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Friday, April 26, 2013

Our Incredible Interns

Interns are essential to enabling Washington Wild to accomplish its mission. As a small non-profit organization with a small staff, interns increase our capacity to protect and restore wild lands and waters in Washington State. Although we are unable to financially compensate the talented people who are hired as interns, we try really hard to make our internships a meaningful and enjoyable experience for both the interns and our organization. Through interesting and varied projects, work that occasionally consists of hiking or attending a trivia night, and many learning opportunities, we hope that our interns understand how much we need and value them.

With the 2013 summer intern season about to ramp up, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the work of our bright and hardworking 2012 interns. We wish we had great photos of all of them and promise to be more active with our cameras in the future!

The Great Washington Wild Interns of 2012 

Whitney at Duwamish Alive Earth Day event
Winter/Spring Wildlands Conservation Intern: Whitney Cox played an integral part in helping Washington Wild become familiar with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) process for creating their Resource Management Plans (RMP). Whitney prepared two detailed memos, one on the RMP process and another on BLM areas with potential wilderness characteristics. She then went on two separate field trips to Eastern Washington spread over multiple days exploring BLM lands and providing photo documentation and detailed notes of the areas.

Faith Outreach Intern: Kara Tebeau did original research on conservation ethics for several different faith denominations resulting in a 40-page report entitled “Conservation Ethics in Religious Contexts: A guide to faith outreach on wilderness and conservation issues.” Her work has helped enhance Washington’s Wild’s continued outreach efforts to religious leaders on conservation issues. 

TIPS (Teens in Public Service) Social Media Intern: Amy Bearman created an integral social media plan for Washington Wild, helping find new pathways for us to reach potential members and supporters. Additionally, she wrote blogs on conservation issues such as the return of fish to the upper White Salmon River after the removal of the Condit Dam. She also helped update website content for the Conservation Department. 
Amy is a gymnast, too!

Darcey enjoying some ferry time
Communications Intern: Darcey Whitney helped to implement and maintain Washington Wild’s communications and marketing plan, while updating and improving all of our communications tactics. Darcey created a new membership brochure, assisted with our logo contest and implementation, and gave our web site an update.

Bureau of Land Management Mapping Interns: Karissa Kingerly worked on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) project. She went on three separate field trips to Eastern Washington spread out over multiple days. She explored BLM lands and photo documented and took detailed notes on the wilderness characteristics of these areas. Phoebe Reid worked on the Bureau of Land Management project. She went on one field trip to Eastern Washington spread out over multiple days. She explored BLM lands and photo documented and took detailed notes on the wilderness characteristics of these areas. Whitney Cox went on two separate field trips to Eastern Washington spread over multiple days exploring BLM lands and providing photo documentation and detailed notes of the areas.

Education Interns: Karissa Kingerly created basic curriculum for Washington Wild's first youth trip with Seattle Parks and Recreation. Phoebe Reid attended the hike at Lower Grey Wolf Ridge, an area within the Wild Olympics Campaign. She then wrote a blog about the conservation and education aspects of the trip.

Phoebe, excited by the Grey Wolf River

Conservation Outreach Intern: Nick Lannoye led Washington Wild’s outreach efforts throughout the summer of 2012. By attending a few dozen events (i.e. a lot!), Nick spread the word of Washington Wild’s work throughout the Puget Sound area, helping us to reach hundreds of new people and educate them on our campaigns. Nick also assisted with volunteer trainings for field-based volunteer opportunities.  
Nick, helping with a volunteer training at Seward Park

Fall Wildlands Conservation Intern: Kiki Contreras composed a 5-part blog series profiling various species of animals that are found in Washington Wild’s campaign areas. In the future, this information will be used to update the wildlife section of the WW website. Her work on this subject will also be part of the upcoming WW print newsletter. 
Kiki backpacking in Montana 

In 2012, the interns contributed 1,796.5 hours of their time to Washington Wild. We are grateful for every minute of that time, and hope they enjoyed working at Washington Wild as much as we enjoyed having them.

Washington Wild’s busy summer intern season is almost upon us, and we are so excited to meet the new group! If you, or someone you know is looking for a summer internship opportunity, please click here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Washington Wild is joining Friends of the Cedar River Watershed to Celebrate Earth Day on April 20th!

Celebrate Earth Day by volunteering to reclaim the 
Cedar River Watershed Education Center for native plants! 

Cedar River Watershed Education Center (source)
The Education Center sits on a site with a rich and varied history. The many invasive plants that – until recently – have crowded out native species around the Education Center represent part of our past. Volunteers will help reclaim this area for native plants that are good for fish and wildlife; reshaping our future by removing invasive blackberries, sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) seedlings, and other invasive plants along Rattlesnake Lake to prepare the ground for planting native trees and shrubs later in the year. Volunteers will also have the opportunity to take a free, guided tour of the protected watershed during the event!

Date: Saturday April 20, 2013
Time: 9:00am-3:00pm
Meeting Place: Cedar River Watershed Education Center (19901 Cedar Falls Rd SE North Bend, WA 98045)
For more information: Click here

If you live in Seattle, chances are excellent that your tap water comes from the Cedar River Watershed. From the Friends of the Cedar River website:  
“The upper watershed is a protected area known as the Cedar River Municipal Watershed. About 90,000 acres, or 143 square miles, is owned by the City of Seattle and managed as an ecological preserve to provide drinking water for about one million King County residents. The municipal watershed is one of only six protected watersheds in the country, and is the only municipal watershed owned by the people it serves.  
Chester Morse Reservoir- Drinking water holding area (source)
It takes over 100 million gallons of water per day to fulfill the water needs of the communities that drink the waters of the Cedar. The forest acts as a kind of natural water filtration system. As a result, the Cedar River is one of the few rivers in the United States used for drinking water without requiring specially fabricated filtration. Chester Morse Lake is the main storage reservoir of the Cedar River Watershed system. Pipelines route water to the Seattle area from Landsburg Dam at the western edge of the protected watershed. Public access is restricted and the area is being managed to promote old-growth forest conditions in order to protect water quality. Costing rate-payers less than one half of one cent per day, users of Cedar River water have access to some of the cleanest, least expensive, and best-protected water in the world.” (source)

A tour of the protected watershed is an amazing opportunity to see the source of Seattle’s drinking water! Volunteering on Saturday is a fantastic way to contribute to the health of your watershed! 

Washington Wild works to protect Washington’s wild waters
Washington Wild works to protect Washington’s watersheds through various place-based campaigns. Currently we are working on protecting wild waters in the following campaigns: Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions, Wild Olympics, Cascades Wild, and Volcano Rivers.


Follow these links for more information about the Cedar River Watershed:
Seattle Public Utilities  
Friends of the Cedar River Watershed

If you would like to volunteer on Saturday, please RSVP to Christine Scheele (christine[at] no later than Thursday April 18th.

P.S. – After improving the Cedar River Watershed, there will be a Brewshed gathering at Snoqualmie Brewery (8032 Falls Ave. S.E., Snoqualmie, WA) in Snoqualmie at 3:30pm. The Brewshed project celebrates the link between water from clean healthy watersheds making better beer. Watershed improvement and watershed/Brewshed celebration all in one day?! Yes! This event is open to folks of all ages! Click here for more information.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wilderness Campaigns are wildlife campaigns, too! PART 4: Cascades Wild

Washington Wild works hard to protect the wild forests and rivers of Washington State. Washington Wild recently led a coalition that succeeded in designating the first national forest Wilderness in Washington in more than 20 years. The Wild Sky Wilderness Act, enacted into law in 2008, covered more than 100,000 acres of forestland in Western Washington, helping to protect old growth forests and pristine rivers from development and degradation. Washington Wild’s Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions, Wild Olympics, Volcano Rivers, and Cascades Wild campaigns promise to deliver similar results.

But every acre of wilderness safeguards much, much more than stands of ancient Western red cedars and free flowing waterways. Each acre also ensures protection for every living thing that calls the forest or stream its home. Washington’s native species would be nothing without the expansive natural forest ecosystems we work so hard to protect, nor would the forests be as healthy and vibrant as they are without the wildlife inhabiting them. That’s why Washington Wild’s wild lands and waters campaigns are wildlife campaigns, too.

Cascades Wild Campaign—A Puget Sound Headwaters Initiative
The Cascades Wild Campaign is a long-term Puget Sound Headwaters Initiative advocating for new Wilderness additions to the Mt. Baker, Noisy Diobsud, Glacier Peak, Boulder River, Henry M Jackson and Alpine Lakes Wilderness Areas and new Wild and Scenic River designations for important rivers, streams and their tributaries. This effort is a crucial push to protect vital wild lands and waters on the west slope of the North Cascades from the I-90 corridor to the Canadian border.

Wildlife Profile #1: Grizzly Bear
(Ursus arctos horribilis) 

Image from Public Domain Images website (source)
There are two Distinct Population Segments of grizzly bears in Washington—one in the Selkirk Range in the northeast corner of the state, and one in the North Cascades. Distinct Population Segments are groups within a species that are separate from each other geographically, behaviorally, or ecologically. Grizzlies are large bears, and in the lower 48 females typically weigh 250-350 lbs. and males 400-600 lbs. Although they’re also known as brown bears, their fur can range from light blond to black. It’s thought that the variation in fur color comes from regional differences in diet and climate patterns rather than genetics. When available, small mammals and fish make up most of grizzly bears’ diets, but they’re extremely opportunistic and will eat berries, roots, grasses, and tubers as necessary. These bears need abundant food to build up sufficient fat and protein stores to last them through their 4-6 month long hibernation during the winter.

Although grizzly bears are solitary for the most part, habitat connectivity and interaction between individuals is essential for their success. Fragmentation of forests makes male-female encounters very rare. Recent research shows that human settlement in mountain valleys and major highways have broken up bear populations and caused a significant decrease in female migration. With only male bears migrating to find mates, the likelihood of successful mating and population growth decreases. Grizzly bear numbers in the North Cascades are already very low (fewer than 20 individuals), so it’s imperative that the bulk of the North Cascades Ecosystem remains wild and roadless to facilitate the recovery of this iconic Western species. A Wilderness area like Cascades Wild would give grizzly bears the protection they need.

Wildlife Profile #2: Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) 

Photo Credit: Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center
Bald eagles are large sea eagles native to North America, with wingspans that can reach almost 7 feet. Although Benjamin Franklin was rooting for the wild turkey, the bald eagle was selected as the national emblem of the United States in 1782. These raptors may appear regal while sitting perched atop a tree or soaring through the sky, but they make a living for the most part by harassing other birds and stealing their food. Their diet varies regionally, however, and in the Pacific Northwest most of their nourishment comes from salmon they’ve caught themselves. Bald eagles are easily identified by their stark white head and tail plumage, but juveniles don’t get these characteristic markings for about five years and are completely covered by mottled brown and white feathers. For most of the year, bald eagles only associate with their mates, which they remain with for life, but during the winter hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of bald eagles will travel many miles to congregate in specific wintering grounds. Wintering grounds are usually selected for high food availability, such as large salmon runs. There are also resident bald eagles that don’t migrate in the winter—these birds usually live farther south where the rivers and lakes they live by don’t freeze.

These raptors are one of the biggest success stories of the Endangered Species Act. Due to hunting and trapping, and reproductive failures caused by the pesticide DDT, bald eagle numbers dropped drastically throughout the first half of the 20th century. By the 1950’s, there were a little more than 400 breeding pairs in the lower 48. In 1967 the bald eagle was listed as federally endangered and a few years later in 1972 the use of DDT was banned. Over the next few decades, bald eagle populations rebounded dramatically and in 2007 they were delisted. The future looks bright for these birds, but protecting their habitat and the rivers where they get their food is still extremely important. Bald eagles are thought to be very ecologically important—the decaying salmon carcasses they leave on the forest floor provide massive nutrient flows to plants, fungi and bacteria. The Cascades Wild proposal will protect important wintering grounds for bald eagles, as well as year-round habitat. The Sauk and Suiattle Rivers provide excellent eagle habitat, and nearby Illabot Creek hosts one of the largest wintering populations in the lower 48. Rivers like the Sauk and Suiattle and the wildlands around them would be permanently protected with the passage of the Cascades Wild proposal, likewise ensuring the permanent protection of bald eagles in the area.

Wildlife Profile #3: Killer Whale
(Orcinus orca)

Photo Credit: NOAA
Few native wildlife species in Washington are as iconic as the orca, and while you’d be hard pressed to find one while backpacking through the proposed Cascades Wild Wilderness, this marine mammal is an important recipient of the benefits of intact upland ecosystems that the Cascades Wild proposal promises to protect. Killer whales belong to a group of mammals called cetaceans, and are characterized by a marine and carnivorous lifestyle. Although we call them whales, orcas are actually much more closely related to dolphins and porpoises than they are to other whales like blue whales and humpbacks. Orcas are highly social animals—they exhibit a matrilineal social structure, meaning that groups are comprised of a female, her sons and daughters, and her daughters’ offspring. It is rare for individuals to leave the pod for even a few hours. Pods hunt together, and in this region their main food source are large, fatty Chinook salmon. Washington’s waters see three populations of orcas regularly. The transient and offshore populations spend much of their time elsewhere, but the southern resident population resides here for much of the year. There are three known resident pods in the southern resident population—J, K, and L pods. These pods consist of 20-40 whales and spend most of their time in the waters surrounding the San Juan Islands. Orcas are known as apex predators, meaning they are top-level predators with no predators of their own. Apex predators are very ecologically important because of the role they play in controlling the populations of smaller prey species and maintaining ecosystem diversity.

While apex predators have a large impact on populations of their prey, changes in abundance of their prey can in turn greatly influence predator populations. Such is the case with Washington’s orcas and Chinook salmon. Due to the decline in Chinook salmon populations in Puget Sound over the last several decades, the opportunity for orca population growth in Washington and British Columbia is limited. Maintaining healthy salmon populations is extremely important to protecting Washington’s southern resident orcas, which were added to the US Endangered Species List in 2006. The Cascades Wild proposal will protect important salmon spawning grounds in the North Cascades, and this will in turn greatly benefit Washington’s vulnerable orca populations.

By supporting Washington Wild you will not only be helping to protect our wild lands and waters but also the wildlife that depend on them. To learn more about our campaigns visit our website.

Read parts 1-3 of the Wilderness Campaigns are Wildlife Campaigns blog series:
Part 1: Wild Sky Wilderness
Part 2: Alpine Lakes Wilderness Expansion
Part 3: Wild Olympics Campaign

Friday, April 5, 2013

April 7th is National Beer Day! Celebrate your Brewshed!

What is National Beer Day? 
People have been brewing and drinking beer since they began cultivating grains 8,000 years ago, and beer has been an important part of human culture ever since.  Currently, beer is the third most popular beverage in the world, behind water and tea.  This is a beverage that deserves its own holiday.

April 7th was chosen as National Beer Day because on that day in 1933 President Roosevelt took the first step towards ending prohibition by signing a law that per mitted people to brew and sell beer below 4.0% alcohol by volume.  Prior to this date, Americans had been prohibited to sell or purchase alcohol for 13 years!  (source: 

Why is Washington Wild excited about National Beer Day? 
National Beer Day is an excellent opportunity to draw attention to Washington Wild’s Brewshed project! 

What is a Brewshed?  
A Brewshed is the link between clean healthy watersheds and superior local beers, because clean water makes better beer.  Watersheds are Brewsheds!

 At Washington Wild, we work to permanently protect Washington’s wild river systems and the lands they flow through, many of which supply drinking water to Washington communities and provide the water to create our delicious local beers.  Through Wilderness and Wild & Scenic River designations, our goal is to permanently protect and restore wild lands and waters in Washington State. 

Washington Wild is leading the Brewshed movement in Washington, working with local breweries that care about protecting the source of clean cold water they use. In a recent Washington News Service story around National Beer Day, two members of our Brewshed project carried forward this message:

Pam Brulotte, co-owner of the Icicle Brewing Company in Leavenworth, says she and her husband picked their location specifically to use water from the Icicle River.  "For us, it was just super-important to highlight that in our brewery, that we do have really amazing water,” she says. “But we want to keep it that way, and keep it clean and pure. And Brewshed, as far as protecting these waters, just lines up with our philosophy." 

Kevin Klein, Brewmaster at NW Peaks Brewery in Seattle, says the water has to taste good right out of the tap. He confirms that its characteristics affect beer quality and flavor, and thinks Pacific Northwest brewers have a big advantage when it comes to water quality.  "I know in other areas of the country, I can taste the water from the tap and I just do not like how it tastes,” he says. “And you can tell that it's kind of musty, dirty, chlorinated or kind of salty, and just not appealing." 

How does one celebrate a Brewshed?
Washington Wild is working with local breweries to draw attention to the fact that delicious beer relies upon healthy watersheds.   We plan to host regularly scheduled Brewshed Happy Hours at participating breweries.  A Brewshed Happy Hour is a time for conservation-minded craft beer-lovers to gather in honor of healthy watersheds and local microbrews, all while supporting local breweries!

Brewers and breweries who join the project pledge to: 
  • Know the source of the water that wets their beer 
  • Support the notion of “wild waters” 
  • Host 1-2 happy hour events with Washington Wild each year to help Washington Wild promote wild waters conservation 
April’s Brewshed Happy Hour 
On Saturday April 20th we will be gathering at SnoqualmieBrewery (8032 Falls Ave. S.E., Snoqualmie, WA) at 3:30pm to cap off a fantastic volunteer event at the Cedar River Watershed Education Center.  Snoqualmie Brewery is all-ages friendly, so children, teens, and young adults are welcome.

There’s more!  Become a Brewshed Ambassador! 
As a Brewshed Ambassador, you are an authorized representative of Washington Wild’s Brewshed project. 

Ambassadors are needed to help Washington Wild staff communicate the purpose of the Brewshed project to a broader audience, which may include owners and staff at local breweries and members of Seattle’s tremendous beer-loving community.

We may ask you to join us for: a meeting with a new brewery, a Brewshed happy hour event, and for special tasting and charitable events (we held one of these at Chuck’s Hop Shop in January – it was fantastic).

In a nutshell, a Brewshed Ambassador talks with people about the Brewshed project while enjoying local microbrews. Not a bad volunteer opportunity, eh? 

How do you become a Brewshed Ambassador? 
Attend the Brewshed Ambassador training! 
  • Thursday April 11th at 6:30pm at NW Peaks Brewery in Ballard (4912 17th Ave NW Seattle, WA 98107) **Must be at least 21 years-old for this event**

  Contact Christine Scheele via email (Christine[at] 
or phone (206-633-1992)if you would like to learn more and/or
 attend the Brewshed Ambassador training.