Island Dispatch | June 2015


Preservation Trust Enlists Syndicated Cartoonist to Answer Question


What does protecting land have to do with salmon?

In 2013, the San Juan Preservation Trust and the San Juan County Land Bank purchased a 30-acre shoreline parcel on the west side of Orcas Island to provide critical habitat for juvenile salmon. “When we communicated this success to our membership,” recalls Tim Seifert, executive director of the Preservation Trust, “we received the question ‘What does protecting land have to do with salmon?’ We realized that we needed to do a better job of explaining how conserving land in the San Juan Islands influences the sea around us. We called Jim and asked if he could help us tell that story.”

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We’ve all heard the expression “Don’t place all your eggs in one basket.” And when it comes to rare species conservation, that saying can ring especially true. When populations of animals are concentrated in just a few areas, they grow increasingly susceptible to catastrophic events—alteration of habitat, abrupt weather changes, or predation pressure—that can effectively wipe out a species.

Right now, the Island Marble Butterfly (Euchloe ausonides insulanus), a beautiful subspecies historically found in just a few locations in the Salish Sea, exists today only on San Juan Island. Recognizing the need to create additional “safe” areas for these butterflies to lay eggs, develop as larvae, and over-winter as a chrysalis, SJPT joined a team of local conservationists aimed at boosting the population. With funding from US Fish and Wildlife Service, SJPT plans to create new habitat patches on two Preservation Trust preserves and one Land Bank preserve to provide this struggling species with protected habitat that will allow it to live through its life cycle without disturbance. Creating these additional habitat patches will also reduce the risk of total extirpation should something catastrophic occur in the existing population…in a sense, spreading the eggs into more baskets.

For more information on this project, please contact Kathleen Foley, Stewardship Manager, at


In any organization, it’s often those working quietly behind the scenes that play an essential role in keeping the wheels turning.

Before Marilynn Findley began volunteering weekly at the San Juan Preservation Trust office, staff were grappling with an ever-increasing mass of mailing and filing projects as the breadth and scope of conservation efforts continued to expand. A phone call one day from Marilynn with an offer to help turned into a 140-hour contribution of priceless volunteer time over the past year—time that has made a critical difference in our operations.

Packed into her tiny five-foot frame, Marilynn is a bundle of cheerful efficiency and focused attention. Before retiring she had several careers with the state of California, most recently in creating community programs for the mentally ill. A fiber artist, Marilynn displays her handmade bags at a local retail shop in Friday Harbor.

Marilynn and her husband Greg moved to San Juan Island in 2008 and built their home overlooking an expansive view of SJPT-protected land in San Juan Valley. “Every day I appreciate the work of the Preservation Trust from my window,” says Marilynn. And we appreciate our 2015 Volunteer of the Year!

“Volunteers don’t necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”
— Elizabeth Andrew

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