Nicole Luce

Jan Holmes Island County Coastal Volunteer of the Year

In a marine-based environmental organization like Sound Water Stewards, it is important to have strong leaders who can provide science-based activities for which volunteers can take part.  It is just as important to have leaders who can bring volunteers together in social settings and activities to make the organization more of an extended family of caring friends who enjoy each other’s company. Nicole Luce is such a leader, for many years being the heart and soul of Sound Water Stewards (SWS), and Beach Watchers before that.

Since taking WSU Beach Watchers training in 1997, Nicole has volunteered around 6,400 hours on a great number of projects, not only those of Beach Watchers and Sound Water Stewards, but those of associated partners. Some of those include being on the Beach Watcher Advisory Council, doing Computer Tech work for SWS, being a big part of Sound Waters University, and being on the SWS Training Committee. 

You could find her on the beach watching pigeon guillemots as part of a project with Island County Marine Resources Committee and Whidbey Audubon Society, recording dead shorebirds for the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), assisting with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, or simply cleaning up beach litter while walking along the shoreline. She has been a big part of K-12 Environmental Education, WSU Waste Wise activities, and fundraising for Sound Water Stewards and the Lighthouse Environmental Programs. This is just a small sample of some of her many activities. And if there is a SWS social activity taking place, whether it’s a picnic, holiday party, retreat at Fort Worden, or any other celebration in which volunteers can enjoy themselves and have a good time, you know that Nicole was likely behind it in some way. 

Nicole is dedicated to our environment in her volunteer life as well as in her personal life. She truly walks the talk when it comes to the environment, and lives in a “green” home that demonstrates just how sustainable home life can be. She is a volunteer who is willing to do anything that is needed, from taking lead on projects to making a great cup of coffee, and always with a positive attitude and a smile. She is a can-do-it type of person that has made volunteering and working with her an absolute pleasure. Nicole does an amazing job on anything she touches. She is a great leader and efficient worker bee, and has been a backbone of the SWS community, contributing to the health of our Island County shorelines.

Nicole was awarded the 2020 Jan Holmes Island County Coastal Volunteer or the Year award on Saturday, February 1, before a crowd of over 600 attendees at Sound Waters University. The award is hosted by Island County Marine Resources Committee, Sound Water Stewards, and Washington State University Extension – Island County, and awarded annually to a volunteer who has demonstrated exceptional volunteer service relating to the health of Island County’s marine environment. Preceding Luce as winners of the Coastal Volunteer Award were Barbara Brock, Sammye Kempbell, Phyllis Kind, Jill Hein, Ken Urstad, Bob Gentz, Connie Clark, Sandy Dubpernell, and Craig and Joy Johnson.