SWS Training – How to Join Sound Water Stewards

How to Join Sound Water Stewards of Island County

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.

Learn about the 2018 SWS Training classes in our brochure. And if you’d like to become a Sound Water Steward, click here for the application for the 2018 training classes. (Learn more about the application process).

Optional information sessions – Feb 21st
– Camano Island: 7pm at Camano Library
– Whidbey Island: 1-2 at Freeland Library.

Training includes 14 classes which will be held on both Camano and Whidbey Islands in the Spring and Fall, each Thursday from March 15 through  April 26, then continuing from September 13  through October 25. 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 2018 Training Brochure, and comments from the 2016 class.

The Training

photo of class enjoying a sunny day at Fort Casey 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 near shore 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 $100 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.

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 2018 training classes. 

Once most applications have been received, we will contact you to arrange for a short interview in early March. 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