2019 Spring News

Board Highlight

The Keta Legacy Foundation (KLF) has operated for 50 years with an all-volunteer Board of Directors. These wonderful people put KLF’s mission into action. They are helping realize our vision of people connecting with and protecting healthy ecosystems.

Jeff Wirtz

  • Has served on the Board for over 3 years and is currently vice president
  • Is passionate about environmental conservation
  • Regularly volunteers at the Rhododendron Preserve
  • Has worked as an environmental scientist for 19 years
  • Has a wide range of outdoor experiences as both an Eagle Scout and Mountaineer

“Just when I think that I have a good understanding of all of the different parts of the Rhododendron Preserve, I explore a different part of it and find some new type of microclimate that I hadn’t seen before. Part of the Preserve are old growth, while other parts are former Douglas Fir plantations, so there is a wide range of ecosystem types to see and learn about.”

-Jeff Wirtz

Jeff adds that he enjoys nothing more than exploring the Rhododendron Preserve as one of his duties as co-chair of the Preserve committee. Sometimes he does so as part of regular invasive species cruises or to monitor the KLF’s easements with the Ueland Tree Farm, but other times it’s just for the fun of it.

“Taking care of the Preserve requires a lot of hard work,” Jeff states. “We can’t do all the work by ourselves. That’s why I’m so thankful for volunteers and partners who have given us a hand with maintaining the Preserve! With the help of high school and college students, as well as groups like the Washington Conservation Corps, we actively manage the disturbed parts of the Preserve to help restore them to a more natural state.”

Donors Make a BIG Impact

A generous couple, Darly and Laura, made an outstanding donation to KLF’s land acquisition fund to create an opportunity to expand the Preserve. We asked our GiveBIG donors to join in the effort. With the combination gifts from Daryl and Laura and our thoughtful GiveBIG donors, we were able to purchase 40 acres of land from the Ueland Tree Farm!

In 2018, Jeff Wirtz took the lead on this land acquisition project for the Preserve. As the contact person for the land acquisition, Jeff dealt with a wide range of professionals over several months. The new acreage was finally acquired in December of 2018. The new parcels add a buffer to the southeast corner of the Preserve and provide additional protection for the Chico Creek watershed.

Generous donors and dedicated volunteers like Jeff made this project possible. We, at KLF, want to give them a BIG thank you for protecting the health of the Salish Sea by caring so deeply about land preservation.


Rhododendron Preserve Update

This spring, KLF hired the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) to complete a wide range of projects at the Preserve. The crew did some very tough work! We are thankful for their service in our community!

The crew worked on controlling invasive English Holly. English Holly has taken hold in several buffer parcels in the Preserve tat were previously a tree farm.

The crew also cleared invasive species (mostly Himalayan blackberry and English ivy) from Hidden Valley, rebuilt some of the steps on the Big Tree trail, and treated and created a map of invasive species in the new parcels that the KLF purchased in December of 2018.

The crew will be back for two weeks in the fall of this year to continue to help with the mapping and removal of invasive species.

Orcas Love Raingardens

We are proud supporters of the Orcas Love Raingardens project, 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 Generation Science Standards”.

In April 2019, students from Sherman Elementary School presented the Tacoma City Council members with artwork the students created as part of the Orcas Love Raingardens curriculum.

Photo credit: Washington Environmental Council (WEC)

GiveBIG is Today!

Give Big May 8th

Our goal is to raise $5,000 for transportation grants to local schools for educational field trips. Your 2019 GiveBIG donations will connect students to healthy ecosystems and give them the experience of learning about salmon and salmon habitat.

We are proud to announce that 100% of our Board of Trustees has donated to help reach our goal!

Our generous donors have already raised over $2,000 in April for transportation grants. We are hopeful that we will reach our goal of $5,000 by the end of today.

Please donate today on KLF’s GiveBIG page.

Thank you for giving!


2019 Earth Day Teach-in

South Kitsap High School (SKHS) visited the Rhododendron Preserve for their annual Earth Day Teach-in. Students from AP Environmental Studies participated.

EPA Scientists volunteered to teach the students. The students learned about food waste programs, air quality monitoring and enforcement, and watershed management.

The students worked in groups that represented different parts of the community. Their goal was to protect their watershed by lowering pollution while also maintaining a budget. The students debated about different actions they should take to have the most impact on water quality.

It was a great exercise to show the challenges that every community has with pollution.

This is an example of a field trip that is made possible by generous donors. Thank you to our donors for giving students educational experiences.