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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11-28-2012

Partnership honors four Island County Puget Sound Champions

PHOTO: http://bit.ly/UcIZ11
 
COUPEVILLE – Today the Puget Sound Partnership honored four “Puget Sound Champions” from the Island Local Integration Organization during a ceremony in Coupeville. These individuals and organizations were recognized for their exceptional work protecting and restoring habitat, cleaning up polluted water, and engaging the community in implementing the Action Agenda – the Partnership’s regional plan to clean up Puget Sound.
 
The honorees are partners with the Island Local Integration Organization, one of 10 local watershed-based groups the Partnership works with to help set priorities for local programs and projects.
 
“Though we are only recognizing four recipients today we know this is just the tip of the iceberg of dedicated individuals and organizations contributing in Island County,” said Steve Sakuma, CEO of Sakuma Brothers In. and a member of the Partnership’s Leadership Council. “Though a token, these awards represent the appreciation of the Puget Sound region – from both current and future generations.”
 
Award winners include:
 
Nancy Waddell—Whidbey Watershed Stewards
Nancy has worked to protect, enhance and communicate about the environment on Whidbey Island since 2002. She joined Maxwelton Salmon Adventure in 2002 to coordinate the Maxwelton History Project and edit the book “A Journey Through the MaxWelton Watershed.” Nancy became the administrative coordinator for the organization, which changed its name to Whidbey Watershed Stewards in 2006. The group has thrived under her leadership, carrying out many restoration projects, community events and operating the Maxwelton Outdoor Classroom for school districts throughout Whidbey Island and beyond. When the Puget Sound Partnership created the ECO Networks in 2009 to focus on education, communication and outreach about Puget Sound issues, Nancy became the coordinator of the Whidbey ECO Net group, continuing through June 2012. In that capacity, she managed several grants that benefited the work of many of the 20 or so local organizations that comprise Whidbey ECO Net, and the health of Puget Sound.
 
Pat Powell—Whidbey Camano Land Trust
Since 1984, the Whidbey Camano Land Trust has been protecting Island County’s most important natural habitats, scenic vistas and working farms and forests in partnership with landowners and the community. In 2003, the Land Trust hired its professional staff, including Pat Powell. Since that time, there has been a phenomenal increase in the quality and quantity of lands protected, cared for and restored. The Land Trust’s work is significant and its portfolio is a testament to the conservation work performed in Island County, including:

  • 32 conservation easements protecting 1,166 acres of privately held land for their conservation values.
  • 18 assist projects that have protected 1,656 acres.
  • 11 properties owned by the Land Trust that protect 849 acres.
  • 3,291 acres of coastal tidelands are also owned by the Land Trust, ensuring permanent public access along beaches.
  • 63 grants secured since 2003, totaling more than $25 million for permanent protection and restoration of natural areas, farmlands, fish and wildlife habitat, and coastal and freshwater wetlands.

In the 2010 acquisition of the 654-acre Trillium Community Forest, more than 1,500 households donated to the project, helping the Land Trust raise $4.2 million in just seven months to purchase and protect the largest, continuous private property in the county. This year, the Land Trust became one of an elite few to be awarded national accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the national Land Trust Alliance. Of the 1,700 land trusts located around the country, just 158 have achieved this distinction.
 
A One Day University—WSU Beach Watchers for Sound Waters
This “one-day university for all” event has been held for more than 15 years on the first Saturday in February on Whidbey Island. WSU Beach Watcher volunteers work tirelessly every year to engage a staggering 500-plus people in a whole day of learning about a broad diversity of topics related to Puget Sound recovery. Most years, they offer a list of more than 60 presenters that constitutes a who’s who in the fields of environmental science, education and naturalists from across the region. It is significant in and of itself to get that many people energized and engaged on Whidbey Island in the month of February, but to be run so professionally by volunteers and be a significant fundraiser for the program makes it all the more impressive.
 
Christine Longdon—CamOcean Day at Cama Beach
Three years ago Christine Longdon was a passionate woman with an idea and a lot of determination. At first, she had trouble getting people to return her calls because she was not affiliated with an organization and no one was familiar with her. But in 2010, Christine almost single-handedly launched this environmental education event that regularly draws more than 2,000 people each year. She has repeated this feat for three years running and has brought on nearly 35 partner organizations to participate and engage in environmental education activities and all-day programs for families. Three years later, people know Christine is a valuable community resource and are joining her 2013 CamOcean Day Committee. Christine is now also involved as a WSU Beach Watcher and Cama Beach State Park volunteer.
 
“Working together is the key to making Puget Sound healthy again,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership. “The region is making progress because of the many talented and dedicated people committed to championing Puget Sound recovery efforts.”
 
About the Champion awards
Puget Sound Champion awards are presented by the Leadership Council to honor partner contributions to the Puget Sound ecosystem recovery effort. To learn about other Puget Sound Champions, go to www.psp.wa.gov/champions.php.
 
About the Partnership
The Puget Sound Partnership is the organization leading the recovery of Puget Sound. The Partnership is a state agency that coordinates the efforts of citizens, governments, tribes, scientists and businesses to set priorities, implement a regional recovery plan and ensure accountability for results. For more information, go to www.psp.wa.gov.
 
 

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MEDIA CONTACT: Alicia Lawver, Public Information Officer, (360) 464-2011, alicia.lawver@psp.wa.gov
 
 
 

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