SWS Training – How to Join Sound Water Stewards

How to Join Sound Water Stewards of Island County

SWS Volunteer Class of 2018

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.

2019 Spring classes are now full, please check back for future class dates.

Training includes 14 classes which will be held on both Camano and Whidbey Islands in the Spring and Fall, each Thursday. Classes run from 9am to 3:30pm.

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, the 2019 Training Brochure, and comments from the 2016 class.

The Training

SWS Class of 2016 – Mussel Farm Trip

Training is the best part and includes 90 hours of expert training from top professionals, plus 10 hours of summer time hands-on training with ongoing projects. About a third of the training includes guided outdoor field trips to locations such as Deception Pass and Cama Beach State Parks, Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Preserve, Whidbey Watershed Stewards Outdoor Classroom and the Penn Cove Shellfish facility.

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 meet once a week – with an occasional extra day for field trips. Training begins in mid-March for 7 weeks, and then again in mid-September for 7 weeks.

The Cost of Training

The training isn’t free (there is a $150 fee to offset class costs), but it’s a terrific deal that works two ways. In return for this unique educational opportunity, all new Sound Water Stewards agree to sign a contract 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.

How to Apply

To become a Sound Water Steward, click here for the application for the 2019 training classes. 

The application is due February 28th, 2019.

Once most applications have been received, we will contact you to arrange for a short interview. Don’t be intimidated by the interview, it is just a way to make sure everyone is aware of 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