Kelly Zupich with Sound Water Stewards (right) explains to visitors at last year’s Penn Cove Water Festival how barnacles eat. Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News-Times

Kelly Zupich with Sound Water Stewards (right) explains to visitors at last year’s Penn Cove Water Festival how barnacles eat. Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News-Times

Sound Water Stewards seek more volunteers

Extensive training teaches science of the sea

This Saturday, Sound Water Stewards presents its “one-day university for everyone,” an annual offering of dozens of classes about the Salish Sea from “Fascinating Fungi” to “Ocean Acidification in the Pacific Northwest.”

In its 24th year, the $50 conference at South Whidbey High School quickly reached capacity, shutting down registration a week early.

But environmental education continues year-round for Sound Water Stewards of Island County.

It teaches kids about beach critters, answers visitors’ questions about the way of whales and leads guided walks through forests, fauna and tidal pools.

But first its teachers must be taught.

And that’s no one-day affair.

Training adding up to 100 hours is given by various experts during 14 all-day classes. A $100 registration fee covers materials and expenses, and hands-on field trips are part of the curriculum.

This year, Sound Stewards classes meet every Thursday from March 15 to April 26 and then continue Sept. 13 to Oct. 25. Classes take place on Whidbey and Camano Islands.

More than 600 people have been trained since the organization started in 1989 as the Island County Beach Watchers program of Washington State University Extension.

Last year, 159 trained volunteers conducted several citizen science projects and surveys and helped out with many state park educational programs, said Kelly Zupich, Sound Water Stewards’ Whidbey coordinator.

“We have an amazing and active group of volunteers who logged over 20,000 hours in 2017 alone,” she said.

Meetings to explain the group’s extensive training program are scheduled 11 a.m. to noon Feb. 2 at Coupeville Library and 1 to 2 p.m. Feb. 21 at Freeland Library.

The nonprofit volunteer organization that’s been a guardian of bluffs, beaches, wetlands and marine life for nearly 30 years has become a vital resource for state and county programs and projects.

“I can always rely on Sound Water Stewards to be engaged, knowledgeable and dedicated to protection of our marine environment,” said Anna Toledo, marine resources committee coordinator with Island County’s Department of Natural Resources.

Monitoring forage fish spawning, conducting boat-based bull kelp surveys and keeping an eye out for the invasive European Green Crab are just a sampling of on-going research.

Now that sounds like an education.

For more information: www. soundwaterstewards.org

More in Life

Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News Group.
                                <em>Cornet Bay Company owners Arnie and Joanne Deckwa stand with their new seafood line of sauces. In the background, painted on their RV is the company’s logo depicting Cornet Bay, the view across from their office.</em>
Walmart picks up Cornet Bay Co.’s sauces

Though it’s been producing and selling gourmet sauces, dressing, seasonings and dips… Continue reading

4-H Rally Day emphasizes diverse activities

The nation’s largest youth development and mentoring organization is looking for some… Continue reading

Museum debuts history tour

Fundraiser combines talks, walk and wine tasting

Captured beauty

Photo of Useless Bay selected for cover of Land Trust calendar

Suva sails away with awards at boat festival

Schooner ‘People’s Choice’ at Seattle wooden boat festival

Haunting of Coupeville: Events throughout the month offer thrills, chills

On Monday morning, Coupeville residents awoke to find their quaint, seaside town… Continue reading

Autumn flavors: Whidbey offers perfect fall ingredients for your table

A chill is in the air and farmers markets are overflowing with… Continue reading

Society shaking the family tree

Langley Archive and Research Center to help search for family history

Cider Fest rules!

Sept. 29 event features freshly-pressed juice, food, music, fun for kids

Photo by Maria Matson / Whidbey News-Times
                                <em>Whidbey Island resident Dick Evans will be signing and selling copies of his book, “Fazkils,” at the Clinton Community Hall on Saturday.</em>
In a new book, Hollywood actor, author reflects on his life, career

Richard “Dick” Evans is an actor, writer and director with a long… Continue reading

Virtuosos join forces at Djangofest

At 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, Grammy-winning classical guitarist Jason Vieaux will… Continue reading

Free jammin’ and campin’ at fairgrounds added to Djangofest

The Island County Fairgrounds Campground will be filled with music later this… Continue reading