Classic Volunteers: Riverview Park Cleanup

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Park Clean Up 1: Before
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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.

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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

Classic Community

Classic Accessories is based out of Kent, Washington. Which is a hop, skip and a jump South of Seattle. We have been based here for many years and through them we have connected with some of the great resources that make our community great.
Last week we had Bloodworks Northwest out here again for a donation day in their “Bloodmobile” and we were able to give enough to save 63 lives! It takes less than 20 minutes for the whole process: check in, donate and be rewarded with delicious treats. (easy right?)

Who is your donation helping?  Check out our last donation day here.
Local patients need blood transfusions for many reasons like cancer, chronic illnesses, blood disorders and surgeries. One thing they don’t have to worry about when they are facing a health challenge is blood being available because of donors like you.

Why Give?
The blood supply for our region depends on thousands of local individuals every week who make the decision to give blood and help keep folks safe when they need the gift of life-saving blood.
Did you know…
• A total of 30 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.
• Only 5% of the population donates
• Each day, nearly 900 people must donate with BloodworksNW to meet the local need
• The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs
• Every 2 minutes, someone in western WA is receiving a transfusion

This Spring we also walked up the street to Northwest Harvest to spend a day volunteering in their fulfillment center. Northwest Harvest’s mission is leading the fight for hungry people statewide to have access to nutritious food while respecting their dignity and promoting good health.  We had 28 staff members contribute and help pack 5,550 pounds of rice which helps feed 4,269 families in our community. That’s HUGE!

Hunger Fast Facts for Washington:
• Washington is the 23rd hungriest state in the nation.
• 1 in 5 kids in Washington state lives in a household that struggles to put food on the table.
• 1 in 7 Washingtonians relies on SNAP (food stamps), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is severely threatened by budget cuts. Half of all people on SNAP are kids.
• The majority of working-age Washingtonians who live in poverty are actively working or looking for work.
• Since the start of the recession in 2008, Washington has cut more than $12 billion in discretionary spending from our state’s operating budget, all in the areas of public safety, higher education and basic needs services.
• 1 in 5 Washingtonians relies on their local food bank.

Summer – isn’t always the most favorite season for kids.
Northwest Harvest also runs a Kids’ Summer Food Club which reaches kids who normally have access to meals during the school year during the Summer months by serving kid-friendly food to areas where 1) we have partner programs, 2) no near summer meal sites, and 3) where over 50% of the children apply for free and reduced meals during the school year.

Classic Accessories has also taken a local elementary school under our wing and each year we do an annual school supply drive for our neighborhood Redhawks. Anything from glue sticks and binders down to our favorite boxes of Crayola, we are rounding up supplies to fill those backpacks up come September. Donations don’t stop at the classroom, some of them go straight to kids in need of warm coats and shoes to the nurses who need first-aid items. All of them go to the well being of our community’s kids. What could be better?

It’s no secret that we are all about the outdoors – it’s kind of our thing. How to protect your favorite investments all year round by loving our own outdoors from season to season. So it wasn’t a surprise when we decided that this Summer we would partake in a local park clean up, more to come on that in August.

Showing off our products and the in-house teams here at Classic Accessories is easy. It’s the culture here and a strong sense of community that really gives us a base on which to grow ideas which ultimately we get to share with you, in the form of products and services. Some may say “it all starts at home” and home is a term we use here as well. Home to our team is our community around us here in Kent, Washington that we are so proud to be a part of.

Classic Community

8 ways to celebrate!

It’s Veterans Day, and some people don’t know how to celebrate outside of hitting sales at their favorite stores or flying a flag. Military.com offers some great tips on how easy it is to get into the celebration today, and every day of the year!

1. Show up!
Auburn, WA Veterans Day Parade
Attend a Veterans Day parade. Our neighbors in Auburn, WA hold the biggest and longest running Verterans Day Parade on the west coast. This year marked the 51st annual parade. As Roy Roger’s once quoted, “We can’t all be heroes; someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.” A parade in our Veterans’ honor is a great opportunity to do just that.

2. Donate

There are so many ways to donate to a Veteran Program, the oppotunities are endless! Check some ideas out from military.com for easy and secure ways to donate.

3. Fly our nation’s flag

Did you know there is a proper way to fly our stars and stripes? Check out the official guidlines here.

4. Ask someone about their service

It gives the vet a chance to reflect on their time in the service and all of us a chance to learn about it. Many vets won’t go into too much detail so just simply be supportive without being intrusive. Sometimes you don’t have to say anything, just listen and give them your full attention.

5. Write

A simple note of thanks and appreciation goes a long way. If you don’t know a veteran, look up the closest military installation and send one there. Small acts of recognizing someone’s service, even anonymously, are appreciated.

6. Don’t confuse today with Memorial Day

Veterans Day is a time to thank those who are serving or have served and are still with us. Memorial Day is to reflect and remember those who lost their lives in service to their country. Confusing the two or combining the two diminishes the importance of both.

7. Visit a VA Hospital
dnews POWLuncheon
Many VA facilities have a day packed with events. Spending time with a veteran or even volunteering is a great way to give back.

8. Get outdoors with a Veteran!

Did you know that all of our National Parks offer FREE admission today? Being outside helps improve physical and mental health, boosts emotional well-being, and is a great way to celebrate the day with a veteran. National parks are America’s Best Idea, and there are more than 400 parks available to everyone, every day. The fee-free days provide a great opportunity to visit a new place or an old favorite. Plan your visit and enjoy our country’s history and nature.

Thank you to all our Veterans and Active duty service members. Wishing you all a very happy Veterans Day.

 

Photo Credits:
northwestmilitary.com
military.com
artcphotos/Shutterstock
LORRIE CECIL/THISWEEKNEWS
Operation Gratitude Blog
Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Forrestbro/Getty Images

8 ways to celebrate!

Inspired by our National Parks

We are celebrating our national park’s centennial this year with 20% OFF our Limited Edition RV collection, designed from the colors found in your favorite places to visit on the road!Yosemite_ColorSwatch
Our Silver Sage collection this year is made of our durable and light weight PermaPRO™ ripstop fabric that repels water and protects against dirt and sun damage backed by a limited lifetime warranty.USA_Antelope-Canyon

Our national parks tell distinctly American stories. Whether they inspire you to marvel at the grand vistas, travel along scenic waterways and winding paths, or visit historic buildings and homes, discovery and exploration awaits. There are 84 million acres of iconic, treasured and sacred places protected in America’s over 400 national parks – and it all belongs to us.

If you ask Go RVing what they say their favorite thing is: it’s to simply GO!
Go: with kids, comfortably, pet-friendly, whenever, affordably, leisurely, tailgating, off-roading, seasonally, biking, with ease, outdoor cooking, fishing and hunting, for snow, sight-seeing, city slicking or stargazing!
These beautiful parks are all around us, whether in a 31 footer or simply in your hybrid, a park to see and enjoy really is right in your neck of the woods! Check out where to find one FindYourPark.com and check out the stunning stamp series launched this year that reminds us how amazing America’s Outdoors really is!

We hope you’ll take part in celebrating this year and get outdoors with friends and family. Go see, experience and enjoy and end your trip with our Limited Edition RV Covers – inspired from our parks.

Photo Credits:
Red Rock Canyon – Linda | Las Vegas
Redwood Forest – Suitcases and Sunsets
Antelope Canyon Tourism
National Parks Services
Beautiful Washington | Barb White
Margaret Feinberg

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Inspired by our National Parks

Great Outdoor Events – with Jesse

JesseTombs2Our president, Brian Bozlinski, just interviewed Jesse Tombs of Alison Events in San Francisco. Their very fashion forward business model states that they are looking to “create that completely original, utterly unforgettable event. But most importantly, they want it to be a reflection of their clients and bring out the best in them.”

Classic Accessories is based out of Kent, WA (South of Seattle) and when Summer hits, we are ready for outdoor potlucks, BBQs, company events, etc. We pride ourselves on our outdoor culture and wanted to see what event planners have to offer in terms of outdoor spaces to hold our next event. Here is what Jesse had to say:

BRIAN: What are some questions to consider when you select an outdoor venue for corporate events?

JESSE: Is the caterer in house or can you use an outside caterer?

  • What does the venue offer? Chairs, tables, bars, AV, lighting etc?
  • Does the venue offer security?
  • Is the cut off time for music earlier as it is outside?
  • Do they own heat lamps or heaters you can use?
  • Do they have a fire pit?

BRIAN:  How do you plan and arrange for seating and lighting?

SeatingPercentage

JESSE: Seating – it greatly depends on the type of event. If it is a seated dinner, we suggest seating for 30% of the guest count for cocktails, 100% of the guest count for dinner, and 20% of the guest count for after dinner/dancing. If it is a standing reception with stations or a buffet, we suggest seating for 70% of the guest count for the event.

Lighting – greatly depends on the venue, but we always suggest highlighting special interests, like design details, the dance floor, bars, and food stations.

BRIAN: What kind of décor will endure any weather?

PottedPlants
JESSE:
Potted plants – we always suggest plants and hedges for outdoor events that look great and can withstand wind and rain.

BRIAN: How do you protect the space from the environment and weather (rain, heat, covers, etc.)?

JESSE: Plan ahead, get a tent on hold 30 days prior to your event, add tent walls and decide on the day of the event if you really want them to be installed. Always have heaters on hold–you can always decline them upon deliver.

BRIAN: How should people store equipment when it’s not in use (covers, etc.)?

JESSE: Depends on the venue – but if you have a truck on site you can always store it in the truck. You can also store in empty event spaces, loading docks or alley ways.

BRIAN: Beyond picnics and bouncy houses: what creative themes have you found to be especially successful?

JESSE: Bring in animals, people love horses. Custom tenting–get creative and bring in teepees and the like. Cook outside–make the kitchen visible and use bbq setup and outdoor kitchens to add interest. Hot air balloons are a great photo op and a huge way to add impact.

BRIAN: What should corporate planners avoid?

JESSE: Color pallets – work with a story, not a company’s existing color story (think outside of the box).

Tell a story with the design, menu, and entertainment for the event.

Get away from tech – make the event a tech-free event and take peoples’ cell phones so they have to be present in the moment and connect.

BRIAN: Your favorite outdoor venues for corporate events in San Francisco?

Parks

JESSE: Public parks like the botanical gardens and the conservatory, Golden Gate Park and Crissy Field.

  • The New Black has an amazing outdoor patio.
  • The roof top or the courtyard at The Battery.
  • Outdoor piers.
  • The beach.
  • The Presidio
  • Cavalo Point
  • Stable Cafe
  • Commissary

Check out the whole interview here.

 

Great Outdoor Events – with Jesse