O’Connell Preserve

San Juan Island

Year Protected: 2000

Land Protected: 5 acres

Public Benefits: Forest, wildlife habitat, scenic views

In a quiet corner of San Juan Island, an osprey family returns each year to the same nest atop a conifer snag on 5 acres of property donated by Mary O’Connell and Mike Smith in 2000.  The wooded property in the Limestone Point neighborhood on San Juan Drive is adjacent, on its southern boundary, to a portion of the neighboring Love family conservation easement, which is also designated “forever wild.”

“I bought the property because the baby ospreys were learning to fly when I first walked on it,” says Mary.  “It was very exciting and such a special moment.  It’s still a privilege to get to see that once a year, and I look forward to it.  With all the building on the island, it’s gotten more populated and there are so few places left for the osprey,” she adds.  “I thought that donating the land would help to protect the osprey’s ‘neighborhood’. I just felt it was the right thing to do and I was both honored and happy to do it.”

Not only did Mary protect the osprey’s neighborhood…but those residing in the Limestone Point area as well, and we are all grateful for her generous gift.