Critical Areas Ordinance Public Hearing – December 10

A public hearing has been scheduled by the Thurston County Planning Commission on the draft Critical Areas Ordinance.   The hearing will be held on Saturday, December 10, 2011. 

Date: December 10, 2011
Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with doors and sign-in beginning at 9 a.m.
Location: Room 129, Building 2 of the Thurston County Courthouse, 2000 Lakeridge Drive S.W.
Olympia, WA 98502

The hearing is being held open over a longer period, during daylight hours, to allow all citizens to have a safe, convenient environment in which to testify.  Those who wish to appear and testify may do so at any point between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on December 10th.  The public hearing may be extended at the discretion of the Planning Commission.

The Planning Commission is not scheduled to make a recommendation at the close of the public hearing. 

In addition, the Planning Commission is currently accepting written comments on the Critical Areas Ordinance, and will do so until 5 p.m. on December 23, 2011.  Please e-mail comments to Andrew Deffobis at, or submit written comments by mail to:

Andrew Deffobis, Associate Planner
Thurston County Planning Department
2000 Lakeridge Drive SW
Building 1, 2nd Floor
Olympia, WA 98502

Public hearing drafts of the Critical Areas Ordinance are now available by clicking here

For more information on the update to the County’s Critical Areas Ordinance, click here.

Thurston County Planning Department maintains a web mail service, which issues notices of this kind. You are welcome to sign up for this web mail service by clicking here.

Gourmet, Locally-Produced Fudge to Benefit Local Preschool

The Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool is currently selling gourmet fudge from Sweet Escapes by Angel. This delicious and beautifully packaged fudge is made fresh locally on the Steamboat Peninsula.

Perfect for the holidays! Available in three flavors: Milk Chocolate, Milk Chocolate With Nuts, and Peanut Butter.

$9 per block. Taking orders until Dec 7th.

Order your today by calling 866-1819 or email 

The Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool also has a new web site. Click here to learn more about their program. SICP has long provided a terrific local educational experience for both children and their parents. In the Griffin area, we’re lucky to have fine educational opportunities such as this for our children.

Thank you for supporting the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool!

World Affairs Council Speaker “Leaving Afghanistan – Easier Said Than Done” on Nov 17

THURSDAY, November 17, Olympia Center, 7:30 PM, Room 101
SPEAKER: Dr. Katya Drozdova, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Seattle Pacific University
TOPIC: “Leaving Afghanistan – Easier Said Than Done”
As the United States and its coalition allies struggle with a coherent departure policy in Afghanistan, there are lessons to be learned from the Soviet Union’s misadventure in that country from 1979-89. Dr. Drozdova is eminently qualified to deal with that subject. Born in the former Soviet Union she has been a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, where she was a principal investigator in a study called “Mining Afghan Lessons from the Soviet Era” (MALSE). She studied and translated former top secret records of the Soviet Politburo, the purpose of which was to explore ways that might benefit western forces from the Soviet experience. The results of her study have been used to inform policy-makers, scholars and military leaders.
Dr. Drozdova’s recent research and publications focus on problems of U.S. national and international security and counter-terrorism strategies. In addition to her work at the Hoover Institution, she is also a research fellow at the Naval Postgraduate School and an affiliate with the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project. She previously held research positions at New York University’s Alexander Hamilton Center.
One of her publications, Solving the Afghanistan Puzzle, follows the paper trail of Soviet involvement in Afghanistan – and suggests a great deal about our own involvement there today. Other articles include Dark Memories, a brief history of Soviet torturers and assassins; Intelligence Design, describing how terrorists are getting very good at covering their tracks and how their pursuers must become even better at uncovering them; and Security and Liberty, how to protect the nation against terrorism without sacrificing our liberty.
Dr. Drozdova is currently assistant professor of Political Science at Seattle Pacific University. She holds advanced degrees from Stanford University and New York University.

Coralroot Orchid: Beautiful & Unusual Parasitic Plant

photo by Guy Maguire

photo by Guy Maguire

Last spring during a volunteer work party at the McLane Point Preserve on Eld inlet, we came across an unusual and beautiful little flower, a Spotted coralroot orchid, or Corallorhiza maculata. I immediately wanted to learn more about this fascinating plant.

The Spotted coralroot orchid is a myco-heterotroph, which means essentially “gaining its nutrients from the roots of mushrooms.” The Northwest is home to over a dozen species of these types of plants. These small orchids and heath family plants are unique because they have lost all their chlorophyll, do not perform photosynthesis, and rely entirely on the roots of certain mushrooms for all their nutrients.

Contrary to popular belief, not all plants are green. In fact, these myco-heterotrophes come in a great variety of colors. Once upon a time they had leaves and were green like most plants, but over time evolved to lose their pigment as they developed associations with specific fungi species. Some of the more common myco-heterotrophes in this area are the Candystick (Allotropa virgata), Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora), Spotted coralroot (Corallorhiza maculate), and Striped coralroot (Corallorhiza striata).

While ecologists have known for many years that more than 90% of plants associate with fungi, only recently have they learned that specific plant species quite literally act as parasites on these fungi, stealing their nutrients. This may seem like a negative, but the reality is these plants play an important role in the forest’s ecology. These fungi get their energy, in the form of sugars, from the trees around them and in turn provide the trees with nitrogen and other nutrients. The “parasitic” orchids take only a minute fraction of those nutrients for themselves. In turn, they occupy a unique niche and provide more diversity in the forest. These orchids also fill an important link in the forest ecosystem by providing nectar for many species of pollinating insects.

My research on this fascinating organism led me to think about what else have we may have yet to  discover. Looking deeper into the lives of these plants has illustrated how truly interconnected the forest is.

So the next time you are wandering the woods and in the mountains, keep your eyes peeled! The Northwest is home to a diversity and abundance of these strange, beautiful, perplexing little flowers.


Guy Maguire is Capitol Land Trust’s Restoration Projects Coordinator.

This article reprinted with permission from the Fall issue of the Capitol Land Trust newsletter.

Click here for more information regarding the Capitol Land Trust.
Click here for information regarding the Steamboat Conservation Partnership, a unique collaboration between the Griffin Neighborhood Association and the Capitol Land Trust.

Click here for more articles of this kind, regarding the nature around us.