Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute

I am going to start doing some entries on places I want to go but haven’t gone yet due to a lack of time (a constant problem!)  This is the first one.

The Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute (PCEI) is a local organization that seeks to “increase citizen involvement in decisions that affect our region’s environment. Through community organizing and education, PCEI assists members of our communities in making environmentally sound and economically viable decisions that promote a sustainable future.”  (From their website http://www.pcei.org/mission.htm.)

Its website describes a handful of “Special Places” which I am very much looking forward to exploring this summer.  The Special Places include Rose Creek, Magpie Forest, Smoot Hill, Moscow Mountain Cedars, Idler’s Rest and PCEI’s stream restoration sites. These sites are all close to Pullman.

From the PCEI website, here is some information about each Special Place (note there is a lot more info on the PCEI website -these are just small excerpts):

ROSE CREEK:  “The Rose Creek Nature Preserve (RCNP) is a special place located only 7.5 miles northwest of Pullman, Washington, near Albion Rose Creek Preserve is the best example of the distinct quaking aspen-black hawthorn-cow parsnip community type of its kind remaining in the endangered Palouse meadow steppe ecosystem. The twelve-acre preserve is bisected by Rose Creek with a plant community of native bunchgrass species in the upland, and a lush community of species such as Fendler’s waterleaf, and purple trillium in the wet meadow.”  (http://www.pcei.org/rosecreek/)

THE MAGPIE FOREST:  “The Magpie Forest is important because it provides wildlife habitat and represents one of the last remnants of native Palouse shrub-steppe vegetation. Pullman’s Environmental Quality Commission has designated the Magpie Forest as one of city’s most important and endangered “critical areas” in anticipation of its eventually becoming part of Pullman, Washington. [P] The Magpie Forest provides an opportunity to explore native plants, wildlife habitat, invasive species and conservation issues.”  (http://www.pcei.org/magpie.htm)

SMOOT HILL:  “This 730 acre farm, located 12 miles from the Pullman campus, was purchased by the WSU in 1972 for research and educational use. Over 300 acres of this property are in the Conservation Reserve Program because it one of the largest intact remnants of the native Palouse plant community. Smoot Hill’s natural diversity and beauty make it popular for ecology and botany field trips.”  (http://www.pcei.org/smoot_hill.htm)

MOSCOW MOUNTAIN CEDARS:  “Largely spared from disturbance by its location on top of a steep 4700’ ridge, this 269-acre parcel of state school trust land is home to an ancient grove of western red cedars estimated to be 1000 years old. Nurtured by the headwater springs of Felton Creek and Hatter Creek, this stand of trees was nominated in 1974 to be a National Natural Landmark as the best extant example of western red cedar/larch habitat.”  (http://www.pcei.org/mm_cedars.htm)

IDLER’S REST:  “Idler’s Rest in managed by the Palouse Land Trust. The site has several trails, one easy along the creek with towering fir and cedar, one middle that goes through a grassland, and one longer and harder that climbs out of the valley floor.”  (http://www.pcei.org/idlers_rest.htm)

The PCEI website http://www.pcei.org/ has a lot more information about its activities, which include all sorts of things regarding environmental education, restoration and preservation.  Of course, it encourages donations and membership and provides volunteer opportunities.

As I visit the Special Places, I will do complete entries.  Another reason to look forward to summer!

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The Green Frog Cafe (Restaurant, Palouse WA)

If you have not been to The Green Frog Cafe, make plans and get there!  Everything about it is great:  the food is amazing, the decor is fun, the prices are right, the people are friendly, and kids are welcome.

The Green Frog Cafe is located 15 miles/20 minutes north of Pullman in Palouse, Washington (which is a very charming little town).  In the morning they have pastries/baked goods and coffee/espresso/drinks.  It opens at 7 a.m., so we have gone for early morning cinnamon rolls after early morning swimming lessons.  Lovely.

I have been many times for lunch, and the sandwiches are definitely worth the drive.  They have hot grilled sandwiches, cold sandwiches, wraps, pitas, soups and salads. The sandwiches are made on bread from Wheatberries Bakery, sliced THICK.  All the food is made from scratch and everything is simply excellent.  I usually have the grilled sandwiches – they are so good, and big enough to share with kids. They also have beer and wine.

They do live music, open mic nights and other special evening activities.  I have never made one of these, but I have heard they are great , family-friendly, and very popular.  I think they are Thursdays and Fridays, but obviously call and check before driving up there!

The vitals:

100 East Main Street
Palouse, WA 99161
509-878-1490

Tue – Wed:
7am – 3pm
Thur – Fri:
7am – 8pm
Saturday:
8am – 4pm

Photos from The City of Palouse

http://www.visitpalouse.com/greenfrog.html

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Palouse Discovery Science Center (Pullman, WA)

When I moved here I was pleasantly surprised that Pullman has its own children’s science museum:  The Palouse Discovery Science Center.  It is the type of facility you would think you could not find in a small town.  Yet another positive thing about Pullman!

From its website:

The Palouse Discovery Science Center (PDSC) promotes science, math, and technology literacy through educational programs, exhibits, teaching collections, and activities emphasizing hands-on learning.

Experience a full spectrum of programs that include live science demonstrations, hands-on lessons, films, lectures, classes, field trips, summer camps, laboratory experiences, teacher workshops, science birthdays, and outreach services. The center has a wonderful science store, the Curiosity Shop, filled with cool science toys, party favors, and gifts. Stop by and see for yourself what science is all about.”


The PDSC has age appropriate areas and activities for all ages of young kids.

It is a wonderful place to spend a snowy day (or a hot one) and it is a great place to have a birthday party.

It has family friendly bathrooms, a place to nurse a baby, and a place to have sit and have a snack (but no food available for purchase).

It also has a nice gift shop that carries science-oriented kid’s items.

The website :

http://www.palousescience.org/

The PDSC is open Tuesday 10am to 5pm, and Wednesday-Saturday, 10 am to 3 pm.

Admission:
$6 for Adults (12 to 54)
$5 for Seniors (55 and over)
$4 for Children (2 to 12)
Children under 2 are free
Seniors are free on Friday



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Pullman Page Turners (Book Club): Grown-Up Time

One of my favorite non-kid activities is book club.  I am in the Pullman Page Turners, sponsored by the Neill Public Library.  Once a month we meet at a member’s home to discuss a book, drink wine and socialize.

For information, see the Pullman Page Turners page on the library website:

http://www.neill-lib.org/Departments/Library/DrawOnePage.aspx?PageID=777

Neill Public Library also hosts another book club, The Grand Avenue Book Club.  I have not attended that one, but its reading list looks similar to the Pullman Page Turners.  Their meetings are held in the library.

The library website has a GAB page:

http://www.neill-lib.org/Departments/Library/DrawOnePage.aspx?PageID=1146

and they have their own site/blog:

http://grandavenuebookclub.wetpaint.com/

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Zeppoz (Pullman, Washington)

It is really, really adorable to see kids bowl.  And it is good to have things to do when it is too hot or too cold to be outside.  Enter Zeppoz.  In case you don’t know, Zeppoz is bowling alley, arcade and casino located in Pullman.

Lots of lanes at Zeppoz

Zeppos is very kid friendly.  It has racks for assisting the kids to bowl, and you can put bumpers on the lanes to prevent gutter balls.

Strike! (Assisted)

It also has an arcade, which of course my boys love.  It is a struggle to keep them away from the forbidden games…..

Kids, can we do "Dance Dance Revolution????"

The bowling is fairly inexpensive for kids – we can only do one game max – and there are often specials.  They also take part in kidsbowlfree.com during the summer, which is a very cool program to check out.

The vitals:

http://www.zeppoz.com/

Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday 11:30AM – 2:00AM
Saturday-Sunday 9:30AM – 2:00AM

Happy Hour 4-7 PM Weekdays

Dinner Served 4-10 PM Everyday
780 SE Bishop Blvd. Pullman WA 99163
509.334.7101 main
509.332.3352 fax

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Conservation Park (Pullman, WA)

Path, Conservation park

I love to get the boys outside, especially when it is close and easy.  Today we went to Conservation Park, and it was both.

Conservation Park Entrance

Pullman’s website gives the story of Conservation Park:

“The City’s ‘old nursery’ site having outgrown it’s initial purpose made it’s transformation into the Conservation Park as a result of WSU student Angie Kenney’s Master Thesis; Environmental and Societal Benefits of Conserving Open Space: An in Depth Analysis and formal Park Proposal for Pullman, Washington. The Boy Scouts have improved trails and made the initial improvements to the entrance site at the western terminus of Darrow Street, Park staff added a pergola and volunteers from Windermere Realty installed the landscape. Cub Scouts have added plantings and a bench site overlooking the Palouse River. The future vision includes pedestrian connections to Cooper  Basin, Military Hill and Grand Avenue Greenway.”

A new friend

The park is basically just open space with a rough trail.  The trail is probably about a half mile, winding downhill to the road where the water treatment plant is(!)  It took us about 45 minutes to go all the way down and back – and that included breaks for finding sticks, throwing rocks, and a bit of arguing (naturally).

This was a mini nature experience- not the wilderness by any means, but a good chance to run around and enjoy the sunshine.  In the summer it should be beautiful.

And you get to see the water treatment plant!

The City’s “old nursery” site having outgrown it’s initial purpose made it’s transformation into the Conservation Park as a result of WSU student Angie Kenney’s Master Thesis; Environmental and Societal Benefits of Conserving Open Space: An in Depth Analysis and formal Park Proposal for Pullman, Washington. The Boy Scouts have improved trails and made the initial improvements to the entrance site at the western terminus of Darrow Street, Park staff added a pergola and volunteers from Windermere Realty installed the landscape. Cub Scouts have added plantings and a bench site overlooking the Palouse River. The future vision includes pedestrian connections to Cooper Basin, Military Hill and Grand Avenue Greenway.

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South Fork Public House (Pullman- Restaurant)

Ahhh, beer!

Pullman has a new restaurant and bar:  the South Fork Public House.  I have been here about five times now, and I really recommend it.

It was only empty because it was very early

It is a rare place you can take kids but yet it still feels like a grow-up establishment.  I have gone for happy hour, lunch and dinner – each time the service was excellent and the food was good. I like that you can substitute any meat with falafel or veggie burger, so if you want to go veggie you don’t end up eating just steamed rice and vegetables.

Full bar

The atmosphere is relaxed but contemporary, as is the decor.

The prices are reasonable (around $10 for salads, around $9 for sandwiches, and around $10 – $20 for entrees).  The location is unexpected- between the Ace Hardware and the Dollar Tree – but who cares?  It has tons of parking, and it is especially convenient for Pioneer Hill and Sunnyside Hill people.

Exterior Sign

Address: 1680 S. Grand Ave, Pullman, WA, 99163
Phone: 509-332-3675
Hours:  Monday – Sunday, 11:30 am to close (which I think means late night if there are customers)

Check out the Facebook page and the website!

http://www.southforkpublichouse.com/

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