Support Native Plant Education at Sanislo Elementary, Sat. April 28th

You are invited to join a wetland work party conducted by Steve Richmond of Puget Creek Watershed Alliance Saturday April 28th from 10AM – 1PM.

Back in March Sustainable West Seattle awarded $1,000 toward a native plant education project at Sanislo Elementary for their participation in the Don’t Feed the Tox-Ick Monster campaign.  Now Steve and students from Sanislo are preparing planting areas for environmental education. 

The goal is to prepare a site where students can plant and identify a number of native herbs (foamflower, trillium, inside-out flower, fringecup, piggyback plant, and swordfern) along the path that is currently infested with ivy.  Students will be pulling ivy and mulching the flat areas, but they need capable adults and caution to get ivy in the steeper portions (slopes are risky on knees, backs, and ankles).

Much progress has been made with the regular work parties held the 4th Saturday of every month.  Thank you for supporting Sanislo’s wetland makeover!

Saturday April 28th from 10AM – 1PM (Join for an hour or all day)

Where: Sanislo School Wetland: 1812 Myrtle, Seattle, WA 98106
Meet at front of school.

What to bring:   Gloves, hand tiller (we’ll have extra, but write your name on your tools), weather-appropriate gear (rain or cold), hat/eye/sun protection, food/water/bottle, sturdy shoes/boots.  Snacks and water provided. ; Steve Richmond (206) 650-9807

Steven Richmond / Garden Cycles
(206) 650-9807; FAX (206) 763-0144

Tox-Ick Ambassador Liz Dunigan Grows the Movement in Ballard

The Tox-Ick campaign feels very grateful to have Liz Dunigan bring our stormwater education and outreach program into Ballard!  Watch our website for her upcoming events.  Liz has experience in soil microbiology, mycology, Whole Systems Design, and is a LEED accredited professional.  So, she’s uniquely qualified to teach her neighbors about solutions to stormwater pollution like rain gardens, natural yard care, and use of mushrooms to mitigate pollution.

Photo by Thom O'Dell

Speaking of mushrooms… we hope that other community volunteers with a passion for Puget Sound will help this outreach campaign mushroom in their communities by becoming Tox-Ick Ambassadors. We have all sorts of free resources available for outreach volunteers including our 45-minute PowerPoint presentation, this website, posters, and tri-folds.  If you know of potential advocates, direct them to



If you’ve got concerns about rain gardens, Sightline Daily has answers.

Some community members in West Seattle’s Barton Basin are a little skeptical of King County’s plans to install rain gardens and plant trees in the public right-of-way along the roads.  A point-by-point analysis of the concerns raised by community members can be found on Sightline Daily.

The picture below shows examples of the types of planting the County and its designers would like to install in the Barton Basin area.  The purpose of the installation would be to help the landscape absorb more water so that we have fewer Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO’s).  Ultimately, these designs are intended to help clean up Puget Sound.

Native Shrubs Combat the Tox-Ick Monster

West Seattle resident Michelle Gaither won a pollution prevention prize of native plants at one of the Don’t Feed the Tox-Ick Monster events.  To the right is a picture of some of the salal she planted in her front yard.

Native shrubs are a key tool in combating the Tox-Ick Monster because they help retain stormwater on-site.  They are much more effective than lawns at keeping stormwater on-site.  In fact, urban designers calculate lawns as 98 – 99% impermeable.  Native shrubs are great, especially in combination with organic soils, because microbes in the soil can help break down some of the pollutants found in stormwater, and the plants help the landscape act like a sponge and absorb water.

According to King County’s Native Plant Guide: “The single best ground cover for northwest gardens, salal is a do it all plant. Long recognized as one of the best foliage plants for flower arranging, it is also one of the most adaptable in the native repertoire. It can be grown short, if pruned back, hedged into wave like drifts, allowed to grow rampant and irregular to five feet or more. It will also grow where almost nothing else will, in deep understory forest groves, moist or dry soils, in full sun or deep shade. It does have a harder time in full sun, but if well watered or near the coast, it can survive. It does not transplant well, but it is generally available at garden centers.”

Other good native shrubs (pictures courtesy of Mariposa Naturescapes) to consider planting in your yard include:

Sword Fern

Pacific Rhododendron

Evergreen Huckleberry