Get your hands dirty in April

Battle against plastic

There are 400 billion stars in the Milky Way and 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans—13 times more. That sobering statistic is from the non-profit organization Debris Free Oceans in Miami. Fish, seabirds, marine mammals and reptiles, get tangled up in it or eat it, and some eventually enters our stomachs.

Now the Washington state Senate has taken one small step for mankind by approving a ban on the use of plastic grocery bags and plastic straws. Next step, the two proposed bills go to the House.

Clean up our beaches

The demand for plastic-free products and packaging is rising, and manufacturers and stores are slowly responding. Meanwhile, we can tote reusable bags, try to avoid plastic bottles and containers, and opt for plastic-free alternatives to products we use everyday, including the synthetic fibers in our closets.

Another important action we can take is to clean up our beaches before the marine debris, which is mostly plastic, gets into or returns to the ocean. And we can also try to discover exactly where all this man made plastic is coming from and do something about it. How? By becoming a citizen scientist with the University of Washington’s Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST).

This 17-year-old program trains coastal residents in their own communities on how to conduct monthly surveys on a beach that has special meaning to them. Volunteers are taught how to collect data and report their findings to COASST scientists, who will then try to determine the source of the trash and put an end to it. And while beach walking, volunteers can help clean up their favorite beach.

Hillary Burgess, Science Coordinator at COASST, will be the guest speaker at our next Tuesday Talk, on April 23 at 7 p.m. at the Greater Hansville Community Center, Buck Lake Road. She’ll explain how the plastic pollution of our waters has become such an environmental crisis, and you’ll discover how you can make a difference.

Garden zombies

Plant physiologist Linda Chalker-Scott says there are some garden myths that are so hard to kill, she calls them garden zombies, and they are the subject of her talk at Hansville’s Flotsam and Jetsam Garden Club on Wednesday, April 10, at 9 a.m. at the Greater Hansville Community Center. If you’re not a member, come as a guest.

A few zombies: Plants get a growth jolt when you mulch with coffee grounds. Bone meal stimulates flowering. Baking soda rids roses of black spot. Wilted leaves are a sign of dehydration. Watering plants during the mid-day sun is taboo. Expensive plants from better nurseries are more apt to flourish.

Hansville’s garden club, one of the largest in Kitsap County, has many wonderful speakers during the year, and members say Chalker-Scott, Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Washington State University in Puyallup, is one of the most entertaining and informative.

Plant a tree today

Arbor Day is April 10 in the Evergreen State. As Hansville mourns the loss of acres of our trees due to logging, it’s important to remember that one acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen a year, according to the Arbor Day Foundation, which is urging each of us to plant a tree today—another small step for mankind.

Annette Wright was an editor and writer for women’s magazines in NYC for 25 years. You can contact her at