Mountaineers Foundation: Natural Places, Sustainable Practices

Natural Places, Sustainable Practices

Earth Day 2017

South Kitsap Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps

South Kitsap Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, Wolf Company

We are excited to announce South Kitsap High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) will participate in an Earth Day service project at the Rhododendron Preserve.

The NJROTC will provide 50 cadets and several parent volunteers to remove invasive plants from the Preserve. The cadet crew will spend 3 hours pulling weeds and removing any garbage found along the way. Their hard work will protect the integrity of the native plant populations on the Preserve and help stop the spread of noxious weeds such as English Ivy.

The Mountaineers Foundation is extremely grateful for the NJROTC’s willingness to serve and participate in Earth Day 2017.

Earth Day History

Earth Day sprang to life at a time when Americans were concerned about their environment. The publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962 raised public awareness of the links between pollution and public health. People were starting to think about environmental changes around them.

In 1969, common industrial practices caused Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River to catch on fire. Also in 1969, Santa Barbara, California experienced a massive oil spill. These kinds of environmental disturbances were gaining worried attention. Groups were beginning to fight against oil spills, toxic dumps, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife.

At the same time, college campuses around the United States were holding anti-Vietnam War “teach-ins”. Americans were experiencing a world of threats. As a result, they were developing a unified voice through anti-war protests.

Public consciousness of environmental issues, coupled with a public ready for activism, set the stage for the first Earth Day. U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat from Wisconsin, was inspired by the energy of anti-war teach-ins and saw an opportunity to create a grassroots environmental demonstration. Nelson wanted to bring the idea of protecting the planet’s natural resources to a national political level. Nelson announced the Earth Day concept at a conference in Seattle in the fall of 1969 and invited the entire nation to get involved. It worked! The American people finally had a forum to express its concern for what was happening to the land, lakes, sea and air. In 1970, because of grassroots efforts, 20 million demonstrators united on the issue of protecting the environment.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment where young and old, rich and poor, Republican and Democrat came together to stand up for the environment. Those united voices led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

What started as an exercise in local civic engagement has turned into a global movement. Today, people all over the world recognize and celebrate Earth Day. People identify their own local environmental needs and do something about it, and that’s what makes Earth Day so special; anyone can make a difference.

Kitsap Great Give 2017

Mark your calendars for May 2, 2017: The Mountaineers Foundation invites you to participate in the Kitsap Great Give 2017.

Kitsap Great Give 2017The Kitsap Great Give is a 1-day fundraising event focusing on “24 Hours of Power Giving”.

On May 2nd, please visit our profile page at to make your donation online.

When you support the Foundation through the Great Give, we are eligible to win additional prizes that will help your gift go even further.

Get the greatest impact from your generous support: mark your calendar for this 1-day giving event, May 2, 2017. Thank you!

Congratulations to Sound Salmon Solutions and Pacific Shellfish Institute

The 2016 Paul Wiseman Conservation Education grant was divided evenly between two very deserving organizations – Sound Salmon Solutions and Pacific Shellfish Institute. The projects designed by both organizations are an inspiration for all of us dedicated to conservation education in the Salish Sea region.

Sound Salmon Solutions has put together a multi-partner collaboration between their organization, the Everett School District, Forterra and the Green Everett Partnership (GEP). The project will support the existing community forest restoration efforts being implemented in the City of Everett through the GEP by providing Everett high school students with a hands-on restoration design and planning educational experience. Students will complete a year-long project through multiple sessions led by Sound Salmon Solutions in the classroom and on site at an active habitat restoration project. As students work to solve real-world restoration design problems, they will gain valuable experience and skills that will benefit them in future career opportunities.

The Pacific Shellfish Institute is expanding a very successful Garden of the Salish Sea Curriculum, first implemented in Whatcom County, to Thurston County. The Thurston County program will target students in the county’s school districts as well as local youth organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club. The curriculum is a place-based environmental literacy and community stewardship program focused on shellfish, pollution prevention, and ocean acidification in Puget Sound. The whole idea is to provide education that will support improved water quality in Puget Sound and the Salish Sea.

The Institute will also be organizing and Environmental Education Curriculum Fair in partnership with Thurston ECO Network. The fair will provide teachers and other educators an opportunity to learn more about the diverse array of environmental education offerings in south Puget Sound, meet presenters, ask question, and discover programs that would benefit their students.

Congratulations to both organizations.

Meet Lorisa Watkins, Program Services Coordinator

The Mountaineers Foundation is pleased to introduce Lorisa Watkins, our new Program Services Coordinator.

We are growing and working on amazing plans for the Rhododendron Preserve, conservation education, and offering conservation education grants to other local organization with ties to the Salish Sea. We are excited about our future, and Lorisa’s role in helping us develop and deploy new programs and events.

Lorisa Watkins

Lorisa Watkins, Program Services Coordinator

As Program Services Coordinator, Lorisa coordinates activities to assist the Mountaineers Foundation in carrying out conservation stewardship and environmental education within the Rhododendron Preserve.

A native Washingtonian, Lorisa is proud to call the Kitsap Peninsula her home. She feels fortunate to live 5 minutes away from the Rhododendron Preserve, and is very excited to be working in her “neck of the woods”.

Lorisa holds a B.A. in Environmental Planning and Policy with a minor in Environmental Science from Western Washington University, and has over 16 years of experience as a water quality professional. She has worked for the Department of Ecology’s Manchester Environmental Laboratory, Kitsap County Public Works Wastewater Department, and served West Sound Utility District (WSUD) as a laboratory analyst and non-formal public educator.

She has developed education outreach programs for the public, and volunteers for the South Kitsap Schools District as an advisor for Career and Technical Education and for the STEM Program.

Lorisa brings with her a spirit of service and a joy for helping students and community members understand environmental preservation.

She can be reached at or 360-602-2362.