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Books Read October

Future Days: Krautrock and the Birth of a Revolutionary New Music
David Stubbs
Melville House

A pretty thorough examination of Krautrock. A long prologue establishes the cultural, political, and economic antecdents of the music, and explains why some West Germans wanted to tear down the preconceptions of Anglo-American blues based rock. Stubbs knows his material very well, drawing on decades of interviews and articles as well as his own writing and original research. The first four chapters consider Amon Duul II, Can, Kraftwerk and Faust individually, looking at their origins and continuing influence (Kraftwerk's chapter is the longest). The next several chapters all look at combinations of performers, and the last looks at the reimagination of "krautrock" as a style and how it continues to influence contemporary musicians. As a krautrock aficionado, I found it fascinating, of course; even if you're not interested in krautrock, it might help explain the noise.


Loving Day
Mat Johnson
Spiegel & Grau

I don't think I liked this book as much as Pym. Maybe it's because I didn't understand the satire in this book as well as I did in the other. Pym's satire was aimed straight at black/white relations. Loving Day is more subtle, looking at the differences between people who identify as all black and people who identify as mixed race. Someone who has had those identity issues might find this book hilarious. The few times I laughed out loud were at the behaviors of white people. Still, I found the book very moving and sad.


March: Book Two
John Lewis (with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell)
Top Shelf

At times a very horrifying recounting of some of the early struggles to desegregate the south. In high school history, the Freedom Riders (if they're taught about at all) are depicted as noble and united, the struggle to desegragate brief and clean. This book makes clear their personal struggles -- with different tactics, different commitments, and genuine fear for their lives -- and the length and viciousness of the struggle. The Freedom Riders were at times faced with life-threatening vicious attacks and riots, while the police looked on. They were also told repeatedly by white moderates to calm down, not to push too hard, to step back and wait. I think this is an important lesson, too: that progress in black civil rights has frequently come at the discomfort of white moderates. </td></tr>


Of Noble Family
Mary Robinette Kowal
Tor
The last of the series of the glamourist books. It started slowly and the climax came on very fast, so it felt to me like 400 pages of very little happening followed by 170 pages of almost everything at once. That's more likely due to my reading than the author, though. The end was very gripping, with some effective gut punches. I'm satisfied to leave the characters where they landed.

Four books in October, as many as I read in July, August, and September combined (which I didn't bother to post about.) I guess being unemployed really has improved my reading rate.
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October Work Party Report!

Well, it was another great work party with the Friends of North Beach Park, accompanied by a number of UW students in the ESRM 100 class (Environmental Science and Resource Management). We all did a lot of great work, accomplishing a lot in a short time (and finishing up just as the sprinkles started).

An important beginning to a successful work party: Make sure everyone is registered!

An important beginning to a successful work party: Make sure everyone is registered!

Original plans — to transplant some wetland trees and shrubs from a nearby parking strip — had to be put on hold because the plants were still too vigorous, due to the warm, dry fall. So we constructed some trailside erosion control instead, and cleaned up an area where a tree had fallen last winter.

I got so excited, in fact, that a lot of the pictures I took were blurry. Oh well.

The trailside erosion control was done near the entrance to the park, in an area called the Headwaters Bowl. There are places where the water runs off the side of the trail down the slope, and is starting to form dips in the trailside down to the slope.

We brought a lot of fallen tree branches up from a lower slope, cut them to size, and laid them alongside the trail.

The cut branches were laid along side the trail in semi-neat rows. Stakes were put in on the slope-side of the branch piles.

The cut branches were laid along side the trail in semi-neat rows. Stakes were put in on the slope-side of the branch piles.

After the branches were in place, we staked them for support and added wattles (burlap sacks filled with mulch) to help slow down the water.

Bagging mulch to make wattles.

Bagging mulch to make wattles.

The work stretched for a couple hundred feet along the trail. Notice also the raking that happened on the trail — it’s a good idea to keep organic matter off a trail if possible.

Wattles alongside the trail.

Wattles alongside the trail.

We were able to split into two work groups. The second group cleared the area where a large maple had fallen last winter, cutting the branches up into brush, and setting some aside to be used as ivy platform logs. (Unfortunately, those were some of the blurry pictures.)

Here is the group photo of all the hard workers.

All the participants at the Friends of North Beach Park work party.

All the participants at the Friends of North Beach Park work party.


Thank you everyone for your hard work!

The students were evenly split between being from China and South Korea. Their majors included biology, math, economics, and sociology.

I thought it would be interesting to think about how these various majors could find application in ecological restoration. Biology is easy, of course: one can look very specifically at, say, how different species of mycorrhizae affect the nitrogen-fixing root nodules of alder trees, or the interaction of plant communities at the landscape level. For economics, a lot of people are looking into how to quantify “ecological services” — how can we calculate the amount of stormwater a healthy urban forest absorbs, and how much does that save us in terms of water processing or pollution of our larger bodies of water? How do we calculate the value of volunteerism? Sociologists look at how and why people volunteer, how we can attract more volunteers, and so on. I don’t know of anyone doing research in mathematics applied to ecological restoration, but math is certainly a tool used throughout a restoration project, whether calculating the stresses on a slope, the flow through a stream, or how to achieve specific planting densities in particular areas.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

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Duwamish Alive! at Cecil Moses Park

Duwamish Alive! is an annual event held to bring awareness about the Duwamish River and its importance to the history and ecology of Seattle. It also provides a focus of energy, as all the different groups involved in the restoration of the Duwamish River sponsor events. This year there were more than 15 events, including a shoreline restoration challenge, a kayak clean up, and numerous native planting work parties. Sponsors included Forterra, EarthCorps, Nature Consortium, the Rose Foundation, and many others.

Cecil Moses Memorial Park

Cecil Moses Memorial Park

King County Parks held a work party in Cecil Moses Park, located at the north end of the Green River Trail, which travels along the shore of the Duwamish River for 19 miles, to the North Green River Park in Kent. Cecil Moses is located at an important transition point in the river, where tidal influences mix the fresh water of the river and the salt water of Puget Sound. Young salmon pause here on their way to the ocean to acclimate themselves to salt water. Cecil Moses is also located close to North Winds Weir, an important historical location to members of the Duwamish tribe.

The day started cool and cloudy, with just three of us and an awful lot of plants.

Tools at the ready for eager volunteers.

Tools at the ready for eager volunteers.

We kept plugging away, though, and as the day continued, the sun came out more strongly and we were soon enough joined by two families. That made the rest of the day a breeze, and we got all the plants in the ground and most of them mulched.

Left to right: Cam (red shirt), Theresa, William (white shirt), and Leslie. Theresa is giving the planting demonstration.

Left to right: Cam (red shirt), Theresa, William (white shirt), and Leslie. Theresa is giving the planting demonstration.

Left to right: Kirstie, William, Ann, and Theresa.

Left to right: Kirstie, William, Ann, and Theresa.

Cam (red shirt) and Moss (behind Cam) watch as Leslie plants a shrub.

Cam (red shirt) and Moss (behind Cam) watch as Leslie plants a shrub.

I like to see children at a restoration event. The families live near the park and regularly walk the trails together. They’ll be able to see the changes over time as the restoration progresses. That’s what it’s all about.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

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October Work Party

Join Friends of North Beach Park for the start of fall planting on Saturday, October 24, 2015, from 9 a.m. to noon. We’ll meet at the main entrance to the park, 24th Ave and 90th St. NW, rain or shine.

We’ll be planting in two areas in the main body of the park, near the headwaters and further along the stream. Both areas will require some clean up. We will also transport mulch down to the sites using wheelbarrows and buckets.

We love the smell of fresh mulch in the morning.

We love the smell of fresh mulch in the morning.

We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Please wear weather appropriate layers than can get dirty. Rain gear will be helpful; expect late-October weather, whatever that means these days. Even in cool weather, it’s a good idea to bring some water and a snack.

Please sign up in advance so we know you’re coming.

All ages are welcome; volunteers under 18 must sign and bring a waiver (link next to the sign-up form). The #48 and #40 buses stop a few blocks south of the park; check Metro for details. Parking is available on 90th St. east of 24th Ave.

If you can’t join us in October, save the date for November 28th. Bring (or escape!) the family and work off some of those Thanksgiving calories. And give thanks that this little ravine graces our corner of Seattle.

As always, you can support Friends of North Beach Park by making a directed donation to the Seattle Parks Foundation.

All money donated will be used to fund the restoration efforts of North Beach Park.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

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Where have I been all summer?

I’ve just finished a seasonal job with King County Parks; the job title was “Parks Specialist I.” Generally, seasonals work in a specific resource or management area all summer long. However, I was hired by the volunteer program to help in their restoration projects. The work was about half with volunteers groups, ranging in size from two or three up to forty and more, and in age from middle-schoolers up to retirees. The other half of the time was after-care of projects: weeding, watering, and monitoring; or clearing and preparing areas for fall planting. This work took me and my coworker literally all over King County.

There are several reasons why this is about the best job I could have had at this time. As I said above, we worked with a wide variety of volunteers, of different ages and races. We worked with different organizations, including Mountains to Sound Greenway, Friends of the Cedar River Watershed, Student Conservation Association, AmeriCorps and others. It also gave me direct field experience in a wide variety of different types of restoration projects. We worked in old pastures, floodplains, old farms, urban parks, regional trails, and second-growth forest, and from mountain sides to lowland bogs.

Here is a complete (I hope) list of the parks I worked in between April and October. The pictures below were taken during volunteer events.

Furthest:

  • North: Sammammish River Trail in Bothell.
  • South: Bass Lake Complex NA, south of Black Diamond.
  • East: Tanner Landing, east of North Bend.
    Taken during a Mountains to Sound coordinated event at Tanner Landing.

    Taken during a Mountains to Sound coordinated event at Tanner Landing.

  • West: Maury Island Marine Park, Vashon Island.

Urban parks and trails:

  • Renton Park
    The folks who worked on Renton Park one day. In the front are two of  my coworkers, Lina and Kirstie.

    The folks who worked on Renton Park one day. In the front are two of my coworkers, Lina and Kirstie.

  • Five Mile Lake Park
  • Sammammish River Trail, Redmond
  • Sammammish River Trail, Bothell
  • Northshore Athletic Fields
    Derby Creek is a cold-water tributary to the Sammammish river, making it very important for salmon. Daylighting and restoring it would improve salmon habitat for miles. Stakeholders include King County (numerous departments), Snoqualmie tribe, WA state departments, and others. Striding up the bank in the center of the picture is my boss, Tina.

    Derby Creek is a cold-water tributary to the Sammammish river, making it very important for salmon. Daylighting and restoring it would improve salmon habitat for miles. Stakeholders include King County (numerous departments), Snoqualmie tribe, WA state departments, and others. Striding up the bank in the center of the picture is my boss, Tina.

Watershed Parks:

    Snoqualmie River:</p>
    • Tanner Landing
    • Three Forks Natural Area [NA] (Scott Property)
    • Chinook Bend
      Anna, volunteer coordinator for Mountains to Sound, explains the lands they're protecting, and the role the Snoqualmie River plays in that preservation.

      Anna, volunteer coordinator for Mountains to Sound, explains the lands they’re protecting, and the role the Snoqualmie River plays in that preservation.

     
    Cedar River:

    • Dorre Donn Reach NA
    • Belmondo Reach
    • Cedar Grove
    • Cavanaugh Pond
      A Boeing volunteer at Cavanaugh pond holds up a blackberry root.

      A Boeing volunteer at Cavanaugh pond holds up a blackberry root.

     
    Green River:

    • Green River NA
    • Whitney Bridge Park
    • Flaming Geyser NA
    • Metzler
    • Bass Lake Complex Natural Area

     
    Bear Creek:

    • Upper, Middle, and Lower Bear Creek Natural Areas
      The President of the Water Tenders explains the importance of Bear Creek to salmon habitat (another cold water tributary to a larger river).

      The President of the Water Tenders explains the importance of Bear Creek to salmon habitat (another cold water tributary to a larger river).

     
    Issaquah Creek:

    • Log Cabin Reach NA
      A group of middle schoolers from the Tahoma School District being planting a field at Log Cabin, a natural area on Issaquah Creek.

      A group of middle schoolers from the Tahoma School District being planting a field at Log Cabin, a natural area on Issaquah Creek.

 
Wetlands:

  • Carnation Marsh
  • Log Cabin
  • Queen’s Bog (Klahanie Park)
    Queen's Bog is the oldest bog in King County, and is in about the best shape. It's being degraded by rainwater runoff from the nearby sprawl housing projects. This picture shows part of the acre that burned this summer when a recreational fire got out of hand.

    Queen’s Bog is the oldest bog in King County, and is in about the best shape. It’s being degraded by rainwater runoff from the nearby sprawl housing projects. This picture shows part of the acre that burned this summer when a recreational fire got out of hand.

 
Working forests:

  • Taylor Mountain Forest
  • Danville-Georgetown Open Space
  • McGarvey Park Open Space
    A group of students celebrate cutting several dozen suckers from a Big Leaf Maple stump.

    A group of students celebrate cutting several dozen suckers from a Big Leaf Maple stump.

 
Miscellaneous Parks:

  • Soaring Eagle Regional Park
  • Duthie Hill Park (where the volunteer program office was located)

All in all, it was about the best summer I’ve ever had. The working conditions — particularly during the height of the heat waves and drought — were sometimes grueling, but the work was always worthwhile. We worked in some of the most remote and beautiful areas of King County. Our “lunchrooms” were along nearby rivers and creeks. Almost all the time we felt like we weren’t working at all. I often daydreamed of writing blog posts about it while it was happening, but alas, I was often too tired to do much more than just read when I got home.

Now it’s on to the next adventure.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

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King County Parks Volunteer Opportunities

Although my season has ended as a KC Parks employee (about which more soon), I’m still interested in volunteering with them. To which end, here is a flyer for their upcoming events through December.

Fall for Salmon 2015

For what it’s worth, the ones I currently plan to attend are Cecil Moses Park (10/17) for Duwamish Alive!, White Center Heights on 10/31 (for Halloween! oooooo, spooky kids!), and Tanner Landing (11/21). Oh, and Taylor Mountain Forest on 12/5.

All events are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. King County will provide tools, gloves, and guidance. You wear weather appropriate layers that can get dirty, and closed-toe shoes or boots. Some water and light snacks are provided, but it’s a good idea to bring some of your own as well.

Some of these work parties are in parks that aren’t generally very accessible, so it’s a rare chance not only to help restore forests and salmon habitat but to get to see the parks.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

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June Work Party with Friends of North Beach Park

It’s coming up soon! Here are the details:

The June work party of Friends of North Beach Park will happen on Saturday, June 27, 2015. The location will be the South Plateau, at 88th St. and 27th Ave NW. The work party will run from 9 a.m. to noon. Your host will be Drexie Malone.

We’ll be providing after care to the native plants reintroduced to the South Plateau in the last couple years. This will include removing competing plants that can hinder their growth or completely choke them out.

We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Please wear weather appropriate layers than can get dirty. The temperature is currently forecast to be in the upper 80s, so please be sure to bring plenty of cold water and take frequent rest breaks. It would help to drink some extra water before heading to the park, as well as bringing extra with you. Because of the presence of stinging nettle, long-sleeved t-shirts and long pants are recommended. Having said all that, the South Plateau is very shady and the work planned is not very strenuous.

To get to the South Plateau: From the intersection of 24th Ave NW and NW 85th St., head west on 85th St (Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church will be on your right). At the intersection of 26th Ave and 85th St., turn right (North). Drive north on 26th Ave. for a long block until the intersection with 88th St., which will be on your left. Turn left onto 88th St. and look for parking. The entrance to the South Plateau is about half a block north on 27th Ave. The #48 bus line stops at 85th and 26th; the #40 bus line stops at 85th and 24th. Check http://metro.kingcounty.gov/#plan-a-trip for exact details.

If you have any questions about the work party or Friends of North Beach Park, feel free to write lukemcguff@yahoo.com for further information.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

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Books Read May

Two books read and one bounce, which is still two more than I thought I'd have. I got bogged down in a long book that I didn't finish until early June. Anyway, here are the May books:

Feral Cities: Adventures with Animals in the Urban Jungle
Tristan Donovan
Chicago Review Press, 2015
A fun, light read about the wild animals that live in cities with us -- from raccoons in Berlin to leopards in Mumbai, rattlesnakes in Phoenix and African land snails in Miami to foxes in London and subterranean crabs in Rome. Donovan looks at who the animals are, how they came to be in cities, how they fare in cities, and what problems they cause. In all cases, the answers are varied and surprising. He talks to people doing on the ground research and control of animal species, and examines the issues using references that range from scholarly articles and books to blog posts. In the final chapter, he looks at how we can use cities as conservation agents, improve them as homes for the animals that live with us. Full review at Nature Intrudes.

Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll
Peter Bebergal
Penguin, 2015
Decided this was not relevant to my interests before I finished the introduction. However, it was highly recommended, and it might be relevant to YOUR interests.

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife
Meg Ellison
Sybaritic Press, 2014
A very bleak post-apocalypse novel about a plague that wipes out 90% of males and 99% of females and children. Circumstances allowed me to read it basically in one go, which got me very wrapped up in it. Sections are written as if straight out of a diary, others are written in third person. For most of the book, I thought it was as bleak as "We Who Are About To..." by Joanna Russ, but it has a happy ending. Well, some form of culture starts to rebuild but the basic existential questions are still unanswered.
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Feral Cities


Tristan Donovan
Chicago Review Press, 2015.

An engaging read about the wild animals that live in cities with us — from raccoons in Berlin to leopards in Mumbai, rattlesnakes in Phoenix and African land snails in Miami, to foxes in London and subterranean crabs in Rome.

These animals have come to be in cities in many ways. Raccoons are not native to Berlin, but were escapees after the brief fad for raccoon coats in the early days of automobiles. Foxes in London had the city built up around them – it’s not that they were pushed out of the city and moved back, but they stuck around when new food sources presented themselves. African land snails were imported by accident.

Living in the city affects the animals in many ways, — good, bad, and neutral. Bird song has to change to adapt to city noise, such as getting louder, changing pitch, or both; birds colliding with skyscrapers is a problem for Chicago, which is on the Great Mississippi flyway. In many cases, such as coyotes and foxes, the animals live longer, healthier, and with much smaller ranges than in the wild. The smaller ranges happen because food is more abundant; this results in greater density, which can be a problem if there’s an infectious disease outbreak such as mange. Another change that happens across many species is animals becoming nocturnal in the city, as that helps them avoid humans.

Donovan talks to people doing on the ground research and control of animal species, and examines the issues using references that range from scholarly articles and to general interest books, news articles, and blog posts. In the final chapter (which provides a good, inspiring end to the book), he looks at how we can use cities as conservation agents and not only improve them as homes for the animals that live with us, but bring more animals into the city.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

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GiveBIG for North Beach Park — today!

When we began working on North Beach Park, there were numerous places where ivy formed a monoculture on the ground. Looking back, we think about 40% of the trees had ivy up into their crown.

Today, the only places with ivy monocultures are areas that are too steep for anyone but professional crews to work. And Less than 5% of the trees have ivy up into their crowns. In many places of the park, a new generation of trees and shrubs are establishing and in a few years they will become luxurious groves of saplings, shrubs, and groundcover. We’ve seen native plants spring back after invasive removal.

However, there is still plenty of work to be done to restore North Beach Park. There is ivy, blackberry, holly, laurel and bindweed to remove. The alder and big leaf maple trees are at the end of their normal lifespan, and falling at about the rate of three to five a year. This makes it imperative that we keep working to establish a healthy, mixed conifer-deciduous urban forest.

Your donation today, as part of Give BIG, will help us continue this important restoration work. Your generous donation would help us buy more plants and replace tools that are falling apart. Even if you’ve already contributed to another organization, $10 or $15 for Friends of North Beach Park will be a tremendous help for us.

Please donate at this link: The Seattle Foundation | Friends of North Beach Park today. The Seattle Foundation will stretch a portion of your donation. Your generosity will be greatly appreciated and put to good use.

I and all the Friends of North Beach Park thank you.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.