Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ebright Creek Restoration Work 12/13/14

Impressive blackberry roots removed!
Explaining how invasive holly is a problem in our natural areas
Restoration work continues at Ebright Creek park. On 12/13/14 further planting and blackberry removal was done. Thanks to the volunteers and native plant stewards the habitat next to the creek is being improved. And as an added treat, 3 pileated woodpeckers were spotted in the nearby trees before work began.  Most of us had never seen that many in one place at one time.

Attracting Birds with Native Plants

Spotted towhee bird pipilo maculatus perching on a branch by Kramer Gary, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Attracting Birds with Native Plants
Washington Native Plant Society
CPS Chapter( Eastside Branch)
January 27th, 2015
Learn how to enhance your garden to attract a wide range of native birds in all seasons. Connie will present slides showing the most common birds that can be attracted to your yard. She will also give tips on the kinds of native plants that can be used to landscape a Pacific Northwest garden for birds and how to supplement it with feeders and other aids.
Connie Sidles is a master birder and long-time member of Seattle Audubon Society. She has written four books about nature focusing on her favorite "backyard," Montlake Fill on the UW campus. She is a board member of Friends of Yesler Swamp and leads numerous walks through these sites.
Date Tuesday, January 27th, 2015   
7:00 pm --Social Time (meet your fellow Eastsiders)
7:30 pm--Program begins
King County LIbrary Service Center
Room 2A/B
960 Newport Way NW
Issaquah, WA
Contact:    Franja Bryant
(If you would like to have your name added to our Eastside email list, contact

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Save those leaves!

More good advice from WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife about getting your garden ready for winter.

November 2014
Photo: Vine maple with fall colors
Leaving those leaves helps your garden and wildlife
By Jamie Bails, WDFW Habitat Biologist

A few autumns ago, after watching a neighbor rake and bag fallen leaves, I asked him if I could spread the leaves around my perennial beds as mulch. He hesitatingly agreed and watched suspiciously as I quickly loaded up eight bags into the wheelbarrow and giddily spread the leaves around my flower beds.

Like many people, my neighbor narrowly understood the value of leaf litter. Leaves were simply raked, bagged and taken to the dump -- not my idea of natural gardening. The next year, they cut down the trees, reducing my leaf supply. For now, a 100-year-old big leaf maple and other native trees I’ve planted will provide a healthy supply of leaves, saving me truckloads of soil composted from other people’s yards.

Using those leaves for mulch also helps the wildlife that visit my yard. They provide a food source for insects which in turn are eaten by many birds, reptiles and amphibians. Leaves also indirectly support wildlife habitat in general by improving overall soil and plant health.

As leaves are falling and you’re raking them up this month, think about these Top Ten Reasons to use those leaves as mulch:

Provides food source for beneficial insects which improve the health of the soil and in turn are eaten by wildlife
Improves and adds nutrients to the soil
Increases and strengthens plant root growth
Regulates the temperature of the soil, keeping it cooler in summer and warmer in winter
Reduces weeds, as long as the mulch is weed free and deep enough to prevent weed germination or smother existing weeds
Prevents the surface of the soil from cracking or eroding by retaining moisture
Prevents rain water from running off the soil and disappearing down a storm water drain
Prevents water from splashing up onto plants which slows the spread of soil-borne diseases
Prevents the soil from crusting or compacting
Creates a natural forest floor environment
Without leaf litter on the soil, rain will release clay and silt particles, increasing sedimentation, reducing the soil’s capacity to absorb water, and accelerating soil erosion. Leaf litter also reduces wind erosion by preventing soil from losing moisture and providing cover.

Leaves are valuable soil amendments because they’re the dominant pathway for nutrients to return to the soil, especially nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). These nutrients accumulate in the top layer of soil until leaves decompose, by rainfall and organisms, and leach or release the nutrients into the soil below.

A wide range of organisms takes part in the decomposition process, most relatively inconspicuous, unglamorous and, from a conventional human perspective, even undesirable. This detritivore community includes beetles and their larvae, flies and maggots (the larvae of flies), woodlice, fungi, slime molds, bacteria, slugs and snails, millipedes, springtails and earthworms. This community works out of sight and gradually, over months or years. Cumulatively, they are the unsung heroes who convert all dead plant and animal material into forms that are useable for growth.

There are several ways you can use leaves as mulch:

Slow-Compost Method: Rake the leaves off the lawn (assuming you still have lawn) and pile on flower beds to make the rich hummus and leaf mold that you would find in a mature forest. The leaf nutrients will leach out while the remainder of the dried leaf will slowly compost over the winter, putting nutrients directly back into the soil with the aid of the detritivores. This is a great method for soils that are clay, compacted or dry, and it won’t smother or burn plants.

Lawn-mower Method: Run your lawnmower over the leaves and then rake onto plant beds. This is a great alternative to purchasing beauty bark or wood chips. When spreading the leaves, be careful not to cover the plant crowns. Shred large leafs like big leaf maple to break down more quickly. Large, leathery, evergreen leaves like madrona, laurel and photinia need to be shredded unless they can be allowed to decompose over several years in a back corner. Evergreen leaves can be added to a hot compost pile to accelerate decomposition.

Both of these methods are excellent ways to encourage beneficial insects in your yard. Beetles, spiders, and centipedes readily crawl under leaves for protection through the winter, as well as deposit eggs in the soil or leaf litter.

Compost Pile Method: Store leaves in feed sacks and add to compost pile as brown material over winter. An abundance of leaves can be in a wire cage for decomposition over the winter. By spring, the compost is ready to spread on beds or can be added to the food waste compost bin.

Livestock Method: If you keep poultry or livestock, use your supply of leaves for litter or bedding along with straw or hay. Leaf mold thus enriched with extra nitrogen may later be mixed directly with soil or added to the compost pile or spread throughout the garden.

If you don’t have enough leaves from trees on your own property, ask a neighbor if you can rake their leaves onto your yard. They may think you are crazy, but you’ll be walking away with valuable free soil amendments and a boost for your backyard wildlife.

Habitat Restoration Season is in Full Swing!
Come join your neighbors in restoring Sammamish city parks.
Photos from planting day at Ebright Creek Park

Upcoming Restoration Events
Sammamish Landing
Nov. 15 & 22 10:00 to 2:00
Lower Commons
Dec. 6  9:00 to noon
Ebright Creek Park
Dec. 13  9:00 to noon
For more information go to   find the home calendar page and click on the event date

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Good advice from WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife about getting your garden ready for winter.


September 2014 

Fall "To Do" list from your backyard wildlife family 

Your family may be making those fall outdoor chore lists, as daylight hours shrink, temperatures drop, and the urge grows to "batten down the hatches" in the yard and garden. 

Here's another "to do" list from your local wildlife "family" that you may find easier to check off: 

Leave some "dead heads" on your flowering plants to provide seeds for some of us birds and other animals 

If you must rake leaves off grass lawns, just pile them under some shrubs, bushes or other nooks and crannies to provide homes for those insects that we birds love to eat; leaves make great mulch to help your plants, anyway! 

Keep that dead or dying tree right where it is (unless, of course, it's truly a hazard to you), so we can feast on the insects in the rotting wood or make winter roosts or dens in its cavities 

Give yourself and your mower a rest for at least a portion of your lawn so we've got a patch of taller grass to hide and forage in 

Save just a little of that dead bramble thicket for us - it makes great winter cover and we don't need much! 

Fall is a good time to plant shrubs, so replace invasive, exotic Himalayan and cutleaf blackberries with native plants of higher wildlife value like blackcap (native black raspberry) or red raspberry; native currants or gooseberries found in your area; or native roses such as Nootka or baldhip. 

Pile up any brush or rocks you clear around your place to give us another option for nests and dens 

Take it easy on yourself and let go of the "perfect" garden image; we wild animals like less tidy, "fuzzy" places because there's usually more food and shelter there 

Get yourself a comfortable chair, sit back, and congratulate yourself on having made a home for wildlife and a haven of relaxation for yourself!

Garden for wildlife

Garden for wildlife by purchasing native plants from the Washington Native Plant Society
Central Puget Sound Chapter
Fall Native Plant Sale
Saturday, October 4, 2014
7740 35th Ave NE, Seattle in the Wedgewood neighborhood
Quantities are limited; last minute changes possible
Sale Chair: Kathleen Winters
Volunteer Coordinator: Marissa
Donations Coordinator: Rick Thompson

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

 Plant Propagation on a Shoestring
by Jeanie Taylor, native plant propagation expert and owner of Taylor Gardens
Eastside Subchapter of the WA Native Plant Society
 Tuesday, September 16, 7:30pm
Redmond Regional Library Meeting #1
15990 NE 85th Street, Redmond

If your green thumb is itching to get to work, this native plant propagation talk and hands-on seed demonstration will get you started. Jeanie Taylor will discuss...
some simple rules of seed propagation. Beginning with seed collection and processing guidelines, her talk and demonstration will include how to handle different types of fruits and methods of extracting and cleaning seeds. She will also provide basic information on seed dormancy and why knowledge of this is important in the germination of native plant and why knowledge of this is important in the germination of native seeds.

 Upcoming Program – Attracting Birds with Native Plants by Connie Sidles. Date: January or February – exact date and location to be determined. Watch for details in the Native Plant Press, on this Facebook page, (
and in upcoming emails. (If you would like to have your name added to our Eastside email list, contact

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Photo: Please join the Sammamish Community Wildlife Habitat Group and Sammamish Native Plant Stewards at this week's Sammamish Farmer's Market, 4:00 to 8:00 PM Sept. 10th. Information sheets, kids' activity sheets, and Ranger Rick magazines, and free native plants will be given out. See you there!

Please join the Sammamish Community Wildlife Habitat Group and Sammamish Native Plant Stewards at this week's Sammamish Farmer's Market, 4:00 to 8:00 PM Sept. 10th. Information sheets, kids' activity sheets, and Ranger Rick magazines, and free native plants will be given out. See you there!
It's Habitat Restoration Season!
Come join your neighbors in restoring Sammamish city parks.
Illahee restoration Fall, 2013
Below are a listing of work parties that have been scheduled so far this fall.
Illahee Park Trail on 9/20/14 9-noon

Come volunteer at Illahee Park Trail! We will be working to remove invasive plants in an area recently planted with native trees and shrubs. Help restore the Illahee wetland and learn about native plants!

Ebright Creek on 9/27/14 1-4, 10/11/14 & 11/8/14 9-noon

The Ebright restoration project consists of steps to improve the ecosystem functions of the urban forest surrounding Ebright Creek. Volunteers are needed in one of the following three important tasks.

1.    Remove invasive species such as Himalayan blackberries to give existing native plants a chance to thrive and make a comeback.

2.    Populate areas cleared of blackberries with native plants to aid the comeback of native plants and to prevent the re-growth of weeds and invasive species.

3.    Maintain the site to keep invasive species at bay.
Sign up for all of these at the city event calendar

Sammamish Landing 10/18/14 & 11/15/14 9-noon

 Volunteer to improve habitat at Sammamish Landing with Friends of the Cedar River Watershed and City of Sammamish! Sammamish Landing contains invasive plants that threaten to spread and degrade habitat. Volunteers will work to restore this important shoreline to a more natural and sustainable state by planting and mulching native trees and shrubs in an area cleared of invasive blackberry and ivy this summer. Join us along the lake this fall to continue progress!

The Friends of the Cedar River Watershed works hard to engage people to enhance and sustain watersheds through restoration, education and stewardship.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cleaning Your Birdbath

If you ever wondered the best way to maintain your birdbath, here are some tips from Emily Bishton, a local landscape designer and environmental educator :

Cleaning your birdbath

 Plain water is usually sufficient, but if there is a lot of algae buildup or it feels slimy to the touch, then continue with the following:
Soak a large rag in a 50/50 water/white vinegar mix 
  • Lay the rag so it is in contact with as much of the birdbath surface as possible, and let sit for 1-2 minutes,
  • Wring out the rag into the birdbath and then scrub the birdbath with the water/vinegar solution, then soak up the solution with the rag again
  • Rinse and scrub the birdbath one more time with plain water, and rinse off all surrounding plants with plain water too
Vinegar can harm plants by making the soil too acidic for their roots, so this method puts as little of it as possible on them.

If there has been a lot of fecal matter around the edge of the rim or you feel that more is needed, then soak a rag in a 10:1 solution of water:bleach and follow the same process, but be super careful about getting any of the bleach solution on surrounding plants, even for a few minutes.
Emily Bishton

Rev. 7/12/14


Friday, June 13, 2014

Free Bird Walk June 14th

Red-breasted Sapsucker, by Mick Thompson

Eastside Audubon is sponsoring a family oriented bird walk tomorrow at Lake Sammamish State Park from 10:00 AM to noon.  Check out their web page below for more details and enjoy the beautiful picture of the red-breasted sapsucker Mick Thompson took at the park!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Take Your Volunteer Work on Behalf of Sammamish Community Habitats to a Higher

Become a Native Plant Steward or Trail Steward

Sign up now for the 2014 Native Plant Stewardship Program. 

This ten week course includes expert training in:

·   Native Plant Identification

·   Puget Sound Ecosystems and Plant Communities

·   Forest Ecology

·   Riparian, Shoreline and Wetlands Ecology

·   Project Leadership and Management

·   Ecological Restoration and Monitoring

·     And more!
Trainings will be held at Mercer Slough Environmental Learning Center, courtesy of the City of Bellevue.

·  Fridays, 8:30-4:30pm April 18th– June 27th

· There will be three Saturday field trips

No experience is necessary.  The training is free with a commitment for100 volunteer hours volunteer service working on a habitat restoration project, and to WNPS public outreach projects in King County. So many Native Plant Stewards have found this program rewarding and continue to volunteer their services and efforts to restore Washington's native plant habitat and educate others about the value of native plants.

Applications are posted at Applications are posted at  

Sammamish Trail Stewards

The City of Sammamish Trail Steward Program provides support for the construction and maintenance of the Sammamish trails system. Community members interested in serving as volunteer trail stewards receive advanced training in trail construction, safety and volunteer management. Upon completion of the training, stewards are asked to lead trail construction and maintenance work parties in the City of Sammamish. If you are interested in learning more about being a Sammamish Trail Steward contact or 425.295.0556.
Upcoming Volunteer Events to Enhance Our Community Habitat
Saturday March 8, 10am – 2pm, Evans Creek Preserve
Is Evans Creek Preserve your favorite Sammamish Park? Have you wanted to go but haven’t got around to it yet? No matter what the reason, save the date and join us at this volunteer event! Volunteers will be removing scotch broom, ivy and blackberry from two different areas near the parking lot. Don’t worry – the blackberry is still quite small. If you haven’t used a weed wrench yet this is the perfect opportunity. Our weed wrenches make pulling out scotch broom fun. Take a break from the volunteer work to check out the park – who knows, you might even find one of the gnomes! Register to volunteer at
Earth Day Volunteer Event  - Tuesday April 22 3:00-5:00pm
Lower Sammamish Commons
550 222nd PL SE, Sammamish, WA 98074

Celebrate Earth Day by volunteering in the Lower Sammamish Commons Native Plant Garden. This afterschool event is appropriate for all ages. Come dressed to work in the garden (no sandals, wear long pants and weather appropriate clothing). Bring work gloves if you have them. Tools and healthy afterschool snacks will be provided. Register at
Lower Commons Volunteer Event – Saturday April 26 9-12pm
550 222nd PL SE, Sammamish, WA 98074
Which park can you find deer, bear, rabbits, eagles, herons and a community garden? Lower Sammamish Commons, of course! This park is also home to our native plant garden. Volunteers have spent many hours repetitive weeding, planting, mulching and tending to the many native plants we have at this site. Join us for the annual spring cleanup and mulching event. Register to volunteer at

Friday, February 14, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Check out this great web page for educators for National Wildlife Week March 17-23, 2014!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Save the Date for National Wildlife Week!
March 17-23, 2014

One thing that all wildlife need, whatever they are and wherever they live, is WATER. In 2014, the theme of National Wildlife Week is:

Wildlife and Water
From the mountains to the rivers to the oceans 

National Wildlife Week is National Wildlife Federation's longest-running education program designed around teaching and connecting kids to the awesome wonders of wildlife. Each year, we pick a theme and provide fun and informative educational materials, curriculum and activities for educators and caregivers to use with kids.  
As we update this website with lesson plans, materials, events and more, we'll send out periodic email updates. Sign up for updates >>

For questions about National Wildlife Week, email

Want suggestions on ways to make your garden wildlife friendly?  The Cascade Water Allliance is sponsoring their free garden classes once again.
Wildlife-Friendly Gardening for Beauty and Sustainability
Emily Bishton, Landscape designer and environmental educator 
Welcome songbirds, butterflies, and beneficial insects into your yard while conserving natural resources at the same time.
Discover how urban wildlife can provide you with year-round natural pest and weed control and better pollination. Then, learn about design techniques and maintenance practices that can attract and nurture beneficial wildlife in your garden for years to come. 

March 27, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. 
Tibbetts Creek Manor, 750 17th Avenue NW, Issaquah

April 5, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. 
Sammamish Plateau Water & Sewer District, 1510 228th Avenue SE, Sammamish

Favorite Northwest Natives for Sun and Shade
Greg Rabourn, educator, radio personality, author or Marianne Binetti, radio host, author, columnist

Add beautiful color, texture and wildlife benefits to your garden by incorporating stunning northwest natives.
Greg Rabourn will show you different plants that will thrive in sunny hot spots or shady corners. Follow Greg's tips and you will be amazed at the birds and butterflies that visit your garden while also reducing your yard maintenance. 
March 8, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. 
The Gray Barn Garden Center, 20871 NE Redmond-Fall City Road, Redmond

Check out their flyer for more classes:

The King County Native Plant Salvage Program needs volunteers!
Saturday March 1, 2014

Join other volunteers digging up trees and shrubs from this site scheduled for a school and housing development in the morning. In the afternoon, we’ll pot-up the salvaged plants for later planting at King County habitat restoration sites. Once planted, these native plants will help reduce erosion, shade streams and provide habitat. Special thanks to the Snoqualmie Valley School District and the PulteGroup for providing the salvage site.

When: Saturday, March 1, 2014 


 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m: Salvage plants for King County.

12:00 to 2:00 p.m: Salvage plants for yourself if you salvaged for the County from 9:00 to 12:00.

1:00 to 4:30 p.m: Potting at Holding Facility (Free plants are offered to potters).

Where: Snoqualmie for salvaging

             Issaquah for potting

Directions to the Salvage site: From I-90 take Exit 25 (HWY 18 West and Snoqualmie Parkway). Go north on SE Snoqualmie Parkway. In 1.2 miles, turn left onto SE Swenson Drive. Follow signs to site.

From Highway 202 (SE Fall City-Snoqualmie Road), go south on SE Snoqualmie Parkway and drive 2.5 miles to SE Swenson Drive. Turn right onto SE Swenson Drive. Follow signs to site.

Volunteers who dig for King County from 9:00 to 12:00 are eligible to dig plants for themselves from 12:00 to 2:00.

Not a morning person? Volunteers are also needed at our Native Plant Holding Facility from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. to help pot up the salvaged plants. Volunteers who help with potting are eligible for a free native plant for every half hour they work.

Directions to the Native Plant Holding Facility:

From eastbound or westbound I-90 take exit 18 (Highland Drive) in Issaquah. Continue uphill onto Highland Drive and drive through several lights. Turn right onto Issaquah-Fall City Road. It becomes Duthie Hill Road.

From SE Redmond-Fall City Road go west on 292nd Ave SE. It becomes SE Duthie Hill Road.

The facility is in Duthie Hill Park on the south side of the road at 27101 SE Duthie Hill Road.

Drive through the “do not enter” signs to the nursery at the end of road.  

Notes: A parent or guardian must accompany volunteers under 16 years old. Dress for the weather and be prepared to get dirty. Sturdy shoes or boots are recommended. The site can be muddy. We’ll provide gloves, tools and light refreshments.

Please call Cindy Young at 206-477-4859# or email if you plan to participate.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Help Preserve Sammamish's Parks by Becoming a Native Plant Steward

Sign Up Now for Free WNPS Stewardship Training in King

County by Gary Smith, WNPS Stewardship Program Chair

Interested in becoming a Native Plant Steward? WNPS is planning

a stewardship training program in 2014 in cooperation with five

community partners in King County. The partners include: the

cities of Kenmore, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Sammamish, SeaTac

and King County. Each program partner will be assigned a trained

stewardship team to work with their local community in restoring

natural areas (forest, riparian, wetlands, etc.) in a designated city

or county park.  Past Sammamish project have been in the Lower
Commons and Illahee Park Trail.   WNPS members and residents living
in King County and in partner communities are encouraged to sign
up for the free 10-week stewardship training class that will be held
April 18th through June  27th at Mercer Slough Environmental Learning
Center, courtesy of the City of Bellevue. Steward training includes:
native plant identifi cation, restoration ecology and methods, and
recruiting  and engaging community volunteers in preserving their
parks and natural areas. Stewards are asked to commit 100 volunteer
hours in exchange for the free training.  Watch for details about the
class schedule and applications that will be available soon on the
WNPS web site under  “What’s New”. Please contact
 Joy Wood, Stewardship Coordinator at if you have
any questions or wish to have your name placed on a mailing list to
receive advanced details of the program as soon as they become available.

Sammamish Native Plant Stewards and volunteers working to clear blackberry bushes at Illahee Park