Whidbey Watershed Stewards Programs
We operate Maxwelton Outdoor Classroom, an environmental science facility on 6 acres owned by the South Whidbey School District. We provide grades K-5 on Whidbey Island with a 3-year rotating curriculum of experiential education in two sessions, spring and fall, using a paid lead teacher and trained volunteers. We also work with Scouts and other interest groups, as well as provide adult environmental education.
We work with creekside landowners to remove barriers to fish passage and to restore riparian areas with native plants. We train Habitat Steward volunteers to assist with maintenance and monitoring of the restored areas, and provide service-learning activities for high school and community college classes in planting and maintenance.
To increase our knowledge and understanding of the watersheds we work in, we engage in annual salmon spawning surveys and outgoing smolt counts (young salmon). Water quality and habitat assessments are also done. We have been involved in various studies of the Maxwelton Watershed and published a local history book on that watershed for landowners and the general public.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Provided 40 classes for K-5 youth in 2009, and began a "Seedlings" class for pre-school ages. Trained 14 Habitat Stewards, 18 Outdoor Classroom teachers, 20 smolt count volunteers, and 7 spawning surveyers. Working with 5 new landowners on potential restoration projects.
Donations to our General Fund support the necessary work of administration, grant-writing for education and restoration projects, landowner & community outreach, and the operation of the Outdoor Classroom. We receive no fees from the School Districts for our work there. We keep our costs to a minimum and are grateful for general support!