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Harbor Wildwatch Receives A Significant Grant

Media Release

April 20, 2016

Contact: Jennifer Beard, Development Associate

Telephone: 253-514-0187

Email: jennifer@harborwildwatch.org

Harbor WildWatch is excited to announce the award of a $10,000 grant from the Charlotte Martin Foundation, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of youth and preserving and protecting wildlife and habitat. A primary goal of the Charlotte Martin Foundation is to address the relationship between biodiversity and climate change. Harbor WildWatch is an environmental education organization which focuses on the stewardship of Puget Sound and provides hands-on, interactive learning and volunteer experiences to the community of the greater Gig Harbor region. In 2013, Harbor WildWatch launched its Citizen Science Experience which was the first biodiversity monitoring program of its kind in the South Puget Sound. Stena Troyer, Science Specialist at Harbor WildWatch explains, “Support from the Charlotte Martin Foundation is so thrilling because it will allow us to expand our citizen science experiences and provide special kits for youth and adult volunteers to check out so they can gather critical data about the health of the Puget Sound.”

When community members of all ages participate in the scientific process they develop a scientific literacy that leads to peer-to-peer conversations about our environment and they form a personal connection to the landscape that they study. They become vested in making informed decisions to help restore and protect the biodiversity. And for our youth volunteers, participation in data gathering is the sort of active learning that can inspire them towards a career in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Trained volunteers will conduct water quality testing, riparian zone restoration and bi-annual biodiversity assessments, with a special focus on at-risk invertebrate species, such as the Olympia oyster and sea stars that are affected by the sea star wasting syndrome. Additionally, participants will document salmon returning to Donkey Creek at a Salmon Observation Station and divers will partner with NOAA habitat specialists to monitor young rockfish for the Puget Sound Rockfish Recovery program.

The Charlotte Martin Foundation announcement came in April, which is National Volunteer Month. From the youngest volunteers in the exciting seaStars & Beyond program to our adult volunteers who lead beach walks, downtown walking tours and form the backbone of our citizen science experience, Harbor WildWatch would like to give a huge thank you! Recognizing climate change vulnerability is an important first step in preparing for future conservation efforts. Harbor WildWatch is grateful for the opportunity to use adaptive strategies to document the Puget Sounds’ biodiversity and increase the resilience of our vital ecosystems while making such wonderful connections in the community.

Would you like to be a citizen scientist or help with other Harbor WildWatch programs? We provide all necessary training and a great community of volunteers. For the Citizen Science Experience, email mailto:stena@harborwildwatch.org. All other volunteer opportunities please contact mailto:jennifer@harborwildwatch.org.

Harbor WildWatch is a 501(c)(3) non-profit environmental education organization based in Gig Harbor, WA. Their mission is to inspire stewardship for Puget Sound by providing learning opportunities about the environment to the people in the local community. Through more than 600 fun and interactive programs each year, Harbor WildWatch hopes to inform residents and visitors about local marine life and elicit their involvement in preserving our natural resources. To make a donation or learn more about Harbor WildWatch, visit www.harborwildwatch.org