Volunteers for a day: A visiting Broadband from Portland/Vancouver
(L to R: Kathleen, Micky Ryan, Linda Buckley, Judy Todd, Jane Heisler, Laurie Kerr and Ginny Peckinpaugh)

On the last day of July, a group of Great Old Broads for Wilderness spent a day volunteering for the Preservation Trust on San Juan Island, led by Stewardship Manager Kathleen Foley (above left). With headquarters in Durango, Colorado, Great Old Broads for Wilderness is a national grassroots organization, led by women, that engages and inspires activism to preserve and protect wilderness and wild lands. The nonprofit has about 40 chapters scattered around the country, which are known as Broadbands.

Our visitors hail from the Cascade Volcanoes Broadband from the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area. They came to the San Juan Islands for a leadership planning retreat in Roche Harbor, and contacted us in early spring about spending a volunteer service day with SJPT. Kathleen obliged by planning a full day of season-end work on the Western Bluebird Reintroduction Project.

Kathleen introduced the project and the day’s goals at a morning meet-up at Red Mill Farm, then led the six-woman crew to three locations on the island where owners of SJPT conservation easement-protected properties, as well as Island Rec, have been hosting bluebird nest boxes this year.

“Many people here probably already know about the Western bluebird recovery program that’s in process,” said Broadband member Judy Todd, “but it was news to me, coming from Oregon. We’ve been helping to restore nest boxes and look for new places for some boxes. We’ve re-engineered a few, using screw guns and hammers and brute force.”

Broadbands like the Cascade Volcanoes often take trips that combine hiking, service projects, and advocacy interests. “My greatest pleasure this year,” Judy said, “was going to see the four dams on the Lower Snake River [in southeastern Washington] and learning, on the ground, about the connection between salmon there, on the Snake River, and the orcas here in the Salish Sea. It’s been a matter of connecting some dots for me.”

We’re grateful to the Cascade Volcanoes for connecting with SJPT to spend a volunteer work day with us.