MEET OUR VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: CAMILLE UHLIR
Camille Uhlir and her husband, Jim, wanted their beloved Two Barn Farm on San Juan Island to be permanently protected. Seeking to conserve its unique mix of conifer forest, sweeping open fields, quiet ponds, and Garry oaks, they worked with the Preservation Trust to place conservation easements on the farm in the 1990s.
But Camille recognized that the act of protecting land is just part of a fully rounded conservation story. When the San Juan Islands Western Bluebird Reintroduction Project got underway in 2007, SJPT staff recognized that Two Barn Farm abounded in the kind of habitat that bluebirds prefer. When approached, Camille welcomed several nest boxes and temporary aviaries on the farm.
Camille soon threw herself into the project. With binoculars in hand, she searched her fields on spring mornings for the brief flashes of blue signaling the arrival of the bluebirds she had grown to love. “Feeding mealworms to the birds is a labor of love,” Camille says. “Going out early in the morning to find the birds ‘waiting’ is the best—followed closely by participating in the banding of the nestlings and sharing a spotting scope with friends and neighbors.”
All told, 47 baby bluebirds have found their wings on the Uhlirs’ farm over the past 11 years. We don’t know of a finer nesting ground, or a better steward, to see them on their way.