by Kelly Zupich '12
Sammye Kempbell has been a dedicated and valued volunteer with Beach Watchers/ Sound Water Stewards since 2003. Throughout the years she has been involved in almost every aspect of this program, always with a smile and cheerful attitude. She found her passion in teaching others to treat the creatures that inhabit the marine environment with love and respect.
The Rosario Tide Pools were decimated after one Summer in 1995 by multiple school groups that showed up on a low tide day. There were over a 1000 students that knew nothing about tide pool etiquette and thousands of organisms were destroyed. Sammye shared “I could see the need the park had, and without a full time interpretive specialist, the need was even greater.” In 2010 she helped to start the Beach Naturalist program at Rosario Beach in Deception Pass State Park to help protect, educate, and restore the incredibly beautiful tide pools. Since then Sammye has spent every year teaching school groups and families how to be good beach stewards. She has fiercely protected those creatures while lovingly educating about their unique beauty. Not only has the program thrived but the organisms have been recovering. Her favorite experience in all those years was getting to look into the eye of a Giant pacific octopus that called the tide pool it’s home for 2 years.
The Washington State Parks felt Sammye’s work has been of the utmost importance and she was nominated for the WA State Park Outdoor Education Volunteer of the year for 2017. Sammye won! This is what Deception Pass State Park Interpreter, Jaqueline French, said at Sammye’s award ceremony. “We are in a time desperate for advocates to share their passion to protect this one wonderful Earth. 15 years ago, Sammye Kempbell was that advocate galvanized by the unsustainable treatments of these tide pools.” She turned to Sammye, “You are a beacon of stewardship and passion. Your nurturing appreciation of the tide pools is contagious. Your never ending excitement to equally teach and be taught fiercely defines interpretation. You’re an advocate for this park, this community and for this program. We look to you for inspiration, I look to you for wisdom, and future generations look to you with appreciation. On behalf of Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, congratulations on being Volunteer of the Year!”
Thank you Sammye for all your hard work. You have been a leader in our organization and many others. If you are interested in helping Sammye and the other Beach Naturalists at the Rosario tide pools check out this link http://www.deceptionpassfoundation.org/naturalist/