14 Native Plants ECOSS Incorporated into Restoration Work at Seward Park

ECOSS has been working with communities to restore a habitat site at Seward Park. The site was previously covered in Himalayan Blackberries, which are a non-native species that out-competes understory vegetation and makes it difficult for trees to grow due to the thick foliage. According to kingcounty.gov, the Himalayan blackberry is a Class C noxious weed. Although control of Himalayan Blackberry is not required, it is recommended in protected wilderness areas and in natural lands that are being restored to native vegetation because of the invasiveness of these species.

Last summer, ECOSS invited immigrant, refugee, and BIPOC communities to come together for a work party to restore the land and clear out Himalayan Blackberries at a site in Seward. This month, 14 adults and 3 youths from the community came together with ECOSS and Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust for a planting event. The day included reflection on how we can form impactful connections to the land, forming new relationships with staff and community, and planting native trees and shrubs to restore the land. By the end of the event, about 135 native plants had been planted at the site. Community members were also invited to take a native plant with them to plant at home.

I was mindful when ordering the plants for this project– typically in restoration work there isn’t a lot of variety or diversity in the plants that are planted, so I took this opportunity to incorporate plants of importance that most people don’t typically see or work with. It affirms my passion to grow this impact area in our organization and to be able to provide more opportunities to our community to steward the land whether it’s in a leisurely setting or a skilled professional setting.

Miranda perez, Senior Program Manager

Here are 14 native species that ECOSS planted with the community at Seward Park

Compiled by Miranda Perez, ECOSS Senior Program Manager, with information from Plants of the Pacific Northwest by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon.

Trees:

  • Red alder, alnus rubra—large deciduous; considered the best wood for smoking salmon and other fish and valued for its medicinal qualities in making a tonic for tuberculosis and respiratory ailments; improves disturbed soil by fixing atmospheric nitrogen into the soil
  • Cascara, rhamnus purshiana—tall shrub/small tree; the bark was boiled and drunk as a strong laxative tea by Nuxalk, Coast Salish, Quilete, Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw and other groups. It has been scientifically proven to be an effective laxative
  • Shore pine, pinus contorta—large conifer; The Haida used peeled sheets of the bark as splints for broken limbs; Also used medicinally by Nuxalk, Coast Salish, Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw, Haida, Tsimshian, and Tlingit as gum, and applied to cuts as well as the skin to treat heart pain and rheumatism.
  • Western red cedar, thuja plicata—large conifer; Trees of life are held with high respect for their healing and spiritual powers by west coast peoples; cedars were extraordinarily useful to indigenous people of PNW and played key roles culturally, providing for the people from birth to death, cradles to coffins.

Shrubs:

  • Oregon grape, mahonia nervosa—yellow blooms; the tart berries were eaten (with great caution as they are very potent) in a mixture with salal berries or other sweet fruit, or medicinally for liver, gall bladder, and eye problems; the bark was used to make a bright yellow dye for basket materials
  • Twinberry, lonicera involucrate—yellow blooms; the blackberries are not considered edible and often considered taboo as the Kwakwaka’wakw believed eating them would cause one to become unable to speak; The Quileute and Kwakwaka’wakw used the berries as a black pigment, and the Haida rubbed the berries on their scalp to prevent grey hairs.
  • Salal, gaultheria shallon—white/pink blooms; the dark juicy berries were important to many groups eaten fresh and dried into cakes; young leaves were chewed as a hunger suppressant by the Ditidaht.

Herbs and Flowers:

  • Entire leaved gumweed, grindelia integrifolia—yellow bloom; important to many Coast Salish peoples, used medicinally to treat asthma, bronchitis, colic.; great pollinator plant
  • Goatsbeard, aruncus diocius—white blooms; the Tlingit and Makah prepared the root for curing diseases of the blood (commonly gonorrhea); the Lummi chewed the leaves to help cure smallpox; An infusion of the roots was given to Squamish women just before giving birth to help heal; other parts of the plant were steeped and bathed in to help with swelling.
  • Oregon sunshine, eriophyllum lanatum—yellow blooms; great pollinator plant
  • Pearly everlasting, anaphalis margaritacea—white blooms; Ditidaht healers rubbed this plant on their hands to soften them; the Nlaka’pamux used this plant in an influenza medicine.
  • Slender cinquefoil, potentilla gracilis—yellow blooms; used as a food by most coastal groups; patches of cinquefoil were traditionally owned by certain chiefs of Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw, and Haida; the roots were dug out by women in the late fall/early spring and were steamed to remove bitter flavor, once cooked they tasted similar to a sweet potato.

Grasses and Ferns:

  • Tufted hairgrass, deschampsia cespitosa—structure/host plant; grasses are important ecological structures since they provide necessary food, shelter, and life cycle completion for many animals and species; their root system aids in preventing erosion and flooding.
  • Lady fern, athyrium filix-femina—structure/host plant; similar to grasses they are important ecological structures; the leaves were used by coastal groups for covering food, laying out food, and drying berries on; the fiddleheads were eaten in early spring by boiling, baking, or raw with grease.

This Environmental Stewardship program is made possible by the support of Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and Green Seattle Partnership.

Four ways ECOSS made its fundraiser more community-centered

This September, ECOSS hosted its first in-person fundraiser since the beginning of the pandemic. The concept for this year’s event was to celebrate an exciting transition in the organization with a new Executive Director, highlight local BIPOC-owned businesses and groups, and be able to safely come together in an outdoor space as a community after two years apart. A goal during the planning of the fundraiser was to have more community involvement and equitable access to the event. ECOSS wanted an event that was welcoming to all of its supporters, rather than simply disproportionately valuing attendees who could financially give more.

ECOSS staff at the event. Photo by Meagan Dwyer

Here are four ways that ECOSS made its fundraiser more community-centered this year: 

1. Sliding price scale for tickets 

Cost can be a barrier to some communities attending these types of events, so ECOSS offered discounted $15 tickets, as well as $55 tickets for anyone who wanted to help cover the cost of a discounted ticket. The standard ticket price was $35, and regardless of the ticket cost, all attendees received 2 food tickets and one drink ticket.  


2. BIPOC Food Vendors and Performers 

ECOSS wanted to celebrate the communities that they serve, so the fundraising committee sought out local BIPOC-owned businesses like Rainbow Fresh, and Garzón Latinx Street Food, whose missions align with ECOSS’ values.

“Rainbow Fresh was born during the pandemic by a strong will to engage with the local community. We are a tight-knit team run by a group of enthusiastic women who love cooking and share this passion with others.”
– Rainbow Fresh 

“Our food is Latinx inspired, our chef is Ecuadorian born and raised. [Chef Garzón] also traveled the world playing music with many musical groups, where he found the inspiration for a lot of the dishes you’re eating today. All of our dishes have a story and a cultural background. We advise you to ask the chef for a quick story time.”
– Garzón 

Karinyo, a local musician, also performed at the event. Their music mixes cumbia, salsa, and punk rock and addresses themes of mental health, Diaspora, and reclaiming inner power. 


3. Raffle vs. Auction

At previous fundraisers, auctions have been a way to raise money in a fun and competitive atmosphere, but due to the fact that they function by outbidding others, the team decided that this form of programming needed an alternate approach to be more inclusive. After sourcing many items from various generous donors like REI, Ascent Outdoors, Patagonia, The Plant Store, Mountaineers Books, and Bikeworks, ECOSS had enough items to do a raffle at the event. Raffles are a more equitable form of fundraising since it is the same cost to enter, and with tickets priced at $5 each, multiple entries could be purchased at a fairly low cost. It was a hit at the event as well, and was a fun way to end the programming for the evening. Over $1000 was raised at the event from the raffle alone.


4. Happy Hour Format

In a major shift from previous years’ fundraisers, this year, ECOSS hosted a Happy Hour “come as you are” style event as an accessible way for folks to interface with the organization and as a shift towards community-centered fundraising. Jellyfish Brewing in Georgetown served as a fitting backdrop for the event since ECOSS has a long history of working with the communities in South Park and Georgetown. The beginning of the event held time for attendees to connect with each other and staff over food and drinks in an informal setting. A short program included remarks and community stories from Villa Comunitaria, members of ECOSS Board, and our new Executive Director, Dr. Chiyo Crawford, who shared her vision for ECOSS and the community moving forward, together.  

We are excited to grow community-driven programs grounded in the principles of environmental justice. When we talk about “empowering community,” we envision moving beyond education and outreach to promote the development of environmental leaders in our communities.  And when we talk about “sustainable solutions for all”, we see a future where the benefits of sustainable practices are not only tangible to but also defined by our communities.

Dr. Chiyo Crawford, ECOSS Executive Director
Photo by Char Davies

The traditional fundraising approach focuses on donors who can give large monetary gifts, catering to their interests and values, often to the detriment of those who do not have the capacity to donate as much. There is a fear that if the fundraiser does not center the “high-profile” donors, then the organization won’t raise enough money. But that did not come to fruition for ECOSS. The happy hour raised a comparable amount of funds to previous events while cultivating community among a broad base of supporters. Over 127 people attended the event and helped ECOSS reach $56,414 of its ambitious $65,000 goal. Thanks to a generous challenge donation by a group of board members, every gift received through the end of September was matched dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000.

Want to amplify your impact further? Opt for a monthly gift to ECOSS and frontline communities throughout the Puget Sound region. To make a gift, visit ecoss.org/donate

Photos by Char Davies and Meagan Dwyer

Summer Socializing

ECOSS hosted a summer social back in June at Pyramid Alehouse and Brewery.

There was a lot of talent and history in the room, including business members who’ve partnered with ECOSS since the early days and all three of our executive directors.

Current ECOSS Executive Director with the two former EDs

The ECOSS Executive Directors (from left to right): Kevin Burrell, second ED, Cluny McCaffrey, current ED & Charlie Cunniff, founding ED

Get social with us by signing up for our newsletter, making a donation or learning more about us.

The Evergreen Spirit is on Capitol Hill

Re-posted from the Seattle PI, by Paul Torres

“If everyone contributes to solutions we can make real progress,” proclaims Out for Sustainability President Gerod Rody. Their recent Winter (Green) Social gathering with fellow green-minded organization Environmental Coalition of South Seattle (ECOSS) at Liberty Bar (517 15th Avenue East) was a reminder that environmental issues are still a vital force in our region. The teaming of the two organizations is part of their greater goals for community cooperation and collaboration. Their successful collaboration includes Earth Day at the Duwamish Waterway Park this past April.

Out for Sustainability began in 2009 and has since been a present force for environmental issues not only on Capitol Hill and the LGBTQ community, but in the larger region. This organization, according to their website, “engages and mobilizes the LGBTQ community to advance social and environmental sustainability.”

Highlights of their organization include a Green(er) Pride and Earth Gay. With Greener Pride, they goal is for the annual Seattle Pride event to have zero waste and be carbon neutral by 2015. The cleverly titled Earth Gay is their Earth Day event and has many volunteers at service sites throughout the region building community. Thie past Earth Gay’s event included planting a garden in South Park and restoring the habitat on Beacon Hill.

ECOSS launched in 1994. It works in South Park/lower Duwamish River region and aims to build an environmentally responsible community. It collaborates with other local neighborhoods to meet this goal. ECOSS is at the forefront of sustainability for multicultural communities.

One of their many successes includes outfitting 2,000 homes with the direct installation of free energy efficient fixtures in neighborhoods and assist families with energy saving ideas through the Powerful Neighborhoods Program. These ideas save them money and also help to make a desirably environmental conscientious neighborhood. ECOSS member Elise Kross (Roberts!) wants to emphasize their commitment to offering these diverse communities their commitment in makings sure these communities are greener.

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Out for Sustainability members socialize at Liberty Bar on Capitol Hill

The enthusiastic crowd, who were enjoying drinks and sushi, are optimistic about the collaboration. Rody’s energy and passion are evident and has allowed this group to flourish. Check their website for future events like Sustainability and Society Symposium in February 2011 and the next Earth Gay in April.

$34 million down, zero to go

At 2:30 this afternoon, Mayor Mike McGinn, Senator Patty Murray, King County Executive Dow Constantine and many other community members, politicians and neighbors gathered in anticipation for what everyone hoped would be good news about the bridge. And good news it was indeed – Senator Murray announced that the remaining $34 million needed to complete the new bridge will be funded by a federal TIGER II grant. Now the project can go out to bid, with a completion date slated for late 2013.  According to King County Executive Constantine’s press release, “the federal grant clears the way for construction of a new South Park Bridge, which is estimated to cost about $131 million.”

He continues: “Senator Murray has been steadfast in her support of the South Park community and the entire Duwamish industrial valley, and today her leadership is making a real difference in the lives and livelihood of these residents and businesses,” said Executive Constantine. “Just a few months ago, some thought this was an impossible task. But we said we would rebuild the South Park Bridge. We said we would work together to secure the funds. We said we would keep this hard-working neighborhood in business. And today, thanks to the leadership and tenacity of our senior senator from Washington State – we did it.”

You can watch Senator Murray give the announcement (and hear the roar of applause from the crowd) here:

Senator Murray says: “It’s a community that deserves a victory…and to have it’s voice heard.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible – a happy day in South Park indeed.

Share the ride, get great prizes – New carpool Promo in the Duwamish

New Carpool Promotions in the Duwamish/Coffee for Carpoolers

The Duwamish TMA is offering a $5 Starbucks card for the first 50 people who join the TMA’s Network on RideshareOnline.com.  You’re eligible if you work in SODO, South Park, Georgetown, or North Tukwila and your employer is NOT affected by the Commute Trip Reduction Act.  (Ask us if you’re not sure.) There’s no required number of carpool trips – simply register at www.RideshareOnline.com, join the TMA Network, and have coffee on us!

To Join the TMA Network:  After you register at RideshareOnline.com, click “My Networks” under the Profile tab and search for Duwamish.  Use password DTMA.  To collect the Starbucks card, click on “Incentive Programs” under the Rewards tab and Submit Request.  Questions?  Contact Melanie at (206) 762-2470, melanie@seattleindustry.org.

Win an iPad or Getaway

RideshareOnline.com has a summer promotion with fabulous prizes for carpoolers and vanpoolers.  Register at RideshareOnline.com, carpool or vanpool at least 2 days/week between August 9th and September 19th, add those trips to the online tracking calendar for at least one week during the promotion period and you’re eligible to win!  Prizes include an Apple iPad, five luxury vacations, and weekly drawings for $50 gift cards.  Details are online here.

Why Share the Ride?

Carpooling can be a great option to get to work quicker and save money.

You’ll reduce wear and tear on your car and spend less on gas. Plus you can use the HOV lanes, which tend to move faster.  The ride-matching website www.RideshareOnline.com can help you find carpool or vanpool partners who have similar routes and schedules.

Important information from SDOT about road repairs in South Park

From Melanie Mayock, Manufacturing Industrial Council and Duwamish Transportation Management Association

Dear South Park Businesses,

I’m writing to make sure you’re aware that the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is doing spot pavement repair in South Park over the next week in preparation for the South Park Bridge closure.

The repair work will be on the arterial route in northern South Park, following Holden Street east from Highway 99, to 5th Ave S, to Kenyon Street, to 8th Ave S.  This work involves excavating below the asphalt and is much more in-depth than normal pothole repair.  It should decrease the likelihood of future potholes in these areas.

The work is scheduled to begin right away and finish by June 30th; traffic will be reduced to one shared lane for both directions.

If you have questions about this project, please contact John Arnesen with Seattle DOT:  (206) 684-8921, john.arnesen@seattle.gov.   (To report potholes on other streets, call the SDOT Pothole number:  684-ROAD.)

South Park Bridge – the beginning of the end.

The King County Department of Transportation has this to say about the South Park Bridge: “The existing bridge was built in 1929-1931. The substandard lane width of the bridge carries approximately 20,000 ADT with 14% being truck traffic. It is severely deteriorated and vulnerable to seismic. The bridge is one of a few river crossings connecting to industrial area.”

Blogger Gurldoggie‘s insight about the neighborhood make it clear why it needs and deserves this gateway into the community: “South Park is a fascinating little neighborhood on the southern edge of Seattle, mostly built from the 1920’s through 1950’s to provide homes for the Boeing workers whose factory was in full bloom at the time. Since then the fortunes of Boeing and all of the industries that surrounded it have waxed and waned, and South Park has come through many rough patches. Statistics from the 1970’s and 80’s suggest that it was Seattle’s most dangerous zip code for quite a while, but in recent years the neighborhood has undergone a rennaisance, finally getting a long sought library and community center, and becoming the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in Seattle.”

The bridge is slated to close on June 30th.

Community meetings have been held, studies have been made and at the end of the day, the bridge is simply not safe enough for continued use, and there is not enough money for replacement (estimates for this project come in at around $130 million). According to the Seattle Times, “The federal government last month rejected King County’s request for $99 million in stimulus dollars to pay most of the replacement cost for the bridge. Instead $30 million was awarded for a competing Seattle project to transform one-way Mercer Street into a landscaped, two-way boulevard.”

Notes from the Development Desk

ECOSS’ Fund Development and Event Planning Committee needs new members!

The Fund Development Committee will work closely with the Fund Development staff and Board to help with fundraising and membership efforts. With direct support from the staff, team responsibilities may include:

  • Assisting in organizing ECOSS’ two fundraising events
    • Identifying and recruiting sponsors
    • Soliciting auction items
    • Determining theme, caterers and entertainment and other event details
    • Outreach, including posting on social media sites and around the community
    • Help create signage and other decorations as needed
    • Attending and staffing events
    • Recruiting friends and colleagues to attend events
    • Ensuring that all appropriate acknowledgements to sponsors/donors have been made
  • Organizing new donor recruitment events
    • Putting together a tool kit for house parties
    • Organizing a quarterly social/happy hour
  • Maintaining momentum throughout our membership drive
    • Making phone calls to lapsed members
    • Writing letters to recurring donors

The Fund Development Committee is currently composed of two ECOSS staff members and two ECOSS board members. We are looking for additional enthusiastic, outgoing and professional individuals who are interesting gaining career experience in the nonprofit or event management field and who are willing and excited about representing ECOSS and our mission.

By volunteering with us, we hope to provide you with access to valuable experience, connection to the community, opportunities to make a difference and a gathering place for like-minded individuals. You will be provided with templates and scripts and all the support you need to make your time with us successful!

What we ask for in return is a  commitment of approximately 6 hours of your time per month (including monthly meetings) and more during event months (April and October) and the willingness to work together and be part of a team.

Email Elise or call 206.767.0432 for more information and please feel free to pass this opportunity along to your friends!

-Elise