October 04, 2005
As we approached the Beall Greenhouses we could see the skeletons of the structures sticking out of the woods that had reclaimed the deserted buildings. Trees grew up through the centers and there wasn't very much left but the basic frame on many of the greenhouses. The Beall Greenhouses have been in Vashon since 1888. They were a major commercial nursery and island employer. During its 100-year lifespan, Beall Greenhouses became the nation's largest grower of roses, and an internationally renowned orchid establishment. Today, the Harrington-Beall Historic District includes some 59 greenhouses that represent a century of evolving greenhouse technology, a power plant that generated heat for the greenhouses, and the nearby homes of the Beall and Harrington families. Current owners are restoring the oldest greenhouses, and adapting the rest of the site as a sustainable environmental learning center. While there we met Institute for Environmental Research and Education (IERE). Julie had a chance to talk to Rita Schenck the Executive Director of IERE. She is working on the use of life cycle assessment (LCA) as a measurement tool for environmental performance. LCA is a holistic, science-based tool for evaluating the environmental performance of products and services. Plus, the grounds is home to experimental gardens which are studying sustainable practices.