Archive for conservation

Clearwater Reach Restoration Planting

By Shawna Lee, Clearwater staff member Work is nearing completion on the North Creek Clearwater Reach stream restoration project. The final phase of the project involves planting thousands of native trees and shrubs in the riparian zones at both The Clearwater School and Clearwater Commons. Scott Moore, Native Plant Steward at Snohomish County Surface Water Management, created a

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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.

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Clearwater Contributes to PUD Conservation Savings

Last year our school worked with Snohomish County PUD to replace all our ancient fluorescent lighting with more efficient fixtures and bulbs. The utility offered generous rebate funding which almost completely covered our costs.

Today the Seattle Times reported that the 700 business (including Clearwater) that participated in PUD conservation programs in 2009 saved enough electricity to power 6,000 homes, saving PUD ratepayers $5.8 million.

Just today, School Meeting gave the go ahead to pursue a grant that the PUD is offering to install a
photovoltaic solar demonstration project. We will post more if our grant application is approved.

We feel very proud of our contribution to significant energy conservation and wish to thank the parent and student volunteers and especially Mat and Stephanie for the hours they spent removing old fixtures and installing new ones.

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