Category Archives: Public Events

Sea Level Rise – sponsored by Island County Marine Resources Committee

Sponsored by the Island County Marine Resources Committee (MRC), Ian Miller PhD of University of Washington presented to capacity crowds on both Camano and Whidbey Island explaining the causes and possible consequences of sea level rise due to climate change. One source of added water in the oceans is the melting ice above ground that is visible from year-after-year photos of Antarctica and Greenland. When this ice melts, since it wasn’t part of the ocean to start with, it adds volume. Furthermore, rising ocean temperatures mean the water is expanding.

Dr. Miller explained the uncertainty related to making predictions about the impacts, both in terms of when and by how much. For Washington waters, “There is a 50% assessed likelihood that sea level will be 2.1 feet or higher relative to present by 2100 if emissions track RCP 8.5.” RCP 8.5 refers to a ‘business as usual’(we make no changes) global scenario for Representative Concentration Pathway. Dr. Miller then compared that to RCP 4.5 (a pathway in which the world takes actions to reduce carbon emissions) for Island County which shows 50% assessed likelihood that sea level rise will be 1.8 feet.

After reviewing probability tables with the group, we then had the opportunity to look at possible scenarios for ourselves. MRC had outfitted the room with seven laptops, one for each table of participants. We viewed our local neighborhoods and beaches using the sliding scale on the left to see what was under water at 1 foot, at 2 feet of sea level rise and so on. [The Camano group noticed portions of Highway 532 in Stanwood would be under water at 1 foot of sea level rise.]

You too can use the Sea Level Rise online tool to see how the low areas get covered as sea levels rise. It is on a website managed by NOAA Office of Coastal Management.  When you arrive at the website you need to launch the application then put in a zipcode or street address. I encourage you to check it out.

Dr. Miller’s research is part of a coastal communities regional resilience project to help inform people who live on the shores. Sea level rise can contribute to coastal flooding (higher surges, more frequent flooding), habitat loss (loss of mudflats, marshes), salinity change which could affect wells and groundwater) and shoreline erosion. You can find Dr. Miller’s presentation slides and additional materials and links online at

Speaker Series: Science, Art, & History of the Salish Sea


Speaker Series

Wednesdays at 7pm

at the Bayview Cash Store

Front Room Gallery, 5603 Bayview Road, Langley (upstairs Bayview Cash Store)

Suggested donation of $10 per person


In addition to our speakers series, for the month of March and April, there will be an Art show featuring the beautiful Salish Sea

Mon-Fri. 10am-5pm, March 1 through April 26

Featured Artists: Siri Bardarson, John Hunter, Melissa Koch,

Robin Olive Reich, Carla Stehr, and Linda Warford

Featured Speakers:

  • March 6th, 2019 – “Footprints through time” – Adam Lorio
    Join us to learn a bit about how human communities around Whidbey Island and the Salish Sea have impacted each other since time immemorial. Rooted in a deep sense of place we will take a look through time to see how cultures have evolved and been molded by our landscape.


  • March 13th, 2019 – “Hidden Worlds of Marine Plankton: Life in a Changing Ocean” – Dr. Armbrust

    Every drop of seawater contains fantastically diverse groups of microbes that control key biogeochemical processes in the ocean and determine the habitability of our planet. The challenge is to scale from this world of individual cells to ecosystem function and ultimately to ocean basin processes. Our work focuses on microscopic marine phytoplankton because they are responsible for almost fifty percent of the photosynthesis that occurs on Earth each year, they form the basis of most marine food webs, and they help regulate past and current fluxes of CO2 into the ocean. Phytoplankton evolved in a dilute environment where they are never free from the influences of other microbes. Thus, they serve as critical links within interacting microbial networks of marine ecosystems. Dr. Armbrust will discuss the ways we study these essential microbial communities in the laboratory and on oceanographic cruises, with the ultimate goal of understanding how they will respond to and will help shape future ocean conditions.


  • March 20th, 2019 – “How Nature Journaling Can Enliven Your Time in Nature” – Susan Zwinger

    A hands on Workshop – Susan Zwinger will share her twenty  plus Illustrated Journals and speak about how she draws from them for both books and drawings. She will list the abundant surprising ways a journal may be used (to fit your life). Then she will help you create a simple, but beautiful, journal page to get you on your way.*Please bring blank pages or a sketch notebook and a black ink pen


  • March 27th, 2019 – “Plastic in our environment and in our lives: Problems and solutions” – Heather Trim, Zero Waste Washington
    Plastics are everywhere and their impacts and management are a growing concern around the Pacific NW and globally. Please join Zero Waste Washington for a conversation highlighting current knowledge of plastics, from microplastics in marine waters to plastics recycling challenges. Last year 300 million tons of new plastic were produced globally, and 1/3 of this was used in plastic packaging, including bags, bottles, containers and wrappers. Even in Washington State where we have strong waste reduction goals, only 15% of plastic waste is recycled. What happens to the rest of it? In this presentation, you will find out about plastic waste and what is being done to reduce plastic pollution in our region.


  • April 3rd, 2019 – “Stormwater Pollution: Challenges and Solutions” – Matt Zupich, Whidbey Island Conservation District                                                    This presentation will cover the basics of watershed hydrology, the impacts of stormwater, and scalable management techniques that can be applied to minimize stormwater pollution.


  • April 10th, 2019 – “Art as a way to communicate science: Illustrating marine life with microscopes and fiber art” – Carla Stehr                         Carla is an artist-scientist who uses her scientific background to inspire her art. During her career as a Fisheries Biologist (now retired) she examined fish, invertebrates and plankton with a Scanning Electron Microscope. High magnifications reveal that marine life is far more complex than we can see with our unaided eyes. Even individual fish skin cells or single-celled plankton have amazing structures. Images of these stunning patterns can communicate a sense of that complexity to a broad audience. Carla also uses fabric and stitch to create art illustrating aspects of marine life that might go unnoticed. She will talk about how science and art influence each other in her work, show microscopic views of marine life and their connection to her fiber art and share her experiences of using the art in nature to encourage education about the marine environment.

For more information email us at

This speaker series is brought to you by these organizations

Happy New Year 2018

“In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” – Baba Dioum – 1968

Ebey’s Landing, WA – Photo by Rich Yukubousky


Happy New Year! Get outside and get your feet wet!

It’s fun and fulfilling to learn more about YOUR island habitat – you, your kids, your grand kids and your neighbors can be part of Sound Water Stewards and make a difference!

Join us in 2018 to expand your knowledge and get involved. Become a volunteer, check out one of our local events, or donate now to help us expand our reach and impact.

Sign up for our SWS training and join our ranks of volunteers!

Learn about and explore your island community through our annual training of new volunteers. Take advantage of this learning opportunity to dive into the wonders of our natural world.

We will be taking applications starting in mid January. [ Learn more ]


 Events you can attend in 2018:

On Whidbey Island

  • Ways of the Whales  January 20th, 2018 – SWS will host a booth where you can come talk to us about SWS and our many programs; also enjoy the most current research and topics regarding whales. Register today!
  • Sound Waters University offers attendees a choice of 60 or so fun and informative classes and presentations about the natural world and the fragile environment of this special place in the Salish Sea. February 3rd, 2018 – Pre-registration is required, don’t miss out! Over 650 people attend every year.
  •  Annual Gray Whale Cruise in April – Join SWS on a 2 hour cruise of beautiful Saratoga Passage to search for feeding Gray whales. A knowledgeable on-board naturalist and delicious appetizers and beverages are included. Keep an eye on our Facebook page or check our calendar page regularly for event updates!
  • Penn Cove Water Festival – SWS volunteers will have a fun family-friendly booth for you and your family to meet some live marine critters!  May 12th, 2018
  • Digging for Dinner – Do you want to learn how to safely dig for clams? Join us for one of our many classes we offer in the summer months to learn safe and sustainable ways to harvest clams!
  • Junior Ranger Programs and Central and South Whidbey State Parks. We will be hosting a variety of fun nature-focused Junior Ranger Programs for kids of all ages.
  • Guided walks at the State Parks – Want to learn more about the beach and get a chance to go on walk? Join us for one of our many guided walks in 2018.
  • Family Outdoor Discovery Day – Join SWS and State Parks for an afternoon of fun activities for the whole family. Located at beautiful Fort Casey State Park on Aug 25th, 2018. 

On Camano Island

  • Visit a Camano state park – we have two – and you can park for FREE Jan 1, and Jan 15, March 19, April 14, April 22, June 2, June 9 and 10.
  • Visit one of our many county parks…Camano has 13. Check out our new park at Barnum point.
  • Go to the Port Susan Snow Goose & Birding Festival Feb 24-25 – watch the papers for details and come visit our booth…
  • Check your library for a copy of “Getting to the Water’s Edge” – and plan to explore along the shoreline, or curl up at home and read essays on topics crucial for our intertidal areas.
  • Attend our free 4th Wednesday Evening Talks at the Camano Library – Jan 24 talk is on Reigning in the Rain: Rain Barrel Construction by Scott Chase past coordinator for WSU Shore Stewards program.
  • Look for our Mysteries of the Sea Activity Booths…Microscopes and Art…one in the spring, one in the summer, and then at the Cama Beach Harvest Festival in October.

Make sure to join SWS on Facebook or check our calendar page regularly for new events and updates! 

Rainy day activities

  • EZ ID Game – Learn to name all your local marine critters and plants! This is a great activity for those interested in learning to name what you see at the beach.
  • Coupeville Wharf Display – Check out Rosie the Whale skeleton and other beautiful interpretive displays at the Coupeville Wharf. Also make sure to try the scavenger hunt activity and watch one or all of the awesome videos during your visit.

Photograph by Jill Hein

Sound Water Stewards are “Trained volunteers working in and around Island County for a healthy, sustainable Puget Sound environment through education, community outreach, stewardship, and citizen science.”

5 Ways you can help SWS