May 2014 Spotlight – Pacific Rim Institute

Golden paintbrush 1

Golden paintbrush on our prairie

The Pacific Rim Institute for Environmental Stewardship (PRI) is honored to be a member of the Whidbey Eco Network. This network is a testimony to the benefits of joining into partnerships serving the common good. Being part of this great network allows the staff at PRI to have a greater understanding of what other groups are accomplishing on the island, find opportunities to collaborate with others and have a sense of community.

This year Whidbey Eco Net has taken on the theme: “Whidbey Waters Are in Your Hands”.

That’s a pretty bold statement – that the health, safety, and availability of water on Whidbey Island is specifically tied to each of our actions. From the integrity of our septic tank to the straw that flies away from our fast food drink, our actions are impacting the health of our waters.

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At the Pacific Rim Institute, we engage this philosophy in a number of ways. PRI is a Christian nonprofit that equips people and communities to live sustainably and care for Creation. Each year, college and high school students come from across the country to engage in practical and inspiring field education. Instead of learning about marine mammals in the classroom they come to Whidbey and bring life to the words of their textbooks. They develop a rich belief that they are connected to the land and the water and that their actions will impact the health of the whole network.

On our own campus, we are actively restoring a prairie jewel. Northwest lowland prairie is the most rapidly disappearing ecosystem in Washington State, and we have a precious 4.5 acre remnant on our 175 acre property. We hope to eventually restore native prairie to 100 or more acres of abandoned agricultural land. This open space is a critical recharge area for Whidbey’s sole-source aquifer. Restoring this land and keeping it from further development is our way of protecting our natural resources, including our Island’s fresh water.

UW Plot 22 may 2011. Joseph Sheldon WEB

Come see the prairie in bloom

If you would like to visit our prairie while it is blooming, join us for our Prairie Open House from May 8 – 10, 2014. Free naturalist tours daily at 10am, 4pm and 7pm. Special Penn Cove Water Festival Prairie Tour will be on Saturday at 2:15pm and representatives of the Samish Tribe will be joining us to share the special Native American perspective on the significance of prairies to their ways of life.

Whidbey waters ARE in our hands. The Whidbey Eco Network has a wealth of information and resources among its members. If you have questions look no further than www.whidbey-eco.net. You’ll find events, resources, and contacts for all members.

For more information about Pacific Rim Institure – please see pacificriminstitute.org/