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October 2, ‘09

Vashon Audubon s 20th Anniversary

This is part two of three in Rayna Holtz’ look at the 20 year history of Vashon-Maury Island Audubon Society (VMIAS).

Fabric and art have provided especially creative ways to share Vashon Audubon concerns. Through a local art grant for nonprofits, Audubon received elegant bird costumes including a Western Tanager, a Swainson’s Thrush, and a Purple Martin sewn by artist Bonnie Wilkins. Audubon members have worn them at events conveying the problems of Migratory Birds, representing the chapter in Strawberry Festival parades, and for teaching about shade grown coffee. Concern about the coffee issue also inspired artist Sandi Noel to design a Shadegrown Coffee t-shirt that advertises the importance of protecting Latin

by Rayna Holtz

Candidate Species) that have traditionally overwintered here, plus the 35 other species of water birds that use it for rest and forage during winters and migration times. Our Recycling Committee, very active for over a decade, started a recycling program at the elementary schools, expanded recycling options at the landfill, in 1992 started the chapter’s Adopt-a-Road cleanups along Vashon Highway south of town, produced several editions of a Vashon materials exchange catalog, and presented recycling and worm bin information at Strawberry Festival booths for many years.

Vashon Audubon has provided a supportive matrix for many committees and projects. Susan White and Eugene Smith started a

Landmark Trees program in 1989, to



beloved, beautiful, large, and rare trees on Vashon. The project was later championed by Nancy Silver, who created maps and lists of trees and shared local tree lore in school classrooms. The Vashon Wildlife Inventory project produce a first checklist of Vashon birds in 1995, followed by lists of mammals, butterflies, amphibians, reptiles, and shoreline species. The Vashon Stream Survey committee raised money in 2000 and 2001 to help pay for a survey of all Vashon- Maury streams by Washington Trout, establishing correct water typing maps and showing which streams are able to support fish. Dan Willsie and Rich Siegrist started a teaching collection of bird skins in 1999 under the supervision of Gary Shugart, curator of birds at the Slater Museum in Tacoma. Since then many members have salvaged dead birds found in yards and along roadsides and passed them to Gary, who enables them to have an afterlife enriching classes for adults and for 4th grade students. An early Vashon Audubon field trip at Ellisport. I’d be tempted to say this one comes from the Van Olinda files at the Heritage Association, but Vashon Audubon’s only 20 years old. Photo courtesy Rayna Holtz. American forests for habitat, instead of replacing them with coffee plantations. Over the past two decades Sandi has created art for Audubon posters, shirts, and articles for many educational purposes. Artist Judith Pearce designed our Western Grebe and Landmark Trees logo. Every year the group has held field trips both locally and to great places in the region, such as the Dungeness Spit, the Nisqually Reserve, the Skagit Flats during the winter influx of raptors, Gray’s Harbor/Bowerman Basin during spring shorebird migrations, and Westport to travel offshore by boat and observe pelagic species seldom seen in Puget Sound. In the winter of 2003, Dan Willsie led one of Vashon Audubon’s most successful field trips out to the coast for a weekend. Participants looked at birds all afternoon, enjoyed a delicious dinner and charming rooms at the Tokeland Motel, and then birded in the morning before heading home. Starting in 2004, the chapter has provided a local outing on the second Saturday of every month.

The chapter has also actively pursued conservation goals. Dan Willsie worked with National Audubon Society to designate Quartermaster Harbor an Important Bird Area, ranking it with top areas in the country for breeding, migrating, or overwintering birds. Its importance is due to the large number of Western Grebes (a State

The Vashon Loop, p. 11

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Open Friday thru Monday 4pm - 8pm

Solar Tour Returns!

Continued from page 1

Green Built home.

This system is

thus eliminating another 8.6% of the installation and materials cost of a solar array. Our legislators also extended the production incentive; the state program that pays solar power generators for every kilowatt of electricity they produce. Set to expire in 2014, it will now be effective until 2020. These laws empower homeowners and businesses who want to go solar by offsetting the





technology more affordable.

The Solar Tour is an excellent way to see the homes and arrays, talk to the homeowners, and learn more about the costs and benefits of solar electricity. The Tour will host eleven sites this year, as compared to seven last year. Also, seven of the sites are new installations and new to the tour. The sites feature the latest solar technology available on
















efficiency of counteract any

each module and tree or roof shading.

Shading potential

is a problem with many solar sites on Vashon so

micro-inverters are a great use. Solar Tour will showcase systems with micro-inverters.

The four

New on the tour is Vashon’s largest array, a 9.45 kW system on a beautiful barn off of Cove Road. Or, view a small, 8 module system put in place to produce power for

expandable monitoring homeowner

and after a year of electrical use, the can add modules if


Also, site number 11

features a grid-tied system with battery backup to provide emergency power during an outage.

Vashon’s two community solar projects, donated by Sustainable Vashon’s Solar Initiative will be on display at the Land Trust building and JG Commons –a Vashon HouseHold senior residence. These arrays were funded by Puget Sound Energy’s Green Power program and a host of other community groups to demonstrate how well solar power works in the Northwest.

The organizers of the Solar Tour believe that education is critical to the advancement of solar energy. Tour Day will feature educational workshop Trust Building home of the kick-off site and solar classroom. Topics to be covered are- over coming solar challenges on Vashon, connecting to the utility, solar hot water, passive solar design, and grid tied solar with battery backup that can be used during a power outage. Please visit www.vashonsolartour.org for detailed information about each site and the Solar Classroom schedule.

The community is encouraged to come, learn, and imagine how solar could work in their lives. Contact: Jennifer or Jason Williams of Artisan Electric at 463-3111. We can also provide contact information for the site hosts upon request.

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