Thursday, October 29, 2015

Citizen Scientists Deploy Mussels for WDFW Regional Stormwater Monitoring Program

Guided by the light of the full moon (and headlamps) on October 27, 2015, three groups of PTMSC volunteers patiently awaited the arrival of the zero tide. They, along with 70 other teams, are part of a collaborative project taking place this week, led by the Washington State Department of Ecology with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and other agencies. PTMSC teams placed cages full of mussels at specific shoreline locations in Port Townsend, Port Hadlock, and Irondale.

Mussels filter water to feed and in doing so, can accumulate toxins found in the water. In February the mussels will be collected, delivered to WDFW labs and tested for toxins.

Our mussel deployers were: Liz Hoenig, Aaron Walter, Charley Kanieski, Dave Sachi, Darryl Hrenko, Rebecca Mostow, Carolyn Woods, Katie Conroy, and Zofia Knorek.

Our mussel rustlers were Merce Dostale and Michael Tarachow, who journeyed to Penn Cove Shellfish on Whidbey Island to get our supplies.

Above: Jennifer Lanksbury, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, at Penn Cove Shellfish with our supplies ready for pick-up.
Below: The mussels were kept on ice in cooler bags until deployment.
Photo Credit: Michael Tarachow and Merce Dostale

Above: Carolyn (L) and Zofia (R) assembling the mussel cage at Port Hadlock
Below: Carolyn Thor, deploying her mussels muscles!
Photo Credit: Katie Conroy

Above: Team Irondale (L to R: Rebecca, Darryl, and Dave), rebar pounding champions
Below: Cage in place--see you in February!
Photo Credit: Darryl Hrenko and Katie Conroy

ZOFIA KNOREK is the Citizen Science Educator and an AmeriCorps Member at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award Winner Announced!

We are excited to announce that Jude Rubin has won the Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award. Eleanor Stopps was a powerful advocate for lasting protection of the North Olympic Peninsula environment. In the 1960s and 1970s she recognized the need to protect the uniquely important marine environment of the Salish Sea. With no special political base or powerful financial backers she testified before the Washington State Legislature and the United States Congress, an act which was instrumental in getting legislation and public support for protection of the area. She was responsible for the establishment of the Protection Island Wildlife Refuge in 1982. Today, it is a critical link in the preservation of the whole Salish Sea region.

Previous winners include: 2005: Katherine Baril; 2006: Anne Murphy; 2007: Tom Jay and Sara Mall Johani; 2008: Al Latham; 2009: Peter Bahls; 2010: Sarah Spaeth; 2011: Dick and Marie Goin; 2012: Judith Alexander; 2013: Rebecca Benjamin; 2014: Ray Lowrie.

Stay tuned for blog posts about the 2015 Eleanor Stopps Award nominees: John Fabian, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Cindy Jayne, Port of Port Townsend, Peter Rhines, and Steve Tucker

The following blog post is excerpted from Jude’s nomination:

Over the past two decades, Jude has been an instrumental force in environmental conservation in Jefferson County. Jude initiated and lead environmental programs for children and young adults, most notably the “Plant-a-Thon”, the largest annual environmental service project in Jefferson County, played a critical role in passing the Port Townsend bag ban, and helped preserve over 4,000 acres in the Tarboo Dabob Watershed while serving both as the Stewardship Director and as a founding board member of Northwest Watershed Institute.


Over a decade ago, Jude Rubin was listening to school fundraising ideas at a parent’s meeting and thought, “If children can wash cars and sell magazine subscriptions, why not sell honorary tree cards and plant trees to raise money?” Nearly every winter since, over 150 students, teachers and parents from five local schools plant about 3,000 native trees and shrubs at salmon restoration sites prepared by Northwest Watershed Institute along Tarboo Creek.

Before each planting event, Jude, as Stewardship Director with Northwest Watershed Institute, meets with the children in classrooms throughout Jefferson County to help them understand the critical role that temperate rainforests play in sustaining salmon habitat.

Prior to the big planting event, families sell honorary tree cards. Each card represents a tree to be planted in someone’s honor or memory. 100% of the money from the card sales goes to the schools because Jude and NWI work all year to raise grant funds and in-kind contributions to cover the cost of the project. For many students, the Plant-a-Thon has served as a strong influence in their growth as environmental stewards and leaders. Thanks to the remarkable collaborative efforts over the years led by Jude, 2015 marked the 10th annual Plant-a-Thon, with a total of more than 33,000 trees planted to date, well over $150,000 raised for schools, and hundreds of children and parents gaining greater appreciation for watershed ecology and environmental service.

Bag Monster

Jude is also well known as the "Bag Monster." In 2012, she took Port Townsend City Hall by storm with her humor and ensured a swift approval of the groundbreaking Port Townsend plastic bag ban.
In the Bag Ban effort, Jude coordinated the efforts of five partnering organizations, and stepped into the public limelight to represent the campaign as "The Bag Monster," addressing the City Council three times in a costume made of 500 disposable bags. Partly due to Jude’s persistent approach, the plastic bag ban was implemented in just seven months —one of the fastest adoptions of a bag ban proposal by any city in the country. In costume at City Council meetings, Jude was a force to be reckoned with. While most people would be deathly afraid to make a fool of him or herself —even for the most worthy cause —Jude courageously triumphed!

Northwest Watershed Institute

In 2001, Jude co-founded the Northwest Watershed Institute and has served as the Stewardship Director since 2004. Over the past eleven years, she has worked effectively as a scientific researcher, project manager, visiting classroom teacher, and fundraiser, and has been instrumental in NWI’s nationally recognized conservation achievements.

Jude’s grant writing skills, environmental and community outreach abilities, and her knowledge as a botanist and ecologist have helped NWI and many project partners to protect and restore over 4,000 acres in the Tarboo watershed, including critical stream and wetland habitat along Tarboo Creek and in Dabob Bay.

Jude’s environmental achievements are a continuation of a lifelong commitment to the environment. She graduated from Brown University in 1988 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies, and earned an M.S. in 1995 as both a Switzer Fellow and an R.K Mellon Fellow through the Field Naturalist Program at the University of Vermont. In the early 1990’s Jude helped launch a highly successful organic gardening education campaign in Seattle, and later worked for the Nature Conservancy in Oregon on native plant seed banking, and then at River Network as a project manager and Senior Grant Writer. In 1996, she co-authored, with Peter Bahls, the Chimacum Watershed Coho Salmon Restoration Assessment as her graduate thesis, and this work provided the scientific justification for the initial two-million dollars raised for Chimacum salmon habitat protection and restoration.

Whether she is known as "The Tree Lady," "The Bag Monster," or "Stewardship Director of Northwest Watershed Institute," Jude exudes the spirit of community-based environmental stewardship Eleanor Stopps sought to instill in everyone around her. We are grateful for the privilege of naming Jude Rubin our 2015 Eleanor Stopps Environmental Service Award recipient.

We also want to honor the 2015 Eleanor Stopps Award nominees: John Fabian, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Cindy Jayne, Port of Port Townsend, Peter Rhines, and Steve Tucker.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A New Logo for The Port Townsend Marine Science Center

When you look at natural ecosystems, they are built on a web of interactions and relationships between multiple species.

When the Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC) started to look at how we were presenting ourselves through our programs, our logo, and our website, we wanted to honor these relationships. We took a deeper look at what we are, what we aspire to be, and how to visually represent the PTMSC vision to the world.

As we set out to design a new logo for PTMSC, one word in particular came through strongest to represent who we are: Ecosystem.

Above all, the design needed to convey the interdependence of the marine ecosystem, as that interdependence is something that inspires us, and something we work to conserve every single day.

So, we are thrilled this morning to reveal the Port Townsend Marine Science Center's new logo!

Thank you all for being a part of the web of community, volunteers, members, donors, and environmental advocates who help us in our mission to inspire conservation of the Salish Sea.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Meet our new 2015-2016 AmeriCorps Educator Team!

From left to right: Zofia Knorek, Citizen Science Educator; Rebecca Mostow, Marine Exhibit Educator; Carolyn Woods, Natural History Exhibit and Volunteer Educator; and Katie Conroy, Marine Mammal Stranding Educator. 

We're so happy to have our new AmeriCorps team on board to help us inspire conservation of the Salish Sea. Stop by to say "hi" to them in our exhibits! We're open Friday - Sunday, 12-5pm.