The Rhododendron Preserve COVID-19 Closure

We have made the difficult decision to close all public access to the Rhododendron Preserve until further notice. We do this to follow Gov. Inslee’s Stay Home, Save Lives executive order, to help limit the spread of COVID-19, and to protect the preserve. We take to heart our responsibility to protect our community and each other and thank you for your support and understanding in these efforts.

Upon lifting of Gov. Inslee’s Stay Home, Save Lives executive order, we will re-evaluate our decision and will notify you on our website when the Preserve is open once again to public visitation.

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.