bagged candy are needed. If you would like to donate, there are drop off boxes at Griffin School, Griffin Fire Station, and Companion Cove. Please make your candy donations by October 28th.

Trunks wanted! If you’re interested, contact Becky at furacres@gmail.com. Prize for the best trunk?

Griffin School K-5th Grade “Drive Through Parade” Tuesday, September 8

If you have a child at Griffin School, Kindergarten through 5th Grade, this Tuesday’s “Drive Through Parade” is for you!

Load up the kids and drive them through the school parking lot to come and “meet” their teachers! Make a sign with your child’s name and his/her teacher’s name so we can find each other! Teachers will gather by grade level with clear signage to help locate them. Other staff will join to wave hello. Please wear a mask when you drive through to say a quick hello to Griffin Staff! We cannot wait to see all of your happy faces. We are ready to kick off our new school year!

Back to School
Welcome to the School Year Drive Through Parade
Tuesday, September 8
4:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Griffin School bus loop

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

Feline Friends Holiday Bazaar and Griffin Holiday Market, Saturday, December 3

2016ff-bazaar-flyer1

Click for a larger image.

This Saturday sees the return of two holiday events to the Griffin/Steamboat Peninsula area. One is the Feline Friends Cat Adoption Day, Santa, and Holiday Bazaar. The other is the Griffin Holiday Market. Between these two events, you’re bound to find a lot of goodies you want for this season’s gift-giving.

Santa will be available at the Feline Friends Holiday Bazaar to have photos taken with your pets (on a leash only) or children.

Stop by to visit with friends and neighbors and to shop for those extra special gifts made by local artisans and have some Hot Apple Cider. Check out their Raffle and Bake Sale with lots of cookies.

Of course, the Feline Friends Cat House will be open with cats hoping to find a loving forever home before the New Year.

Feline Friends Cat Adoption Day, Santa, and Holiday Bazaar
Saturday, December 3
10 AM to 3 PM
Griffin Fire Department Headquarters
3707 Steamboat Island Loop NW, Olympia

On the same day, the Griffin School invites you to come peruse their Griffin Holiday Market. More 30 vendors are featured, with the focus on vendors selling homemade items. There will be a great variety at this event, which is a fundraiser to support the Griffin Middle School band’s Disney trip in April.

There will also be a bake sale, silent auction, and performances by individual band students.

Griffin Holiday Market
Saturday, December 3
10 AM to 3 PM
Griffin School Gymnasium
6530 33rd Ave NW, Olympia

We hope to see you shopping locally at both these holiday events, this Saturday.

Join the Griffin School District Board to Discuss “Planning the 2010-11 Budget”

Come join Griffin School staff, students, parents and community members in charting budget direction for the 2010-11 school year while planning for future years as well. Mr. Steve Bayer will facilitate a two-hour “Community Café” meeting.

Saturday, March 20, 2010
Breakfast at 8:30 a.m. with RSVP
Griffin School Library, 6530 33rd avenue NW, Olympia WA 98502

The idea behind a “café”style meeting will be to gather important input and encourage dialogue that will assist the Griffin School Board and staff in planning for future budget and programs needs to serve Griffin students. Breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m. for those who RSVP by Wednesday, March 17.

Please accept this invitation — your input and participation will help create a better future for our children and community. RSVP by calling 360-866-4918 or send an email to kanderson@griffin.k12.wa.us

The Griffin School District is online at http://www.griffin.k12.wa.us/

Griffin School District Participating in “Food to Flowers Lunchroom Recycling”

On February 1, 2010, the Griffin School District kicked off their participation in Thurston County’s Food to Flowers program. Thurston County staff weighed all of the trash and all of the organics and other recyclables generated by the students in the lunchroom for the first 5 days of the program from February 1 to February 5, 2010.

The results are impressive. Students are doing a great job separating out food, soiled paper and other recyclables to be made into compost and other valuable products. As a result of their efforts, about 90% of what used to be thrown in the trash in the lunchroom is now being composted or recycled. For a full school year, that’s about 12 tons of food and soiled paper and about 720 pounds of recyclables that are no longer being sent to the landfill. A graph illustrating this data is included below.

All of this and the program is just getting started. Kitchen staff are already separating out their organic kitchen scraps for composting and a bin for compostable material has been set up in the staff break room. The next steps in the program include collecting paper towels from the bathrooms and expanding the collection of recyclables in the classroom.

For more information on the Food to Flowers program, contact Peter Guttchen at (360) 709-3013, guttchp@co.thurston.wa.us, http://www.thurstonsolidwaste.org/