King County parks levy before voters Aug. 6

July 30, 2013

If the King County Parks levy doesn’t pass on the Aug. 6 primary-election ballot, popular trails and parks will close, county officials say.

The county parks system, which includes 200 parks, 175 miles of trails and 26,000 acres of open space, depends on the six-year tax levy for 70 percent of its operating funds. County parks generate the rest of their operating budget through ballfield rentals and commercial ventures, like having Cirque du Soleil at Marymoor Park.

The proposed levy would fund maintenance at Marymoor, Cougar Mountain and other big regional parks, as well as smaller parks in cities and unincorporated King County. It would fund new purchases of open space and development of new trails, including connecting an east-west trail in South King County.

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Carnivore studies teach lessons in real-life science at Issaquah Middle School

February 19, 2013

There are more than two dozen territorial carnivores that call the Issaquah area home, and for the past four months the sixth-grade life science students at Issaquah Middle School have been leading their own investigations into these wild neighbors.

Since the end of September, the students have been learning about the local critters, ranging from raccoons and skunks to coyotes and bears, and developing scientific studies to find out how the animals use resources in the Issaquah community to meet their needs. The children teamed with staff from the Woodland Park Zoo and Western Wildlife to put the scientific method to use — asking questions, doing background research, forming and testing hypotheses, analyzing data and reporting their conclusions.

“I think it was interesting, because there was a lot to talk about since we have a lot of carnivores living in the area,” Engu Fontama said.

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