From the Executive Director Nan Maysen

Citizen Science and Education & Outreach are the cornerstones of Sound Water Stewards. In our mission, we engage trained volunteers to work in and around Island County for a healthy, sustainable Puget Sound environment through education, community outreach, stewardship, and citizen science. We have the Citizen Science Committee and Leads who work with the Coordinators to provide structure for our citizen science work. And a huge part of our goal to provide education is accomplished through the VET and Sound Waters University, as well as the 4th Wednesdays on Camano and State Park programs on both islands.  Those projects are successful thanks to the teams of terrific volunteers leading them, and the Staff that has been able to develop programs and present when volunteers are not available. While in past years, Outreach has been successfully blended in with education activities and special events, there are many opportunities for SWS to participate in or even lead, if the coordinators had an Education & Outreach Team to draw upon and work with.
 
So when you hear more about becoming involved in outreach, here are some of the opportunities that Coordinators and SWS volunteers could be accomplished together:
  • expanded participation in State Parks programs at Camano SP and Ft Casey / Ft Ebey;
  • regular engagement with the many visitors to Coupeville Wharf on summer weekends and events;
  • working with our partners, such as MRC to provide interpretation alongside our citizen science teams doing monitoring or other work;
  • participating at special events with our message;
  • renewed participation in the focused efforts like Crabber’s outreach and plastics pollution;

We are lucky to have 3 Coordinators (until Kelly leaves us at the end of August) who have skills and talents and experience in outreach and have already created wonderful tools and props for outreach and ed programs. However, as you know the coordinators have limited time to dedicate to DOING the outreach, and furthermore – I am often reminded that this is a VOLUNTEER DIRECTED organization. But the BEST REASON for expanding our team of Outreach Volunteers is this: ITS FUN!!! 

 

I would like to share Scott Chase’s remarks in his email to me about the Crabber education program (and his concern about such a reduced involvement in outreach:
“A decade ago, this was a BIG effort for Beach Watchers. Most Camano volunteers would gather at one couple’s house, where we’d assemble hundreds of packets, followed by a potluck and enjoying wine, beer, and each others’ camaraderie.  We made it fun, and it was a great party to encourage folks to show up. We’d have several volunteers at every boat ramp on Camano (and on Whidbey), and on the Fourth a couple of dozen volunteers would march in the parade at Utsalady, a community on north Camano, handing out crab cord and other materials. Attendees would look for us each year, and it was a blast”

I know how very busy all of you are with so many meaningful projects that we have going, but I do hope some will be inspired to work with staff and Board as we re-ignite Outreach and Education.  After all,  Citizen Science and Stewardship make a REAL difference when it helps inform and inspire the “public” – and that is why it is part of Sound Water Stewards’ mission!