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The new Padilla Bay Volunteer Program is off and running! New Volunteer Coordinator, Catherine Buchalski, has been busy meeting with Padilla Bay Reserve staff and funding partners to develop a framework for this volunteer consortium. Everyone is feeling very positive and excited about the future! To share that energy with you, the Padilla Bay Foundation is partnering with our fellow non-profit Friends of Skagit Beaches to host an open house from 1-3:30PM after the Friends' annual meeting on January 30. We will provide information about the new Padilla Bay Volunteer program, provide details about upcoming training events and volunteer opportunities in 2015, and get your input on what you hope to see happen over the next year. It will also be a unique opportunity to learn about and actively explore the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. We'll have materials available for you to officially sign-up and register as a Padilla Bay Volunteer, and a door prize just for attending.

Mark Friday, January 30th on your calendars now - you won't want to miss this event! If you have any questions about the open house or the program, please contact Catherine via e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone: 360.428.1559.

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A second group of interpretive signs is currently in development and we are hoping to have them installed by the end of May 2015.  Betty Carteret and Jan Hersey are developing the text and images for the signs and working with the graphic design firm EDX Exhibit Designs in Seattle.  They are the same firm we worked with on the first group of signs and we will be using the same design templates (see photo).  The new interpretive walk will start at the southwest corner of the Marine Technology Center property near the intersection of 17th and Q in Anacortes.  The signs will follow Q Avenue then turn right to line the waterfront of the Cap Sante Marina before crossing to the Guemes Channel at the habitat restoration site completed last year by the Port of Anacortes at the old Wyman's Marina location.  Sign topics will include topics covering Anacortes History, the Anacortes Baywide Cleanup, protecting the bay through use of green technologies and design, and stories of our marine waterfront – past and present.  We hope to host a "grand opening" ribbon cutting and walking tour after the signs are installed.

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Friends of Skagit Beaches is pleased to announce the 4th Annual Fidalgo Shoreline Academy, A One Day University for Everyone on Saturday, April 11 from 9 AM-4 PM at the Fidalgo Bay Resort in Anacortes. Chose from a variety of presentations about current issues facing our marine environment, exciting new research from NOAA, and an array of topics about Salish Sea ecosystems and culture. This year's Keynote speaker is Dr. Joe Gaydos, Senior Wildlife Veterinarian and the Chief Scientist for the SeaDoc Society.  SeaDoc is a science-based marine conservation program of the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center located on Orcas Island that has a focus on designing a healthy Salish Sea. For over a decade Joe has been working on wildlife health and ecosystem health issues in the Pacific Northwest. He has published dozens of peer-reviewed scientific papers on topics related to diseases that impact human and wild animal health in species like harbor seals, river otters, porpoise and killer whales. While he's a bit of science nerd, he also has a passion for all things wild: wildlife, wild places and wild people. Joe works to connect people to the amazing resources of the Salish Sea and was recently honored with the 2014 Seattle Aquarium Conservation Research Award, and we're excited to offer a book signing opportunity for his recently co-authored book, The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest, at the event.

Online registration will be available in February on the Friends of Skagit Beaches website.

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The Winter Lecture Series sponsored by Friends of Skagit Beaches will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2015. This lecture series was started as a class project of a group of local Beach Watchers during their 2005 training and has become a popular winter event in Anacortes. During the last several years, audiences routinely exceed 100 attendees - so come early to get a good seat. The lectures are presented on the second Friday at 7PM in the Northwest Educational Services District Building. Lecture dates: January 9th, February 13th, March 13th, and April 10th

Dr. Andy Bunn a WWU Environmental Sciences professor will be the first guest speaker on January 9th and will be discussing research in the Arctic mammoth tundra that once spanned from France to China. He'll be discussing the question of whether restoring this habitat could help fight climate change.

For more information, visit the Friends website calendar. You can also pick up a series flyer with dates and topics at a variety of locations around town including the library, senior center, and a number of local businesses. 

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Trail Tales looks ahead to bringing people together Trail Tales program celebrated 3 years of trail and shoreline activities in 2014 and looks ahead to continuing and expanding opportunities for the community to enjoy, understand and connect with the waters surrounding Fidalgo Island. Besides the 15 docent-guided walks (and a bike ride) along the Tommy Thompson trail from May to September, and again celebrating National Estuaries Day with engaging "stations" along the trail, we had two "firsts" in our third year: a pre-season and post season Birding walk and the October and November Films with Friends Environmental film series.

All of our activities – new and renewed – have some common characteristics that make them especially rewarding:

  • Small or large, the groups are a combination of familiar faces and new participants.
  • The people that gather share an interest in nature and better understanding our local environment, and leave with a stronger appreciation and sense of community.
  • Whether volunteers are behind-the-scenes or holding-the-microphone, a friendship sneaks into the relationships among the volunteers who make each Trail Tales event happen, and
  • The events bring partner organizations together to enhance the capacity for individual groups to accomplish their missions where goals are shared.

Trail Tales volunteers may set the stage – and yes, that is important, but the partnerships and participants are what make the activities and events meaningful for the community! So this is a good time to say THANK YOU to ALL our partners and volunteers!

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Open our official Trail Tales map & brochure (3.7MB pdf)

Films with Friends schedule (pdf)