Island Dispatch | Fall 2018


How Conserving Island Land Helps Orcas

Photo: Monika Weiland Shields/Orca Behavior Institute

We all watched, heartbroken, as the orca known as J35 (Tahlequah) carried her dead calf around the Salish Sea for more than two weeks in July and August. At the same time, extraordinary efforts to save J35’s starving cousin J50 (Scarlet) further highlighted the urgent plight of our Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKWs). Some of our members have asked us, “Is the Preservation Trust doing anything to help?”

Short answer: Yes.

Martin and Jan Manhoff in Moscow (circa 1952) | Contributed Photo


Washington State natives Martin Manhoff and Jan Kozicki both studied art at the University of Washington prior to Martin’s enlisting in the U.S. Army and serving during World War II. In 1952, he accepted a post as an assistant military attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, and Jan joined him. While stationed in Moscow, Martin used his artistic talents to build a remarkable inventory of photographs and videos documenting everyday life behind the Iron Curtain. His long-hidden archive includes the only known independent footage of Stalin’s funeral procession. View this amazing archive here.

Once they returned to the United States, Martin and Jan settled in Kirkland, WA, and ran a home furnishings business. After they closed their business, Martin worked as a King County Tax assessor and Jan continued her work as a dedicated, prolific artist. They split their time between Kirkland and Guemes Island. When Jan passed away in 2014 (Martin preceded her in death in 2005), she left the task of disbursing their estate to their dear friend Claudi Wilson. “Marty and Jan loved the Northwest and the natural beauty of the San Juan Islands,” she wrote to us. “It seems fitting to commemorate their exceptional lives with a gift to the San Juan Preservation Trust.” Thank you, Claudi, for creating another remarkable legacy from the Manhoffs.


Blustery days have returned, bigleaf maple leaves carpet woodland trails with gold, and patches of “LBMs” (little brown mushrooms) poke their heads up through fallen leaves and woolly mosses—these all sure signs of autumn in the islands.

Another sign will soon show up in your mailbox: our appeal letter asking you to renew your membership—or join as a first-time member—in annual support of the San Juan Preservation Trust.

In the letter that you will receive, SJPT Executive Director Angela Anderson speaks of the inspiration she’s experienced while living temporarily with her family in the caretaker’s house on the Ellis Family Preserve on Shaw Island. The place is suffused with the earth-loving spirit of Fred and Marilyn Ellis.

Fred and Marilyn were remarkable stewards of this astonishing property. Their family entrusted the Preservation Trust with the honor and responsibility of caring for it, adding its 345 acres to the nearly 18,000 acres of island land already under our protection.

We can only keep preserving the best of the San Juan Islands if you want to preserve these treasures with us. Please renew your support for 2019 when you receive our appeal—or join/renew online now.

Ellis Family Presreve During This Year’s Summer Social| Shaun Hubbard