What We Do
Sound Water Stewards supports highly trained volunteers to do education, outreach, citizen science and stewardship to sustain a healthy Puget Sound environment. We have partners in and around Island County with active chapters on both Whidbey and Camano Island. Our partnerships include researchers, governments, universities, state and local parks and other nonprofit organizations that focus on work in the Salish Sea. Sound Water Stewards, formerly Island County Beach Watchers, became an independent nonprofit organization in 2016.
A major focus of our program is the annual training program for new volunteers. We provide 90 hours of expert training from top professionals, plus 10 hours of hands on training. Since our inception in 1989 we have trained hundreds of volunteers who have contributed thousands of hours of community service. Both new and old volunteers work on a variety of projects in keeping with our mission to support the health and sustainability of Puget Sound.
- Citizen Science – We are the ‘boots in the mud’ for many citizen science projects – following exact protocols to guarantee the accuracy and value to scientists of the collected data.
- Education & Outreach – From working with families on the beach to teaching kids the wonders of their island habitats, our volunteers teach children and adults about how to look carefully in our tidepools, how to “Dig for Dinner” and the amazing talents at our “Barnacle Bonanza”. We are seen at fairs and festivals like Snow Goose and Penn Cove Water Festival throughout the year. We also bring nearly 700 people across Puget Sound to a university level symposium Sound Waters University held on South Whidbey on the first Saturday in February each year.
- Stewardship – SWS volunteers assist with trail maintenance, beach cleanups, pulling noxious weeds and planting native species so the habitats around us thrive.
See What We Do for an expanded view of our many activities.