Archive for Bus

Trivia Quiz on the Clearwater Bus

by Shawna Lee, Clearwater staff member We regular riders of the Clearwater bus look forward to Trivia Thursdays on the bus ride back to Seattle. Thad comes up with the vast majority of the trivia questions, though Kallisti, driver and staff member Matt Garrity and a couple of other student riders have also contributed some stumpers. Thad is highly knowledgeable about many topics. One of his

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North Creek Park Outing

Last week a group of us piled into the Clearwater bus and drove up to North Creek Park. If you live in the area and haven't visited this park, it's well worth a trip. It's a wetland with a boardwalk through it, lots of wildlife and interpretive signs. The flora and fauna vary with the seasons and different wildlife are visible at different times of day.

The day we were there was warm. Although the weather was dry, there are several areas of the board walk that are prone to sink slightly below water level when a bunch of people walk along them at the same time. That was a source of amusement and challenge for several Clearwater students, who wanted all of us to walk or stand on a section, submerging it so they could have the fun of escaping the deluge or wading in it.

Heading down to the boardwalk



One interpretive sign talked about the importance of wetlands, describing them metaphorically as the kidneys of the earth. Clearwater staff member Matt thought it would be fun to talk about his own kidneys as the wetlands of the body. A little later, a student extended the metaphor further and suggested that lakes might be the bladders of the earth.

Reading about the function of wetlands


Delicate floating duckweed


Girls returning from a boardwalk spur to a peat bog




Because wetlands help clean storm water, the fact that Clearwater is downstream of North Creek Park means that the creek is cleaner when it gets to us than before it goes through the park. In fact, we noticed areas of water in the park that had an oily sheen and the appearance of sludge.

We also noticed and heard lots of birds and insects, and saw the occasional garter snake.


Fun with flooded boardwalk



Girls voluntarily trapping themselves on platform


Common Touch-Me-Not or Jewelweed (Impatiens noli-tangere)


Water Smartweed (Polygonum amphibium)


A lovely nosegay made by a student

In spite of one minor injury (a nettle sting), everyone spent a lot of time exploring the board walk and dirt trails of the park. After exploring the wetland, we all met up at the playground by the parking lot, where everyone played. Photos and information about that part of the trip will be in a post later this week.

End of post.

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A Poet Strikes Again

Just a few days ago, this blog published some song lyrics written by Mara. As I copied down the lyrics on the bus ride home from school, several students on the bus were curious about Mara's song and asked to hear the lyrics. I always enjoy how tuned in students are to each other's creativity.

One of those students was reminded of some poetry he composed recently, and asked me to copy it down and reproduce it here for your reading pleasure. You may remember that in November, this blog
also published a poem by Arlo about Clearwater's new rain garden.


Herewith are three more poetry compositions by Arlo.

Goodbye

"Goodbye," she said, as she passed away
I did not hear what she did not say
But the rhythm definitely gave it away
She obviously sent a bidding.

Stupid Forest

The stupid forest is an awesome place.
You'll go through it once and you'll leave no trace.
You'll come back through again and you'll say,
"Hooray for today, 'cause I am smart again."

Hollywood Man

He's a Hollywood man
He puts signs on his door step
He's a jolly good man
He makes friends on every corner
He's a jolly good man so everyone's a fan
He's a jolly good, Hollywood man that's tan

End of post.

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Paintball Excursion



Recently a group of students and two staff took our new bus to East Side Painball. They had a great time and several of them looked surprisingly unpainted on their return. In School Meeting last week one of the paintball participants suggested another trip, although the fee is probably too steep for enthusiasts to go very often.
Shane, one of the paintballers, took this picture before they all got started. Thanks, Shane!

End of post.


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Clearwater Has A New Bus!

One week before Winter Break, our Blue Bird Mini Bird yellow school bus drove into the school parking lot in a cloud of smoke. Matt, our driver/staff member tried to drive it to the mechanic but gave up the attempt after a block or two because the smoke was so bad.

Matt driving our new bus

After our bus was towed to Earl's Garage, our great mechanics, they diagnosed the problem as cracked cylinders and recommended a brand new engine. In the 2-1/2 years we've owned and operated our 1991 yellow school bus, we've discovered just how problematic a high-mileage (over 270,000 miles), older bus can be. We considered replacing the engine, but it did not make sense to spend a lot of money to put a new engine into such an old vehicle.

For the past month and a half as we debated repairing our bus, we also scoured craigslist and dealers for available buses in our price range with adequate capacity. As of last week there were no good buses available and the families whose kids ride the bus daily continued to limp along arranging carpools to school as much as possible.

Then over the weekend, the clouds parted and the angels sang. Matt discovered a 2003 23-passenger shuttle bus for sale, in immaculate condition and well-maintained. The owner agreed to sell it to Clearwater for $10,500, instead of the $12,500 asking price, considering the $2,000 a nonprofit donation. Despite the large expense, School Meeting authorized the purchase, reasoning that having a bus is a major asset for the school and this bus's newer, high-quality body and engine will provide long-term reliability.



School Meeting has made a huge commitment to the bus as an investment for all Clearwater students. Clearwater has initiated a pledge drive to help us finance the bus purchase. Please consider a one-time or installment donation; contact us by email or telephone (425-489-2050).

Matt drove our new bus into the school parking lot for the first time yesterday to enthusiastic applause. The very first trip was to Mill Creek Sports Park for an ultimate frisbee game. The first trip for daily riders was from school to home yesterday evening.



As you can see from the photos, the bus is gorgeous inside and out. The windows are huge, the seats are comfortable for the driver and the passengers and the ride is smooth and quiet.




Here's a short video of the bus and the excitement surrounding it.




End of post.







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