Thursday, March 1, 2012

Saving a spot for wildlife

Like many people I did not move to Whidbey Island for the wildlife. But in time I discovered they defined my quality of life. Deer, coyotes, orcas, Redtail-hawks, gray whales, woodpeckers, owls and native chipmunks are why I live here. They bring me immense joy and peace.

Craig Johnson photographed this Double-crested Cormorant.
I watch and listen constantly. The more closely I pay attention, the more I learn about the animals' activities around me, and how they adapt, live and hunt. I’ve even come to value bats, snakes, lizards, butterflies and other creatures easily overlooked but no less wondrous. How did that happen?

I appreciate being part of a community that understands and shares this love of nature. Not surprisingly, I developed friendships with others who feel the same way and whose passion adds to my enjoyment. Many of the people I most admire are members of Whidbey Camano Land Trust.

A few years ago I made thank you calls to some of these people for their gifts to the Land Trust. I had many touching and humbling conversations. Some were people of means; others had little but shared what they could because they know habitat is important. Land is our greatest legacy to future generations and to the wildlife we love.

The Land Trust's 2011 annual report is just off the press and once again it puts the spotlight on wildlife that benefit from the many forests, farms, lagoons, beaches and other areas the Land Trust helps preserve as wildlife-friendly habitat.

This coyote and I watched each other while I snapped photos.
Many of the images in this year’s report were taken by my good friend, Craig Johnson, including the Double-Crested Cormorant on the front cover. He also photographed the Northern Harrier, Great-blue Heron and Douglas Squirrel on the inside.  I’m proud to share space in the publication with him. A young coyote I photographed a few months ago appears on the back cover. 

The Land Trust’s mission is: To protect the islands’ most important natural habitats, scenic vistas and working farms and forests in partnership with landowners and our island communities.

Even in this slow economy, the Land Trust in 2011 scored many land-protection victories. They secured conservation easements on two key properties protecting 97 acres of prime farmland in Ebey’s Reserve and received a donation of 16 acres of privately-owned tidelands on North Whidbey, giving the public access to 2.2 miles of west-side beach. They also earned accreditation from the National Land Trust Alliance. This is an extraordinary distinction awarded so far to only 158 of the 1,700 land trusts in the nation.

To all of you readers who are members of the Land Trust, thank you.  If you are not a member, please consider making a gift and becoming one.  Just open this link and click on "Donate."


  1. Yes, the Whidbey Camano Land Trust team are awesome and so are people like Dan Pedersen for supporting their efforts!

  2. It's heartening to be reminded of those who give and what it means to the future.