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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Top 10 Reasons to Join the Auction Committee

Wild Night Out, Washington Wild’s annual dinner and auction, is our largest fundraising and social event of the year. Wild Night Out brings together members, supporters, and volunteers to celebrate and contribute to the work of Washington Wild. This event includes live and silent auctions, delicious food, and a dessert dash. This year the event is on October 19, 2013.

The Auction Committee helps plan and prepare for the Annual Dinner. The Committee meets as a group once per month to discuss planning needs and progress. Committee members also work individually, at their convenience, on tasks discussed during Committee meetings. We could not have a successful event without the help of the Auction Committee! So why should you join the Committee? Read on.

Top 10 Reasons to Join the 2013 Auction Committee:   
1. The Annual Dinner and Auction raises funds for Washington Wild to continue to accomplish its mission. Funds raised during the Annual Dinner directly contribute to Washington Wild’s ability to impact the permanent protection of wild lands and waters in Washington State. We strive to protect and restore these wild lands and waters for the benefit of future generations; becoming a member of the Auction Committee enables you to become an integral part of this mission. 

2. This is a great learning opportunity! Over the months leading up to the Annual Dinner and Auction, you will participate in planning a large fundraising event. Event planning and coordination are valuable skills to take back to your own life and/or workplace! You will undoubtedly also learn about land and water use issues in Washington State, since that is the primary business of Washington Wild, as well as about the operations of a small non-profit organization. No matter where you are in your career or life, we can guarantee that some of the information and skills you gain from the Auction Committee will transfer beautifully to the rest of your world. 

3. There is an abundance of good energy during the meetings! We’re planning a party and that takes enthusiasm, creativity, idea-sharing, and good humor. If you had a rough day, a visit to a Committee meeting might just be the ticket to improving your evening. 

4. The Auction Committee is a great way to meet new people. You will get to know the core group of Committee members well over the months leading up to the event. The 2013 Committee will be my third term as a Committee member and this group always attracts good people! If you choose to tackle Committee tasks that require community outreach, you will also meet a diverse array of wonderful community members. Expanding one’s social and professional networks is a good thing

5. The Committee is under new management, but this is not her first rodeo! Cat Moore is coordinating the Annual Dinner and Auction for the first time this year and we are so lucky to have her previous experience, intelligence, organizational skills, and general niceness at the helm! Cat was integral in planning the 2011-2012 Annual Dinners, so she knows exactly what needs to happen and, more importantly, how to make things happen. Working with Cat is an excellent reason to join the Auction Committee!
6. We will make the most of your personal strengths! A successfully planned event requires planners with diverse skill-sets: decorating skills, people and communication skills, and organizational and detail-oriented skills. If you’re shy we will not ask you to call businesses for donations and if you’re completely disorganized we will not ask you to work on a filing system. Everyone has strengths and we will use them!

7. We strive for effective time management during Committee meetings. We appreciate that you are donating your time and skills to Washington Wild, and we will respect and honor that donation by getting straight to business.

8. Meetings are regularly scheduled for easy planning and most committee tasks are accomplished at your convenience. The Committee meets as a group on the second Monday of every month at 6:30pm at the Washington Wild office in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. Our first meeting will be in April and our last meeting will be in October. In between meetings, you may be working on contacting local business owners for auction donations, designing a decorating scheme for the event, or helping with administrative tasks such as labeling and sorting paperwork and data entry. The work in between meetings is completed at your convenience.

 9. Much of the work can be done remotely (i.e. not at the Washington Wild Office). If trekking to our office doesn’t jive with your schedule, it is possible to attend Committee meetings via phone. While it is preferable that you attend meetings in person, the occasional conference call can be plenty effective. As for the work you tackle in between meetings, many of the tasks can be completed anywhere. As long as you have a phone and internet connection you can contribute significantly!

10. You will feel appreciated! We need Committee members to make this event successful and we don’t ever forget that.

It is entirely possible that there are MANY other reasons to join the Auction Committee. If you would like to join the Committee but your reason for wanting to do so is not on the list, sign up anyway. Maybe next year, thanks to you, we’ll be able to write a “Top 20 Reasons…” blog post!

The first Auction Committee meeting of 2013 is on April 8th at 6:30pm at the Washington Wild office, located in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood 
at 305 N 83rd St 

If you would like to join the Auction Committee or if you would like more information, contact Cat Moore at cmoore[at] or call 206-633-1992

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Have Spring Fever? Go Hiking!

We have a sneaky feeling that some of you are getting a bit tired of being couch potato philosophers while endlessly scoping out Netflix for new titles to consume after work or school. March is notorious for Cabin Fever, so much so that it is officially celebrated as “Cabin Fever Month!”

The only remedy for Cabin Fever is to get outside, and with daylight savings time here the “it gets dark so early” excuse is moot. For you spring chickens and eternally young at heart – it’s SPRING BREAK! Put your party hat on by getting outdoors to explore Washington’s wild places!

If you’re over trudging through snow and dealing with icy trails, give one of the following hikes a try; we’ve done our best to choose places are that beautiful and experiencing hints of springtime. Not-so-coincidentally, each of the following hikes is in one of Washington Wild’s campaign areas.

Wild Olympics Campaign:

S. Fork Skokomish River by Dave Stiles
Lower South Fork Skokomish River Trail (#873)
  • Round-trip: 10 miles
  • Elevation gain: 575 feet
  • Accessible: year round
  • Map: Green Trails Mt Tebo No.199
The South Fork of the Skokomish River is a Proposed Wild & Scenic River in the Wild Olympics Proposal. Wild & Scenic designation–the strongest protection a river can receive – ensures that the free-flowing character, water quality and outstanding values of these rivers are protected for generations to come.

This hike features 500+ year-old Douglas Fir trees, expansive river views, and a scenic overlook at the turn-around spot (of course, you can turn around whenever you feel like it).

Bogachiel River by Tom O’Keefe
Bogachiel River Trail 
  • Round-trip: 12 miles
  • Elevation gain: 500 feet
  • Accessible: year round
  • Map: Green Trails Spruce Mountain No. 132
For this hike, after the first 1.5 miles, the trail follows the reach of the Bogachiel, which is also recommended for permanent protection under the Wild Olympics proposal.

Go on this hike if you really want to get away from it all. There is no visitor center or touristy town nearby. You will not encounter hoards of other trail users, or any roads once you leave the parking lot. What you will find are lichen-draped Sitka Spruce, lots of ferns and moss, and potentially, mud and elk. This is Pacific Northwest Rainforest at its finest!

Alpine Lakes Wilderness Addition
Snoqualmie & Pratt Rivers,by Charles Raines
Middle Fork Trail (#1003) 
  • Round-trip: 6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 200 feet
  • Accessible: year round
  • Map: Green Trails Mt Si No.174 and Skykomish No.175
A double-whammy of proposals here! The Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Proposed Wild & Scenic River and the lands south of the trail are proposed Wilderness additions to the existing Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area.

This hike rolls along, for the most part, right next to the river and features river and cliff views, an impressive suspension bridge, and an abundance of serenity for being so close to the urban Puget Sound region. The trail is open to mountain bikes on odd-numbered days between June 1 and October 31 and will continue to be accessible to bikes due to Washington Wild’s collaborative work with Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. While you won’t need to keep your eyes out for bikes this time of year, do watch for stream crossings. *Beware: the drive in on the Middle Fork Road is always rough, and particularly so this time of year. Tire-eating potholes are everywhere and a high-clearance vehicle is recommended for winter/spring access.


If you’re not keen on venturing out by yourself, starting in May Washington Wild will be hosting monthly hiking trips to our campaign areas. The purpose of these trips is to help you get out and experience the areas we work so hard to protect. May’s hike theme is “Spring in the Lowlands” (click here for up-to-date hikes information). While the details of this hike are still being ironed out, rest assured it will feature spring wildflowers, budding trees, and lush green vistas.

As always, please be safe when you venture out. Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return. Bring the 10 essentials and err on the side of caution; an unplanned night in the woods could be uncomfortable any time of year, but certainly so during early spring. With proper planning, though, you are almost guaranteed to have a superb time working off your cabin fever in Washington’s wild places. Happy trails!

Go wild and get outdoors!
Alexia Lee, Washington Wild Intern

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March is Women’s History Month

In 1978 a group of women initiated the first Women’s History week during the second week of March as a “tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.” By 1986, 14 states had officially declared the entire month of March as Women’s History Month, and in 1987 Congress officially declared March “Women’s History Month”. As noted historian Dr. Gerda Lerner described the acknowledgement of women’s history, “It is an essential and indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision.” (source:

So what’s the connection between Washington Wild (formerly Washington Wilderness Coalition until 2011) and Women’s History Month? Washington Wild was founded and shaped by an intelligent leader and extraordinary woman named Karen Fant (1949-2006).

As one of Washington Wild’s co-founders, Karen initially worked for the Sierra Club on roadless forest preservation. In the late 70's Fant, and fellow environmental activist Ken Gersten, envisioned an organization that would help people across the state to strengthen existing conservation groups or establish new ones, with a specific focus on protecting wilderness areas.  Karen, Ken and others founded the Washington Wilderness Coalition in 1979. As the organization's first co-directors, they divided up organizing duties throughout the state - with Karen taking organizing duties in Eastern Washington because she had a car.

Karen's work with grassroots organizations throughout the state was instrumental in the passage of the 1984 Washington State Wilderness Act which designated more than one million acres of new wilderness. Although pleased with the results of the 1984 Wilderness Act, Karen nonetheless recognized there were millions of acres of wild lands still unprotected.  Karen was one of a handful of local citizens who initiated efforts to protect the Wild Sky Wilderness, which was established in May 2008. 

Throughout her life, Karen was a force in the environmental movement.  In addition to Washington Wild, Karen was closely affiliated with the Alaska Coalition, the Sierra Club, Olympic Park Associates, and the Wild Sky working group.  Her influence, however, extended well beyond specific organizations and campaigns.  Karen taught her colleagues and younger generations of environmentalists how to create change in the world, and she will be remembered as a dynamic leader and an exceptional individual.  Her efforts embody the very purpose and spirit of “Women’s History Month.”  We are grateful to have had her on our team. 

Unfortunately, Karen left us far too early before her work was done. Washington Wild continues that work in her honor.

The following are excerpts from Karen’s memorial celebration in 2006.  People from all corners of the environmental community came out to pay tribute to her character and her work: 

 "Karen was a pioneer at a time when there were few women in leadership roles in the wilderness movement. It took exceptional skill for her not only to found WWC but then lead it through its formative period."
-- Nalani Askov, current board member and former Executive Director for Washington Wild

“Karen had a conviction that the only way to win lasting protection of our endangered wild places was local organizing. We traveled the state working with local activists in every Congressional District. Karen never put herself out in front. She always supported the local folks to do the advocacy. Of course, if things were not moving, Karen could push.”
-- Ken Gersten, Co-Founder of Washington Wilderness Coalition (now Washington Wild)

“Though a quiet, private person, Karen distilled the absolutely purest essence of personal commitment and steadfastness. When she spoke at strategy meetings, we all listened, for Karen invariably got right to the heart of the matter. Often when we had wandered deep into the tall weeds of detail and debate, hers was the patient voice reminding the rest of us of our original goals.

Karen was a leader’s leader. She never disdained rolling up her own sleeves for less glamorous work — phone-banking, door-belling, and such — that she recruited others to do, knowing this was the essence of the most seemingly adverse circumstances that the rest of us found daunting. More than once she rallied our spirits, making us believe we could change political outcomes...and have good fun in the bargain.

Karen was loyal to wilderness first and foremost. She made her contribution through many groups, always wanting to be where the action was — the action, she would remind us, not the discussion of action.”
--Doug Scott, Campaign for America’s Wilderness

“Fortunately she shared so much of her knowledge, expertise, and wisdom that we as a community are immensely stronger than had Karen not been among us. Every time I help put together a hearing or letter-writing campaign or organize local activists, I will consider how I can apply the many lessons that Karen taught and how I can help inspire other people the way that Karen inspired me.”
--Mark Lawler, Sierra Club


Thank you, Karen Fant, for being an integral piece of Washington Wild’s legacy and for being an exceptional part of women’s history.