by Janet St. Clair
Summer is around the corner and we are already full tilt with activities and projects. You will get a chance to read about the efforts on both islands with our intertidal bio-monitoring. The board, staff and citizen science committee had great conversations about this core program of Sound Water Stewards-what we’ve learned in the past two decades and how we will go forward with this effort.
Our Education and Outreach activities are at full capacity. You will get a chance to read about Nature Discover Days on Camano when SWS partners with Friends of Camano Island Parks (FOCIP) get 2nd graders outside learning about the amazing shore to forest habitats. We’ve reached kids and families through our events at Penn Cove Water Festival, our broad range of State Park’s activities or other events. This is especially fun to me as I see their eyes widen as the barnacle pushes his feet out to grab food as it floats by. “Do you eat with your feet?” I ask. “Ewww,” is the chorus that surrounds me as they peer into the microscopes or water tanks we have on display.We also have multiple Citizen Science opportunities for you to participate in. Check with your Island Coordinator for more information. You should receive notices like the mussel bagging project by email or on our Facebook page. Have you liked our Facebook page yet? It is a great way to stay connected. You can click here to get engaged: https://www.facebook.com/Sound.Water.Stewards/ Other ways to be involved are to attend our member monthly meetings which feature great speakers. Recently we had excellent presentations on Climate Change from Dr. Richard Gammon and on Reducing Plastic Waste in our Oceans from Heather Trim of Zero Waste Washington. We hope you will join us at the summer picnic at Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey on July 22. You can always check out all our activities by going to our calendar: https://soundwaterstewards.org/web/#calendar.
My work continues to include grant writing-Thank you to Stillaguamish Community Grants for providing $3225 to Camano Island for our “Get Outside” classroom initiative with Stanwood Camano Schools District for our alternative high school science classes. Thanks to a grant from Goosefoot Community Foundation, we are actively involved in planning a 6 week lyceum series on South Whidbey for March/April of 2019, “The Ecosystem of the Salish Sea: The people, plants and animals that inhabit our home.” (Tentative title…) I am also working with the Board to move forward on Strategic Planning at our annual retreat and have begun implementation of our new donor database with the amazing help of Connie Clark and Paul Ben McElwain.
Finally, we are saying farewell to Suzie Gaffney as our Camano Coordinator but it is a sweet farewell as she will remain a Sound Water Steward member and volunteer, continuing to support our work in education and outreach. Suzie will be pursuing new opportunities closer to home. Suzie was foundational in our transition, supporting the Camano team with dedication, professionalism and always a smile. We welcome to our SWS team Mikaela Montanari who has already begun to be trained by Suzie and our Whidbey Coordinator, Kelly. Suzie officially hands over the tiller to Mikaela on July 1st. Fair winds to Suzie and welcome aboard Mikaela.
Enjoy the summer-get outside-and stay in touch. Send your pictures to us as you participate in SWS activities.