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GreenGuide reduce • reuse • recycle • protect • preserve • restore

Pedaling to work page 4 Supplement to the Whidbey News-Times and South Whidbey Record


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Whidbey Island Green Guide • Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Check it ! Don’t wreck it! Your Septic System needs TLC...

Septic 101 & 201 Combo Classes Sat. April 23, 9-Noon Nordic Hall, Coupeville

from what goes down the drain inside to protecting your drain field outside. Avoid costly repairs or replacement. Attend Septic 101 to learn how to live with your system.

Thurs. May 12, 5-8pm Nordic Hall, Coupeville

Attend Septic 201 and if you have a conventional gravity or pressure system, pay $28 and you could get certified to inspect your own system. Inspections are required by law every 1-3 years depending on your type of system.

Thurs. June 30, 5-8pm Nordic Hall, Coupeville

For a list of Island County Maintenance Service Providers, or to register for septic classes call 360-678-7914 or visit:

Sat. Aug. 6, 9-Noon Nordic Hall, Coupeville

Sat. Sept. 10, 9-Noon Nordic Hall, Coupeville Mon. Sept. 19, 5-8pm Bayview Senior Center Thurs. Sept. 29, 5-8pm Oak Harbor Library

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 • Whidbey Island Green Guide

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Surviving the dry days of summer By Kate Daniel Whidbey News Group


or many gardeners, the anticipation of bountiful summer blooms has been matched in recent years by the anticipation of challenges brought on by unusually high temperatures and widespread drought. With changing climactic trends come new trends in gardening; and hot, dry weather need not be a gardener’s bane. In establishing a drought-resistant garden or landscape, selecting the right plants is key. Succulents have become especially popular, favored for their distinct appearance and ability to retain large amounts of moisture with their turgid water-storing tissue. All cacti are succulents, though not all succulents are cacti. Other common succulents include the burro’s tail, jade plant, aloe vera, hens-and-chicks, panda plant and snake plant. Native plants have also piqued the interest of many gardeners concerned with water conservation and general ecological preservation. Species indigenous to Whidbey, of which there are hundreds, include the kinnikinnick, evergreen huckleberry, alum root, red flowering current, Indian plum and sword fern. Master Gardener and Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens board president Don Lee explained that about 70 percent of the island’s rainfall comes in winter, while about 30 percent comes in summer. Native plants have acclimated to this after decades, or even centuries, of adaptation.

Many domestic varieties, on the other hand, struggle to survive under these conditions. Native plants are also less susceptible to disease and fungus and, once established, usually require little human assistance. Miriam Maier, perennial buyer at Bayview Farm and Garden, said queries regarding drought-tolerant gardening are some of the most common she and fellow employees receive. “People are definitely interested in making their landscape a bit more resilient,” she said. Maier noted that it takes time to condition plants to become more drought-tolerant, and doing so requires watering less frequently, but more deeply. Most plants require consistent care for the first one to three years, until they are established. Some of Maier’s suggestions include lavender, rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano. Maier also noted that plants with silvery foliage are usually more capable of conserving water, as this particular foliage creates the plant’s own shade. Artemisia, euphorbia, perennial geraniums, black-eyed Susans, salvias, poppies and lupin are also good choices, she said. Trees and shrubs are also usually smart choices as well, due to the length and depth of their root systems once established. Examples include the native vine maple, all pine trees, native mountain hemlock, Japanese barberry, concord barberry and osmanthus. Bulbs are also ideal due to their natural cycle — these flowers, including daffodils and tulips —  are usually dormant during the drier months, and bloom when water is naturally more plentiful.

Plants to avoid include the Angelica, lavatera and storm cloud, as well as many shade-loving plants. During wet winter months, drought-resistant plants may require a bit more help to carry through. Using compost and amending the soil will help in this regard, Maier said. Particularly if the garden soil is clay-like, as is much of Whidbey’s soil, adding elements such as sand will help the soil to drain more effectively. Proper soil care will also help Aeonium succulents the plants to retain moisture when temperatures rise again. Another helpful method of extending the plants' lifespan is strategic planting location. Group plants according to their water requirements, and avoid planting more drought-resistant plants in areas that are likely to become bogged down or soggy in winter. Mulching is also useful, as up to 70 percent of water can evaporate from the soil on an especially warm day without a protective layer. Maier noted that gardeners should be careful not to get too close to the base Fern of the plant. According to, a schedule of watering potted plants in the afternoon and the rest of the garden in the early morning will also help to conserve water. The site also recommends harvesting and recycling water. Collecting rainwater in swales, cisterns or barrels is an easy way to do so. Water from cooking or fish tanks can be recycled, and contains nutrients beneficial Lupin to plants.

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Whidbey Island Green Guide • Wednesday, April 20, 2016

PEDAL POWERED More and more people living the benefits of biking to work By RON NEWBERRY Whidbey News Group


s the fog began rolling into Coupeville on a recent morning, Bill Oakes turned on to Main Street and started charging up the hill. This was the stretch run for Oakes -- one final leg of a 7.7-mile bike ride that took him from his home outside Oak Harbor to the entrance of the Island County Annex Building. Whenever possible, it’s the way Oakes, the county’s Public Works director, likes to start his work day. “I feel better the days that I ride,” he said. Oakes isn’t alone.

Minutes after Oakes secures his road bike, Brian Wood is coasting into work on his touring bike less than a football field away. Wood and two other coworkers from the county’s Department of Natural Resources start most of their workdays on a bike. Wood and Oakes ride the same route through the country and along the waterfront, mostly avoiding State Highway 20. “I get to ride past Penn Cove every commute,” said Oakes, who’s been riding to work part-time for about 10 years during the spring and summer months. “Island County is a beautiful place to cycle and it’s a great place to train.”

en n!” e r G “ lea C a nd

Wood, 48, has been riding to work off and on much of his life. He’s picked up momentum the past five years, attempting to ride to work everyday no matter what the weather is like. It’s ingrained in his conscience and lifestyle, helps him think better during the day and sleep better at night. He and a close cycling friend founded the Whidbey Island Bicycle Club in 2010 to support and promote cycling and teach people more about it on the island and surrounding areas. “Biking kind of took me to an entirely different direction in life,” Wood said. “Pretty quickly, I really fell in love with riding to work and really got connected with the fact it

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For much of the past five years, Brian Wood has ridden to work from Oak Harbor to Coupeville rain or shine. He likes the benefits to the environment, his health and finances. He and many Island County employees ride to work, including public works director Bill Oakes (cover photo). was so sustainable.” Wood tracks his mileage and calculates how much he’s saving in fuel costs, estimating he saved roughly $440 in during a three-month stretch of commuting from early December to early March. A former high school science teacher, Wood said the environmental benefits weigh even heavier on his mind. The combustion of fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel used for transportation is the second largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. Wood said attending the Bicycle Urbanism Symposium at the University of Washington in the summer of 2013 really opened his eyes. Speakers from different countries all over the world shared how bicycles fit into

“Biking kind of took me to an entirely differ-

ent direction in life. Pretty quickly, I really fell in love with riding to work and really got connected with the fact it was so sustainable.” Brian Wood Island County employee

their urban fabric. He learned that in 1970, about 1 percent of the U.S. population biked to work compared to about 6 percent in the Netherlands. In an effort to provide a safer commuting infrastructure for bike riders, a network of protected bike lanes were built in the Netherlands over the years so riders wouldn’t have to share the road with vehicles, and it’s led to a staggering rise in participation. Currently, about 55 per-

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cent of commuters in the Netherlands ride bicycles to work, while the U.S. still sits at 1 percent, Wood said. The symposium inspired Wood to pursue a master’s degree in Sustainable Transpor tation at Washington, which he hoped would one day enable him to secure a government position in the transportation field. He was recently hired as the county’s new transportation planner and starts in May.

In Island County, Washington state permanently banned burning residential yard debris and land-clearing waste in Coupeville, Freeland, Langley and Oak Harbor. PROTECT YOUR HEALTH:

Burning natural vegetation produces air pollutants that are harmful, especially for children, the elderly and those with asthma, respiratory illness or heart disease.

For cleaner, healthier alternatives to burning, call the Northwest Clean Air Agency at 360-428-1617, visit or call your local solid waste department.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 • Whidbey Island Green Guide

“It was life-changing in regard to seeing my bike trip in a much bigger perspective,” he said of the symposium. Seattle, where road transportation accounts for 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the city, is in the second year of a 20-year master plan to improve a system that would make biking a safer alternative for riders of all ages and abilities. Whidbey Island, due its long, skinny shape, highway that stretches down the center and short arterial roads, offers a unique opportunity for more commuters to consider riding both a bike and bus to work, Wood said. Anna Toledo, Wood’s co-worker, does just that. Each workday morning, she rides her bike about a mile and a half from her home in Freeland to a bus stop in town. She locks up her bike, then takes Island Transit to Coupeville. “I find that it’s really convenient,” said Toledo, the county’s Marine Resources Committee coordinator. “It’s a great way to help me wake up in the morning and get some fresh air on my face.” Toledo said she doesn’t sweat too much on her short ride nor does she worry too much about a helmet messing up her hair, which are two obstacles that typically can keep people from riding to work, particularly women. “I don’t see myself as a highly specialized bike rider,” said Toledo, who generally wears a reflective vest over her work clothes. “I usually have my hair down or pull it back into a pony tail. I do wear a helmet. Once I get to work, if I need to, I spruce it up a little bit. I make sure I have a hair brush with me.” Matt Zupich, a water quality specialist who works with Toledo and Wood, keeps a towel hanging near his work station on the days he rides to work. He showers at home first, then commutes on his bike about five miles during

the fair-weather season. “I just kind of mop myself off,” he said. Zupich likes how the ride makes him feel. “I feel like I’m doing a good thing for the environment and myself,” he said. Bikes used for commuting or touring can be equipped with racks near the rear tires that are designed to hold considerable weight. Pannier bags that can contain clothes, laptops or other items, are hung over the racks and clipped on securely. Wood rides to work, toting clothes and snacks inside those bags during his 10-mile commute from Oak Harbor. He and his co-workers have use of a county vehicle if they need to get somewhere for their jobs and there is a shower if needed. When he taught at Coupeville High School, Wood said he found it was just as convenient to hop on his bike if he needed to go somewhere in the small town. He chooses to stick almost exclusively to side roads, riding along the highway only when necessary. He was struck by a vehicle and hospitalized in 2014 while waiting to cross the highway near Morris Road in Coupeville. Injuries to his knee and thumb required surgeries that day and he had to wait six months before fully recovering from a brain injury. “I broke her windshield with my face,” Wood said. “I was picking glass out of my face for days.” Still, once he was able, he got back on his bike and continued his routine of riding to work. “Rain or shine,” Wood said. “Once I really got into it, I decided I was going to do this everyday no matter what. I’ve ridden in 14 degrees and sometimes 14 degrees in shorts, wishing I had thrown something more on. “I’ve been pretty dedicated to it.”

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Buying local and organic fruits, vegetables and meats will help reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions created by food transportation, as well as protect the environment from pesticide toxins.

Photos by Ron Newberry

Above: Brian Wood, a new transportation planner for Island County, travels down a stretch of Madrona Way in Coupeville on his way to work, part of a daily routine.

At right: Attached at the rear of his bike are travel bags, or panniers, that hang over racks. Wood often stores light clothing and snacks in the bags, though some can carry heavier items such as laptops. "I can bring really as much stuff as I really want to," Wood said. "I have different-sized panniers. They're all waterproof."

Help Keep Whidbey’s Watersheds Healthy!

Earth Day Festival! Saturday, April 23, 12 – 4 pm Bayview Corner

• Help us restore and maintain special places for fish & wildlife • Learn how to use native plants • Be a volunteer teacher at the Maxwelton Outdoor Classroom All ages and school districts welcome


Whidbey Watershed Stewards • (360) 579-1272

Farmers’ Market

electric vehicle show • children's activities music • 10th annual community peace picture keynote talk by Kate Davies • info/networking Offering a diverse selection of earth friendly, healthy, and sustainably produced products.


MARKET 360.221.5222 MERCANTILE 360.221.5223 BASICS 360.221.2425 WWW.STARSTOREWHIDBEY.COM

Page 5 for information on more Whidbey Earth & Ocean Month activities

Sundays, 11–2 Opens May 1



WiFi Hotspot

Fresh, local produce, arts & crafts, concessions, music, children’s play area 2812 Thompson Rd. on SR 525 • 360-321-0757

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Whidbey Island Green Guide • Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Salon finds the beauty in being green By EVAN THOMPSON South Whidbey Record

Photo by Evan Thompson

Talmadge Hickman is co-owner Salon Bella in Bayview alongside Chelsie Perkins. Their business was certified by Green Circles Salons, a sustainable movement and waste recycling program, making it the first of its kind on Whidbey Island.

Salon Bella may be the first of its kind on Whidbey Island, but co-owner Talmadge Hickman is confident it won’t be the last. Certified by Green Circle Salons, a sustainable movement and waste recycling program, the Bayview salon is implementing green-friendly practices to help stave off the impact the industry has on the environment. While the business is currently the only certified salon on the island, Hickman and coowner Chelsie Perkins hope more salons fall under the umbrella of the sustainable movement. “Our goal is to make this the first ‘Green Island’ with salons,’” Hickman said. “Wouldn’t that be cool to be able to say, ‘Yeah, man, we’re so proud of our businesses here because they’re all green.’” “We’re not trying to hold

it to ourselves - we’re hoping other salons get involved too.” The salon is also a sponsor of Goosefoot’s Earth Day celebration April 23. The pair will have a booth to answer questions about their environmental conscious practices as well as help steer other salons and businesses in the same direction. Marian Myszkowski, Goosefoot director of program and fund development, said the salon owners are selfless in that they’re not trying to promote themselves in any way but rather make a positive impact in the community. “They’re not doing it to get more business. They’re doing it because it's the right thing to do,” Myszkowski said. “I think it's wonderful what they’re doing and I hope other salons and other businesses offering different services will look to do things like this.” Hickman and Perkins, who live in Greenbank with their

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20-month-old daughter after coming from South Carolina two years ago, wanted to do more than just run a hairstyling business. “We were looking for anyway that we could actually be beneficial to the community,” Hickman said. “When this came up, and we knew about the waste that was created, we knew something had to be done. This was a perfect solution.” According to Green Circle Salons, the salon industry is responsible for 421,206 pounds of waste a day. The salon currently recycles hair clippings, aluminum foils, color tubes, color cans, metals and paper. If not recycled, excess hair coloring can find its way into water systems, while hair clippings and foils often release rancid gasses in landfills. Instead, leftover color is treated and the water reused, while hair clippings are formed into booms, which help absorb oils in cases such as the British Petroleum spill in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. Recycling the used-up materials is as easy sending a notification to the United Postal Service when their bins are filled. As a means of being even more efficient with their usage of material, the pair compete with one another to see who can use the least amount of hair coloring. “It saves us a lot of money,” Hickman said. “I think it would be really cool if this could be a model for more businesses to find ways to be better for the environment.” Hickman said there is also a $1.50 eco-fee, which is a stewardship cost for the salon to be involved. Before becoming certified, the pair would compile five to six bags of trash a week. Now, Perkins said they produce one bag of trash every two weeks. “We probably have 20 less bags a month and if you think about that, that’s a lot,” Hickman said. Perkins said they’ve been certified for two months, after beginning in February. The idea was spurred after the corporation from which they buy their products, KMS Goldwell, brought it to their attention. They’ve been on board ever since. “I feel like you’re either part of the problem or the solution,” Hickman said. “You can do something or you can just keep talking.” “I want our daughter to grow up and be like, ‘Wow, my mom and dad really did some cool stuff in our community.’”

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 • Whidbey Island Green Guide

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Fuel-efficient cars can be



By DAN RICHMAN Whidbey News Group

t’s no big surprise: Island County is much greener than other, larger counties in Washington, according to a count of the most fuel-efficient vehicles made by the state’s Department of Licensing. The agency tallied all the electricpowered and plug-in hybrids in the state as of Jan. 1. The count excluded conventional hybrids such as the non-plug-in Toyota Prius. Island County had 81 of what the state considers to be battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs. It had 47 Nissan Leafs, 26 Teslas, three each of the BMW i3 with range-extender engine and the Mitsubishi I-MIEV, and a smattering of the Ford Focus and Daimler Smart Fortwo. Of course, Island County’s total paled next to King County’s 7,323. Snohomish County came in second, with 1,264. After that came Pierce (777), Clark

(573) and Kitsap (474) counties. But Island County, with a 2013 population of 78,801, beat out some larger rural counties. Yakima County, with a population of 217,044, had only 21 BEVs. Skagit County (118,837) had only 78. On the other hand, San Juan County gave Island a run for its money. With a population of only 15,875, it had 61 BEVs. Jefferson County, population 30,076, had 65. When it came to the more popular plug-in hybrid vehicles, or PHEVs, Island County really excelled. It had 82 such cars -- 40 Chevrolet Volts, 19 Ford C-MAX Energi’s, 16 Ford Fusion Energi’s and seven Toyota Priuses. (Remember, this count does not include conventional hybrids, only plug-ins.) Again, that number is well below those of King (1,919), Snohomish (455) and Pierce (448) Counties. But it’s higher than any other counties except for those and Clark, Kitsap, Spokane and Thurston. Which part of Whidbey Island is greener: north, central or south? You

Photo by Dan Richman

John Lussmyer of Greenbank shows off the very unconventional components under the hood of his converted 1995 Ford F-250 Super Cab long-bed truck. He did the conversion himself six years ago. might guess South Whidbey, and you’d be right. A July 2, 2015 count by zip code of vehicles registered on or after July 1, 2015, showed the southern end of the island had 26 BEVs and 30 PHEVs. North Whidbey had 7 and 18, respectively, and the central part of the island had 8 and 9, respectively. Whidbey Island and its businesses have been friendly toward electric vehicles for some time. The city of Langley has installed two charging stations at Anthes

Avenue and Second Street, and there’s one more behind the Saratoga Inn, Mayor Tim Callison said. Coupeville and its businesses have no chargers. Oak Harbor has two. China City restaurant about four years ago put in one charging station at each of its Whidbey locations, in Freeland and Oak Harbor, but neither is used very often, said Fong Ng, a co-owner of the restaurants. There are four charging stations at the Whidbey Telecom complex in Freeland.

For more info

l How electric cars work: l List of electric cars: l With low gas prices, do electric cars matter? l The electric car everyone wants: https://www.

n s o i o t f a W g e r hidbey Island g n o C g n i n e e r G advocacy, and care for all creation in our chu ss ing awarene Cultivat

Langley United Methodist Church

St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church


rches and com munity

Unity of Whidbey Whidbey Island Friends Meeting (Quakers)

in partnership with EARTH MINISTRY

Trinity Lutheran Church

Unitarian Universalist Congregation

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Whidbey Island Green Guide • Wednesday, April 20, 2016

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Go Green - Whidbey Green Guide 2016  


Go Green - Whidbey Green Guide 2016