SWS Training – How to Join Sound Water Stewards

How to Join Sound Water Stewards of Island County

2019 Training Class

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

2020 Class registration is closed. We welcome your inquiry about 2021. 

The 2020 training happened virtually. It included live online presentations and discussions via Zoom, interaction and sharing of experiences, ideas and pictures in a private Slack account, plus small group outdoor field trips to beaches, bluffs, forests, native plants, historic sites, salmon habitat restoration sites. 

Why Join ?

photo of class doing measurements on rocky beach Maybe you are interested in learning how to protect and preserve your favorite beach. Or perhaps you are concerned about development and its impact on our natural resources. Maybe you would like to better understand the geology and biology of these beautiful islands and surround yourself with terrific new people who share your love of nature. Or maybe you just want to give something back.

Whatever the reason, as a Sound Water Stewards trainee you will work a bit, learn a lot and have more fun than you ever imagined. And you will make a difference in the community.

Sound Water Stewards are dedicated environmental educators. Our goal is to lead our community in the protection and preservation of the natural world through science and educational outreach. For more about us, see What We Do and comments from the 2019 class. 

The Training

SWS Class of 2016 – Mussel Farm Trip

Before Covid-19, training consisted of 90 hours of expert presentations from top professionals, plus 10 hours of summer time hands-on activities with ongoing projects. About a third of the training involved guided outdoor field trips to locations such as Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Preserve, Whidbey Watershed Stewards Outdoor Classroom, Stillaguamish Tribe Fish Hatchery, Tulalip Tribes’ Hibulb Cultural Center, and the Penn Cove Shellfish facility. Now with Covid restrictions, the field trips are virtual OR we do them in small groups (5 maximum). 

The focus of training is on nearshore marine environments, but we also explore watersheds and groundwater, marine biology and oceanography, salmon and nearshore habitats, climate change, noxious weeds, agriculture, forestry, waste reduction, recycling, sustainable living, native plants and wildlife, intertidal monitoring, coastal geology and more.

Classes typically meet once a week on Thursdays. 

The Cost of Training

The training isn’t free (there is a $150 fee to offset class costs). It is a terrific deal that works two ways. In return for this unique educational opportunity, all new Sound Water Stewards agree to sign an agreement committing to 50 hours of volunteer community outreach for two consecutive years. Scholarships and split payments are available.

There are many ways to fulfill the time commitment and the hours add up quickly. It is fun, it is easy, and we can help you tailor your service to your talents, interests and comfort level. Some volunteers participate in intertidal monitoring of beaches. Others speak at schools and community meetings, lead beach walks, give nature talks or troll the shorelines for trash and noxious weeds. Still others contribute to the administration of Sound Water Stewards programs, projects and websites.

How to Apply

This page will be updated for 2021 near the end of 2020.

After you apply, we will contact you to arrange for a short conversation to answer your questions and review the type of commitment expected by volunteers who are accepted into the training. We are flexible and will work with you to find the best ways to use your skills, interests and knowledge. If you have further questions – contact us at training@soundwaterstewards.org