What to Do When Your Office Moves: Plant 900 Trees

Taking advantage of a day out of the office during our Seattle office move, the Aspect Community Team (ACT) partnered with Stewardship Partners and Carnation Farms to help with their ongoing riparian restoration efforts along the Snoqualmie River. It was a sunny, beautiful October day, and the fall colors were rich throughout the valley. Eleven employees make the trek to Carnation and spent a few hours planting shrubs and trees including western red cedar, snowberry, salmonberry, and cottonwoods. We had help from four stewardship partner field crew who also placed cottonwood stakes among the trees and shrubs.

Aspect’s volunteer staff donated their day to plant over 900 trees along the Snoqualmie River to help Stewardship Partners and Carnation Farms.

Why Carnation Farms? A brief history:

In 1908, the first 360 acres of farmland were purchased, and Carnation Farms was created. Now the farm totals 818 acres and includes an 8-acre organic garden, educational programs, event space, hiking trails, and is bordered by a stretch of the Snoqualmie River. A byproduct of the agricultural growth in the region was the destruction of the natural riparian ecosystems along the river throughout the valley. Stewardship Partners has been working with Carnation Farms to restore the habitat along the Snoqualmie River as a component to their adopt-a-buffer program.

Why is riparian habitat restoration important?

Planting native trees and shrubs is the primary component of restoration and maintenance of healthy riparian ecosystems. As Stewardship Partners explains, the strips of native trees and shrubs provide cooling shade, control erosion and provide habitat for hundreds of fish and wildlife species. Trees and shrubs actively absorb air pollution throughout their lifetime, storing carbon and fighting climate change.

What is the impact of a half-day of service?

In about 3-4 hours of diligent work we planted 960 shrubs, trees, and stakes across approximately 0.5 acres of riparian habitat along the Snoqualmie River. This effort would have taken at least a week without the ACT volunteers. Stewardship Partners will do some maintenance the area and in about a year we should be able to see if our efforts truly take root.

Previous and ongoing ACTivities and service projects:

Aspect has partnered with Stewardship Partners previously for the design and installation of the Carnation Elementary School raingarden. The raingarden installation is part of a greater 12,000 Rain Gardens effort, and Aspect is also in coordination for another volunteer raingarden project! Stewardship Partners has been a great organization to work with and Aspect is a proud supporter-- pro-bono technical design, education and consulting services, volunteer labor, and funding.

The Aspect Team Turns Out for Another Great Ride to Defeat ALS

Over the past several years, Aspect has proudly sponsored the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association’s fight to end ALS. Every summer, the Evergreen Chapter of ALS puts on the Ride to Defeat ALS -- a one-day team bike challenge to support this worthy cause. The Aspect team rode as part of "Lori's Crew"-- in support of Aspect alumni Lori Herman. Over 40 Aspect employees, family, and friends biked down the Snohomish County Centennial Trial to raise an eye-popping $25,000.

Learn more about the ALS Association.

Rebuilding Around the World: Henry Haselton’s Ongoing Volunteer Work

Principal Geotechnical Engineer Henry Haselton is providing pro bono engineering services to help rebuild and protect schools, villages, and farms affected by natural disasters in Nepal and Tanzania.

Henry has been working with All Hands Volunteers to rebuild schools that were destroyed after the massive earthquake in Nepal in April 2015. Most recently, he helped with site development and foundation recommendations for the East Point Academy in Melamchi, which is about 25 miles north of Katmandu. The Nepalese government prepared standard school designs, and they need engineering help to make the structures work at particular locations. He also designed an earthquake-resistant retaining wall to support the school in its new location. Henry is now embarking on work for another school project higher up in the Himalayas.

photo courtesy of All Hands Volunteers

Earlier this year, Henry provided geotechnical consultation for a sugar cane producer who is affiliated with a non-governmental organization south of Moshi, Tanzania to help alleviate flooding of villages and farms in the area. The engineering work was led by master’s students from Tu Delft in the Netherlands. Henry’s work focused on extending levees and installing weirs to mitigate flooding, and included recommendations on geotechnical field and laboratory testing, slope stability analyses, and general geotechnical recommendations for the levees.

Inspiring Young Minds with the Power of the Elwha River Restoration

Watching nature reclaim its natural habitat is awe inspiring. The Elwha River restoration—kicked off by the largest dam removal project in the world—is literally recreating the landscape along its path through the wild Olympic Peninsula. Through video, narrative, and photos, this recent Seattle Times story describes the status of the project in compelling detail.

Aspect is excited to see this worthy story get the attention it deserves, particularly because we know first-hand the power of the Elwha to inspire young minds. Aspect has been a long-time sponsor of NatureBridge, a nonprofit that gives students an up-close and personal introduction to environmental education. NatureBridge has been using the Elwha River restoration project as an outdoor lab to inspire and educate the next generation of environmental stewards.  When your classroom is a roaring river and your desk is a log along a newly formed streambed, the possibilities for learning seem endless.

Water!

The Aspect sponsored Vuelta Grande water project in Guatemala was completed last week with water lines installed to approximately 40 homes.  For homes located at higher elevation above the water line several additional taps were installed and community pilas built. 

Aspect funded this project through making, donating, and giving each other items and experiences. See our previous post about the project.

For more information on water supply projects in the mountain villages of Guatemala, visit: http://www.handsforpeacemaking.org/clean-water

A Gift of Water

43 families in the small mountain village of Vuelta Grande in northwest Guatemala will turn a tap and have water pour from a faucet in their home for the first time.  In the spirit of holiday giving, Aspect funded both the pipeline from a spring source into the village, and pipes and spigots in each home.

At the annual company holiday party, staff contributed to the project by buying raffle tickets for themselves or as a thank you to a fellow worker. Lucky raffle winners went home with Aspect staff-made gifts and experiences including mountain cabin weekends, a waffle breakfast at work, private yoga instruction, knit caps, bicycle tours of Skagit Valley or Vashon Island, a watercolor painting or an oil change.

For more information on water supply projects in the mountain villages of Guatemala visit: http://www.handsforpeacemaking.org/clean-water