News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood


Volunteers needed Sunday at Kingfisher Natural Area

November 16th, 2012 by master

What better way to enjoy this weekend’s rainy weather than by getting your hands a little dirty?

You’re invited to help out from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at Kingfisher Natural Area (formerly known as Park No. 6) on Thornton Creek just southeast of Beaver Pond Natural Area.

Map of Kingfisher Natural Area on Thornton Creek

Frank Backus with the Thornton Creek Alliance tells us:

As you may know, early winter is the best time for planting. Kingfisher and Licorice Fern Natural Areas have 100’s of beautiful native plants that need to get into the ground ASAP. Your help is needed. This is a lot of plants, but we, and the local native creatures, will greatly enjoy the outcome of this work. Don’t forget your raingear. Please bundle up in layers and head out to help out!

To join in the Kingfisher event, meet at 17th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 104th Street. Backus advises that you approach 17th from Northeast 98th Street because of the dead end streets in the neighborhood.  A map can be seen on the preregistration website. Preregistration is not required, but it saves time at the event, Backus says. [Read more →]

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Thornton Creek update: snails, chickens, beavers

September 22nd, 2011 by master

Ruth Williams with the Thornton Creek Alliance recently sent out an update on Thornton Creek with several notable items.

First and foremost, the invasive snail species found recently in Thornton Creek means that it’s imperative people and pets stay out of the creek:

New Zealand Mud Snails are definitely entrenched at the mouth of Thornton Creek.  Please be very careful not to encourage their spread.  This means keeping yourselves, children, and pets out of the creek.  Anything that has been exposed to these tiny invasives must be scrubbed and thoroughly dried in order to keep them from spreading to other waterways.

Since the tiny snails already have taken over Capitol Lake in Olympia, it’s clear there’s little regular citizens can do to keep them out of  waterways they’re already in. But your efforts can at least prevent them from spreading their reach.

There’s even more ways to help Thornton Creek coming up. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, you’re invited to the Beaver Pond Natural Area Fall Work Party, which is taking place at Maple Leaf’s Thornton Creek Park No. 6.

When: Sunday, Sept. 25th; 10:00-1:00
Where: 8th Ave. NE and NE 106th St. (at the beaver pond)
Jobs: Weeding, mulching, and establishing clear places for new plants when planting season arrives
Please bring: yourself, friends, family, and a water bottle
Attire: dress for the weather; old sturdy shoes.
You’ll find on site: snacks, tools, gloves, good company, and useful work

For more information, email Williams at or call 206-930-8965.

Lastly but also most timely, the Thornton Creek Alliance, in cooperation with the Meadowbrook Community Center, 10517 35th Ave. N.E., is holding a public talk from 7-8:30 tonight called “Gourmet Gardening or Urban Farming? Tomatoes, Chickens & Bees!

Have you even tasted local honey? How about a really fresh egg? Hear about neighbors’ adventures and learn of community resources at this fall program from the Thornton Creek Alliance in cooperation with Meadowbrook Community Center. Speakers include Becca Fong from Parks Urban Food Systems, Stephanie Seliga from The Just Garden Project and Sheila Stickel from Seattle Community Solar and more. For more information, call Judy Olson, education vice president for the Thornton Creek Alliance, at (206) 523-4384.

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Willing weed pullers sought at community garden

July 15th, 2011 by master

In the mood to put on your volunteer gloves this weekend? On Saturday, you’re invited to join this month’s work party at the Maple Leaf Community Garden, 529 N.E. 103rd St.

“The public park in the garden needs weeding, ” says Cyndy King, a member of the Maple Leaf’s community garden leadership committee. “It would be wonderful to get more people out there.”

The park includes plots that are part of the city’s P-Patch program, as well as a public park that anybody is invited to walk through.

“I think a lot of people don’t know it’s there or realize it’s a public park,” King said, touting the art that adorns the park and the trees in the public portion whose fruit is free for the taking.

The committee is organizing work parties on the third Saturday of every month this summer: July 16, Aug. 20 and Sept. 17. And although the scheduled time is from about 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., King adds that if you can only stay for an hour, that’s fine. At least that way you’ll know what the weeds look like, so “if you’re ever walking through the park and see a weed, you can pull it,” she says.

If you’d like to volunteer, you can just show up this weekend or on any of the other designated days, or call King for more information at 206-522-4299. All you need to bring is yourself: The group will provide work gloves and other tools, as well as refreshments.

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Learn more about or help out at Thornton Creek

March 22nd, 2011 by master

Photo of wood ducks in Thornton Creek Park No. 6 from Don McCall.

If you want to show your support for Thornton Creek, you’ll get plenty of chances through the rest of March:

  • Tomorrow night, Vicki Stiles, executive director of the Shoreline Historical Museum, will discuss ways to preserve stories and photos featuring Thornton Creek. The presentation is part of the bi-monthly meeting of the Thornton Creek Watershed Oversight Council, and begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, at Shoreline City Hall, Room 301, 17500 Midvale Ave. N.
  • On Sunday, March 27, the Thornton Creek Alliance is seeking volunteers to help pull ivy, mulch and improve the trails from 10 a.m. to about 1 p.m. at Thornton Creek Park No. 6. Volunteers should meet at the end of Northeast 106th Street, east of Eighth Avenue Northeast. For more information or to volunteer, contact Ruth Williams at 206-930-8965 or
  • The Thornton Creek Alliance is holding another event at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 31, as part of its regular business meeting. Arthur Lee Jacobson, a renowned Seattle plant expert who is well known for his knowledge of a vast array of plants and for his books and essays, will give a presentation on Native Trees in our Watershed. Copies of his book “Wild Plants of Greater Seattle and Trees of Seattle” will be available for sale. For more information, contact President Frank Backus at or 206-365-3348.

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2 longtime Maple Leaf board members leaving

March 17th, 2011 by master

Last night’s monthly meeting of the Maple Leaf Community Council Executive Board ended with a bittersweet celebration after longtime Board Members Barbara Maxwell and Janice Camp announced that they would not be running for re-election next month.

Maxwell, who is moving back to her native state of Montana after living in Maple Leaf for 35 years, promises she’ll still allow the council (and Maple Leaf Life) to continue to pick her brain for her wealth of Maple Leaf history.

Meanwhile, Camp, who is moving to Laurelhurst after living in Maple Leaf since 1986, is passing along the duties of treasurer to new Executive Board Member Meg Stockbridge.

We will share more about Maxwell and Camp and their contributions to Maple Leaf before they leave us.

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Spend the 'Day of Service' restoring Thornton Creek

January 15th, 2011 by master

Still looking for a way to honor Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, the national MLK Day of Service?

As of Saturday afternoon, the Thornton Creek Alliance is still in need of four volunteers to “Help Create a Natural Beauty!” at Thorton Creek Park No. 6, a volunteer event sponsored by United Way of King County from 9 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m. Monday. Here’s the description:

Come and help restore a thriving natural area park just across the street from Northgate Mall. You’ll have an opportunity to view wildlife and learn about the Thornton Creek Watershed while we weed and mulch our native plants to help them have a head start in the spring. No special skills are required, only an interest in working with plants and restoring habitat for wildlife.

To volunteer, contact alliance Vice President Ruth Williams at 206-930-8965 or Volunteers will meet at Northeast 104th Street and Fifth Avenue Northeast.

Williams notes that wood ducks, shown above in a photo from Don McCall, are now living in and near the beaver pond, and volunteers are urged to keep their voices and the general noise level down to avoid disturbing them.

Williams sent along a few other upcoming volunteer events at Thornton Creek Park No. 6: [Read more →]

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Traffic circle in need of an adoptive gardener

November 18th, 2010 by master

If you’re on the one- to two-year waiting list to get a plot at the Maple Leaf Community Garden, the Seattle Department of Transportation has got a project that just might whet your appetite for gardening and do the neighborhood a favor.

At Wednesday night’s Maple Leaf Community Council Executive Board meeting, President Marc Phillips said he’d recently learned that the traffic circle at the intersection of Northeast 95th Street and 12th Avenue Northeast is in need of some tender gardening care.

Unlike most of the traffic circles in the neighborhood, this one doesn’t have a registered volunteer and it’s become so overgrown that the city received a complaint about it over the summer.

Since then city workers twice have sent out fliers in the immediate area in search of a volunteer, but no one has yet come forth. A letter from SDOT’s Christina Legazpi states:

We do not have the funds to provide landscaping to neglected or abandoned landscape traffic circles.

Normally (and we try to avoid it), if we are unable to find a volunteer, we would pave over it. Once paved over, it is hard to change a paved traffic circle into a landscape traffic circle.

Would you like to adopt this traffic circle to help prevent it from being paved over? If so, let Joshua Erickson with SDOT know at 206-684-5008 or

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You don't have to get dirty to help Thornton Creek

October 28th, 2010 by master

If you’ve been meaning to volunteer at one of the myriad work parties at Thornton Creek Park No. 6 but haven’t yet made it, you’ve got another opportunity to give back that doesn’t require getting your hands dirty.

The Thornton Creek Alliance is urging the community to show its support for the park and for Thornton Creek by sending comments in support of a project it’s sponsoring that could provide $500,000 in funding, according to the Pinehurst Seattle blog.

The money would be used to establish a formal park entrance and to complete all the creek channel work in the park, reaching as far upstream as Thornton Place.

Ruth Williams with the Thornton Creek Alliance adds that the project, called Naturalizing Northgate, also will help establish a healthy habitat for fish and wildlife; create a quiet haven and educational opportunities for people; and help to control downstream flooding. [Read more →]

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Explore Thornton Creek, Alleyoop performs this weekend

October 8th, 2010 by master

Gather the kids for an afternoon of music and fun with performer Alleyoop, aka Al Hirsch, a children’s entertainer and educator who will get kids dancing and laughing during a Concerts for Kids performance at 11 a.m. Saturday at Northgate Community Center, 10510 Fifth Ave. N.E.

Billy Bear will join Alleyoop Saturday at the Northgate Community Center.

Alleyoop plays guitar, ukulele and Appalachian dulcimer, and he also whistles tunes from all over the world. All children must be accompanied by an adult and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis for this free event.

Also this weekend, you’re invited to both explore and help improve Thornton Creek Park No. 6, which is located in north Maple Leaf at Northeast 105th Street and Eighth Avenue Northeast. The adventures will start at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Northgate Community Center, where Ruth Williams, of the Thornton Creek Alliance, and Jeanie Murphy-Ouellette, naturalist and Feet First walking ambassador, will lead participants on a 90-minute walk through “two of the North End’s best-kept secret parks and natural areas.”

The tour will include a glimpse of the beaver pond at Thornton Creek Park No. 6, and take you to Victory Creek Park, which is located at 1059 N.E. Northgate Way, just east of the QFC at Roosevelt Way Northeast.

If you’d like to get to know the Thornton Creek Park a little better, Williams will be back Sunday for a work party there from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The main task will be weeding and mulching around young plants. Snacks, beverages, laminated gloves and tools will be provided, but volunteers are asked to dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes.

Interested? Meet on the south side of Northeast 105th Street, between Fifth Avenue Northeast and Eighth Avenue Northeast. For more information, contact Williams at or 206-930-8965.

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Clouds part just in time for volunteer day

September 18th, 2010 by master

Last night’s fall rainstorm cleared up just in time for the two volunteer events planned today in Maple Leaf.

About a dozen workers could be seen soaking up the sun’s rays as they pulled weeds among other tedious chores at the Maple Leaf Community Garden, 529 N.E. 103rd St.

Farther north at Thornton Creek Park No. 6, evidence of the Thornton Creek Forest Restoration Event organized by the Green Seattle Partnership and EarthCorps was visible, but volunteers were buried so deep in the lush park at Northeast 105th Street and Eighth Avenue Northeast that they were not to be found.

Other workers were taking advantage of the beautiful weather, though.

Or maybe they were just enjoying the fresh water the rains brought to the park’s pond.

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