Education

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

Education & Training

At Sound Water Stewards, “education” means many things. It is the internal training we provide to our members (SWS Member Training). It is also educational activities we offer to the public (Community Education).  

MEMBER TRAINING: 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 2022 regarding how to apply to become a Steward through participating in the 2022 Training.

Continuing Education for Members: Through presentations at monthly meetings, special field trips and Slack posts, we offer opportunities for members to further their understanding and awareness of the marine ecosystems and impacts on the ecosystems. 

COMMUNITY EDUCATION: For the public, here’s a selection of the educational activities trained Sound Water Stewards deliver to our communities 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. 
  • 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.
  • With Covid impacting our ability to gather in person, we are now producing original SWS educational videos.

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 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. 

SWS Facebook, Instagram and Vimeo pages offer quick tidbits of fascinating marine ecological information and a speedy way to make announcements about new videos, materials or events. 

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

It’s March – The Grays Are Arriving (Gray Whales that is)

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

MyCoast App Training

The Problem with PPE Litter, Like Masks

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