Island Dispatch | June 2016


Little-Known Success Stories of Island Conservation


In this new, occasional feature of the Dispatch, we’d like to highlight some preserves under our care that are relatively unknown—either because they have received little or no previous publicity or because they are remote and inaccessible. These hidden gems are especially unspoiled examples of our islands’ natural features and habitat, now preserved forever thanks to visionary landowners and to you, our ongoing supporters.

Debra Taylor


These children (photo, left) are jumping for joy because they’ve just discovered an important connection. During a science field trip in April, these sixth-graders from Friday Harbor Elementary School started at Zylstra Lake to take water samples, which they tested for quality indicators. Then they followed False Bay Creek from Zylstra to its mouth on False Bay.

Tracing the connection prompted lots of “aha” moments. Here’s a sampling from essays the kids wrote:

“Our field trip to Lake Zylstra to study the watershed increased our knowledge. Now we know, now we care, now we will participate in the preservation of our beautiful island resources.” –Robin

“Lake Zylstra is a beautiful environment with a healthy lake running into False Bay. It’s our job to keep it that way.” –ElseDora

“We went to Lake Zylstra for a conservation field trip, and we got to see where a water flow started, and it flowed all the way down to False Bay. The water that we saw came out clear, we could see the rocks all the way to the bottom of the stream of cool, clear water. … My trip to Lake Zylstra [has] deepened my awareness of the importance of taking care of our island’s natural resources.” –Ramona

We jump for joy ourselves when we see our preserves used to educate future generations of conservationists!

Thanks to their teacher, Debra Taylor, and the San Juan Nature Institute for sharing with us.


If, as G.K. Chesterton wrote, thanks are the highest form of thought, then we can express no higher thoughts than those of gratitude to our supporters.

One vital measure of that support is dollars. Another measure encompasses the hours, skill, sweat, and persistent effort contributed by our volunteers. At each annual meeting, we honor this second category of supporters with our Volunteer of the Year award.

This year’s award went not to a single individual, but to the entire Campaign for Mount Grant Preserve Steering Committee. This group has worked with extraordinary diligence to write articles, organize and participate in many events, serve as docents on Mount Grant’s Sundays at the Summit, and help raise almost $2 million (so far) from more than 700 families. The committee includes:

Keith Wentworth and Thor Hanson (co-chairs), Andrea Anderson, Michael Dean, Eileen Drath, Geoff Dunbar, Carolyn Haugen, Alice Hurd, Lisa Lawrence, Barbara Marrett, Liza Michaelson, Tom Nolan, Fiona Norris, Laura Norris, Marilyn O’Connor, Theresa Simendinger, Steve Simpson, Jim Skoog, Bob Stavers, Billie Swalla, Joe Todd, Leslie Veirs, and Carla Wright.

We convey our highest thoughts—and deepest thanks—to our 2016 Volunteers of the Year!

Ferdi Businger