Monday, February 21, 2011

First Unit 86 meeting of 2011

by Lynnda
SJG • 2/13/11
It was good to see so many guides at our meeting last Thursday. The Tateuchi Community Room was almost filled to capacity. Joan began the meeting and brought our attention to the new projector recently purchased by Unit 86. What a great tool for all future meetings and trainings.

Lisa Chen explained there would be a new sign-in sheet this year. She emphasized the importance of accurately collecting volunteer hours, both at the Garden and off-site. Last year, about 4,000 on-site volunteer hours were recorded. Many, many more hours were spent off-site, and Lisa is asking us to keep track of those hours this year. The totals allow the government bodies funding the Japanese Garden to know how committed the volunteers are. This is also instrumental in pursuing grants for future projects.

Belinda Chin gave an excellent program to encourage us to review our tour techniques. Her suggestions for leading a tour were helpful, along with comments from the group. Her handout will soon be posted on the blog. She ran through the entire tour, including suggestions for introducing yourself, setting expectations, knowing who is in your group, using teachable moments, and ending the tour. It was a perfect way to start preparing for the busy tour season.

Here is link to Belinda's handout (this click will take you off this site, but you can click back)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's OPEN!

by aleks
Enjoy this from Nat's email on the subject, dated Feb. 14th:

February's soft sunlight gently washed over the Shinto altar at yesterday's blessing and renewal ceremony.  Walking about afterward, talking with friends, I felt the light take on an almost timeless quality.  In winter, before foilage and flower soften and hide,  the 'bones' of the Garden's design lay before us.  And it's not just the sense of sight that's affected.  All the senses are.  Consider, for example, the scent of sake, in the absence of competition from plant fragrances.  How it wafts some time after it's been sprinkled, along with salt and paper squares, by Reverend Barrish in the 4 precincts.    
The weather forecast for today was 'rainy all day', yet it brightened up and rays of sunshine graced the water in the pond during the opening of the Seattle Japanese Garden for 2011 season (from noon till 3 PM)....

SJG 2/13/11 - blooming camellia
The lovely blooming camellia greets visitors right after the fork of the road, past the entrance.  It was so nice to see people filling the garden once again, after the closed winter months.  The newly pruned from excess vegetation east side of the eastern path looks now airy, lacy and transparent, the way it should in the Japanese  Garden, and not like a jungle it was last fall.

People were filling in for a traditional Shinto blessing of purifying the air, water and earth before the new season in the Garden - it's done every year by Rev. Barrish, who chants, offers sake, rice and flowers while asking to bless the garden....
SJG - 2/13/11 • Rev. Barrish and Shinto altar on the moon viewing platform
SJG 2/13/11 • People observing the ceremony from the orchard

SJG 2/13/11 • Rice offering
SJG 2/13/11 • Flower offering
SJG 2/13/11 • Sake offering

SJG 2/13/11 • Kids back on the zig-zag bridge, looking for koi

SJG 2/13/11 • Sorry, couldn't help myself:  cool shoes! where can I get a pair like that?
SJG 2/13/11 • the Koi didn't freeze, after-all:)
SJG 2/13/11 • 'Did you get the pic of the people?' asked Nat...
So here they are again, sitting in the orchard...

The calligraphy workshop followed the Shinto blessing - Midori Kono Kiel was in charge of the workshop.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Guides, Garden Volunteers - the Season Begins!

by Monzie
Plan on having that second cup of coffee or tea and nibbles with us at our first monthly continuing education meeting of the year:  10:30 am to noon, Thursday, February 17 in the Tateuchi Community Room.

To help us freshen our guiding scripts and techniques, Parks Educator Belinda Chin (her talk at the 2010 training class won wide acclaim) will lead off the season with "Tips for Interpretive Guided Tours."

Belinda is the K-12 education program supervisor for environmental learning at Parks and an enthusiastic volunteer herself.  She is a former earth science teacher at McClure Middle School and National Park Service interpretive ranger.

In addition, there is much news to cover after our three-month vacation.  So this meeting will begin very shortly after 10:30  with opening remarks by Unit 86 President Myrna Aavedal. 

Parks Horticulturist Lisa Chen will give an update on improvements made in the garden in November, staff changes and the outlook for more thinning and pruning on the west side later in the year.

Please refer to the standing column on the right for the dates and topics of upcoming meetings.  You will receive reminders and more details on each session here and also by email from Myrna about one week in advance of each session.

Special note:  We are alternating meetings between Thursday ad Saturday again this year.

The March meeting will be from 10:30 am to noon, Saturday, March 19, when Chris Charbonneau, president of the Washington Koi and Water Garden Society, will talk about the lake's living art.

Your continuing education committee welcomes questions and suggestions!  Contact Michele Malo, Mary Ann Wiley, Shizue Prochaska or Joan Kelday.