Island Dispatch | October 2016


Remembering the lesson of a decade


Late on a Friday afternoon in August 2005, the phone rang at the San Juan Preservation Trust’s office. Executive Director Tim Seifert answered. “It was the head of the Medina Foundation, in Seattle,” he recalls. “She wanted to let us know that the foundation would be putting Turtleback Mountain on the market the next day.”

It was a call to arms.

Jane Fox


A long-time SJPT member called recently to ask a great question. We’ll call her Joan—not her real name. Her husband’s name is “Ted.”

“Ted and I have been talking,” Joan said, “and we’d like to join the Gann Society. There’s just one problem. We recently went through an elaborate estate-planning process with our attorney and don’t want to change our wills right now. Is there an easier way to leave a legacy gift?”

Indeed, there is. It’s as simple as designating The San Juan Preservation Trust as a beneficiary of an individual retirement account (IRA), a 401(k) account, or other retirement savings plan. This can even be done online, if your IRA or 401(k) is held in an account to which you have Web access.

Because these assets are highly taxed when left to heirs, it can make good sense to donate them (tax-free) to a charity such as the Preservation Trust, while leaving more favorably taxed assets to heirs.

Joan and Ted are now Gann Society members, happy to know that they will leave a lasting legacy toward preserving the special island places they have treasured all their lives. All it took was a virtual visit to their online IRA account.

Contact Barbara Courtney, Director of Philanthropy, for more details (call 360-376-2431 or email


In 1993—the year “Sleepless in Seattle” and the first World Wide Web browser made their debuts—The Nature Conservancy hired Tony Scruton as the residential caretaker for two cherished preserves on Waldron Island, Cowlitz Bay and Bitte Baer. When The Nature Conservancy transferred title and stewardship responsibilities for these preserves to the San Juan Preservation Trust in 2012, Tony came along as a bonus part of the deal. His domain immediately expanded to include the Preservation Trust’s existing Point Disney Preserve.

Now, after close to a quarter century in the job, Tony has decided to pass along the caretaker’s torch. “It’s hard to imagine him no longer in that role,” says SJPT Stewardship Manager Kathleen Foley. “He’s not just a caretaker, he’s integral to the Waldron landscape. He’s been such a good ambassador for that place.”

Heather Bansmer and Shawn Breeding, our Vendovi Island caretakers since 2013, are also moving on to new things. They’ve been a cheerful, dynamic duo, bringing their considerable combined talents to caring for Vendovi during its formative years as one of our most popular, publicly accessible preserves.

They sent us these parting thoughts: “Becoming part of the unique islands community and meeting some truly fascinating people has been a wonderful treat. Thank you to all the visitors and supporters of Vendovi Island, and for the lifelong memories we will take with us!”

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