Our San Juan Islands

Conserve now. Enjoy forever.

The San Juan Preservation Trust works with our local communities and people like you to permanently conserve and care for special places throughout the San Juan Islands.

We acknowledge that we reside on the ancestral lands and waters of the Coast Salish people, who have called this place home since time immemorial, and we honor the inherent, aboriginal, and treaty rights that have been passed down from generation to generation.

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We wanted to share something else today, but how could we when there's this? ... See MoreSee Less

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We all need to move to a plant based diet.

They will allow fishing until they fight for the last fish. 🥲

This is heartbreaking. Tears of joy when they came back, tears of heartache today.

Written by our intern, Maya Heikkinen:

Sometimes invasive species work can feel like an overwhelming, never-ending battle—but it turns out that success stories do exist. For several years now, since 2014 or so, I have been removing tansy ragwort, Canada thistle, and bull thistle from an area of tall grass on the property on Orcas Island where I live.

Tansy ragwort seeds can remain dormant for years before germinating, and Canada thistle has a robust and extensive rhizome system. No matter how many flower heads I've bagged and stalks I've pulled up by the roots, it seemed that the plants just kept returning each spring—until just this past June of 2021. Not only had the invasive plants been reduced to just a sprinkling of yellow and purple flowers, but a new flower had moved in as well!

Pearly everlasting, a native perennial wildflower of the sunflower family, took up residence. Its tiny yellow flowers are enclosed by papery white bracts, rather than petals, which remain on the plant for a long time and make them ideal for flower arrangements. It can be used medicinally in poultices for sores, salves for burns, steam baths to treat rheumatism, or can be smoked to treat colds. It is also a host plant for the American lady and painted lady butterflies, both found in Washington State. Pearly everlasting is also drought tolerant, preferring full sun and rocky soil conditions, making it a hardy choice for the conditions we currently face in the islands.

It is rewarding to finally see native species moving in after years of seemingly endless work, showing that stewardship over time really can bring about visible change and rehabilitate an ecosystem. See what happens as you get closer to eradicating your own patch of invasives, or consider planting some native wildflowers!
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Written by our intern, Maya Heikkinen:

Sometimes invasive species work can feel like an overwhelming, never-ending battle—but it turns out that success stories do exist. For several years now, since 2014 or so, I have been removing tansy ragwort, Canada thistle, and bull thistle from an area of tall grass on the property on Orcas Island where I live.

Tansy ragwort seeds can remain dormant for years before germinating, and Canada thistle has a robust and extensive rhizome system. No matter how many flower heads Ive bagged and stalks Ive pulled up by the roots, it seemed that the plants just kept returning each spring—until just this past June of 2021. Not only had the invasive plants been reduced to just a sprinkling of yellow and purple flowers, but a new flower had moved in as well!

Pearly everlasting, a native perennial wildflower of the sunflower family, took up residence. Its tiny yellow flowers are enclosed by papery white bracts, rather than petals, which remain on the plant for a long time and make them ideal for flower arrangements. It can be used medicinally in poultices for sores, salves for burns, steam baths to treat rheumatism, or can be smoked to treat colds. It is also a host plant for the American lady and painted lady butterflies, both found in Washington State. Pearly everlasting is also drought tolerant, preferring full sun and rocky soil conditions, making it a hardy choice for the conditions we currently face in the islands.

It is rewarding to finally see native species moving in after years of seemingly endless work, showing that stewardship over time really can bring about visible change and rehabilitate an ecosystem. See what happens as you get closer to eradicating your own patch of invasives, or consider planting some native wildflowers!Image attachmentImage attachment

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Maya!!! This is an epic post! I look forward to seeing more. (You had excellent teachers too 🙂 )

Good work all around, Maya Heikkinen !

So Maya, did the Pearly Everlasting just show up on its own, or did you plant some on yr property? Good job for persisting in getting rid of the ‘bad actors’.

Thank you! Nice work!

Written by our intern, Maya Heikkinen:

Alongside the many pollinators visiting yellow and white flowers, you may have noticed this brightly-colored spider camouflaged within their petals as well. The goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia) is a hunting spider, recognizable by their striking color and reddish side streaks.

As the name suggests, the goldenrod crab spider hides atop the spiky flower heads of goldenrod, but will also frequent other flowers such as sunflowers, kale and other brassicas, daisies, and buttercups. Like a crab, they can perform a scuttling sideways movement. The goldenrod crab spider feeds on nectar-drinking insects, including pollinators such as honeybees and butterflies; since these spiders use fangs to suck liquid from their prey instead of wrapping them in silk, the size of their food is not a limiting factor. Males tend to be smaller and more mobile, while mature females rarely leave a chosen territory.

One remarkable adaptation that allows the crab spider to blend into a variety of different flowers is its unique ability to change colors! In a slow process responding to visual cues, these spiders can move pigments through layers of tissue. When these pigments are closer to the surface the spider will appear more yellow or pale green, and more white when they are deeper down. It takes much longer to shift from white to yellow (10-25 days) rather than the other way around (about a week), as the spider must create more pigment.

While the goldenrod crab spider may seem like a threat to essential pollinating insects, it is an important predator for plant-feeding insect pests as well, including thrips, grasshoppers, and aphids. They also serve as food for shrews, insectivorous birds, lizards, wasps, etc.

Next time you see a bright flower—try to spot this highly adapted member of our ecological community!

#SanJuanPreservationTrust #ConservationMatters
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Written by our intern, Maya Heikkinen:

Alongside the many pollinators visiting yellow and white flowers, you may have noticed this brightly-colored spider camouflaged within their petals as well. The goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia) is a hunting spider, recognizable by their striking color and reddish side streaks. 

As the name suggests, the goldenrod crab spider hides atop the spiky flower heads of goldenrod, but will also frequent other flowers such as sunflowers, kale and other brassicas, daisies, and buttercups. Like a crab, they can perform a scuttling sideways movement. The goldenrod crab spider feeds on nectar-drinking insects, including pollinators such as honeybees and butterflies; since these spiders use fangs to suck liquid from their prey instead of wrapping them in silk, the size of their food is not a limiting factor. Males tend to be smaller and more mobile, while mature females rarely leave a chosen territory. 

One remarkable adaptation that allows the crab spider to blend into a variety of different flowers is its unique ability to change colors! In a slow process responding to visual cues, these spiders can move pigments through layers of tissue. When these pigments are closer to the surface the spider will appear more yellow or pale green, and more white when they are deeper down. It takes much longer to shift from white to yellow (10-25 days) rather than the other way around (about a week), as the spider must create more pigment.

While the goldenrod crab spider may seem like a threat to essential pollinating insects, it is an important predator for plant-feeding insect pests as well, including thrips, grasshoppers, and aphids. They also serve as food for shrews, insectivorous birds, lizards, wasps, etc. 

Next time you see a bright flower—try to spot this highly adapted member of our ecological community!

#SanJuanPreservationTrust #ConservationMattersImage attachment
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