WSU Beachwatchers recruiting for 2011 Classes

By Kitty Dolan 

Special to The Islands’ Weekly


Do you know what Beachwatchers is and why it is important? 

Beachwatchers is a program started by Washington State University [WSU], modeled after their successful Master Gardener Program. 

It has been promoting active stewardship of the waters and the land in the San Juan Islands for five years, and is now seeking to enroll new participants in its program. 

I signed up last year and would like to tell you some things about it that I hope will encourage you to do the same.

 Beachwatchers engage in activities that help to protect the habitat that we share with a vast and complex variety of animal and plant life.

 There are opportunities for you as a volunteer to focus on those aspects of the environment that particularly interest you as well as to develop and pursue new areas of interest.

Beachwatchers not only get involved with improving the environment, but are also encouraged to learn more about it.  

One of the things I have really appreciated about Beachwatchers is that each year it offers new members a series of lectures and field trips led by people who are doing research and field work in various areas of the environment. 

These provide fascinating facts that many of us who are not specialists may not have been aware of. 

They also help us to see the interconnections among all of the species – plant and animal – that we as humans interact with. 

When the interactions are harmful, we learn what we can do to change things for the better.

 I have been told that this year’s field trips  include visits to Yellow Island, Canoe Island, Patos and Cypress, in addition to many interesting areas on San Juan, Orcas and Lopez. An optional excursion to Vancouver Island is also under consideration.

Last but not least, Beachwatchers provides an opportunity to work together with others who have a shared interest in protecting and maintaining our environment

If you think you would enjoy this kind of program, here are some facts you need to know:

The first class for new Beachwatchers will be held Wednesday, March 30, on Lopez. The second class will be on April 2, also on Lopez. After that classes will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays, and will rotate among the three islands, with only one more Saturday class, on May 14. Graduation is May 18, 2011.

To help pay for instructor’s fees, classroom rentals, ferry tickets and instructional materials, there is a small charge for these classes, 

Pick up an application form at  Lopez Library, and send it to: Beach Watchers, WSU Extension, 221 Weber Way, Suite LL, Friday Harbor, WA 98250. 


For further information and for information about costs, call Shann Weston  at 378-4414, or Susan Muckle at 468-2629.