2022 July Newsletter

Letter from our president, Jeff Wirtz

Greetings to all our Foundation friends,

The year has moved by so quickly thanks to the many projects going on at the Rhododendron Preserve. We have also been busy gearing up for our annual Fall for Fish fundraiser on Oct. 15th at Island Lake Park. You can read about the history of this fundraising event, or as we call it “fun-raising,” in this edition of the newsletter. It’s this event and all your generosity throughout the year that allow us to continue to do great work at the Rhododendron Preserve, as well as support all the activities and community grants that create access to nature for children and adults.

We are proud of the Hidden Valley restoration work that we’re doing, particularly the recent work to remove tons of concrete and debris from Wildcat and Chico creeks. And we could not be more grateful for IQ Solutions and their expertise to ensure that the restoration work is done in a way that continues our work to sustain healthy waterways on the Rhododendron Preserve. You can read more about this work and IQ Solutions below.

As we head into fall, let’s celebrate all that we have done so far this year and gear up for more great work together into the next. We hope that you can join us at Fall for Fish to celebrate all the hard work that we’ve accomplished with your support and, of course, connect with old friends and maybe make new ones.

Stay healthy and well,

— Jeff Wirtz
President, Keta Legacy Foundation,
also known as Mountaineers Foundation


Fall for Fish Fundraiser

Keta Legacy Foundation, also known as Mountaineers Foundation, is constantly striving to grow and improve as an organization. The last few years we’ve been working on developing strategies and policies that meet 21st Century professional standards. One of the things that we realized we wanted to implement was an annual celebration where we could invite friends old and new to join us in celebrating our accomplishments and looking toward future goals. Thus, was born our annual Fall for Fish celebration.

We created this celebration by brainstorming all the things that we liked best about organizational celebrations that we’ve attended and then discussing every detail to find the elements that would most align with our values and purpose. Then we examined how we would implement those elements to make sure that we would be walking our talk. For example, we liked the idea of wine tasting, so we made certain the wines were salmon safe certified.

Before every Fall for Fish, we remind ourselves that the event is about making connections with our friends and supporters far more than it is about raising money. We truly appreciate our friends old and new and want everyone to feel comfortable and included. That’s one of the things that’s very important to the Foundation and contributed to our decision that the food be served family style rather than buffet style. Real conversation and connection are facilitated by sharing food and passing it around the table.

Of course, Fall for Fish is our annual fundraising event and each year we’ve chosen one project to feature in our Fall for Fish fundraising. The first project that we selected was to install a new bridge across Wildcat Creek and we raised enough money to do it. However, some other projects needed to happen before the new bridge could be built. This year we’re celebrating the new bridge, education pavilion, and protective decking around Big Tree that will be completed by the date of this year’s Fall for Fish. All three projects were successful fundraising efforts at Fall for Fish.

We don’t really like to think of it as fundraising to be honest. We think of Fall for Fish as FUNraising. It’s fun to try new salmon safe wines, while chatting with friends old and new. It’s fun to see all the fascinating items available in the silent auction and to watch the friendly competition over who will win the auction. It’s fun to enjoy an excellent meal in the company of people that we enjoy spending time with. It’s fun to celebrate the great things that the Foundation is able to accomplish because of all our wonderful friends and benefactors. Even during the worst of the pandemic, we found a way to have a fun Fall for Fish over Zoom in 2020. As cautious in person events became possible in 2021, we created a Fall for Fish where we could share our exciting plans for Hidden Valley in person at the Rhododendron Preserve. This year we’re delighted to be able to return to our original style of Fall for Fish with a few new ideas. We hope that you’ll join in the fun this year and purchase your ticket for Fall for Fish.

— Katha Miller-Winder
Chair of the Education Committee


Restoration Efforts Underway

Before Pump House Removal

The Foundation has been working on several restoration efforts at the Rhododendron Preserve including the removal of the remaining structures from Hidden Valley and concrete and debris from Wildcat and Chico creeks.

We were pleased to contract with IQ Solutions on this project. The owners, Quest and Ivan, are Native American and have a deep understanding of the land and waterways, which is exactly the expertise that we need to get the work done. Bringing them on board to support our work also illustrates how serious the Foundation is about our goal to improve Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in our contractor hiring practices.

After Pump House Removal

In addition to removing the structures from Hidden Valley, we also removed tons of concrete and wood debris from Wildcat and Chico Creeks. The concrete was mostly from the old footings of a bridge over Wildcat Creek that was removed years ago. The debris was from an old structure, which we think may have been an old pump house, that fell into Chico Creek after its foundation was undercut by the creek during high flows.

IQ Solutions is making great progress! They recently completed the demolition work and, after looking at the improved waterway, I can verify that the creeks look incredible and healthy with all the concrete and wood debris gone. Please check out the before and after pictures above to see the difference that our restoration efforts have made!

We can’t thank Quest and Ivan enough for their hard work and expertise in this restoration work. We are excited for everyone to see the great things happening at the Rhododendron Preserve.

— Jeff Wirtz


Plant a Tree

There’s a meme that I see regularly. There are a few variations, but the basic idea is that trees are essential to life and that whatever the problem, the solution is to plant trees.

Trees are critical to our survival. Another meme that I see often is about how plants and trees can survive without us, but we cannot survive without them. It’s true. We’re entirely dependent on trees and plants. They make the oxygen that we breathe and the food that we eat. Without them, we can’t survive.

In my neighborhood, there are many mature trees which help to keep homes cool. Lately, several of our neighbors have cut down their big trees. These same neighbors then complain that their houses are unbearably hot in the summer. At my house, we have a lot of big trees. I’m always surprised at the wave of heat that hits me when I walk up my driveway and onto the street, stepping away from the shade.

You can see for yourself just how much difference trees make to the temperature by visiting our Rhododendron Preserve on a hot day. As you stand sweltering in the parking lot, you’ll wonder why you thought this was a good idea, but trust me, you’ll understand soon. Stepping onto the trail under the trees, the temperature will drop, but it’s still going to be hot. However, as you enter the old growth forest on the other side of the ridge, you’ll experience a significant decrease in temperature. The great old trees are keeping their home cooler. Their shade prevents too much heat from the sun from getting to the ground and, as you learned in elementary school, warm air rises leaving the cooler air near the ground.

Trees also transpire water vapor. They bring water up through their roots which are deep in the ground. A small amount of this water is used to help the tree grow and the rest is used to regulate the temperature of the tree. Trees do this by using the sun’s warmth to turn the water that has reached their leaves into water vapor which is released by stoma (tiny mouth like openings) on the underside of leaves. This released water vapor not only cools the tree, but also the area around the tree. By both providing dense shade and transpiring water vapor, trees keep things cooler. This means that despite the intense heat outside of the places protected by these giant trees, the temperature is moderate and pleasant in the old growth forest. You may not want to leave.

Trees are the most effective means that we have of mitigating climate change. If you’re hot, plant trees. If there is drought, plant trees. If you want to continue to live on this planet together with all the other amazing and wonderful creatures, plant and protect trees.

— Katha Miller-Winder
Chair of the Education Committee


Upcoming events and reminders

  • A new pavilion and bridge in Hidden Valley will be constructed this summer with a completion date of mid-October. This project has taken 5+ years of planning, fundraising, and many board volunteer hours to get where it is today.
  • Save the date: Fall for Fish annual fundraising event, Oct. 15th, 2022, at Island Lake Park, 1087 NW Island Lake Road in Poulsbo. Tickets are now available.
  • Mark your calendar for Giving Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.