Local Environmental Organizations

May 18, 2017

Did you miss the Earth Day and People's Climate March activities? No worries. Many meaningful environmental opportunities happen on a regular basis in our area.

About 40 percent of the streams and rivers in the Pacific Northwest can no longer habitable for salmon. You can do something about that. Sound Salmon Solutions has a 26-year history of working to protect and restore Stillaguamish, Snohomish, and South Island County watersheds.

Sound Salmon Solutions is a nonprofit Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group established through the Washington State Legislature in 1990. Education and "hands-on stewardship" through habitat restoration create the mission for this organization.

Students from Everett Public Schools, including Jackson High School, have participated in restoration projects. Volunteers are needed for restoration projects throughout the year. You can also help promote the organization at local festivals and participate in fundraising activities. Financial donations are welcome through personal and business sponsorships. Amazon Smile, Fred Meyer Community Rewards, and Bartells' B-Caring programs allow your purchases to result in automatic donations to Salmon Sound Solutions.

"To protect and preserve the waters of Puget Sound," you can help Puget Soundkeeper. Established in 1984, the organization claims to have removed close to 150,000 pound of debris from waterways in and around Puget Sound with the help of over 18,000 volunteers. The Puget Soundkeeper volunteer opportunities include marine debris clean ups, water quality monitoring, boat patrols, and community outreach. Members also engage in legislative lobbying efforts and taking legal action against polluters.

If you think environmentalism is for the birds or that environmentalists should all take a hike, you would be right. Imagine the excitement of seeing two bushtits making a nest or recognizing American Bitterns as they seek camouflage among reeds. These are among the local sightings of local Audubon Society members. The Pilchuck chapter of the Audubon features weekly group outings for members to see and photograph birds throughout Snohomish County and the surrounding region.

Monthly meetings happen on the second Friday of the month at the Everett Firefighters Hall on Hewitt Avenue. Programs include how to make your backyard a friendly bird habitat. The Christmas Bird Count and the Great Backyard Bird Count events help identify the health of bird populations in our area.  From May 19th to the 22nd will be the Pilchuck Audubon Birdathon. The annual event is a contest to see who can identify the greatest number of birds either locally or state wide. There are competitions for individuals and teams. Prizes will be awarded for the most birds identified and outstanding photography.

A "best bird" award will be given for finding "a rare bird for a specific habitat or a bird that is difficult to find in its habitat." To participate, members are required to earn a minimum of $25 in pledges. The Pilchuck Audubon also offers educational programs and encourages legislative action on environmental issues.

The Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club invites members to "explore, enjoy, and protect" our environment. For the month of May, the Snohomish Chapter will lead a hike to Lake 22 off of the Mountain Loop Hwy east of Verlot. The group will also host trail maintenance at the Diobsud Creek Trail near Marblemount.

Traditionally, the Sierra Club has been very active in legislative and legal actions concerning local and national environmental issues. Local members have participated in monitoring numbers of shipments of coal and oil transported by rail through the area. For elected offices, members review candidates actions and proposals for environmental issues and submit their endorsements to their members.

If you've been looking for a hobby that could help save the environment, consider the  Northwest District Beekeepers Association. Meetings are held in the evening on the second Tuesday of each month at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Snohomish. Check your home owners' association to see if you are permitted to operate bee hives. If you can, this organization will teach you how. They also assist with the removal of hives in homes and office buildings.

The Washington State Beekeepers Association annual membership dues are $25. Since bees are threatened with health issues globally and locally, your membership as a friend of beekeepers will allow you to support their efforts to keep food on our tables and connect us to education on how we can protect these essential pollinators.

Information for each of the groups mentioned here are found quickly on-line with your favorite search engine. Another way to chip in is to make your own group from the people you work with or the people you play in the Washington Department of Transportation's Adopt a Highway Program. Your participation improves the look of your area and saves tax dollars.

Over 1,100 volunteer groups currently participate in the program, but that only covers one third of the state's roads.  To start a group or join an existing group, search for the WSDOT "Adopt a Highway" home page. The site provides details, from start to finish. Not only will you help clean up your community, but you will be saving tax dollars as well.

There's enough work to do to protect and restore the environment for our community. While you can't do it all, you can find a place where you can help. If you don't who will?

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