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April 2015 Spotlight – The Whidbey Institute

Starting at Home – by Marnie Jones

“This much is clear to me. If I can’t change my own life in response to the greatest challenge now facing our human family, who can? And if I won’t make the effort to try, why should anyone else? So I’ve decided to start at home, and begin with myself. The question is no longer whether I must respond. The question is whether I can turn my response into an adventure.” —Kurt Hoelting, The Circumference of Home

When our neighbor Kurt Hoelting pulled out a map and drew a circle around this place, he found that a radius of 100 kilometers just took in the peaks of the wild Olympics and the snowy Cascades, brushed the southern end of the Puget Sound, and encompassed the San Juan Islands and the outlet of the Salish Sea to the north. Our campus, known as Chinook, is adjacent to Hoelting’s acreage. Like his home, ours sits in the center of this 100-kilometer circle—the heart of Cascadia and the center of the Salish Sea. Hoelting spent a year exploring this region by kayak, on foot, by bike, and on public transportation, and emerged with an even deeper understanding of his personal role in stewarding it all.

At the Whidbey Institute, we know that our tie to the land is vitally important and deeply personal. Here, at Chinook, we care for our spaces and see how they care for us. Through events like our upcoming April 19 Place-Making Day and a community  BioBlitz, planned for early August, we’re working to develop a community ecological learning group as we deepen our commitment to land-based programming.

BellWIIn the courtyard of Thomas Berry Hall is a bell with swimming salmon suspended by three ravens that reads, “Salmon are the seabright silver shuttles weaving our rain green world.”

BellWIcloseupThe Whidbey Institute lays at the headwaters of two creeks feeding the largest watershed on Whidbey Island, the Maxwelton Watershed, which drains into the salmon-bearing Maxwelton Creek. The bell signifies The Whidbey Institute’s bioregional perspective. We understand that the political, cultural, and geologic forces affecting Cascadia affect us all, and the Salish Sea physically connects our Whidbey Island home to a complex living ecosystem.

Some of our work on behalf of the planet is right here at home. On Thursdays throughout the growing season, volunteers gather at the Whidbey Institute’s Westgarden to cultivate vegetables and herbs using a variety of organic and biodynamic horticultural techniques. This working garden, part classroom and part pantry, supplies produce for the local food bank as well as for the onsite kitchen and for volunteers and staff members’ personal use. The garden is a place to learn and play for Waldorf Students, who share Chinook and attend school onsite. Chinook is also a popular destination for college students and others in pursuit of service learning opportunities. We have had a long standing service learning partnership with Edmonds Community College through their LEAF program, and now through the Center for Service Learning. These land-based projects have included ecological research, gardening, and land stewardship.

Our Westgarden Steward, Abigail Lazarowski, is also the Community Garden Leadership Training (CGLT) Co-Coordinator alongside Cary Peterson. Together, they head an inter-organizational effort to train future garden leaders, attracting talented young people from around the nation to serve on South Whidbey at the Good Cheer Food Bank, South Whidbey School District, and Whidbey Institute gardens. This program has ripples around the nation, as inspired young leaders nurture our students and then take their lessons home to regions as far away as the Atlantic coast.

In addition to garden stewardship and trainings which address ecosystem work close to home, the Whidbey Institute holds Signature Programs which leverage the energy of area change-makers to help address regional, national, and global environmental issues. The Cascadian Climate Collaborative, founded in 2013 by a leadership team which includes Kurt Hoelting, exists to help strengthen the climate movement by linking diverse groups of climate leaders, engaging with tough ethical and emotional questions, and encouraging wider participation. Strategic gatherings of climate leaders from our bioregion serve to build a more powerful and resilient climate movement:strengthening our connections by bringing climate leaders together in common conversation, deepening our commitments by addressing the difficult moral, emotional, and spiritual questions at the core of the work, and broadening our collaborations by bringing new constituencies into the movement. The public is welcome at our upcoming April 18 talk, “Getting Real about Our Climate Future“.

Like the Cascadian Climate Collaborative, Salish Sea Bioneers exists to bring change-makers together and strengthen our shared competence in addressing pressing social, moral, and ecological challenges. Bioneers is a national organization, founded 26 years ago, which seeks nature-inspired solutions to our most pressing environmental and social challenges. For five years, we’ve held Whidbey Island Bioneers Conferences at the Whidbey Institute to bring this work to our region. In 2014, we rebranded as the Salish Sea Bioneers to honor our growing focus on bioregional collaboration and movement-building. We are excited to collaborate with the myriad bioregional efforts that are underway to make our communities models of what is possible when we learn to work with, rather than against, nature. In this collaborative spirit, we recently launched a series of Salish Sea Bioneers Community gatherings, which take place monthly at Seattle Impact Hub. This learning community has already gathered together Seattle-area citizens to learn with leaders in community solar, compassionate communication, and community rights with Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund’s Democracy School. By popular demand, we’ll be hosting a follow-up Democracy School meeting on April 8 with members of Seattle’s 350.org chapter to continue exploring community rights.

Whether we’re working in the fertile soil of the Westgarden at Chinook, gathering with regional climate leaders, or learning in the National Bioneers community about issues and solutions affecting us all on a global scale, one thing is certain: if we are going to take adequate care of the planet which so fully cares for each of us, we must begin with ourselves and start at home. We’re deeply grateful to ECO Net and the many individuals and organizations in our community who have taken this lesson to heart, and who live by example into our promising future.

DeerWIThe Whidbey Institute’s 100 acre campus includes miles of trails, which are open to the public from dawn to dusk daily. As this is a wildlife preserve, we ask that dogs be left at home. We also invite the public to our weekly Westgarden volunteer work parties, which take place from 9 to 12 each Thursday and which will extend to 4 pm as the harvest season draws nearer.

To learn more about the Chinook land or the programs of the Whidbey Institute, visit www.whidbeyinstitute.org or email info@whidbeyinstitute.org.

Highlight – Whidbey Earth and Ocean Month

April is Whidbey Earth & Ocean Month – see whidbeyearthday.org for full information. ECO Network members are sponsoring several of the events. (download poster) . Many Earth and Ocean Month events have been included in our calendar.


March 2015 Spotlight – Island County Environmental Health

Island County Environmental Health monitors many essential services on Whidbey and Camano Islands. We inspect schools, pools, restaurants and recycling centers. 

Maribeth Crandell collecting samples of toxic algae.

Maribeth Crandell collecting samples of toxic algae.

We are members of ECO-Net because we also care about water quality, from drinking water, to salmon restoration projects.  We take water samples for testing at popular swimming beaches, test shellfish and work with State and local agencies to monitor them for toxic algae blooms, paralytic shellfish poisoning, fecal coliform or other health hazards.  Our outreach efforts help prevent any public safety or health problems.

schematic diagram of relationship of house, septic system, well, and groundwater

From what goes down the drain inside, to protecting the drain field outside, Home Owner Septic Training will help you live well with your septic system and learn how to avoid costly repairs or replacement.

A number of our staff work with home owners on septic system issues. In Island County, roughly 70% of homes depend upon septic systems for waste water treatment and 70% are dependent on ground water for drinking.  Many people have moved to the Islands from urban areas where they were on a city sewer system.  Septic systems can be very different. In order to protect our water and public health we offer educational programs for home owners with septic systems.   

Septic 101 is offered for free to teach people how to live with their septic system in a way that helps that system work well and last as long as possible.  Septic 201 classes teach people how to inspect their system.  If you have a conventional gravity or pressure system, and pay $28, you could get certified to inspect your own system.  Both of these classes are taught both online and in person.

For those with an alternative system like a mound, sand filter or aerobic treatment unit, you can attend our new free Alternative Septic System Class taught in partnership with the Whidbey Island Conservation District.  (This class is offered for education, not certification.)  Alternative Systems require a licensed Maintenance Service Provider to inspect the system annually.

Inspections, like a tune-up for your car, help catch any problems before they become expensive repairs or failure. Inspections are required by local and state laws every 1-3 years depending on the type of system you have. If, during your inspection you discover the system has problems, we have financial assistance available for repairs or replacement. 

If you live in the Penn Cove Watershed, we have a Rebate Program that will probably cover the cost of your inspection.  It is available while supplies last for 2015 inspections in the Penn Cove Watershed. Those who are up-to-date with their inspections will get a PC sticker for their car.

For a list of Septic System professionals, and a link to registration for our online or in person Septic classes, information on our financial assistance or Rebate Programs visit: www.islandcountyseptictraining.com or call 360-679-7350.

Volunteers make it happen!

At our January 2015 Econet meeting, two attendees were applauded for the eight thousand hours they each have volunteered here on Whidbey Island.

photo of Jill Hein, Barbara Bennett, Connie Clark

Jill Hein, BW coordinator Barbara Bennett, Connie Clark

Jill Hein was in the Beach Watchers class of 2005, and is very active in Audubon, Orcanet, and Beach Watchers (where she supports the training program, Sound Waters, and just about everything else!).  In 2014, she was named “Jan Holmes Coastal Volunteer of the Year“.

Connie Clark joined Beach Watchers in 2007, and works quietly behind the scenes to make sure that all teams and events work effectively.  She uses her  expertise in all-things-web for the benefit of Beach Watchers (Sound Waters, website, tracking volunteers, classes in creative problem solving) and was instrumental in setting up this Whidbey Econet website.  She loves taking complex information and making it accessible – an early project was her EZID game – for exploring the intertidal fauna and flora of the Salish Sea.

January 2015 Spotlight – WSU Island County Beach Watchers

UPDATE: Beach Watchers will become an independent non-profit organization effective January 1, 2016. Their new name is Sound Water Stewards of Island County.

Island County Beach Watchers are trained volunteers dedicated to protecting and preserving the marine environment of Puget Sound and the greater Salish Sea through citizen science/research, education, outreach and stewardship. Beach Watchers is a program of Washington State University Extension, connecting the resources of the University with the unique marine-focused needs and opportunities of local communities.

As Beach Watchers enters its 25th year, more than 500 local residents have completed training and dedicate thousands of hours annually to enhance marine awareness, research and stewardship in Island County.

  • bw-logo
    Beach Watchers have worked for 25 years to understand, value and protect Island County's priceless marine environment.
  • Learning to measure beach gradients
    Each year, the new class learns about intertidal monitoring. Here they are learning to measure beach gradients
  • intertidal monitoring at coupeville – 2
    Tracking what's found in the intertidal zone
  • monomfilament recycling tube
    A recycling tube for capturing monofilament fishing line before it entangles wildlife.
  • fishing line ready to be recycled
    Fishing line ready to be recycled.
  • Dragging plastic fishing net off the beach
    Dragging plastic fishing net off the beach
  • microplastics on the beach
    Surveying microplastics that appear on our beaches
  • sound waters logo
    BW's plan and put on Sound Waters - a one day university for all - on all things Puget Sound - always the first Saturday of February
  • surveying eelgrass up close
    'Fun in the Mud' eelgrass team - counting eelgrass shoots
  • eelgrass-boat-1
    BW's getting ready to survey eelgrass beds using underwater video
  • rearticulated porpoise at coupeville wharf
    Rudy, a Dall's porpoise - at the Coupeville Wharf
  • seining
    Seining to count and measure juvenile salmon.
  • langley whale center
    BW's volunteer as docents at the new Langley Whale Center.
  • teaching kids at maxwellton
    Teaching kids about the intertidal zone
  • Digging for dinner
    Teaching families the best (and sustainable) ways to dig for clams
  • pigeon guillemots
    BW's participate in the Pigeon Guillemot Survey
  • necropsy
    BW's assist with necropsies to determine trends and record findings with NOAA
  • crabber hats
    BW's wear funny hats - to help get the message out to crabbers to use biodegradable escape cord - and ensure more crabs for all in future years.

While Beach Watchers spans all of Island County – this article highlights Whidbey Island activities (Camano Island BW’s are associated with the Snohomish-Camano ECONet). We work both independently and in collaboration with many other organizations.

  • Beach Watcher led activities
    • Coupeville Wharf – education and environmental displays
    • Crabber education
    • Digging for Dinner – teaching others to clam
    • Flora/fauna surveys (for 15 years) of the intertidal zone at more than 30 beaches – the results are now being used by UW researchers. Try your hand at the EZ-ID game
    • Monofilament fishing line recycling
    • Plastics surveying and education
    • Sound Waters – a one-day university for all – on all things Puget Sound – held on the first Saturday in February – we expect over 500 people to join us on February 7th at South Whidbey High School for our 20th year. No prior knowledge is required to attend – just an interest in learning about and taking care of this amazing place that we call home.
  • Working with Whidbey Econet Members
    • Deception Pass State Park – tidepool docents
    • Island County Marine Resources Committee – eel grass monitoring, pigeon guillemot study, seining
    • Island County Shore Stewards – sharing knowledge, education, best practices for shoreline living
    • Orca Network – docents at the Langley Whale Center
    • Whidbey Audubon – Christmas bird count
    • Whidbey EcoNet – website
    • Whidbey Watershed Stewards – teaching at the outdoor classroom, wetlands restoration, smolt counts
    • WSU Waste Wise – reduce / reuse / recycle!
  • Working with other Puget Sound organizations
    • COASST – monitoring beaches to collect seabird data for marine conservation
    • Marine Mammal Stranding Network – data collection on’stranded’ mammals, necropsies
    • WA State Parks – interpretive talks at Admiralty Head Lighthouse and Fort Casey

Beach Watchers training is an exceptional opportunity to receive more than 100 hours of university level instruction from experts in diverse fields. The training is a mix of indoor instruction, guided field trips, and learning-while-doing on summer projects. Class topics include watersheds & groundwater, marine biology & oceanography, salmon & near shore habitats, climate change, forestry, waste reduction, recycling, sustainable living, native plants & animals, intertidal beach monitoring, coastal geology, and more.

Each graduate is expected to give back 100 volunteer hours – deciding the particular ways they want to be involved. On average, each graduate contributes over 500 hours back to the local community and has fun while doing so!

If you are interested in becoming a Beach Watcher – applications for the 2015 training must be postmarked by Feb 20. See beachwatchers.wsu.edu/island/about/training.

December 2014 Spotlight – Gardening at South Whidbey Tilth

The word “tilth” is defined as the quality of cultivated soil. South Whidbey Tilth Association is a diverse network of people working cooperatively within our organization and in the community. Our commitment is to advocate, study and teach agricultural practices consistent with stewardship of the natural world. We promote and demonstrate principles and practices of sustainable agriculture, as well as cultivate a variety of opportunities for local market gardeners and farmers.


The South Whidbey Tilth Sustainability Campus is a community space to demonstrate and practice sustainable agriculture and to support one another’s work to steward the natural world. On over 11 acres, the campus includes a seasonal farmers’ market, community gardens, children’s garden, worm bins, a children’s play house, the forest understory recovery project, a Garry oak meadow, a landscape designed to reduce invasive plants along the State Route 525, and more.

Lesedi Farm on the Tilth campus

Lesedi Farm on the Tilth campus

Organic soil building is at the heart of what grows healthy plants. Soil with good tilth has a rich, spongy humus that holds moisture. Humus is formed by the decomposition of leaves and other plant material and by soil microorganisms. Soil loses its tilth when the soil is compressed or toxic chemicals are added, causing water, nutrients and soil to run off into waterways and into Puget Sound.

Water Conservation in the Garden workshop instructor Marc Wilson begins an installation in the community garden.

Water Conservation in the Garden workshop instructor Marc Wilson begins an installation in the community garden.

A water metering and irrigation system is being installed in the Tilth Community Garden plots and landscaped areas to monitor the water use from the well. The gardened areas include timers and manifolds for drip irrigation or soaker hoses, allowing water used to go directly into the soil around plants. Funding for the related educational component came through a mini-grant from Puget Sounds Starts Here, via ECO-Net, administered through Science, Education and Adventure (SEA). A Whidbey Island Garden Tour grant funded the materials.

Besides individual garden plots leased annually to individuals and families, the campus hosts special gardens, as well.

Dorcas Young shows off the interior of her high tunnel hoop house during the 2014 Whidbey Island Farm Tour.

Dorcas Young shows off the interior of her high tunnel hoop house during the 2014 Whidbey Island Farm Tour.

Lesedi Farm, an incubator farm uses a quarter acre on Tilth’s Sustainability Campus. Farmer Dorcas Young worked with the Whidbey Island Conservation District to construct a high tunnel hoop house to grow the African crops of her native Botswana. She sells produce fresh and prepared at Whidbey Island Farmers’ Markets. Water-saving irrigation is already installed on the Lesedi parcel.

The Whidbey Veterans Service Corps (WVSC), a project of the Whidbey Island Veterans Resource Center (VRC), has interested military veterans preparing, planting and harvesting two garden plots in the South Whidbey Tilth Community Garden during the growing season. The VSC mission is to provide opportunities, especially to younger vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, to apply military service skills and mission teamwork abilities to service projects for one another, their families and their community by growing some of their own vegetables, as well as providing surplus vegetables for other veterans, their families and the Good Cheer Food Bank.

Calyx students proudly show off their potato harvest

Calyx students proudly show off their potato harvest

The Children’s Garden is cultivated one day each week by the Calyx Community Arts School, where children plant, water and harvest their own food. Their chickens are cooped around the perimeter of the garden plot to keep weeds down, catch insects and provide eggs for lunchtime.

Watch for Tilth’s gardening class series this spring. Learn more at the South Whidbey Tilth website, www.southwhidbeytilth.org.

September 2014 Spotlight – Whidbey Camano Land Trust

The Whidbey Camano Land Trust (Land Trust) finds great value as a member of the Whidbey Eco Network. This network is a testimony to the benefits of joining into partnership serving the common good, and the Land Trust truly believes that partnerships make it possible!  As a member of Whidbey Eco Network, the Land Trust has an increased understanding of what like-minded groups are accomplishing on the Island, and is able to collaborate with these organizations to cultivate a healthier environment and community for today and future generations.

         Admiralty Inlet Preserve by Mark Sheehan

Admiralty Inlet Preserve – photo by Mark Sheehan

The Land Trust is a nonprofit nature conservancy organization founded by a group of citizens who wanted to save the great beauty and nature of Whidbey and Camano Islands — including working farms, natural habitats for fish and wildlife, undeveloped shoreline, trail and beach access, and scenic vistas. They saw great changes happening and knew that, without decisive action, these extraordinary Islands would be lost forever.

The Land Trust actively involves the community to protect, restore and appreciate the important natural habitats and resource lands that support the diversity of life on our islands and in the waters of Puget Sound.


Engle Farm – protected in 2012

Over the last 30 years, the Land Trust has protected 76 properties totaling over 7,800 acres on Whidbey and Camano Islands. Partnering with landowners, farm families, and the broader community, the Land Trust has expanded state parks, county open spaces and protected working farms and forests, shorelines and lakes, and many natural habitats. With the support of their more than 1,100 member-households, the Land Trust has also restored wetlands, estuaries, forests and prairies improving water quality and habitat for fish and wildlife.

It’s easy to fall in love with Whidbey and Camano Islands. These Islands are truly magical — providing refuge for wildlife and places for people to enjoy the outdoors. The Land Trust believes that love of our Islands is enhanced through positive experiences on the land, and provides opportunities through stewardship work parties, educational tours and special events, for people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with the land.

Hammons Preserve - Work Party Success

Hammons Preserve – Work Party Success

If you enjoy the beautiful, natural surroundings of Whidbey and Camano Islands and want to protect these irreplaceable features for current and future generations, please visit www.wclt.org and become a member today.

May 2014 – Kids @ Greenbank Farm

One hundred and twenty South Whidbey second graders came to Greenbank Farm for two days in early May  2014.

Among their activities:

  • a hike to the ridge to see both “sides of the Sound” and to hear about Puget Sound and its health and beauty,
  • learning about the sheep and chickens on the Farm and the roles that they play.
  • learning about native birds and habitats, identifying bird calls, and observing birds and learning to use binoculars.

It was a great two days of learning and partnership for all involved!

South Whidbey Elementary School

  • 2nd grade teachers – Betsy Hofius, Danni Curgiss, Leslie Woods and Laura Anthony

Whidbey ECO Network member organizations

  • Audubon Society
  • Greenbank Farm
  • SEA (Service Education Adventure)

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.


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/

ECONet’s Help for Whidbey’s Shorelines

Whidbey ECONet members doing social research for good

The shores of Whidbey Island are prized by all whether it be for the spectacular views, opportunities to walk and watch our marine wildlife, the habitat it provides for salmon or for a chance to dig clams.  To keep those shores clean and productive, our ECONet members join forces to do many kinds of projects. One of those projects lead by Whidbey Watershed Stewards was intended to aid our work by doing research into what our population cares about, and how we can better serve the people of Whidbey. Our partner organizations learned alot about social research along the way, with help from Pameal Jull, of Applied Research Northwest and with help from our funders at the Puget Sound Partnership.

Our Research

First, we held focus groups to get a sense of what it is that people know and what they think about in terms of water quality and our marine shorelines. See those focus group finding here WI ECO Net Focus Group findings. We followed it up with an electronic survey of 300 Whidbey resident. Our research was targeted toward our retired population, and we found out some interesting things that Whidbey folks care about:

  • People move here or stay here because they love the rural environment and natural beauty here, and in particular love being close to the sea.
  • Most folks reported that being near the sea was superior to being near fresh water lakes or rivers, and preferred the constantly changing and dynamic nature of the sea.
  • Whidbey residents are concerned about the quality of their drinking water, and the marine waters although they are less aware of the dangers posed to our marine waters.
  • Everyone recognized that we are all responsible for water quality, but put the emphasis on regulation by local government, particularly the County Department of Health.
  • Residents want to know that food and in particular shell fish on our beaches are safe to eat.

Our Programs

We did this social research to make sure we were serving our population in the best way, and to identify what people cared about. Our outreach followed up with activities involving many partners and a diversity of programs:

Digging for Dinner

Eugene Thrasher showing off types of clams

WSU Beachwatchers offer this program each year, and this year new beachwatchers took over the helm and they included new information about water quality and how we all affect water quality on the beach. You get to dig clams, and learn about what types we have as well as important tips of eating safely.

Orcanet Salmon films

Juvenile salmon by Roger Tabor

Our shorelines are an integral part of the Puget Sound food web, and from the very small young salmon that seek harbor along the shallows of pocket beaches and salt marshes to the mighty Orca, it’s all connected. Our Southern Resident Orcas depend on Chinook salmon for their food source and Orcanet hosted two movie nights to explore the relationships between salmon production and Orcas.

Whidbey Watershed Stewards and the Whidbey Island Conservation District at Farmer’s Markets

Who doesn’t love free food! Our shores provide a tidewater cuisine that is healthy and free to all. But it comes with a catch – we have to keep it healthy. The health of our shores are dependent on our upland stewardship. In our interactive displays we talk about how water moves through our soils and aquifers, our shellfish and the specific water quality problems around Whidbey. We brought samples of plankton from our waters, and explored the variety of aquatic life that supports our shellfish. Finally, the conservation district brings it all home with good farm and yard practices.

Rick at our Farmer's Market display