Classic Volunteers: Riverview Park Cleanup

previous arrow
next arrow
Park Clean Up 1: Before
ArrowArrow
Slider

Before and After images, courtesy of Francine

King County takes pride in its park system, trail system, and natural areas. The amount of land set aside for public use is impressive and appreciated by the residents. In an area where small yards for homes and apartments are normal, having the luxury of easy-to-reach public lands is invaluable.

As members of the local community, we want to help. The last two years, we’ve chosen to volunteer and contribute to the health of local parks through a park clean up event as part of a Green Kent Partnership. Park clean ups are a great way to help maintain these natural areas, keeping them in pristine condition for fun and future use. Clean ups aren’t necessarily about trash, but can also focus on trimming overenthusiastic growth, clearing harmful or invasive plant species from an area, laying down mulch to help fertilize the trees and prevent new undergrowth. It’s a few hours of your time that help keep local parks in top shape for everyone in the community.

Last year we helped clean up Glenn Nelson Park. This year, we decided to go to Riverview Park in Kent, due to its proximity to our new location.

Several of us chose to walk to Riverview Park for the event. Image: Heather

Several of us chose to walk to Riverview Park for the event.

Riverview park is  modest park consisting of a small area of land next to the Green River. Part of the Kent Valley Loop Trail system, this park sits close to the southernmost points of the Eagle and Frog Loops, and is also close to an intersection between the Green River Trail and the Interurban Trail.

 

Wheelbarrows. Image: Amanda

Once at the park, we were given marching orders and shown available supplies–gloves, bags, tarps, rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, pitchforks, and clipping tools. Our cleanup was focused on the removal of two invasive plants from a small section of the park.

Hemlock. Image: Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/en/cow-parsley-hemlock-chervil-white-3454559/

The site manager, Francine, ran through important safety information before we began; mostly how we should properly hold and carry the equipment so as to neither cause harm to ourselves nor the equipment. We also learned that there were flags set up to designate both spots for photos chronicling the clean up as well as places to not go beyond due to the presence of hemlock. This was a plant many of us knew by name only, so Francine kindly showed us what the plant looked like so we could better avoid it. I consider this detail important because so few of us were aware of the appearance of a plant that could be dangerous and was just a yards off of a well-trafficked trail.

Bindweed removal. Image: Amanda

We started the session removing both living and dead instances of a creeping vine, field bindweed. This plant twines and creeps across the ground, down, around, over, and through anything it can manage to create an interwoven network of vines and roots that smothers and strangles local vegetation. We quickly became familiar with the white roots with twinges of green and pink. The root system was intricate and very thoroughly integrated with the soil and vegetation of the area. The plant is capable of carpeting the ground. In areas where the bindweed had really taken over, we were advised to roll the weed as you wood a rug, and cut swaths of it out for final removal. The bindweed had to be bagged because of its aggressive nature; it try to establish a new root system almost anywhere it can.

Blackberry vine extraction. Image: Heather

We were reacquainted with a familiar enemy during the cleanup. As with our cleanup last year at Glenn Nelson, we spent a good portion of the cleanup removing invasive blackberry vines. Not to be confused with the native blackberry plant, the trailing blackberry, the Himalayan blackberry was introduced in the 1800s and has proceeded to carpet any area it can as it spreads along the coast.  The idea of abundant fruit-bearing bushes seems grand, but these plants are very invasive and will completely take over areas to create what are, essentially, walls of prickly plant along the roadsides of the Pacific Northwest.  They are also on the list of noxious plants, considered a non-regulated noxious weed in King County, highly invasive and recommended to be removed from areas whenever possible.

Redistributing mulch. Image: Francine

After a quick break, we began part two of the cleanup, adding mulch to the area we had cleared. First, a layer of cardboard was placed on the ground. Then we relocated several piles of mulch onto the cardboard where several people spread it for even coverage. We ended up breaking the work into three main tasks: shoveling mulch into wheelbarrows, wheeling the loads over to its destination, and spreading the mulch. Some people stuck to one task, while others would alternate between tasks as was required by the flow of work or their preference.

previous arrow
next arrow
ArrowArrow
Slider

Action shots. Images: Amanda, Francine and Heather

In the end, we left the park a bit cleaner, clearer, and far healthier looking than when we arrived. It was not only a great way to get out of the office for a bit, but a good exercise in teamwork, forestry, and community as well. We were especially thankful that the weather let up enough for us to be able to participate. It was one of the first days we’d had in over a week were the smoke/haze let up enough to allow for safe outdoor activity.

Group Photo. Image: Francine

A big thank you to everyone who participated and those who wanted to but were unable to attend. We’re looking forward to our next community volunteering event!

Classic Volunteers: Riverview Park Cleanup

Habitat for Humanity

This week, we had an amazing opportunity to help out a local Habitat for Humanity build project just to the south of us. We had 23 employees come in two shifts to work on various projects in and around the homes currently under construction. The work made for a long day, but was a welcome break from cubicle life for many, or at the very least served as a good change in pace.

Group photo: Morning Shift

When we arrived we were given hard hats, gloves, and site safety information. Alex, our main contact for this project  gave us a run down regarding the non-profit organization, Habitat for Humanity, and the community we would be working on. Habitat for Humanity is a global organization dedicated to providing affordable housing to lower income families. The organization focuses on shelter because providing a safe and affordable place for people to develop and grow within is key to encouraging sustainable lifestyle improvement for individuals and communities.

Image: Habitat for Humanity

The specific community we contributed to is called Megan’s Meadow. Megan’s Meadow is located in the city of Pacific (south of Auburn) next to the Sounder train tracks. The property is vacant land within an area of residential homes including a new development under construction across the street.  It will provide 9 low-income families with both an affordable home and an affordable mortgage in a new housing development in Pacific.

Image: Habitat for Humanity

This is being designed as a Veteran’s focused community with all units to be accessible, single-story homes. Environmental stewardship and long-term affordability will be ensured by constructing these single family homes to achieve or surpass NW Energy Star sustainable building standard. The property is part of a land grant that will ensure that this community remains affordable for 99 years.

Rollin, Monette, and Brad get the power washer going

It was a great experience. We had volunteers from most of our departments, making it a great opportunity to interact with people we don’t run into on a daily basis. We worked on moving lumber, helping align foundation support structures, cleaning, applying grout, and lots of digging.

Digging out a trench to realign the foundation

I participated as part of the digging team. One of our tasks was to uncover the area around the foundation, going around some piping, so that the wall foundation could be realigned. The ground was tough in spots and we ended up alternating between breaking it up and shoveling the dirt. It was really wonderful to get a chance to not only get out of the office, but to know that the time we spent working on this project was directly affecting the future home owners. It’s rewarding to see progress made on projects.

Dorik Downing, our Art Director, and expert ground breaker, commented that it was “Great to be able to get our hands dirty and be part of helping veterans get into affordable homes”. Noting that the onsite staff made the experience. “I enjoyed working with the people from H4H—they have great attitudes and are very knowledgeable.”

Rollin and Amanda start to remove the frame around the cement floor

Amanda, our Marketing Specialist, was lead on coordinating the opportunity with Habitat. She loves helping make these kinds of projects come to life and the spirit behind volunteering for the community. “I am humbled to work with such an amazing team who so willingly came together, rallied and helped with the foundations our community veterans will get to enjoy for years to come. It doesn’t get any better than getting your hands dirty with full hearts.”

Charisse, Kathryn, and Stacy sweep debris away from the floor

Our Executive Assistant, Charisse (now a Master at Grouting), is always supportive of our volunteering efforts because, “I love that our company supports its employees passion for volunteer work.” “…it was such an amazing experience to help at the site where veteran’s will have the opportunity to own a home. It was AWESOME to work alongside our CA team and make a difference in our community TOGETHER!” She did note, however that despite being somewhat sore after her double shift, Charisse would “do it all again in a heartbeat.”

Stacy, our Accounting Supervisor was part of the second shift of workers and enjoyed the camaraderie that comes with working on this kind of project in tandem. “What a great opportunity to work together and do something that will positively impact families in our community.  It was fun to work with people from other teams and get to know each other a little bit better.”

Always happy to help

Joining her on the second shift was Bridget Shew, a Technical Designer on the team, was enthusiastic about the experience. “I have learned that when I have had hard times, serving others makes me happy. I loved working with my Classic friends giving service to an organization that clearly is dedicated to provide homes for others in need.”  Her team members noted her attention to detail and willingness to pull out the level to confirm adjustments during the process.

Helping with grout

Liza, one of our Product Development Merchandisers, attended the afternoon session and got a chance to help lay out grout. Despite some lingering soreness, Liza had a good experience, “It was epic…I’m game for the next one.”

More frame removal

Working the an organization that is dedicated to providing sustainable shelter resonated with both our desire to inspire memorable experiences and to help people preserve the items that help make those experiences possible. We wanted to leave a bit of Classic with the homes and their future inhabitants. In addition to the time spent by our employees helping on site, the company donated (per new home) a set of chaise lounges adorned with our Montlake FadeSafe Cushions, an umbrella with an umbrella stand, and accompanying covers for all pieces.

Group Shot: Afternoon Shift

We will be back next Spring to help finalize the remaining 5 homes for the total of 9 homes that make up Megan’s Meadow. We’d like to extend a big thank you to all of our volunteers, our photographer, Angela, and the awesome leads we had onsite helping us out, Chris and Lucy.

More images are available on Facebook!

 

Habitat for Humanity

FLASH SALE – Employee Recommedations

The exciting conclusion of our Gift Guide spotlights and corresponding discounts–Employee Recommended Gifts–is a selection of items we’d recommend this holiday season, for the person you’re not quite sure about, but know they’d like a Classic Accessories gift under the tree. These are the tried and true products that didn’t quite make it into other sections, or we felt were general enough to be both a nice way to round out a Classic collection or as a great Classic starter gift.

Spotlight: Ravenna Grill Cover

The top spot on this section of the gift guide went to the Medium Ravenna Grill Cover. Amanda has this to say about her Ravenna Grill Cover:

“We’ve had our Ravenna Grill Cover for three years now. It’s been through every season Washington has to offer with record highs, lows and rainfall! My husband is a year-round griller and we make sure to keep our Weber ready at a moment’s notice with our cover. Super easy to put on, and the neutral grey looks great in our backyard setting. Great gift to give any time of year, but especially great for the Holidays. “

Photo Credit: Amanda Perry

During out employee survey, Ravenna was called out specifically in reference to the brand of grill cover that people were hoping to purchase by 1/2 of those who wanted to give patio covers this year.

 

Save 40% on items from the Employee Recommended section of our gift guide using discount code: 17EmployeeGG

Happy Holidays!

FLASH SALE – Employee Recommedations

Waterproof Cover Design for Grills

We know that even through Summer, keeping your grill cover handy at a moments notice is always a good idea to prevent elements like rust from damaging one of your favorite pieces of patio furniture to gather around. Sometimes, a Summer Shower means torrential rain, sometimes it just enough to water the geraniums.  We kept both of these scenarios at the top of mind when designing our Madrona Collection’s key feature: taped seams.Madrona Taped Seams

Delina, Designer of Madrona Collection
Delina Wells is the designer behind our Madrona Collection. (More from Delina and how she likes to enjoy sunny weekends in Seattle here!) When asked about the key element for this collection, she let us know that, “All of the critical seams in the Madrona collection are seam taped to prevent water seepage.

The vents and handles are patched on the covers in order to reduce the number of seams and design lines. We seam taped all of the patched on elements as well to help keep rain out and furniture protected..”

Delina puts in a ton of research into her inspiration for colors, fabrics and features and when asked what she brainstormed for Madrona, she quickly replied:

“The colors of the Madrona Collection were inspired by a lush lake front home with lots of large Madrona trees and window boxes filled with red geranium. These inspirational colors are evident in the details of the designer striped handles and webbing attachments.”

Madrona Collection Color Inspiration

The Madrona RainProof Collection by Classic Accessories keeps your grill safe giving you peace of mind for years to come. Our RainProof fabric combines style and durability with taped seam construction to keep rain and weather out in all conditions.

Our Madrona Collection is available here, we suggest the Madrona Rainproof Patio Barbecue Grill Cover for the remainder of the Summer with your grill, you’ll love it!

Sources:
Delina Wells of Classic Accessories
Photos:
Classic Accessories  |  Real Girl Friday  |  Rosemary Washington  |  The Home Depot Gardening Club

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Waterproof Cover Design for Grills

Charlie’s outdoor style on the island

Charlie D’Amato is our Senior Manager of Product Development  and Design. He spends his days in the office analyzing sales, market, and trend data in Classic’s product categories to propose new product development projects. Charlie also oversees our Product Development Team with defining project scope, product line planning, and development project management.  He also oversees Product Design team in sourcing and development of raw materials, color palette development, and product design and development from concept to production. You can imagine the amount of creative work that ebbs and flows from our departments here at Classic Accessories. Charlie gets to be the guy in charge of making sure all of us creatives stay within our coloring lines and in a very timely manner. He does so effortlessly. He calls Vashon Island home here in the great Northwest and gets on a ferry every day to come into work.

We get to live “life on the island” through his stories of Vashon and his many adventures working in the yard which is what he shared with us below:

This weekend was so amazing!  I got lots of time out in the garden.

For the past two weekends I have been clearing blackberry vines from this area of my property (These are close-up views) you can just see the fabulous redwood on the left of the first picture – this tree marks an entrance to an old growth wooded trail:

Charlie_Yard_2

This is a picture from the early spring before the leaves came out – it’s easier to see the position of the hardscaping here:

These are old pictures, so don’t get too excited!  

However I am not finished with the physical work yet.  When I clear away the brush piles I’ll take another “After” picture to use for my next post.

So this is an area that we named “Devil’s Hole” on our property!  It was overgrown with noxious weeds, and completely inaccessible!  It actually blocked off a beautiful wooded corner of our lot which is multi-layered and could be groomed into a beautiful park-like garden.

So, the way I see this outdoor space is like a strolling garden, full of pathways and steps to other levels which will provide “moments” in our garden landscape – views of the house, fenced gardens, and terraces.  For example, here are some pictures of the possible views – you can see the unfinished garden beds in the foreground and our lawn and home in the distance:

Charlie’s outdoor style on the island