San Juan Preservation Trust

Island Dispatch

December 2014

Photo by Jane Fox

Seed Project Takes Root

The San Juan Preservation Trust has joined forces with the San Juan County Land Bank on several acquisition projects throughout the San Juan Islands. This past year, however, the two organizations embarked on a different type of joint venture. The Salish Seeds Project, a native plant propagation nursery, is now sited at the Preservation Trust’s Red Mill Farm Preserve and the Land Bank’s Driggs Park, both located on San Juan Island.

The Preservation Trust and Land Bank share similar visions for restoration on their preserves, and a priority for each are the vanishing Garry oak savannah and prairie habitats. Most of the species targeted for this restoration work are impossible to find commercially. Therefore, it makes good economic sense to share facilities and resources. Native wildflowers and grasses will be grown at the nursery sites, among them the federally threatened golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta). The Salish Seeds Project is funded in part by a grant from the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Community involvement is central to the Salish Seeds Project. Volunteers are invited to help at either nursery location, or with a little training, to join our team of skilled wild seed collectors.

No Place Like Home

Carla Wright is an intrepid traveler whose adventures have taken her to the North and South Poles and many points in between. In spring 2014, she traveled from England to China on a container ship, the only woman aboard, to retrace the trade routes of bygone eras. (Last month she kept a Friday Harbor audience in stitches with stories of her cargo ship adventure.) Yet, upon arriving home on San Juan Island, she always has the urge to “kiss the ground”. Carla is passionate about these islands. She admits that, when she was looking at island land to purchase, she “fell in love at first sight” with her San Juan property. She describes her steep six acres as best suited for a mountain goat. It hosts extraordinary rock formations, huge madronas, firs and an ancient Garry oak tree. Her view includes the Haro Strait shipping channel – inspiration for her recent adventure. Carla believes that each feature of the land is living, connected. “The Preservation Trust’s work to protect such places is vital,” claims Carla.