Stewardship program kicks off in Birch Bay

By Stefanie Donahue

In just a few days, aspiring citizen scientists in Birch Bay will undergo water resource training.

Bellingham-based RE Sources for Sustainable Communities and the Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) are introducing the North Sound Stewards volunteer program to Birch Bay on Saturday, April 29.

“North Sound Stewards connects a group of people passionate about protecting the north Puget Sound,” said Eleanor Hines, program manager and lead scientist at RE Sources for Sustainable Communities in a statement.

“The information we collect provides a baseline of data that informs policy, restoration efforts, cleanups, and more. Citizen scientists are integral to support important work that underfunded agencies cannot do themselves.”

The North Sound Stewards volunteer program offers participants the training they need to protect marine resources. The program offers intertidal, green crab, ocean acidification, forage fish and sea star survey training all within the Cherry Point and Fidalgo Bay aquatic reserves.

Sponsored in partnership with the Northwest Straits Initiative, the Northwest Straits Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and the Cherry Point and Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserves Citizen Stewardship committees, volunteers will have the chance to brush shoulders with experts from agencies and nonprofits in the county.

The North Sound Stewards volunteer program is open to all ages; children under age 18 require accompaniment from an adult. Participants are required to commit 50 hours to training and surveys within a 12-month period.

The next survey takes place from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 29 at the BP Heron Center at Birch Bay State Park, located at 7290 Birch Bay Drive.

After that, volunteers are invited to participate from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 30 at the Interpretive Center at the Padilla Bay Reserve, located at 10441 Bayview Edison Road in Mount Vernon.

To learn more about North Sound Stewards volunteer program, visit re-sources.org/north-sound-stewards. The program is free to participate, but requires registration. Contact Eleanor Hines at eleanorh@re-sources.org or 360/733-8307 ext. 213 for more information.

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