The experience of the Class of 2020 was, naturally, highly unusual as the world faced the first pandemic of our lifetimes. In-person classes, scheduled to begin in March 2020 were initially cancelled. The Volunteer Education and Training (VET) Committee then re-invented the SWS Annual Training to be virtual.
Read what Stewards had to say at the end of their training …
- It was a joy to participate and a great escape during this season of isolation. I will miss the classes and the interaction with everyone.
- Overall, I was blown away by the quality of the lectures and field trips and the enthusiasm and professionalism of the staff…
- The presenters and presentations were above and beyond what I expected. Thank you!
- Whether in person or virtual—this was great. I think the virtual [platform] allowed it to be more complete than it would have otherwise been for in person meetings.
- It was an excellent experience that I would highly recommend to others. Actually I liked it better than the separate island in-person class experiences of the past. [Virtual training] created a greater sense of one team to me.
- I really appreciated that we were able to decrease the carbon footprint of training by not driving so much. It was nice to get to know people from both islands and the surrounding areas.
Learn how to apply to become a Sound Water Steward.
Pictures below show small group field trips to native plants, restored salmon habitat, forests, beaches, and bluffs in 2020.
Class of 2019 Stewards talk about their training experiences …
- Genuinely life changing – completely changed my trajectory. This opportunity was the gift of a lifetime.
- The speakers offer something for everyone – the audience comes from diverse natural science backgrounds and the range of information addresses that.
- I have found my people and made great friendships. When I walk into the room, I don’t have to qualify the beauty of a mushroom or the rejuvenation I feel in a forest. They get it.
- As someone new to Whidbey Island, the sessions brought about BIG discoveries that changed the way I looked at living on Whidbey and how I was going to spend my time.
- I started out thinking I’d volunteer in one arena, and through the training found other avenues of interest and places to volunteer my time!
- It will be hard not coming to class on Thursdays. Is there an Advanced Class so this can keep going?
By mid October 2019, 29 members of this new class have accumulated over 1000 volunteer hours in over 30 different projects, including Intertidal Monitoring, Digging for Dinner, Forage Fish Surveys, Invasive Green Crab Monitoring, Pigeon Guillemot Surveys, Bull Kelp Monitoring, educational programs at the State Parks, and more.
Learn how to apply to become a Sound Water Steward.
2018 Volunteer Training Class – Photo by Rich Yukubousky
Would you like to become a Sound Water Steward? Maybe you are interested in learning how to protect and preserve your favorite beach. Maybe you are concerned about water quality, wildlife habitat, or conservation. Maybe you would like to better understand the island geology and biology of our marine environment. Or maybe you would like to join others who share a love of nature and a desire to give something back to our island community.
Sound Water Stewards are trained volunteers working in and around Island County for a healthy, sustainable Puget Sound and Salish Sea environment through education, community outreach, stewardship, and citizen science. The 2019 training program consists of at least 90 hours of expert educational sessions, guided field trips, and hands-on practice, plus an additional 10 hours of volunteer time during the summer. As a Sound Water Steward trainee, you will have the opportunity to learn a great deal, contribute to the community, and have fun in the process. New members will contribute 100 hours of volunteer time over the first two years of membership.
Applications are now being accepted for the upcoming 2019 class. Training sessions will be held on Thursdays from March 14th to April 25th and from September 12th to October 24th, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A $150.00 registration fee covers training materials and expenses. The application deadline is February 28th, 2019.
Apply now! Don’t miss this exciting educational opportunity as well as the chance to join a fun community volunteer group. There are several ways to obtain more information and an application. Visit the website at soundwaterstewards.org/training or visit the Sound Water Stewards booth at Sound Waters University or join us at our informational meeting at the Camano Island Library (February 20th from 7 pm- 8 pm).
“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…http://www.snowgoosefest.org
- 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
Training classes for the new Beach Watchers class resume in mid-September