Kristin with new brand wear at Turtleback Mountain Preserve

Each year, the San Juan Preservation Trust’s staff selects a volunteer whose efforts exemplify the best qualities of our members—cheerful diligence and dedication to our conservation mission.  

Our staff unanimously chose Kristin Tolle to be our 2022-23 Volunteer of the Year. She’s a true example of a good island neighbor, amateur naturalist (she especially loves birds), and cheerful hard worker. Kristin helped the Preservation Trust in many ways over the past year, accumulating more than 100 volunteer hours across multiple islands. 

Kristin is often at Orcas Island’s Turtleback Mountain Preserve, where she helps keep trails clear from fallen debris, removes invasive plants like tansy and mullein, and assists in locating previously unidentified Garry oak trees for future mapping and protection. She’s also logged countless hours submitting scientific observations through her detailed volunteer reports. 

Apart from Turtleback/Turtlehead, Kristin has also donated her time and talents on Reef Island, where she set up and refined our Littoral and Marine Observation Project in iNaturalist. She is helping compile these observations with other volunteer findings to create a synthesized ecological report. Kristin also attended volunteer work parties on Stuart Island and at the Keel Preserve in 2022. 

After purchasing her own home near West Beach on Orcas Island in 2014, Kristin thrust herself into the community. In 2021, she was recognized for her contributions as a volunteer at OPAL Community Land Trust, where she used her expertise in data science, machine learning, and quantitative research to improve OPAL’s planning and file-storage processes. 

Thank you, Kristin, for your hard work and dedication to SJPT and other island neighbors. We’re grateful to work with you! 

Watch Kristin in conversation with SJPT Land Steward Troy Buckley: