Island Dispatch | Spring 2020


“In Wildness is the preservation of the world.”


It was Saturday, March 14, 2020, two days before the deadline for this newsletter. We Washingtonians, and the rest of the world, had just lived through a week that few of us could have previously imagined: The entire state and, increasingly, the rest of the country and the world were in lockdown to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The day before, we’d announced the cancellation of all Preservation Trust guided outings and in-person meetings through April, when we will re-evaluate. We also postponed our Annual Meeting, which had been scheduled for May 9.

A field with water in it and trees around it.
Beaverton Marsh at High Water, February 2020 | Staff Archive

Beaverton Campaign: A Near Victory

We have good news to report regarding our Campaign for Beaverton Valley Preserve. With an outpouring of community support over the past year, we’ve successfully met the requirements of a $500,000 challenge grant from an anonymous source, and the check is in the bank.

Before we declare total victory on this campaign, however, we must jump through two more hoops:

In order to protect the property permanently, we need to draw up and purchase a conservation easement from the San Juan County Land Bank—a complex legal procedure that we expect to conclude in June.

All pledges to the campaign need to be fulfilled so we can reach our projected campaign totals. Assuming that happens (and we expect that it will), we will have exceeded the campaign’s $1.2 million goal. All donations we receive in excess of the goal are going into a stewardship fund for management and care of the preserve. A total of 167 families, businesses, foundations and matching gift programs contributed to the campaign. You can see a complete donor list here.

The next step in transforming raw land into a nature preserve is planning how to manage the land in a way that balances resource conservation with public access. Over the next two to three years, the Land Bank will work with the community to determine options for the long-term management and use of the preserve. We will keep you posted on further updates.


The Preservation Trust’s Board of Trustees elected Dr. David Duggins to a midterm board vacancy at its meeting on Feb. 10, 2020. He is standing for election to a full three-year term. We feel privileged to welcome him to our board.

Dr. Duggins was raised in a family with a strong conservation ethic, and he pursued an academic career in line with those values. He earned both his bachelor’s degree (in zoology) and Ph.D. (in wildlife biology) at the University of Washington. He worked as a research scientist at UW’s Friday Harbor Laboratories for 40 years before retiring in 2016. Dr. Duggins’ academic expertise centers on the effect of disturbance on ecological communities. While his work has focused on marine communities, the principles extend to terrestrial communities as well.

In addition to his academic research and teaching at the university level, Dr. Duggins has long been an advocate of introducing marine science to children in the primary grades. He created and supervised the Friday Harbor Labs’ Marine Science Outreach Program, a partnership with UW, public and private schools, and government agencies for K-12 science education and stewardship.

He and his wife, Dr. Megan Dethier (also a scientist at Friday Harbor Labs), have been enthusiastic supporters of the San Juan Preservation Trust since its inception. Now that he’s retired, Dr. Duggins says, “I am now able to put ‘my mouth where my money is’ and contribute to the Preservation Trust’s Board as a working board member.

A man with a beard and a green shirt.
The Role of Kelp in Marine Food Webs is a Focus of Dr. Duggins’ Research |Peggy Foreman/NOAA Fisheries
A woman holding a red sea star above a tub.


Our schedule of 2020 Events & Outings is enclosed. It’s bigger and better than ever! Unfortunately, we’ve already had to cancel several listed events. For the latest information, please see our Events Calendar at

We look forward to getting out on the land with you as soon as possible! Throughout this period of closures and cancellations, our vital conservation work continues to the fullest extent possible, thanks to your continuing support.