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 open for Camano Island, but the Whidbey Class is full. (Whidbey is accepting a waiting list for 2021)

The 2020 application form is available now. Apply here!

Training includes 14 classes which will be held on both Camano and Whidbey Islands each Thursday beginning March 12 – April 23, 2020 and continuing from September 10 – October 22, 2020. Classes run from 9 am to 3:30 pm and include both classroom learning and great field trips.

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 2020 Training Brochure, and comments from the 2019 class. On Camano, you are invited to a public information meeting on Tues, Feb 11 at 7 pm at the Camano Library. 

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 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.

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 on Thursdays. 2020 training will begin March 12 – April 23 and continue from September 10 – October 22, 2020.

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. Still others contribute to the administration of Sound Water Stewards programs and projects.

How to Apply

The 2020 application form is available now:

For Whidbey, all applications must be received by February 28, 2020.  For Camano, applications are due by March 2, 2020. 

Once most applications have been received, 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