Friday, October 31, 2008

November 2008

Tim Cooper, Global Climate Change Online

If you haven’t had a chance to see this yet you can view it online here:

Community Presentations

As our busy field season winds down I’m turning my attention to preparing for our next training session and part of that is recruiting. One way I do that is to reach out to existing community associations and neighborhood groups.

So far this year, I’ve presented to The Kiwanis club. I’ve scheduled presentations for The Coastal Conservation Association, The Newcomers Club, and the Soroptimists. And I’ve made initial contact with the Happy Valley Neighborhood Association and the Lion’s Club. If you belong to an association or church group that might welcome a 20 to 30 minute presentation about Beach Watchers, I would love your help in making that connection. Also, if you would like to join me for any of these upcoming presentations and perhaps say a few words about your experience, I would welcome the company!

Happy Valley Neighborhood Rain Garden Worskhop

This was a debut presentation of our Rain Garden Demonstration Project and it was very well received. The DVD is not yet ready for release so Dac Jamison with the Master Gardeners and Sue Brown, one of our own Beach Watchers, told their story with the help of photos taken during the project. Well done Dac and Sue!

They’ll be presenting again on Saturday at the BIAs Built Green event 11 am at the Ferry Terminal. You can stop by and cheer them on.

Creosote Survey,

Cherry Point area

We had a fantastic experience working with high school students in Blaine on this project. Thanks go to Lisa Balton, Clint Duncan, Erin Fortenberry, Marie Hitchman, Gene Hoerauf, Jane Lewinsky, Joe Ssebanakitta, twelve Blaine Borderites and their wonderful teachers, George Kaas, and Mice Couto! Thanks especially to Michael Wallace our 4-H Youth Development Educator for helping me connect to these great students and train them.

I was mistaken about the survey history of the area. This area had been surveyed before and lots of materials were removed in 2003. On Saturday we found 170 pieces of creosote and pressure treated material in this same stretch of beach. The source of material is not known and it has been difficult to determine how the rogue logs move on the beach. The general drift cell pattern is to the south but tracked pieces mostly moved north.

We also removed 4 large trash bags full of assorted garbage. The source and movement of this material was not hard to assess at all. There was a clear concentration of garbage close to the Gulf Road parking lot. The most unusual piece of garbage was a couple of car bumpers found by my team!

Continuing Education Interests

Doug Stark of Beach Naturalists fame and I have been scheming to work together to bring you as well as the Beach Naturalists some events and activities you’ll enjoy and find interesting, too. To do that, Doug and I would like to take your “interest pulse.” Below is a link to an online survey. It’s short – 4 or 5 questions total. It should take 5 minutes or less.

Click Here to take survey

Saturday, November 1, 10am to 5pm, Building Industry Association's Built Green Conference, Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Beach Watchers, Master Composter/Recyclers, and Master Gardeners will be giving a slide show presentation on the Rain Garden demonstration project they completed this summer, and we will host a booth on Rain Gardens as well. There will also be sessions on solar power, weatherization, rain barrels, and other green building topics. $5 per person.

Thursday, November 6, 7:30 to 8 pm. How Sea Level Rise will affect our Beaches and Bays by John Rybczyk, Associate Professor Western Washington University. 322 N. Commercial Street, 2nd Floor

Join the Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee as they learn how sea level rise affects life in the sea.

Saturday, November 22, 9:00am – 4:30pm COSEE-Ocean Learning Communities and Washington Sea Grant, FREE Event for Beach Watchers and other marine volunteers,University of Washington Seattle campus

Learn about current ocean research and effective science communication

Continental Breakfast and Lunch Will be Provided

The day will include:

  • Keynote speaker on communicating science to diverse audiences
  • Formal and informal presentations by marine scientists on current ocean research
  • Training on how to collect and contribute data to the ongoing “Spices in Puget Sound” research with your own “spice sampling kit”
  • Opportunities to help marine scientists communicate research findings to the public

To learn more or reserve your spot now contact:

Susan Bullerdick 206. 838. 3916 or

Janice Mathisen 206.386.4365

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Waterline October 2008

Welcome to our new newsletter format at blogspot. My hope is that this format will be more user- friendly and attractive for you to read, and simpler for me to create. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think!

Watershed Master / Beach Watchers becomes Beach Watchers

The newsletter is not all that's changing. We are also simplifying our name to Beach Watchers for several reasons. It's a simpler, more memorable name, it builds upon the reputation that the Island County Beach Watchers program has established over the last 18 years, and it allows all seven of the Beach Watcher programs in Washington to take advantage of the name recognition we (I mean YOU) are building regionally.

And, in case you're wondering, all of this is paying of for the program and for our communities. We have recently been awarded an additional large grant from the US EPA to continue Beach Watchers programs in all 7 counties! Yahoo!

It will take some time to transition the name fully, so don't be surprised to find the name Watershed Masters on some of our materials for awhile, but do feel free to let me know about it.

The Rain Garden Project

The Rain Garden is completed and it is beautiful! Nature has very kindly provided us with a rain garden warm up this week. I can't wait to get over there to see it in action. We have also completed filming and the raw materials are now in the hands of Vincent Alvarez, our technical, graphical, internet, and film-making magician, I mean support staff. I'm looking forward to watching everyone's hard work on this project take shape as a film that we can share with the public.

Blue Thumb Workshop was a Big Hit

Our September Shore Stewards workshop in collaboration with the Lummi Island
Community Land Trust was very successful. Over forty folks attended and really seemed to enjoy the day. A great big Thank You goes to Wanda Cucinotta for her help pulling this together. Thank you also very much Jeanne Bogert for the wonderful postcard that brought folks in the door and Wendy Harris for checking folks in and providing excellent workshop support. Finally, thank you James Mayfield, Master Composter/Recycler volunteer and rain barrel master. We couldn't have done it without you all!

Climate Change Lecture by Tim Cooper

This was an excellent and very compelling presentation. For those who missed Tim in person, you will be able to see and hear him online soon. His take home message was: the science is clear, the technology to avert disaster exists, shifting taxes away from income to carbon is feasible and effective, the only missing piece is the political will to make it happen. Thank you again, Steve Bailey and Beverly Ashworth for helping to bring Tim to Bellingham.

Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Saturday, October 25, 9am to noon, Creosote Survey,
Cherry Point shoreline
Refresher training for Beach Watchers TBD - either evening October 23 or daytime October 24

Thank you to everyone who has offered to get involved in this year's great creosote survey project. We will be working with some Blaine High School Students and will be surveying what should be a very interesting area. Cherry Point is a very pristine stretch of shoreline that continues to be recommended for aquatic reserve status. If you would like to help out with this year's effort and haven't called me yet, please do so at 676-6736.

Saturday, November 1, 10am to 5pm, Building Industry Association's Built Green Conference, Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Watershed Master / Beach Watchers are invited to have a booth at this conference again and I think it's a great opportunity to highlight rain gardens and rain barrels. The conference will include presentations on indoor air quality, solar energy options for the Northwest, on-demand hot water, grey water, weather-proofing for winter, and more. FREE TICKETS to the workshop for all volunteers! Let me know if you would like to attend and if you can spare two or three hours on November 1st to talk to folks about rain gardens and Beach Watchers. 676-6736. Because we have access to a lot of free tickets for this event, we could work out very short shifts for volunteers. That way you all will get a chance to participate in the event.

Thursday, November 6, 7:30 to 8 pm. How Sea Level Rise will affect our Beaches and Bays by John Rybczyk, Associate Professor Western Washington University. 322 N. Commercial Street, 2nd Floor

Join the Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee as they learn how sea level rise affects life in the sea.