Conservation Education Update

Girl Scouts Earn Special Badge

Our Conservation Education program focuses on the next generation of people who will call this place home. We are fortunate to partner with the Girl Scouts, and the serious girl power they bring. Troop leader, Lisa Hilt-Rudd, her mother, Victoria Hilt, and Troop 43990 share a passion for the Rhododendron Preserve and volunteer huge amounts of their time and help.

Lisa’s troop earned a special badge for their work at the Preserve, which includes planting trees, documenting plants in Hidden Valley, and learning about noxious weeds. The troop hiked out to Big Tree and was inspired by this enormous Douglas fir and the spawning salmon that enrich the forest. These awesome girls are protecting the forest and making memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you Troop 43990 for your service!

2019 Paul Wiseman Conservation Education Grantees


“Blue carbon” refers to the ability of tidal wetlands and seagrass habitats to capture and store carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change. Wetlands act as “carbon sponges”, soaking up atmospheric carbon at a rate ten times greater than old growth forests.

EarthCorps and its partners in the Puget Sound region spearhead the science and practice of blue carbon nationally, and recently found that restoring marshes store carbon at twice the rate of existing marshes.

The work in 2020 will continue the critical third year of the organization’s blue carbon planting trials effort in the Qwuloolt Marsh, a restoring marsh in the Snohomish River Estuary, to increase the efficacy of blue carbon processes at test sites in the Puget Sound region. This is part of a large collaborative project on the regional and national level to identify best practices in the emerging field of blue carbon restoration.

See EarthCorps’ video about blue carbon and the Snohomish Estuary.


Kwiaht was organized in 2006 by Samish Tribal leader and environmentalist Ken Hansen, with the mission of ‘science for stewardship.’ The organization works with Indian tribes and local communities to protect and restore ecosystems and conduct scientific research that strengthens good stewardship of cultural and biological resources in the San Juan Archipelago. This program of ‘soundscape ecology’ is a highly efficient way of detecting and tracking otherwise fast-moving, nocturnal or hard-to-see animals.

    • complete the installation of a network of acoustic recorders across the San Juan Islands programmed for year-round sampling of vocalizations by island birds, amphibians and small mammals.
    • support a public education and outreach program offering adults and students opportunities to piggyback their own studies on the first two years of baseline data collection.
    • make it possible for Kwiaht to use social media and public workshops to promote wider appreciation, monitoring, and conservation of soundscapes as a tool of ecosystem protection.

2019 Summer News

Board Highlight

The Keta Legacy Foundation (KLF), also known as Mountaineers Foundation, has operated for more than 50 years with an all-volunteer Board of Directors. In this issue, we celebrate our Community Grants Committee Chair and long-time friend, Nancy Neyenhouse. She has been a fiercely dedicated volunteer to our organization.

Nancy Neyenhouse

  • Has served on the Board for over 12 years and is currently secretary.
  • Has been the Community Grants Committee Chair since 2007.
  • Served as a past president of the Foundation for 4 years.

“My greatest passion since joining the Foundation has been working with the Community Grants Committee, administering the Foundation’s competitive Grants program. Our mission is to ‘foster understanding and inspire conservation throughout the Salish Sea region.’ Being able to support so many other organizations in the region allows us to expand our conservation mission throughout the watersheds and seascapes that are the heart of the Salish Sea.”

-Nancy Neyenhouse

Nancy has been passionate about the environment and conservation since her college days. With a degree in biology, she concentrated on native plants and their specific environments. Since then, she has worked for California State Park at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park where she led nature hikes, Smith River snorkeling adventures, and Junior Ranger activities.

Nancy has also served as chair of the Mountaineers Conservation Committee. In that capacity, she worked on many Pacific Northwest conservation issues including the Carbon River area addition to Mount Rainier National Park.

Increasing Our Impact

Photo Credit: Washington Environmental Council

One important way we fulfill our mission is by offering a competitive grant program to other conservation-minded non-profits. Our generous donors have increased the impact of our mission in the Salish Sea region by supporting our network of grantees.

The Washington Environmental Council is one of our grantees. We are proud to support their Orca Month activities. Pictured here, Sherman Elementary School kids present their artwork to the Tacoma City Council. The artwork was part of the student’s Orcas Love Raingardens curriculum. The kids and teachers enjoyed a photo opportunity with Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards.

Orcas Love Raingardens project is a collaborative program designed to highlight how raingardens can mitigate the impact of polluted stormwater runoff on salmon and orcas.

The program provides STEM and conservation education opportunities to schools and communities in Tacoma. It also gives teachers access to free curriculum resources that integrate raingardens into lesson plans while meeting Washington State’s “Next Generations Science Standards”.

2019 First Round Grantees

Join us in congratulating our 1st round of grantees in 2019!

  • Camp Soloman Schecther
  • Whatcom Land Trust
  • SRS-SeaLife Response, Rehabilitation and Research
  • Vashon Nature Center
  • Washington Environmental Council
  • Washington Association of Land Trusts
  • Student Conservation Association
  • TLP Media
  • Great Peninsula Conservancy

We look forward to hearing about their marvelous accomplishments and are proud to support their efforts.

Conservation Education Update

Branch Out: A Tribute to Trees

KLF participated in Kitsap Regional Library’s Discover Outdoors kids program. Our very own Education Committee Chair, Katha Miller-Winder, engaged participants from ages 5 to adult with an exploration of trees and forests.

Great Peninsula Conservancy’s NextGen Outdoor Camp

We also partnered with the Great Peninsula Conservancy and hosted their NextGen Campers at the Rhododendron Preserve. The campers spent the day hiking to Big Tree and learned about the amazing properties of trees. We discussed the decline of pollinators and made seed bombs to increase the food supply for pollinators.

West Sound Wildlife Shelter brought 2 of their avian education ambassadors for the students to observe.

The day ended with campers exploring natural objects with senses other than their eyes. All in all, it was a great day!

Words in the Woods

KLF created a custom field trip for Woodland Elementary’s 3rd grade students. Our volunteers engaged the class in language arts by reading poetry to the students and playing word games.

After poetry and games, the students were guided on the trail to Big Tree.

This is just one example of our education program’s customizable field trips. For more information about field trips, visit our Education page.