West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Over its decade-plus history, Sustainable West Seattle has launched and/or nurtured a multitude of community-enhancing projects.
SWS also supports West Seattle Meaningful Movies, the West Seattle Timebank, Hate-Free Delridge, and more, as listed by president Stu Hennessey toward the start of last night’s SWS meetup at the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction.
But even more than projects and programs … the biggest change can be made in cumulative small actions by people who care, and that was the theme.
Ever wonder what you can do to make a difference, even just a bit? Set aside a little time for a Monday meetup that can answer the question in some memorable ways. Here’s the announcement from Sustainable West Seattle‘s Stu Hennessey:
Sustainable West Seattle would like to hear from our neighbors on a variety of subjects that we can have a lasting effect on. If you would like to be part of the solution, we would like to work with you. We will be hosting a public meetup on Monday, February 26th, at the West Seattle Senior Center, 4217 SW Oregon St, Nucor Room. The meeting will start at 7 pm.
Come to this meetup and take a Virtual Puget Sound underwater tour with diver Laura James, West Seattle’s famous underwater videographer. Find out which “Pesticide-Free” playgrounds in West Seattle are using increasing amounts of glyphosate toxic Roundup where your kids are playing. Learn how you can be a part of the 11th year of Sustainable West Seattle and the GreenLife Festival contribution to the West Seattle Summer Fest street fair.
You’ll also find out about helping our region’s endangered orcas.
It’s been 10 years since Sustainable West Seattle launched (found this in our archives!) and the group is getting ready for the next decade. SWS sent the following update after its annual meeting and election of new board members:
Sustainable West Seattle’s new board is set to tackle projects in 2017!
On February 27th, Sustainable West Seattle held its Annual Meeting at the Senior Center of West Seattle. The membership elected a new board, discussed the focal points and alliances for 2017, and celebrated the 10-year anniversary of Sustainable West Seattle, SWS.
Stu Hennessey, Sustainable West Seattle’s new president, suggested that members no longer be required to pay annual dues, which was approved. SWS is transitioning to an open-membership policy and is currently considering all persons who participate in SWS meetings to be members of the organization. Tax-deductible donations to Sustainable West Seattle are appreciated and help fund operational expenses and events like Green Life at West Seattle Summer Fest.
The new board has hit the ground running and is currently working on a spring newsletter and the Green Life festival lineup (2017 schedule coming soon!). The strategic goals for 2017 have largely been set. The Green Life Festival, the transition to open membership, communication (via newsletter, website, and social media), and getting members involved in on-going projects and events, are in the focus of this year’s board. SWS’s mission is to educate, create and advocate for urban sustainability in our local community. It does so in cooperation with allies such as the West Seattle Timebank, the West Seattle Tool Library, Tox-ick.org, Community Orchard of West Seattle, Hate-Free Delridge, West Seattle Bike Connections, DIY Bikes, and West Seattle Meaningful Movies.
This is Sustainable West Seattle’s new board:
Amanda has been on the board of Sustainable West Seattle previously for 3 years from 2010-2012. Amanda is a dancer and choreographer and has collaborated to create a multi-disciplinary art project called Illuminatio. She is a certified Spanish translator and interpreter and has translated Illuminatio from its original Spanish (originally titled Illuminatio: Yo soy.) She also translated the stormwater presentation of Tox-ick.org into Spanish. She has taught ballet and Spanish to children. As a mother, she cares intensely about healthy living conditions, now and in the future.
Jon is a 11-year resident of West Seattle and has been volunteering for Sustainable West Seattle for most of that time. Jon is looking forward to working on the exciting projects SWS has coming up and maintaining SWS’s web presence.
Longtime West Seattle neighbor, lifetime Seattle resident, and Seattle native! Growing up surrounded by trees, mountains and seas, the instinctive feeling of being one with nature will never leave my consciousness. I am on the core group of several Sustainable West Seattle endeavors. Carbon-free transportation associated with West Seattle Spokespeople and DIY Bikes as well as growing food locally at COWS are my passions and commitments to a healthier and happier community. My day job is the owner of Alki Bike and Board in the Admiral District. Typical of a gardener/farmer, I like to plant seeds of change in our community, and watch them grow.
Position: Board member, Social Media
A resident of West Seattle for the last 10 years, Hildegard studied political economics and journalism in Mainz, Germany. She worked for many years as a free-lance journalist for public TV stations, mostly in Berlin, focusing on economy and ecology, with a special interest in rivers. Hildegard has been active in the Green Party of Seattle and looks forward to help her friends at Sustainable West Seattle get the message across, through social media.
Ibrahim Osman (no photo provided)
Position: Board – Graphic Artist
I am Ibrahim Osman, a Somali-American design student who has lived in West Seattle for 2 years. The idea of sustainability to me is pretty new, it’s not something I really thought about before. By joining Sustainable West Seattle, I hope to gain a lot of knowledge on what that means and grow in the process. I also hope to help out SWS with the skillset that I have.
Watch sustainablewestseattle.org for word of upcoming meetings and SWS projects to get involved with!
From Sustainable West Seattle‘s Stu Hennessey:
Sustainable West Seattle has board of director positions open for 2016. The board members meet once a month to plan the activities and events, like the Green Life Festival that Sustainable West Seattle is known for. The board members also take part in the management of the various projects they partner with such as the West Seattle Tool Library and the Community Orchard of West Seattle.
Being involved with Sustainable West Seattle can be great for experiencing the building of community and hope. Please join us!
The annual membership meeting for Sustainable West Seattle will be held on MLK Day of Service, January 18th at the Admiral Bird Café, located at the corner of California Ave. SW and SW Admiral Way. The meet and greet starts at 6:30 pm and the meeting starts at 7 pm.
If you need to borrow something from the West Seattle Tool Library before Christmas – hurry! After today and tomorrow, the WSTL is taking a break until the New Year. Christina Hahs wants you to know the Tool Library will “be closed from Thursday, December 24th through Thursday, December 31st. We’ll be back up and running on Saturday, January 2nd. We are requesting that items due back during this time not be returned until we are open again. No late fees will accrue.” Haven’t been to the Tool Library? It’s on the northeast side of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center at 4408 Delridge Way SW – read all about it here, including inventory and regular hours.
Wondering about community work you can do tomorrow on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? Might be as simple as coming to a meeting: Sustainable West Seattle has chosen Monday night for its annual membership meeting, themed “Learn, Volunteer, Join.” The invitation is for anyone and everyone, member or not, per the official announcement:
On the National Day of Service, start the New Year off by donating some time to Sustainable West Seattle (SWS), the organization spearheading West Seattle’s effort to provide alternatives to globalization and planet exploitation. SWS is looking for new members and board members for 2015’s “projects of hope.”
Here is your chance to influence the shape of your sustainable community and local projects. The evening will include:
*Review of Projects & Events in 2014
*Look Forward & Idea Sharing for Focus of 2015
*Prospective Board Candidates — Attendees for consideration by Incoming 2015 Board will share their ideas for, and what they can contribute to SWS
*SWS Members at large and interested participants (not SWS members) share ideas for local West Seattle efforts and to help SWS as an organization
Dessert will be provided by the current 2014 SWS Board. Hope you can join in the local effort with Sustainable West Seattle.
It’s happening at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 5612 California SW (if you’re taking the bus, the California/Findlay RapidRide station is steps away), 6:30 pm. P.S. New benefit for SWS membership – discounts at several local businesses!
This year, Sustainable West Seattle members and friends headed into the trees for the group’s annual picnic, gathering among the food-producing plants at the Community Orchard of West Seattle on the northeast edge of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus. Before dessert time – which included the option to make smoothies with a human-powered blender! – SWS’s Stu Hennessey announced this year’s honorees. First, Steve Richmond, honored for his work with native plants and removing invasives – projects such as the wetland restoration by Sanislo Elementary – “which he does all by bicycle!”
Speaking of bicycling – tonight’s other honoree was West Seattle Bike Connections president Don Brubeck, not on hand, but lauded by Stu for his “mild-mannered” advocacy, and everything he and WSBC have accomplished in just a few short years.
Stu also listed some of SWS’s main projects/events this past year, including the orchard itself, where a row of trellissed apple trees grows – most made naturally problem-resistant, compared to a few on the north side that aren’t:
Apples were going into the cider press borrowed from the West Seattle Tool Library, also a SWS project:
SWS also planned and presented the GreenLife area at West Seattle Summer Fest again this year; other programs and projects include DIY Bikes, Tox-Ick.Org, Spokespeople, and West Seattle Meaningful Movies, whose next presentation, September 6th, is “Princess Angeline,” about Chief Sealth‘s daughter, an event also intended for support of and updates about the Duwamish Tribe‘s ongoing battle for official recognition.
Find out more about SWS at sustainablewestseattle.org.
(WSB photo from SWS picnic – including a celebration of volunteers – last August)
“Volunteers are the essential ingredient to make West Seattle more sustainable.” So says Sustainable West Seattle, inviting you to its first Volunteer Orientation and Appreciation Party next Saturday (May 3), 4-7 pm, at CrossFit West Seattle in The Admiral District (4200 SW Admiral Way). From the announcement:
… The orientation for prospective volunteers includes descriptions of what SWS volunteers do and the many opportunities offered. Volunteers work at the Tool Library, Community Orchard, Tox-Ick wastewater awareness program, multiple bicycle activities including WS Spokespeople, West Seattle Bike Connections and our newest project, DIY Bikes.
… The celebration includes a Volunteer Appreciation Party, with a potluck, music and green prizes. SWS will provide food and beverages and you’re welcome to bring a dish to share. For additional information, contact Kimberly Leeper at email@example.com
Yes, there really is a Festivus pole at tonight’s West Seattle Tool Library/Sustainable West Seattle holiday party/fundraiser at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (that’s Chas Redmond next to it in our photo). They chose the theme of the “Seinfeld“-sparked anti-holiday just for fun – and a lot of that was being had when we stopped by in the early going, with a casual dinner, kids’ activities, silent auction, and more:
Out in the lobby, an unexpected sight – Santa Claus!
Santa (with Bill Reiswig in our photo) said he was actually on his way to another event so wouldn’t be able to stop for the traditional Festivus “airing of grievances” or “feats of strength.” We didn’t check the roof for his reindeer, but we’re sure they felt right at home on this North Pole-chilly night. If you missed the party, you can visit the Tool Library on the north side of Youngstown, open two weeknights and two weekend days each week, where you’ll even find the cider press that was in use at tonight’s party:
The nonprofit Tool Library also suggests that gift memberships make great presents – for Christmas as well as Festivus; you can even buy them online.
(2011 photo by Danny McMillin)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“The Duwamish really needs our help.”
So began this month’s Sustainable West Seattle community forum about our city’s only river.
How can you help? One way is through simple personal action, particularly when it comes to reducing/preventing stormwater/runoff-pollution, a campaign crystallized at Tox-Ick.org, whose champion “Diver Laura” James emceed the forum. She told those in attendance that just days earlier, she had spoken about it to 800 high-school students outside West Seattle.
Another way: Realize that the process of determining a cleanup plan for the river – so polluted in spots, it’s a “Superfund” site – is the process of determining whether it can be “A River for All.” That’s the vision of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, whose coordinator James Rasmussen spoke at the forum, recapping the comment period just concluded on the Environmental Protection Agency‘s proposed cleanup plan for the river – a plan which would leave 62 percent of the river “under monitored natural recovery, which basically means, ‘we’re not going to do anything with it’.”
DRCC, however, wants to “kickstart that with enhanced natural recovery,” and is very intent on “source control” – addressing the source of pollution, present and future as well as past – being part of the plan.
In the wake of Saturday’s semi-annual Duwamish Alive! cleanup day, you have the chance tomorrow night to join in a discussion about the river’s future – not just the bigger cleanups that are happening now and in the future, but also the vision for what it should be. Sustainable West Seattle is convening the conversation, to be moderated by “Diver Laura” James, who shared the photo above from the start of Saturday’s cleanup (including kayaks loaned for the occasion by West Seattle’s Alki Kayak Tours). Reps from the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition will be there too, as well as other organizations with a stake in the river’s future, but this isn’t just about the experts – it’s about you. Come to C & P Coffee Company (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor) Monday night, 7-9 pm.
That photo is from tonight’s Sustainable West Seattle community picnic at Lincoln Park, where SWS (whose president Kimberly Leeper is second from right) honored West Seattle Bike Connections (4 reps at left) as Sustainability Champions and “Diver Laura” James (at right) as Volunteer of the Year. Here’s our video of the back-to-back presentations – and speeches:
As members explained in the clip, WSBC is a relatively new group – its early organizational outreach last year, in fact, involved the WSB Forums. WSBC has since gotten deeply involved in advocacy for safety, for a louder West Seattle voice in transportation planning, and much more. You can find WSBC online here.
“Diver Laura,” meantime, at first gained attention for her amazing underwater video and cleanup work – and then got increasingly involved in organized environmental advocacy, taking over the Tox-Ick Monster runoff-reducing campaign and most recently joining up with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance.
The announcements were part of an annual tradition for SWS, now in its seventh year (first mentioned here on WSB in the summer of 2007) – a celebratory summer picnic:
This past year, its meetings continued evolving into community forums, focusing on a particular sustainability topic for more than one month at a time – such as a popular series on gardening. Watch for upcoming events – not just sponsored by SWS, but related to sustainability, all over the peninsula – on the group’s frequently updated website.
Much yet to come this summer – including Sustainable West Seattle‘s annual picnic on the Lincoln Park shore, just announced:
Join Sustainable West Seattle on Monday, August 19th for our fun and beautiful Annual Community Harvest Celebration and Picnic!
We will be gathering at Shelter #3 at Lincoln Park, the large shelter with a barbecue grill, on the southern end of the park near the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal dock. The picnic begins around 4:30 pm with the preparation of the grill. We should have everything ready for celebrating by 5:00 pm. Members, guests, and new folks who want to check out this group are asked to bring a potluck item to share — side dish OR dessert would be great. SWS will provide the protein for the BBQ + condiments. Bring your own dishes/utensils, if possible. The picnic continues through sunset on the beach and usually concludes around 9:00 pm with shelter-area cleanup.
We’ll honor a few of the amazing people in our local community, too – Sustainability Champion and Volunteer of the Year. Also, consider bringing your acoustic instrument to share a song or two with our creative & playful group…maybe a community jam will happen?! We’d love to hear about the “green” things you’ve been up to in the last year! Come on out and connect with an inspring community of people, ideas, and practice!
The countdown’s almost over and West Seattle Summer Fest 2013 is hours away – but we have a few more previews tonight – including this: The brand-new West Seattle Timebank will debut at Summer Fest! The idea’s been percolating for a while, and there was an organizational meeting last year. Now, Tamsen Spengler sends word the West Seattle Timebank‘s website has just gone live, and the Timebank will be at GreenLife with Sustainable West Seattle (see the GL location on the map above), 11 am-5 pm all three Summer Fest days, Friday-Sunday. To find out more about it, check out the brochure here and the flyer for the July 24th orientation, here.
As of July 1st, WSTL is adding hours on Tuesdays from 5-8 pm. They are also adjusting their hours on Thursday and weekends to serve more member requests for tools and workshop use.
“We’re expanding our hours to keep up with demand for our tools,” said WSTL Manager Micah Summers. “Our new hours should help accommodate more people and increase the convenience of checking tools in and out.”
The new West Seattle Tool Library summer schedule begins July 1st:
Tuesday 5-8 pm (new day)
Thursday 5-8 pm (new hours)
Saturday 11 am – 4 pm (new hours)
Sunday 11 am -4 pm (new hours)
The West Seattle Tool Library is a non-profit, community service, offering access to a collection of over 1,500 tools. With more than 1,000 members, the tool library has helped build orchards, playgrounds, greenhouses and supported thousands of home, yard and neighborhood projects.
The West Seattle Tool Library is located at:
Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW
The West Seattle Tool Library is a project of Sustainable West Seattle and was made possible by a neighborhood grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and is powered by the LocalTools.com lending-library-management system.
(First two photos courtesy SWS)
Thanks to Kate Kaemerle from Sustainable West Seattle for sharing updates from the “Presto Garden” project that’s now moved on to the planting stage at Westcrest Park P-Patch in Highland Park. It was just a couple of hours ago that volunteers were putting down compost, as shown in an earlier photo from Kate:
And a few hours before that, we caught up with Kate and Bill Reiswig getting ready at the West Seattle Tool Library:
(Photo by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)
Food grown organically and sustainably in the garden will be donated to the White Center Food Bank. Read more about the project on the SWS website; if you haven’t been by yet, head for 8th/Henderson; they’re scheduled to continue till 5, and the more help they have, the more they can get done.
ADDED: We went back around 4:40 pm to see something close to the “after” photo:
Now – it’s time to grow!
A day before the West Seattle Bee Garden debuts with a celebration in High Point next Sunday, another new local community garden will debut in Highland Park on Saturday – a section of the new Westcrest Park P-Patch dedicated to growing food for the White Center Food Bank. The “Presto Garden” project is being led by Sustainable West Seattle, incorporating donations from local businesses and organizations listed in this update on the SWS website. Here’s where you come in: Many hands, light work. Be there on Saturday (May 18th) 1-5 pm for the planting party that will help make it happen. Westcrest is at 9000 8th SW (for those not familiar with the park, we’re tracking down specific directions to the planting site, and will add them here).
Story and photos by Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Sustainable West Seattle continued its “Successful Gardening with Nature” series Monday night with the second of three installments: “Designing the Perfect Garden.”
A walk-through of the Community Orchard of West Seattle included adding topsoil around existing fruit trees and planting seedlings that have been grown in South Seattle Community College’s greenhouse.
To demonstrate “companion planting” (placing plants that provide beneficial qualities within close proximity of each other) Stu Hennessey and Narcissa Nelson led forum attendees in a planting exercise.
Story and photo by Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Sustainable West Seattle is taking a new approach to its monthly member meetings by focusing on a particular theme each quarter. Last night kicked off this quarter’s “gardening with nature” theme with a focus on soils.
Due to our region’s glaciated geological history, our soils can be challenging to work in, and often take time, energy and amendments to create an environment where plants can thrive. Stu Hennessey (right) demonstrated the work that has been done at the Community Orchard of West Seattle – site of part of the meeting – to improve the soil, taking it from a compacted lawn to a healthy, nutrient-rich soil supporting edible plants and fruit trees. Much of the resulting produce will be shared with the Delridge Grocery, announced last night as one of three SWS Green Grant Recipients (we reported on the grant recipients here, before last night’s meeting was over).
The healthy soil was created using a method called “layering” which is also known as “lasagna gardening.”
From WSB contributing reporter Keri DeTore at tonight’s Sustainable West Seattle community forum: SWS has just announced not just one winner from its new grant program, but three. Keri says the newly renamed Delridge Grocery group received $1,000 – you can congratulate them at their membership “launch/lunch” event next Saturday – and another $1,000 was split by the Time Bank of West Seattle and DIY Bikes applicants, after SWS announced it had extra money to give. The three were among six applicants for the new program; in addition to making their pitches to the group, they also were rated in an online survey open to community participation. Main topic of tonight’s event is “gardening with nature”; we’ll have Keri’s report on that later – the forum continues at the SSCC Horticulture Center and Community Orchard of West Seattle until 9.
Sustainable West Seattle has a $1,000 Green Incubator Grant to award, with six potential recipients in the running. SWS is now inviting you to help judge – rating the proposals for those six West Seattle/White Center projects. Even if you haven’t heard about them before, you can help by going to this online survey page, reading the thumbnail description of each proposal, and rating each one on how it relates to five criteria: Feasibility, Sustainability, Social and Economic Justice, Community Building, Educational Elements. SWS will use your feedback and choose the recipient in time for an announcement at its March 18 Community Forum at the South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor) Horticulture Center/Community Orchard of West Seattle site.
In honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s birthday, today is the MLK Day of Service – but tomorrow (Tuesday) you have multiple opportunities to carry on that spirit of service, by participating in community meetings. Here’s one more from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar that we’re making sure you see ahead of time:
Sustainable West Seattle‘s annual membership meeting is Tuesday, January 22nd from 7 – 9 pm at the West Seattle Senior Center.
You’ll hear about SWS programs for 2013 and ways that you can get involved as a volunteer. We’ll be introducing our new and returning board members plus appreciating our outgoing board colleagues.
You will also learn about the kick-off of our 2013 SWS Green Project Incubator Grant with $1000 generously donated from the CoHo Team of Windermere Agents. SWS will offer this grant to a West Seattle resident who applies with an idea to foster sustainability in our neighborhood. Come to the meeting for more details.
Almost two and a half years ago, the West Seattle Tool Library opened its doors (WSB first-day coverage here) – and this week they’ve announced they’re on the brink of signing up their 1,000th member. They’re looking for ideas on how to mark the milestone, and also inviting you to share your Tool Library story – this update on the Sustainable West Seattle website has the details. Looking for Tool Library hours and other info? Go here.