Preserve. Inspire. Educate. Those are the three concepts that capture the mission and vision of the Foundation. We love the way they are interwoven and reinforce one another. When we preserve a piece of property in its natural state, that property is there to inspire and educate future generations.
One organization that does tremendous work to protect beautiful spaces that inspire a love of the outdoors is the Nature Conservancy. The Foundation has supported the Nature Conservancy’s land acquisition effort numerous times through our Community Grants Program. One example is their 320-acre Black River Preserve south of Tumwater in Littlerock, which we helped fund. This remarkable preserve is home to several species of salmon and fish and a remarkable array of riparian wildlife from mink and beaver to great blue heron. If you want to see the preserve up close, you’ll have to grab your kayak or canoe! You can read about one such acquisition here. By awarding grants to Nature Conservancy’s land acquisition projects, we are making sure people have healthy ecosystems to connect with.
In 2009, Mountaineers Foundation awarded a grant to the Burke Museum for a public exhibition of the 2010 International Conservation Photography Awards. The competition was initiated in 1997 by noted conservationist and photographer, Art Wolfe.
The opening of this event was a huge success! Lines to get in and view the photos stretched out the door.
Glorious photos of conservation are a wonderful way to connect those who don’t have easy access to the beauty of nature.
We are proud to be a longtime supporter of the Burke Museum and their unique programs that connect others to the natural world.
It’s fun to look back on grants we awarded decades ago and see the ripples from that small start. A 1981 Mountaineers Foundation awarded a grant to the Nature Conservancy for the Skagit River Eagle Project. This project worked to preserve the Skagit River Bald Eagle Natural Area. It’s a project that has borne tremendous fruit since that grant was awarded. The natural area was preserved and in 2002 the Skagit Valley Bald Eagle Interpretive Center was built. Today the Skagit River is arguably the most popular place to view bald eagles in Washington and visitors can participate in winter nature hikes to learn how the health of the area’s ecosystem supports healthy salmon which in turn sustains the bald eagles. And Keta Legacy Foundation is proud to have played our small role in this project which has helped protect a local natural treasure and is connecting people with a now-vibrant ecosystem.
Celebrating 50 years of global and local conservation work
Today, millions of people around the world are celebrating one of the most transformational environmental events of our lifetime – the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. It doesn’t seem radical today to talk about pollution, but 50 years ago, few protections were in place to keep our air, land and water safe and clean. It took millions of people marching and rallying to capture the attention of our nation’s leaders and prompt them to take necessary action. Earth Day is often credited as helping spur creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and passage of several landmark environmental policies including the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act.
This day gives us all a chance to reflect on how our actions can make a difference, globally and
locally. This is why we’re incredibly proud that our Community Grants program shares this special 50-year anniversary with such a pivotal worldwide event.
From its founding in 1968, Mountaineers Foundation, now also known as Keta Legacy Foundation, has worked to engage and connect people to the natural world through education, history, and science. Of the many ways we promote conservation and stewardship, our Community Grants program, launched in 1970, is among the most enduring. This program has helped fund hundreds of conservation-focused projects at non-profit organizations throughout the Puget Sound.
In 1970, the same year Earth Day was created; the Foundation’s community grant program funded its first project: a $100 grant for camping education to the newly-founded Central Area Youth Association. That same organization continues to serve Seattle-area youth today and their alumni include Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell and professional athletes like Jason Terry and Corey Dillon.
Hundreds more grants have since followed, supporting countless community partners engaged in conservation and outdoor education efforts large and small.
In 1994 a grant to the Elma Game Club was awarded to produce an educational brochure about the community’s conservation needs.
In 2002, the Foundation awarded a grant to Bryant Elementary School PTA to facilitate outdoor learning experiences.
A grant awarded to Seward Park Audubon Center in 2012 helped them develop curriculum for middle and high school programs that align with Audubon’s fascinating Pacific Flyway conservation work.
“What if instead of holding bake sales to raise money, schools sold ‘tree cards’ and planted trees?” The Northwest Watershed Institute started its Plant-A-Thon project in 2005 and the Foundation awarded them a grant in 2018 to help them expand their program to more Washington schools. Hundreds of children and families have planted tens of thousands of trees and learned how important trees are for salmon and the planet.
Last year we awarded a grant to EarthCorps’ blue carbon project in the Snohomish River Estuary, a project that could help capture nearly 9 million tons of carbon dioxide locally while establishing best practices to be shared nationally.
The grants detailed here are representative of the work done by the Foundation – supporting conservation efforts with partners locally and nationally. All of these, and the hundreds of other grants given by Mountaineers Foundation, are reflections of the spirit of Earth Day.
You can learn more about the organizations and projects you’ve helped us support on our Community Grants page. While we continue to operate our own programs, working with like-minded organizations and groups has always been central to fulfilling our mission. Our beautiful Rhododendron Preserve, our education programs and support for numerous projects such as Braided River books and the Mountaineers Foundation Library – now housed by the North Cascades Institute – are all examples of our collaborative work over the past decades to connect people to healthy ecosystems.
We often spend a lot of time thinking about how much work there is to do in our communities and for our planet and it can be hard to remember how much we’ve achieved. Today – on the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day – we hope you’ll spend time reflecting on all the amazing things you have helped Mountaineers Foundation/Keta Legacy Foundation and our community partners accomplish over the past five decades as we continue working together to protect our earth.
The Mountaineers Foundation has always been rooted in conservation and protecting our environment. The Foundation’s first President, Jesse Epstein, attended the 1972 United Nations Conference on human environment held in Stockholm, Sweden as an official representative of The Mountaineers Foundation.
The sixth point of the conference declaration proclaims:
A point has been reached in history when we must shape our actions throughout the world with a more prudent care for their environmental consequences. Through ignorance or indifference we can do massive and irreversible harm to the earthly environment on which our life and well being depend. … For the purpose of attaining freedom in the world of nature, man must use knowledge to build, in collaboration with nature, a better environment.