Education & Training
At Sound Water Stewards, “education” means many things. It is the internal training we provide to our members (SWS Training). It is also educational activities we offer to the public (Community Education).
All Sound Water Stewards attend training to become Stewards. Each year, new Stewards receive 100 hours of Volunteer Education & Training (VET) to equip them to participate in and lead projects, activities and committees. This training provides the foundation for many partnerships in which Stewards engage in citizen science research projects collecting useful data for state agencies, tribes, county agencies, and other partnerships. In recent years, 20 to 40 people have “graduated” from our annual training adding to the ranks of active Stewards. Details will be available in January 2021 regarding how to apply to become a Steward through participating in the 2021 Training.
For the public, here’s a selection of the educational opportunities and activities trainied Sound Water Stewards deliver to our communities as a key strategy to spark curiosity, appreciation for and dedication to stewardship for the natural world.
- Under the banner of “a one-day university for all” we present Sound Waters University annually on the first Saturday of February. This event is wildly-popular offering a wide range of collegiate level courses for the general public. Registration is now open for the virtual SWU on Feb 6, 2021.
- In 2020, we published the field guide book, Getting to the Water’s Edge, an informative resource about 69 public access beaches on our two islands, Camano and Whidbey.
- Sound Water Stewards are responsible for the beautiful and educational displays at the Coupeville Wharf.
Although in-person gatherings are suspended until after Covid-19, here’s a list of typical educational activities.
- In partnership with State Parks on Whidbey or Camano, in pre-Covid times, Sound Water Stewards collaborated or assisted with a wide range of educational activities at special events or throughout the year Junor Rangers, Lighthouse Tours, Nature Discovery Days, Iverson Beach Days, Low Tide Beach Walks (at night in winter, daytime in summer) and First Day Beach Walks (see video of a virtual walk in 2021).
- We bring educational activities to booths at fairs and special events such as Arlington-Stillaguamish Eagle Festival, Penn Cove Water Festival, Welcome the Whales, Snow Goose Festival, Camano 101 Living on an Island, Way of the Whales, Cama Beach State Park Winterfest and HarvestFest, Fort Casey Family Outdoor Discovery Day.
- We offer our own unique programs such as Digging for Dinner where people learn about harvesting clams sustainably and returning the beach to pre-clamming conditions and a monthly Speaker Series on a wide range of topics, previously held at the Camano branch of Sno-Isle Library.
- We collaborate with Island County Marine Resources Committee and Pacific Northwest Art School to run art and science education activities or contests.
Pictured below are the microscopes ready for children and adults at the Arlington-Stillaguamish Eagle Fest in February 2020.⇓
Watch SWS Original Science Education Videos
The Sea Star
The Moon Snail
The Lives of Salmon
Getting to the Water’s Edge, guide book published by Sound Water Stewards in 2020
Thank You to Whidbey Community Foundation
If you have ideas for topics for future educational videos, OR if you would like to star in one, please contact Allie Hudec, Education Coordinator via email.
See also the Sound Water Stewards vimeo channel