by Kelly Zupich '12
Clara with 2017 Volunteer Class – Photo by Rich Yukubousky
Clara Beier has been a devoted volunteer since she joined in 2014. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to feature her and her work in the “Volunteer Spotlight”.
Clara has dedicated her life to education in one form or another. She retired from a 40-year career of teaching with a specialty in elementary education and literacy instruction. She started teaching Kindergaten-1st grade then eventually moved into teaching at the university level at the University of Montana-Western and then on to State University of New York at Fredonia.
Clara has lived throughout the West and most recently in Fredonia, NY, near Buffalo. She was raised in Seattle and was delighted to come back to the PNW when given the opportunity. She shared, “In retiring, I knew I wanted to volunteer so that I could meet new people and try something different.” In 2013 she officially retired and made her return to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Clara explained that she wanted to expand her knowledge of science, natural resources, geography, and the Salish Sea and the Sound Water Stewards volunteer training seemed like a perfect fit. She enjoyed her classes so much that she joined the Volunteer Education Training Committee (VETC) after she graduated. That way she could help with the education of new volunteers and also continue taking classes over and over.
During her work on the committee, she became more interested in curriculum development. In 2016, during our transition into Sound Water Stewards, she took on coordinating the whole volunteer education program on Whidbey Island. During her time with us, she has volunteered with multiple projects including COASST (bird survey and marine debris survey), intertidal monitoring, and beach clean-ups. It was obvious from our conversation that the most meaningful activity for her was her time spent facilitating the education of Whidbey volunteers and collaborating with Camano VETC. Clara loved getting to know the new stewards and their reasons for expanding their knowledge. Field trips were Clara’s favorite part of training because “Field trips are where you get to see the actual concepts and impacts.”
Class field trip – Photo by Will Sperling
“My time working with the new students has been rewarding and I know that people would love to serve on the committee, and there is a place for everyone,” Clara said. After three years serving on the committee, she is ready to take on a new challenge. Thank you Clara for all your hard work and enthusiasm!
by Kelly Zupich '12
Sammye teaching the class of 2012 about plankton
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/