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Volunteer Training

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Accepting Applicants for 2022 soon.

Please sign up for our newsletter to be notified when the application period opens for 2022.

Training Amazing Volunteers

Sound Water Stewards are trained volunteers working in and around Island County for a healthy, sustainable marine environment through educationscience, and stewardship.

A 100-hour annual training is required to become a Sound Water Steward. Training classes with presentations by experts in their fields are held on Thursdays during the daytime for 14 weeks (usually 7 weeks in spring and 7 weeks in fall), mostly via Zoom. Live virtual classes are enhanced with field trips, curriculum reading material, participation, and other requirements. Field trips and onsite experience help build each new Steward’s knowledge of local beaches, bluffs, estuaries, watersheds, restoration sites, and marine flora and fauna. Training is only offered once each year.

All programming follows Island County Department of Health and State of Washington COVID safety standards, including social distancing, sanitizing, and masks. Additionally SWS Board of Directors has adopted a mask requirement for both indoors and outdoors to keep everyone safe.

Class dates for 2022 have not been set yet. We will begin accepting new applicants in January 2022. For now, you may add your name to a list to be notified when the application form goes live for the 2022 Training. Each applicant will be interviewed before being selected into SWS Class of 2022.

Thank you for your interest and your dedication to stewardship of the marine environment.

Benefits of Joining

Maybe you are interested in learning how to protect and preserve your favorite beach. Or perhaps you are concerned about development and its impact on our natural resources. Maybe you would like to better understand the geology and biology of these beautiful islands and surround yourself with terrific new people who share your love of nature. Or maybe you just want to give something back.

Whatever the reason, as a Sound Water Stewards trainee you will work a bit, learn a lot and have a ton of fun. And you will make a difference in the community.

The Training

Training is the best part!

The focus of training is the nearshore marine environments, but we also explore watersheds and groundwater, salmon and habitat restoration, noxious weeds and native plants, climate change, geology, forests, waste reduction and recycling, community science and much more. Classes are rigorous, but also fun!

Classes meet once a week on Thursdays (during the daytime) with a 7 (possibly 8) week session in Spring and a 7 (possibly 6) week session in fall. Dates for 2022 are not set yet.

In the spring, classes focus on foundational concepts about local geology, species and ecosystems, nature in a natural setting. In the fall, we address human impacts with experts on climate change, ocean acidification, habitat restoration and how we can each make a difference.

Cost of Training

The training fee is TBD. Scholarships and payment plans are available. We do not want the fee to be a barrier to participation. You will need a computer with microphone and camera, or a tablet. (Using a Zoom screen on a cell phone for several hours is not a very satisfactory substitute for a larger screen and keyboard.)

In return for this unique educational opportunity, all new Sound Water Stewards agree to commit to 100 hours of volunteer time supporting SWS programs, activities or committees (50 hours a year for two consecutive years or faster). 

There are many ways to fulfill the time commitment and the hours add up quickly. It is fun, it is easy, and we can help you tailor your service to your talents, interests, and comfort level. Some volunteers participate in intertidal monitoring of beaches. Others help lead public education or entertaining activities at State Parks or troll the shorelines for trash or noxious weeds.

How to Apply

This space will be updated with new information soon for 2022. If you have an urgent question now, send email to training@soundwaterstewards.org or call 360-678-4401.