Subject: SWS Newsletter - January 2017

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Sound Water Stewards
Quarterly Beach Log

January 2017

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.

What have we been up to in 2016?

LOTS! We transitioned from being a program under WSU Extension to being our own 501(c)3 non-profit.  It took a lot of work, but we made it happen.  [ read more ]

At our SWS Annual Meeting in November we gave out awards to members who hit major volunteer hours milestones in 2015-16. Thanks to all our wonderful volunteers who work so hard to make the SWS program successful!  In 2016, they logged more than 25 thousand hours! [ read more ]

Sound Waters University 2017

Join 600+ people at our 23rd 'one day university for all' - Feb 4th at South Whidbey HS.

The day starts with a keynote on Ocean Acidification by
UW professor Dr. Terrie Klinger, followed by  3 class sessions (pick one class per session - from a total of 61 classes - 50 new this year!) plus  network with 600+ attendees and at a wide variety of exhibits.

You need to register by Jan 29th, but earlier is better.  We hope to see you there!

Meet Our Camano Staff - Suzie Gaffney

Our volunteers are split 70% Whidbey and 30% Camano, and we have two part-time coordinator positions - 20 hours/wk for Whidbey, 10 hours/wk for Camano

Welcome to our new Camano coordinator, Suzie Gaffney.  Suzie graduated with the Camano 2011 class after 30+ years in public education working in Alaska, Italy, Oregon and Japan. She has been an active volunteer for SWS, Friends of Camano Island Parks, Cama Beach Foundation and Master Gardeners. [_read more_]

Apply now for a spot in our 2017 Training Program
Training will be held on both Camano and Whidbey Islands - 7  Thursdays mid-March through late April, then 7 Thursdays mid-September through late October.  Learn about and explore your island community - from Aquifers to Zooplankton - through a range of indoor lectures and guided field trips.

You will work a bit, learn a lot and have more fun than you ever imagined. 
[ read more ]  about the training program and comments from the 2016 class and download the brochure and application (due by Feb 28th)

Do you know this bird ?

With its long flaming red-orange bill, each bright yellow eye highlighted by a red eye ring, and bizarrely pink legs and feet, it’s pretty hard to mistake an oyster catcher for any other species. Even their strident “wheep wheep” calls are distinctive from those of other shorebirds. 
[ read more ]
Meet Maxine...

A  dead porpoise washed up on Maxwelton Beach three years ago; beginning a long journey to becoming a re-articulated education display at the Langley Whale Center.  Read about all the people it took to  make it happen.  [ read more ]

About this Newsletter

Editors - Kelly Zupich, Suzie Gaffney, Connie Clark

We need your stories and pictures! If you are interested in writing about your project or just have an idea please contact your island coordinator at

If you by chance you come across a typo in this newsletter or any of the following links, please contact us so we can fix it. Thank you in advance.
New feature this edition - Meet the Board

We thought we would take the opportunity to learn a bit more about our dedicated SWS Board Members by asking three simple questions. Learn a little bit more about Dave Brubaker our first Board member featured.
[_read more_]

Surf Smelt Eggs Found!

For the first time to Dan Pentilla's knowledge, evidence of Surf Smelt spawning has been found in Cornet Bay east of the boat ramp. When Dan processed the Cornet Bay samples turned in recently by Sound Water Steward (SWS) volunteers participating in the Forage Fish Sampling project, he found over 100 surf smelt eggs. [ read more ]

Tillicum Beach Added

Tillicum Beach on South East Camano has been added to the 11 beaches the Camano Sound Water Stewards usually monitor. You can see Kayak Point on the mainland from this pebbly beach. Tillicum replaces Sunny Shores in the Camano Island monitoring line up. [ read more ]

Nighttime Tide-Pooling

In winter, our low tides come at night, and open up opportunities for some fantastic low tide walks.

During Camano's Starlight Walk on Dec 12th  they saw a variety of sea star species! [ read more ]

On the Moonlight Tide Walk at Rosario on Dec 13th many species were seen including the bizarre umbrella crab! [ read more ]

Holiday fun

On both Camano and Whidbey Island, volunteers found fun and creative ways to celebrate, eat lots, and raise money in support of our organization. Read about the songs at the Camano holiday party, including their training version of the 12 days of Christmas.  The Whidbey holiday party enjoyed some over-the-top desserts.

Save the Date - All

A New Years resolution - learn more about YOUR island

4th Wednesday Evening Talk
Camano Library meeting room [ calendar ]

Sound Waters University - Sat Feb 4, 2017
     Register by Jan 28th.  [ read more ]

Snow Goose Festival
     Feb 25-26 - Stanwood - check local papers for details in mid-February

Sound Water Stewards Training - starts mid-March
     Learn more and download the application (due Feb 28th) 

Help with Beach Cleanup
     Check this quarterly calendar for Island County Beach cleanups

Camano 101

     March 11 - check local papers in late February for details.

Save the Date - SWS Members

Camano Monthly Meeting

     1st Mondays 9:30am-12pm  [ calendar ]

Whidbey Member  Meeting

     4th Mondays 10am-12pm [ calendar ]

Field Trip to the Pt. Townsend Marine Science Center
     Plankton Class
- Feb 24th [ read more ]

Interpretive Education 101 Class
     Will be scheduled for the week of March 12th, more info to follow!

Recommended reading
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