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  • Julie Curtis

Happy Spring from your local Conservation District

As the San Juan Islands burst back to life this Spring, San Juan Islands Conservation District is excited to launch a new quarterly newsletter, which is emailed (add yourself to our list by clicking here), and posted here as a blog. Inside, you’ll find inspiring stories of conservation in our community, updates on our programs, and ways you can get involved.


But, first! What even is San Juan Islands Conservation District? 

Glad you asked. We are a non-regulatory government entity working since 1947 to help, not enforce, landowners conserve natural resources. We're part of a nationwide network of nearly 3,000 Conservation Districts, established to protect soil health in response to the Dust Bowl. Here in San Juan County, we assist landowners and residents with technical and financial resources to achieve regional natural resource conservation goals. We're passionate about promoting responsible stewardship of our beautiful islands' natural resources.


In 2023, the Islands Conservation Corps converted over 400 brush piles to biochar which sequesters carbon dioxide and supports growth of new native prairie species and Garry oak restoration. Photo credit: SJICD Staff

 

2023: A Year in Review

Our board and staff of SJICD would like to thank our community members, partners, and donors for their support and participation as we look back on a successful year of programming in 2023. Together we implemented dozens of restoration projects across the landscape that are improving local agriculture, forest health, wildfire resilience, fish and wildlife habitat, stream conditions, water quality and more - all right here in the San Juan Islands…



Wildfire Preparedness Programming Coming this Spring

As more and more large and destructive wildfires are reported in the headlines each year, wildfire is becoming top of mind to many San Juan County residents. Could the same thing happen here? Many landowners are taking matters into their hands and reducing wildfire risk near their homes. While we are fortunate to have low fire danger most of the year, our warmer, drier, and longer summers are cause for concern.

 

Staff have been working hard to develop programs to provide home ignition zone assessments and funding for mitigation practices to prepare San Juan County landowners for a potential wildfire. Formal program will be announced during the Wildfire Awareness Month of May.

 

Did you know we also have a quarterly forestry newsletter, which started in December 2023? To be added to our list, hit the subscribe button below and be sure to check the “Forest” box.


San Juan Islands Agricultural Summit: A Resounding Success!

We’d like to express our sincere gratitude to our partners and the 200 attendees who made this year’s Agricultural Summit a resounding success! The Summit offered a wealth of information. In addition to presentations from our staff on carbon legacies, biochar, securing farm funding, and methods to create fungal-rich compost, we participated in workshops to get a deep dive on how to incorporate water rights, climate resiliency, and traditional foodways into agricultural practices.

 

The momentum doesn’t stop here! We’re carrying the spirit of collaboration and innovation forward through our extensive offerings in our Farm and Agricultural programs.


YCC crew member removes dead branches to reduce wildfire risk during the YCC winter program in partnership with Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation. Photo credit: Chase Anderson

 

We are hiring!

Interested in getting involved with conservation work and not sure where to start? We have great opportunities for hands on learning with our youth and adult Conservation Corps crews. Current openings include:

  • Youth Conservation Corps Crew Leader (Orcas Island): Lead a team of 10-15 young people in conservation and stewardship projects across Orcas Island.

  • Youth Conservation Corps Crew Member (ages 12-18): Gain valuable experience working on environmental projects alongside your peers.

  • Islands Conservation Corps Crew Member (ages 18 and up): Contribute to vital conservation projects throughout the islands while taking courses through the WWU College of the Environment to earn an Ecological Restoration Certificate, or go on to earn a M.A. in Environmental Studies.

 

In addition to the above field-based positions, we are seek support in our office:

  • Bookkeeper (part-time): Support the management of financial transactions, maintenance of accurate records, and general financial operations of the Conservation District.



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