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Join Us

Class of 2022 is filled. We are no longer accepting applications for Training in 2022. We will begin accepting applications in early 2023 for 2023 Training.

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Check out our interactive map and get the big picture of where we’re making a difference across our shorelines

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To find out when we begin accepting applications for membership and Annual Training each year.

Apply for Membership (Training) in 2023

two seals

Yes, you must apply to become a Sound Water Steward and participate in the required 100-hour annual training.

We began accepting applications in early 2023.

Thank you for your interest in becoming a member of Sound Water Stewards by taking the Annual Training. Training is required to become a member and is only offered once each year. All current Stewards have completed the 100 Hour Annual Training.

In applying for membership, you express a desire to utilize your training to become actively involved in Sound Water Stewards’ education, science and stewardship programs for many years to come.

By the end of your training, you will feel more connected to the beaches, marine life, and ecosystems of Island County, better able to communicate the challenges facing the environment, able to describe SWS mission and programs, and feel closely connected to the people in your class and in SWS. You will work hard and have fun!

To learn more, watch a recording of the Town Hall held Feb 10, 2022 via Zoom.

Sign up to receive our e-newsletter list so you will be notified about next year’s training (see bottom of this page).

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 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!

Classes are rigorous and engaging. The focus of training is the nearshore marine environment. In recent years, classes have covered

  • tribal sovereignty & treaty rights
  • coastal geology
  • intertidal zones & life forms
  • groundwater & watersheds
  • marine mammals & marine birds
  • plankton, forage fish & eelgrass
  • salmon life cycle, estuaries & habitat restoration
  • native plants & invasive species
  • local forests
  • waste reduction & recycling
  • climate change
  • ocean acidification
  • sea level rise

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

Trainees receive a detailed schedule and background reading for each class as well as background details for field trips.


When & where are classes held?

In 2022, classes are held virtually via Zoom on 14 Thursdays during the daytime enhanced by in-person outdoor field trips and nature studies, on Whidbey or Camano Island, or nearby.

A computer or tablet is highly recommended. Training on Zoom, Slack, and VolunteerMatters will be offered.

Are there field trips?

Yes! Field trips and on-the-beach experience is a vital and integral part of training.

You will get to meet your classmates in person, outdoors during Field Trips. Most trips take place on Whidbey or Camano Island, with an occasional off-island trip such as to Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

In-person programming follows Island County Department of Health, State of Washington, and State Parks or other host sites’ COVID safety standards, including social distancing, sanitizing, and mask requirements. SWS Board has determined that masks are required for both indoor and outdoor events sponsored by SWS, including training.

Accommodations are made for anyone who isn’t comfortable on a beach or in-person with groups.

2022 Field Trip dates are not set yet.

Deadline: When are the application and fee due?

Application: SWS accepts applications via the online form here on this website. Your application is time-stamped when you submit it and you will receive a copy by email.

Class size is limited. The earlier you apply the better your chances of getting into the Class of 2022. Applications will not be considered after March 1, 2022, but you may use the application form to be added to a waiting list.

We aim for a mix of trainees from Whidbey and Camano, however, applicants are not required to reside in Island County. Each candidate will be selected on the basis of the application and an informal interview conversation.

Applying does not guarantee a space in the Training Program. Space is limited. Apply early to be considered.

FEE: The 2022 membership fee of $300 is to be paid in spring 2022 AFTER you have been accepted into the class. Full and partial scholarships are available. We do not want the fee to be a barrier to participation; donors have contributed funds to make possible a pay-what-you-can scholarship. Details will be handled individually.

The $300 fee may also be paid in 2 parts, $150 in Spring and $150 in Fall.

2022 Training Plan

Please be sure to review the 100 -Hour Training Plan for 2022 and enjoye the video below too.

PLEASE watch this 3 minute video to learn what Stewards do.

Sound Water Stewards do not discriminate on the basis of race, disability, color, creed, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, military status, or any other protected classification.

SWS receives financial support from Lighthouse Environmental Programs.