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Greetings from the San Juans

cattle point lighthouse and sea lions (san Juan Island) | Photo: ©

september 2017

Welcome to the third issue of the San Juan Preservation Trust’s new email newsletter! We hope you will enjoy this regular (eight times a year) “postcard” with news and notes about SJPT’s work in the islands.

And please, write us back with your questions, comments, and ideas.

Help us protect the islands you love!

Texture HR
Steve McKeon

Rufous hummingbird on Orcas Island Photo: Steve Alboucq

field Note by susan vernon


"In the San Juans, September is a time of transition for the birds. The change seems subtle at first—recognition that the woods have grown quiet, and the meadows have lost their luster. Then I stop and look and listen, my heart sinking as I begrudgingly accept the fact that the summer birds are gone.

"In reality, migration begins in July when temperatures creep into the 80s and our summer finally arrives. For many of the birds, their genetically programmed southern imperative is already urging them to move on. ... "

Read more

News from SJPT

Tim Seifert

Zylstra lake update

When the state legislature adjourned in July without passing a Capital Construction Budget, all funding for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) was put on hold—including a grant that would have allowed the San Juan Preservation Trust-San Juan County Land Bank partnership to complete its $3 million acquisition of Zylstra Lake Preserve on San Juan Island.

Now that this funding source is on indefinite hold, where does that leave the project?

Read More

Photo: andrew o'neill

Maggie Mackinlay

island-made world premiere

Celebrate the equinox on Sept. 22 at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, co-sponsored by SJPT and Orcas Center. This year’s highlight: the WORLD GALACTIC PREMIERE of Tipping Point, a new documentary by young Orcas filmmaker Dylan D’Haeze (left). Dylan's first film, Plastic is Forever, has won a slew of awards. His new one, a bracing look at climate change, is another sure winner. Be among the first people in the solar system to see it—on this year's autumnal equinox!

Read More

Photo: courtesy of rock island media

Maggie Mackinlay

alliance president visits sjpt

Andrew Bowman, who became president of the Land Trust Alliance last year, headlined two events for SJPT members, trustees, and staff earlier this month—one at SJPT Executive Director Tim Seifert's home in Seattle, and the other at Westcott Bay Shellfish Farm on San Juan Island. With both groups, Bowman emphasized the Alliance's efforts in the other Washington (DC) to protect and enhance federal policies that encourage land conservation. Click here to see photos from a beautiful evening on Westcott Bay.

see photos

Photo: Alliance President andrew bowman | staff archive

Maggie Mackinlay

where there's smoke ...

During this dry summer in the Pacific Northwest, poor air quality due to wildfire smoke has affected millions of people, from southwest Oregon up into British Columbia. At this writing (9/15), the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center was tracking 27 large fires. The more remote fires tend to be naturally caused, whereas those closest to populated areas, such as the Eagle Creek fire in the Columbia Gorge east of Portland, are mostly caused by humans. "People burn the places they love," concludes this article—an important call to vigilance in our beautiful and beloved San Juan Islands.

Read More

Photo: Eagle creek fire from bonneville dam (cropped) | Curtis perry | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Photo of the Month


Photo: lance evans

My wife, Janet, and I are fortunate to live on Orcas in the West Beach area, with a gorgeous sunset view of Waldron Island. Every evening I'm home during summer, I find myself drawn to the view, hoping to capture a unique sunset. Using an Olympus e-520, I set it to Automatic and start shooting away. This photo captured the 'smoky' sunset view on September 4, before our daytime views were obscured by wildfires in the area. The setting sun appeared to emerge from a break in the sky.
– Lance Evans

Send us your photo of the month!

Upcoming Events


sept. 22 | wild & scenic film festival

See the world premiere of Tipping Point, a locally made film about climate change, plus six more documentaries featuring young change-makers around the world.

7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. at Orcas Center.

Buy tickets

sundays on the summit – extended!

Driving access to the top of Mount Grant Preserve on San Juan Island has been extended through Sunday, October 15.

10 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Directions to Mount Grant

nov. 10 | annual campaign begins

Look for a letter asking you to renew your SJPT membership in early November. But why wait? You can make your secure online gift today at (or use the link below).

Renew today

Partners in Perpetuity

Christian and Lea Andrade

Name: Thom Pence

Gann Society member since: 2017

Place of residence: Red Mill Farm, San Juan Island

Favorite island place: The easternmost end of the Finlayson ridge trail at American Camp on San Juan Island, "where you get an awe-inspiring view of incredible visual diversity."

Quote: “I have been dedicated to conservation my entire life—especially since retirement, as I have had the personal time to assist in many local conservation efforts. So when I did my estate planning, it was only natural that I would support local efforts in conservation. Supporting the Preservation Trust was a clear choice because of their excellent work in both preserving island lands and providing ongoing stewardship for them.”

The Gann Society

The Gann Society is a group of individuals who have notified us that they have provided for the San Juan Preservation Trust in their estate plans. Their planned giving will help protect the San Juan Islands forever. Please consider providing for the San Juan Preservation Trust in your will.

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The San Juan Preservation Trust

PO Box 759, Friday Harbor, WA 98250

360-378-2461 |