This refers to a PREVIOUS SW, held February 2015
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Session A 10:45-noon
Click on any class title to see a full description of the class

A.1 Bats: Gentle Friends, Essential Allies

Washington's 15 bat species hunt moths, beetles, mosquitoes and other insects in our night skies. Worldwide, bats are important in plant pollination, seed dispersal and insect control. Using photos and videos, bat researcher Sarah Schmidt will share the amazing adaptations and contributions of these flying mammals, including bats of the Salish Sea watershed. Sarah Schmidt

A.2 Coastal Geology: Bluffs and Beaches

Learn about coastal geologic processes on Whidbey and Camano Islands. We will talk about shoreline erosion, beach formation, and how our coastline changes over time. Hugh Shipman

A.3 Conservation Meets Preservation: Exploring the Cultural Landscape of Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve

This class will examine the formation of the Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, and its driving mission to preserve and conserve. Lynn Hyde

A.4 Digging the Dirt: How to Better Manage Your Soil

This presentation is an opportunity for gardeners at all levels of experience to learn more about their soil and how to manage it for healthy plants and a healthy environment. Craig Cogger

A.5 Eco-Net: Organizations Working Together to Improve the Health of Waters Around Whidbey Island.

Puget Sound Partnership ECO Coordinator Cara Ianni will provide an overview of the work being done by ECO Networks across Puget Sound. Members of Whidbey ECO Network also will share the projects and programs that are happening on Whidbey that align with our theme of "Whidbey Waters are in Our Hands". Participants will come away with a greater understanding of the issues impacting our Sound and ways that Whidbey Island residents can make a difference through their daily lives on the Sound. Susie Richards,  Holly Syreen,  Karen Bishop,  Cara Ianni

A.6 Effects of Plastics On Our Health and the Environment

In addition to the well publicized impacts of improperly discarded plastics on marine life, the leaching of plastic additives in our food and drink, as well as in the environment, poses significant health risks. Some plastic additives will be identified and their effects on human health and the environment will be discussed. Mahmoud Abdel-Monem

A.7 HAS BEEN CANCELLED -- Environmental Challenges Faced by Shellfish Farmers in the Pacific Northwest

This class will provide an overview of environmental and other challenges faced by shellfish growers in Washington's marine waters. It also will cover ecosystem services provided by shellfish. Nicole Gilmore

We regret this class has been cancelled

A.8 Fishing for a Living: Tufted Puffins and Other Alcids

The Alcids are a diverse group of birds that includes the charismatic Tufted Puffin and the enigmatic Marbled Murrelet. Learn the life history of these species and their cousins: Ancient Murrelet, Pigeon Guillemot, Common Murre. One species dives to 300' below the surface and another nests in old growth forests. We'll cover where and when to see these special birds and detail how they fish for a living. This class is the third in the "Fishing for a Living" series. Steve Ellis,  Martha Ellis

A.9 Gardening with the Natives (Plants)

Are you looking to go completely native? Or, do you want to add some of the best of our NW native plants to your garden? We will talk about how to choose the best plants, and how to plant and place them so they thrive and show their best qualities. Trees, shrubs, ground covers, and ferns will all be covered to help gardeners create layered gardens with seasonal interest. June Davis

A.10 Hatchery Production: A Terminal Dependency?

For over a century, hatchery production has been utilized as a primary tool for salmonid recovery, mitigation, and fishery enhancement in the Pacific Northwest. This class will present perspectives about how efforts to supplement short-term salmonid harvest have resulted in unintended genetic, ecological, and fishery related consequences. These consequences have degraded wild salmonid populations and undermined the long-term sustainability of regional fisheries. Learn how potential hatchery and harvest reforms could mitigate these effects. Adrian Tuohy

A.11 Impacts of Ocean Acidification on the Marine Food Web

In this class, we will discuss what we know about the biological impacts of ocean acidification (OA), as well as what is still unknown, to explore the impacts of OA throughout the marine food web. Anna McLaskey 

A.12 Invasive Plants: Noxious Weeds in Island County Threatening the Sound, People and the Environment

Noxious weeds are a kind of "green" you don't want. This session will provide a general overview of invasive noxious weeds in Island County and teach identification skills. Because nearly half of our listed noxious weeds are garden escapees, Janet will also recommend attractive alternatives to use in your garden. Janet Stein

A.13 Island County Hydrogeology: Your Groundwater

You will learn about the genesis and function of our aquifers and aquitards. You will also learn about the risks to our water resources, such as contamination and over use, and how government agencies work to protect our water resources. The course will provide details regarding local groundwater availability and issues. Doug Kelly

A.14 Our Adventures in Underwater Robotics

South Whidbey residents Haley, Annika and Hannah will present a narrative of how an underwater robotics team from a one-light town became international champions. A tale of scarce resources and sheer grit, this presentation will leave you examining gender bias, STEM education, and the power of a small island community. Haley  McConnaughey,  Annika  Hustad,  Hannah  McConnaughey

A.15 Puget Sound's Glacial History of Climate Change

Glaciers are magnificent indicators of climate change because of their sensitivity to temperature and precipitation, and their ability to leave lasting evidence of their former size. Dr. Riedel will trace Puget Sound’s climate history from the last ice age between about 30,000 -11,500 years ago, through cyclic changes in glacier size after about 7,000 years ago, to the Little Ice Age and the last century. Jon L. Riedel

A.16 Septic Systems 101: Caring for Your Septic System

This class will teach you everything you’ve always wanted to know about the proper care and feeding of your septic system. Learn how you can save thousands of dollars by properly maintaining your septic system. Discover what not to put down the drain. Find out how to tell if your system is failing. Learn how to obtain low interest loans for repairs. This informative class is the first of two steps in learning to inspect your own system. Janet Hall,  Bill Roberts

A.17 The Genesis of the Keystone Species Concept: How Apex Predators Drive the Diversity in an Ecosystem

In this class, Dr. Paine will present a summary of his ecosystem research on Tatoosh Island and the nearby mainland shore, including an overview of his "keynote species" hypothesis, which describes how top predators dominate an ecosystem, often to the benefit of species diversity. Robert Paine

A.18 The Giant Pacific Octopus

Giant Pacific octopuses, or GPOs, are an iconic resident of the Puget Sound and the North Pacific, and are the largest species of octopus in the world. This class will cover the basics of GPO biology and ecology, explore their intelligence and behavior, and touch on their role in Puget Sound's recreational dive and fishing communities. Tim Carpenter

A.19 The New Story of a Thriving, Resilient Salish Sea

Learn about the mission of the Thriving Salish Sea Project to support and accelerate the emerging movement of communities living in our area into new stories of thriving and resilience in the Salish Sea basin. This class will explore the power of media and narrative to engage citizens in learning about their watershed, the Salish Sea and the challenges our communities are confronting as increased transport and shipping of oil and coal threatens the ecosystem. Gretchen Krampf,  Lynnaea  Lumbard

A.20 The State of Environmental Programs in Island County, Including Budgetary Considerations.

County Government is responsible for implementing and enforcing a wide range of programs designed to meet state mandates for environmental protections. These include, but are not limited to, surface and ground water quality, marine habitat and shellfish health, watershed planning, shoreline planning, growth planning, FEMA flood requirements, water availability, septic effluent disposition, solid waste, and endangered and listed species protections. This short course will identify many of the programs implemented in Island County designed to meet increasing environmental protections with a shrinking budget. Helen Price Johnson

A.21 HAS BEEN CANCELLED -- Vanquishing Zombie Fishing Nets in Puget Sound

The Northwest Straits Initiative began removing derelict fishing gear from Puget Sound in 2002. Since then, more than 4,900 derelict fishing net remnants and more than 3,400 derelict crab pots have been removed from Puget Sound. Learn how The Northwest Straits Foundation and its partners have helped restore over 672 acres of important marine habitat! Joan Drinkwin

We regret this class has been cancelled

A.22 Wanderin' the Trails of Whidbey

In this class, Sarah Boin will offer tips on great places on Whidbey Island to wander and tricks on how to do so safely and comfortably. Sarah Boin


Session B 1:15-2:30
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B.1 HAS BEEN CANCELLED -- Avian Protection - PSE Program

This class will present various components of Puget Sound Energy's Avian Protection Program; including responding to avian incidents, facilitating positive relationships with wildlife resource agencies, internal procedures, how PSE strives to make its electrical system safer for birds, and opportunities for partnership with agencies and local organizations. Haley Edwards,  Mel Walters

We regret this class has been cancelled

B.2 Crabbing 101

This class is a true crabbing 101. We will cover crab habits and addictions, the rules for catching and possession, the many ways to catch crabs, how to keep crabs alive, and how to cook and clean them. We'll discuss the best baits, Whidbey Island fishing locations and times, and how to keep from losing your pot. John Hudson

B.3 Development of the Urban Wilderness Project - A Story of Community, Culture and Environmental Restoration

Join Jordan Imani Keith in telling her story about how she developed the Urban Wilderness PROJECT‘s curriculum and workshops for a changing society and Urban Wilderness WORKS to restore our communities, culture and environment by creating access to service-learning projects rooted in social change. Jourdan Imani Keith

B.4 Environmental Legislation in Olympia: What's Up and How to Participate

We often hear how important it is to let our legislators know what we care about. But how many of us really do that, or even know what legislation is being considered in Olympia? Sego and Rein will provide an overview of legislative proposals currently under consideration by our Legislature and teach you a few simple tools to use to easily and effectively give comments to your elected officials. Sego Jackson,  Rein Attemann

B.5 Gray Whales in the Pacific Northwest

Pat Gearin will present an overview of the Pacific Coast gray whale population and migration patterns, focusing on the Pacific Northwest and Salish Sea area. Management issues also will be discussed. Pat  Gearin

B.6 How Trees Hug Back: The Cultural and Ecological Importance of Trees

Join us to learn how “Trees Hug Back.” At this hands-on workshop you will learn about the importance of the mighty conifers of the Pacific Northwest, their significant importance to salmon habitat and the many traditional and medicinal uses of these evergreen giants. Tamara  Neuffer

B.7 Kelp - Functions, Trends, and Threats in a Critical Biogenic Habitat

This course will illustrate and discuss the ecosystem functions played by kelp, discuss human uses of these species, and illustrate the changes in abundance and distribution of kelp in Puget Sound. We also will discuss what threats have influenced these changes and efforts for kelp conservation and restoration. Tom Mumford,  Helen Berry

B.8 Landslide Impacts on Local Fish Habitat

This class presentation will explore the impacts of the Oso Slide on downstream and estuary fish habitat in the Stillaguamish Watershed. Kip Killebrew

B.9 Making Citizen Science Sustainable for Your Organization

Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC) has one of the longest standing Citizen Science programs in the United States, having engaged over 3,500 citizens in 30 projects over a period of 22 years. This interactive presentation by PTMSC staff will lead an audience of citizen science coordinators and volunteers through: considerations about effective tools and techniques for data management, balancing scientific and educational goals for the coordinating organization as well as citizen scientists, understanding how to create project selection criteria that best suit your organization’s needs and goals, and identifying the fundamentals of financial sustainability. Jamie Montague 

B.10 Mussel Watch Pilot Expansion Study: An Active Biomonitoring Effort to Assess Contaminants in the Nearshore Ecosystems of the Salish Sea

In the winter of 2012-13, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, with the help of citizen science volunteers, other agencies, tribes, and non-governmental organizations, conducted the first synoptic, Puget Sound-wide assessment of toxic contaminants in nearshore biota. This class presentation will cover the methods and results of this large-scale, nearshore contaminant study. Jennifer  Lanksbury

B.11 Native Pollinators: Garden and Habitat Restoration

In this class you will learn about native pollinators in the Puget Sound region. Landscape features and native plants that support healthy pollinator populations, including the rare western bumble bee, will be discussed. Julie O'Donald

B.12 Ocean Acidification Patterns in Puget Sound

The goals of this class are to learn about what ocean acidification is, how it affects biological organisms, what it is like in Puget Sound and what local factors may affect the status of ocean acidification impacts. Jan Newton

B.13 Overview of Latest Research on Melting Ice Sheets and Sea Level Rise

Join Ian Joughin, Principal Investigator of Ice Sheet Studies at the UW's Polar Science Center, to learn about the latest research on melting ice sheets and the associated impact on sea level rise. Ian Joughin

B.14 HAS BEEN CANCELLED -- Potential Increases in Vessel Traffic and Oil Spill Risk Management in Puget Sound

This class will summarize an overview of a comprehensive vessel traffic risk assessment (VTRA) developed for Puget Sound. Although shipping accidents leading to major spills are decidedly rare in Puget Sound, the potential frequency of accidents could rise with increased oil vessel traffic. A suite of potential measures to mitigate spill risk will be discussed and future collaboration efforts to address concerns will be summarized. Todd Hass,  John Veentjer

We regret this class has been cancelled

B.15 Raptors of the Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest, and specifically Whidbey Island, is one of the best places in the world to see raptors up close and personal. This class will help you identify the biggest birds in the air, and provide a beginning understanding of how they make their living day by day. Pat Cozine

B.16 Reimagining Shorelines through Bulkhead Removal for Nearshore Habitat Restoration - A Growing Trend

Shore modifications, such as revetment and bulkheads, negatively impact the ecological functioning of nearshore coastal systems. Organizations in Puget Sound working on salmon recovery include removing bulkheads as a high priority for restoration of the nearshore. This class will outline a series of completed bulkhead removal and associated coastal restoration projects at private and public sites in Northern Puget Sound and highlight the factors that contributed to project success through project conception, building partnerships, design, and implementation. Jim Johannessen

B.17 Sea Star Wasting Disease

Sea star wasting disease has caused one of the largest disease-related mortality events ever recorded in the oceans. Yet, there is little known about the disease, or for that matter, marine diseases in general. Dr. Ben Miner will present general information about the disease, experimental work on the cause of the disease, and the patterns of mortality along the coast. Benjamin Miner

B.18 Shellfish, Can You Dig It?

Learn about where it is safe to harvest shellfish in Puget Sound, including Whidbey Island, dangerous biotoxins, and how to sustainably harvest, prepare and cook shellfish for dinner. Maribeth Crandell,  Adi Hanein,  Eugene Thrasher

B.19 Stormwater Pollution Solutions for Salmon

NOAA scientists and their regional collaborators are working to identify clean water technologies that protect salmon and their habitats from the harmful effects of toxic stormwater runoff. This session will showcase the major challenges that non-point source pollution poses for salmon conservation and recovery, and discuss some promising new strategies for improving habitat conditions in developed and developing watersheds. Nat Scholz

B.20 Tsunamis: Sources and Implications for Island County

This class will present a crash course on tsunamis, potential tsunami threats to Whidbey Island, and recent research on past tsunamis in our area. Jim Rich,  Breanyn  MacInnes,  Brian  Ostrom


Session BC 1:15-4:00, with break
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BC.1 "Return of the River" - The Story of the Unleashing of the Elwha River (Double Session)

"Return of the River" follows a group of strong-minded committed people as they attempt the impossible: to change the public opinion of a town and eventually the nation to bring a dam down. The community comes to a consensus, setting the Elwha River free and showing the way to a more sustainable future. Amid grim environmental news, "Return of the River" is a film infused with hope. A question and answer session will follow the showing of this award winning film. Jessica Plumb,  John Gussman

BC.2 Native American Adaptation to Whidbey and the Salish Sea* (Intermediate, double session)

Lou will discuss the Native American cultural adaptation to the mega-optimum zone of the Puget Sound region with a focus on Whidbey Island. The tools, food, dwellings, and life ways will be shared with the audience. *This intermediate level double session assumes the participant has some prior knowledge or understanding; it is not an introduction. Lou LaBombard


Session C 2:45-4:00
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C.1 A Guide to Kayaking Local Waters

The Salish Sea provides many of the best places on the planet to paddle. We will "tour" Whidbey with trip information and attractions for day trips (and a few overnights) compiled by WISK--the Whidbey Island Sea Kayakers network. Sue Ellen White,  Dale Christensen

C.2 Beach Fishing for Salmon 101

In this introductory class, you will learn how to beach fish for salmon, tie common fishing knots, why to use different colors and sizes of lures, and how to play a fish. Kevin Lungren

C.3 Connecting Birds, Birders and Land Protection

Come and learn how local and personal action can help save and protect the habitat so vitally important to our birds and wildlife. Ann Casey

C.4 Importance of Seagrasses and the Observed Die-off of Seagrass Beds in Puget Sound

This class will discuss mass extinctions of seagrasses historically and locally. Results of recent research will be presented that point to hydrogen sulfide as being a smoking gun among the many possible kill mechanisms affecting seagrasses locally and globally. Ecosystem services and seagrass physiology, ecology and historical attributes also will be discussed. Frederick Dooley

C.5 Intriguing Aspects of Dragonfly Behavior

This class will explore both the basics of dragonfly behavior, as well as some of the more intriguing types of behavior that have been discovered recently. Slow-motion videos and photos will document much of the behavior described in the class. James Walker

C.6 Island County's Updated Shoreline Master Program: Process, Status and Issues

Learn about Island County's recent update to its Shoreline Master Program, including the review and approval process by Washington State's Department of Ecology. This class also will delve into one issue raised by the State's review that focused on use of commercial finfish net pens in Island County waters. Brad  Johnson,  Marianne Edain,  Steve  Erickson

C.7 Monitoring of Puget Sound Salmon and Steelhead: What Does It Tell Us About Life-History Diversity, Freshwater Productivity and Marine Survival?

This class presentation will describe regional monitoring efforts to understand the biological and environmental processes governing salmon and steelhead population dynamics in Puget Sound. Joe Anderson,  Neala  Kendall

C.8 Island County Hazard Mitigation Plan: Natural Hazards Encountered on Whidbey Island and Emergency Preparedness

Island County is susceptible to many hazards. These range from coastal erosion to wild land fires, including earthquake, tsunami and landslides. Find out about the county’s 2015 Hazard Mitigation Plan, and what the county is doing to reduce risks. If time allows, strategies residents can use to preparing for and deal with such hazards will be discussed. Eric Brooks

C.9 One Island, One Ocean: Circumnavigation of the Americas to Protect Our Fragile Oceans

In 2009, Mark and his crew left Seattle on the Ocean Watch for a 28,000 nautical mile sailing circumnavigation of the American continents via the fabled Northwest Passage and Cape Horn. With the mission of engaging citizens of the Americas to protect our fragile oceans, the team studied issues including polar ice melt, coral reef health, changing sea levels and coastal erosion. Vivid photographs illustrate Mark’s first-hand account of adventure on the high seas and the state of the health of our ocean. Mark Schrader

C.10 Orca Tribes of the Salish Sea

All around Whidbey Island, the San Juan Islands and throughout the Salish Sea we often see "resident" orcas and "transient" orcas. They look very similar, but everything they do, from diet to language, is completely different, and they have avoided each other for centuries. Howard Garrett

C.11 Oyster Gardening

Learn the basics of building and maintaining an oyster garden on the beach. Find out about suitable beach types for an oyster garden and the kind of gear used. Kurt Johnson

C.12 Renewable Energy in the Northwest

This class is an introduction to renewable energy, and the best ways for home owners and small businesses to implement it in the Northern Puget Sound region. Options presented will include solar photovoltaic power, wind power, hydro power, and solar water heating systems. Considerations for site selection and how to determine which option is right for you will be discussed. Paul Dickerson

C.13 Seafood 101 - Celebrating the Journey from Sea to Market to Table

What's the big deal about U.S. seafood? It's good for your health, good for the environment and good for the economy! Rebecca Reuter

C.14 The Owls of Whidbey

In this class, you will learn about owls, including their physiological adaptations, natural history, what they sound like, as well as where and how to find them on Whidbey Island. Gary Piazzon

C.15 Tribal Uses and History in Island County

Communities have lived on the shores of the Salish Sea since time immemorial. Adam and Rosie will share the past, present and future of the Samish Indian Community. Come prepared with questions and for discussion ranging from traditional practices to tribal sovereignty and current environmental restoration. Adam Lorio,  Rosie Cayou-James

C.16 Update on the Pacific Northwest's Earthquake Hazards and Earthquake Early Warning System

This class will provide an overview of our earthquake sources and an update on recent and current research activities that are refining our understanding of the earthquake risk in our region. Learn also about the University of Washington's research on warning systems that would help reduce losses in our next damaging earthquake. Bill Steele

C.17 What Are Those Rocks on the Beach and Your Backyard -- The Fun and Joy of Being a Rock Hobbyist.

This class will present a story developed by an avid rock hobbiest over the past 40 years of walking the beaches of Whidbey and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest looking at rocks, geologic structures, and our physical world around us. Rufus Rose

C.18 Whidbey Island and the Pacific Northwest: The Geological Forces, Climate, and Natural Features That Shape the Place We Call Home

The presentation will examine the natural features that have shaped the place we call home. The geological forces and factors controlling our climate will be featured. The program will end with an overview survey of key biodiversity groups. Joe Sheldon

C.19 Whidbey Island: Reflections on People and the Land

For generations, Whidbey Island's vivid beauty has made it a home for those drawn in by a rural landscape and thriving communities. Join authors Elizabeth Guss, Janice O’Mahony and Mary Richardson in a conversation about the kind of future we hope to create for the Island and how we see ourselves going about it. Elizabeth Guss,  Janice O'Mahony,   Mary  Richardson

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