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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Take the Earth Day Challenge with Washington Wild!

Earth Month is here and it’s time to celebrate! Join Washington Wild’s celebration by participating in the EarthShare Earth Day Challenge!

Washington's wild forests have stood untouched for hundreds of years and as our population continues to increase and climate change threats appear on the horizon, we must work to permanently protect the intact forests and watersheds that remain. Washington Wild has led state-wide efforts to develop Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River designation campaigns, the strongest protections available for federal lands and waters. Since our founding in 1979, the organization has helped to protect nearly three million acres of Wilderness in Washington State, including the designation of Wild Sky Wilderness and, most recently, the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions.

Earth Day provides an opportunity for Washington Wild and the conservation community to celebrate and provide support for our wild places that not only provide world-class outdoor recreation opportunities, but also clean our water, purify our air and provide critical habitat for wildlife such as salmon, grizzly bears and lynx.

Washington Wild is a member of EarthShare Washington, which represents a variety of conservation groups working together to make our planet and communities better, cleaner, and greener. To recognize Earth Day they're challenging companies, schools, community groups and individuals to support the environmental community in Washington State. Washington Wild is excited to take part in The Earth Day Challenge and encourages you to take the challenge as well!

3 Ways to Take the Earth Day Challenge and Make a Difference:

1) Do ONE thing to reduce your impact on the environment. Our Communications and Development Director has reduced her impact by biking to work at least once a week for the month of April.

2) Help Washington Wild raise $1,000 for the Earth Day Challenge! Support Washington Wild's Earth Day Team

3) Volunteer! There are tons of awesome volunteer opportunities this month: Volunteer Opportunities

Our wild lands are a legacy that we must pass on to future generations and Washington Wild works hard to ensure we do so. Earth Day is a great reminder to all of us to take charge and challenge ourselves to reduce our impact on the environment and protect our wild spaces and places, whether through a small lifestyle change or supporting the conservation organizations working hard in our state. We hope you will join us this year for the Earth Day Challenge!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Sage Spirit Presentation Series in Eastern Washington

Washington Wild is leading efforts statewide to provide meaningful protections for Washington’s unheralded wild lands in eastern Washington. As the largest single land manager of sagebrush habitat in Eastern Washington, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has a critical opportunity this summer to provide meaningful protections through their Resource Management Plan for lands with Wilderness characteristics, wildlife habitat and year round recreational opportunities.

Audubon Washington is proud to sponsor a series of presentations by conservation photographer Dave Showalter, author of Sage Spirit: The American West at a Crossroads. Through his stunning photography, Showalter presents a vision for an American West where people and wildlife thrive side by side, replete with birdsong and the sweet aroma of sage. His images carry you through the vast terrain of the American West that is inhabited by burrowing owls, sage grouse, cranes and other wildlife. Sage Spirit promotes an inclusive approach to conservation—one that seeks to preserve economic livelihood and treasured lifestyles as well as a priceless ecosystem—and highlights the solutions that Westerners are already advancing, from sustainable ranching to renewable energy development.

Showalter will present photos and stories to inspire conversation about the importance of shrub steppe habitat and public lands in Eastern Washington. The gradual disappearance of sagebrush habitat in the West is having a profound effect on a wide variety of wildlife species such as the Brewer’s Sparrow, Sage Sparrow, Sage Thrasher, pygmy rabbit, and mule deer.

Sage Spirit Presentation Schedule (March 14 – 19, 2016)

The Barn @ Barn Beach Reserve - 347 Division Street, Leavenworth, WA 98826

TUESDAY, MARCH 15 from 6-8:30 pm (TWISP, WA)
Presentation organized by the Methow Conservancy & N. Central Audubon
The Merc Playhouse - 101 S. Glover Street, Twisp, WA 98856

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16 at 7:30 pm (Spokane, WA)
Humanities Washington “Think& Drink” forum
Lindaman’s Bistro - 1235 S. Grand Blvd, Spokane, WA 99202

THURSDAY, MARCH 17 at 7:00 pm (Ellensburg, WA)
Presentation for Kittitas Audubon Society
Hal Holmes Center - 209 N. Ruby St, Ellensburg, WA 98926

FRIDAY, MARCH 18 from 6-8:00 pm (Richland, WA)
Presentation hosted by Lower Columbia Basin Audubon
The Reach - 1943 Columbia Park Trail, Richland WA 99352

SATURDAY, MARCH 19 at 4:00 pm (Othello, WA)
Othello High School - 340 S. 7th Ave, Othello, WA 99344

For more information email Christi Norman at Washington Audubon

Background on BLM Lands in Eastern Washington

These wild lands support a variety of important values: habitat for imperiled species, sustainable livelihoods, recreational opportunities and beautiful sun-drenched landscapes for residents and visitors alike.

As part of the upcoming Resource Land Management Plan (RMP) for BLM lands in eastern WA, the BLM should:

·         Protect the remaining sagebrush habitat for biodiversity – including species such as greater sage-grouse, Brewer’s and sage sparrows, sage thrasher, pygmy rabbit, and mule deer which rely on this imperiled ecosystem – by designating Habitat Concentration Areas and Areas of Critical of Environmental Concern.
·         Apply climate change science in the prioritization of conservation areas.
·         Manage contiguous wild landscapes like Chopaka Mountain, Juniper Hills, Beezley Hills/Moses Coulee and Douglas/Duffy Creek as Lands with Wilderness Characteristics.
·         Support management of the free flowing Yakima and Similikimeen Rivers as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Continuing the Conservation Adventure: Ariel West joins Washington Wild!

I am thrilled to be joining Washington Wild as the new administrative assistant and grateful for the warm welcome from the organization! My interest in conservation work really began when I decided to spend a year in China teaching English and gain a better understanding of the world outside of the U.S. When I first arrived in Beijing the heavy fog that surrounded me limited my vision to a 10 foot radius. I remember thinking that the bad weather was just a fluke and that it would clear in the morning, hoping it was not an omen for the year to come. The next morning I stepped outside of the hotel and was completely dumbstruck. The fog had not dissipated, nor did it seem that it had any intention to. After speaking to the breakfast vendor making my baozi I soon learned that this was not a symptom of bad weather, but rather the daily smog that hung over Beijing. Needless to say I was shocked. The smog, roughly the equivalent of smoking upwards of 20 cigarettes a day, was a part of life for the city and face masks were daily attire.

Throughout my year there I witnessed countless incidents of extreme pollution and severe environmental degradation. Before I could actually drink the water in my apartment it had to be boiled and brushing my teeth was a task accomplished with bottled water. As an avid runner, hiker, backpacker, and general lover of the outdoors, I was devastated that checking the air quality index was a constant barrier in my ability to do the things I loved.  The few hikes that I went on outside the city showed little concern for the once pristine natural beauty of the area and the trails and landscapes were littered with old trash and cigarette butts. With new perspective on the potential consequences of human impact on the environment, I returned to the states to begin my graduate degree at the University of Washington.

Moving to Seattle was a breath of fresh air, literally. I was inspired by the people and communities here that were so passionate and committed to keeping their state pristine and going the extra mile to advocate for the environment. I started having conversations with peers about the efforts in Washington State and realized I wanted to be a part of this effort. The work that Washington Wild does is inspiring and I am so excited to be a part of it. Working to protect wilderness areas and water sources can ensure that the experience I had in China can never be part of the Washington State experience. Through enacting legislation, informing the public, finding non-traditional allies, and working with an already environmentally-minded community, Washington Wild has made a huge impact on Washington State. My hope for the future working with this organization is that my own love for the outdoors can be passed on and preserved for future generations to enjoy in its purest and intended form.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2015 Year-End Campaign Update

Washington Wild Board Member, Carla Villar, with a group of #WildernessAdvocates enjoying a hike.

We did it! OVER 500 supporters stood alongside Washington Wild to Create a Big Tent for Conservation!!

Washington Wild’s special appeal to Create a Big Tent for Conservation was a huge success –
we nearly doubled our goal to raise $25,000 and reached OVER 500 supporters throughout the campaign!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Thank you, Doug

IN MEMORIAM: Doug Walker 1950-2015

Doug Walker ice climbing. Photo by Roger Mellem

The conservation and recreation community in Washington State lost a strong leader and powerful ally when Doug Walker died on December 31 in an apparent avalanche near Granite Mountain in his beloved Cascade Mountains.

There have been many tributes to Doug in the past few days, including from the Seattle Times, Seattle Foundation, The Mountaineers, Rock and Ice Magazine, and Alpinist. All are worth reading to learn more about this wonderful conservationist, excellent climber, and generous human being.

Doug advocated for protecting wild places for the enjoyment of all, especially our youth.
After retiring from a successful career in the software industry, Doug devoted much of his time, expertise and financial support toward supporting wilderness conservation and recreation. Among many other leadership roles he chaired the boards of REI and The Wilderness Society. He was President of the American Alpine Club at the time of his passing.

Doug was a good friend of Washington Wild, giving not only financial support but also advice
. In 2012, at the invitation of his friend Roger Mellem, our board president, Doug gave a presentation to our board about the need to get a younger and more diverse demographic of wilderness hikers, campers and climbers if we are to secure a broad base of support for future wilderness designations. In 2013, he participated in a day-long workshop that Washington Wild organized for climbers and wilderness advocates to identify common ground around conservation and access issues. Later that year he helped anchor our first-ever match campaign. In 2014, he played an important role in helping to get 45 CEOs and business executives to sign a letter to Congress advocating for the designation of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness additions. He helped us secure new board members to strengthen and diversify our board.

Doug made an indelible impact on many in the conservation community
. His passion and love for recreation and access to wild places like the North Cascades will be terribly missed, but also carried forward. We will work hard to protect the wild places that Doug loved so that current and future generations can also enjoy our life-affirming wilderness.

The Washington Wild family sends our heartfelt condolences to Doug’s wife, Maggie, and his daughter, Kina.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Creating a Big Tent for Conservation

Washington Wild is excited to
Create a Big Tent for Conservation!

Over the past year, Washington Wild made over 1,000 connections with local elected officials, business owners, recreation organizations and sportsmen to support the permanent protection of wild lands and waters throughout the state. In looking at the broad array of those who stand with us, we can imagine a "Big Tent for Conservation" under which we work together to achieve a common purpose.

With the help of volunteers, supporters, members and stakeholders we are able to work tirelessly to protect a wild Washington. The power of a Big Tent philosophy is showcased in our video, Celebrating Wilderness and truly captures what Washington Wild stands for - to bring a diverse group of stakeholders under our tent to build awareness and support for the protection of wild land and waters throughout Washington state.

Looking ahead to the future, it is critical that we keep the momentum going into 2016! Join Washington Wild as we Create a Big Tent for Conservation. Our goal of 500 supporters to raise $25,000 will help us continue to build a sustainable future for Washington Wild.

You may have noticed all the hype on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)! By simply sharing our posts and using the hashtags: #WildernessAdvocate #WAwild, you can spread awareness for our mission!

Thank you for supporting Washington Wild’s mission to protect the outdoor landscapes we all love by donating with a gift that is meaningful to you and by being a #WildernessAdvocate!

For a Wild & Green Washington,
The Staff, Board, and Volunteers from Washington Wild

Monday, November 9, 2015

Craft Beer + Food = Wild and Green WA Full of Great Beer!

Kim and Kendall Jones of the
Washington Beer Blog
Craft beer. Craft food.  A wild and green Washington for generations to come.  All these combine into one amazing event in October, Craft Beer + Food.  This one of a kind event hosted by Kendall and Kim Jones of the Washington Beer Blog raised a net of over $9,000 to benefit Washington Wild, brought out almost 300 people and was supported by 12 partnering breweries and restaurants.  People from the beer, foodie, and Wilderness communities all came out to support this event and enjoy delicious pairings. The festival is about the beer, the food, and about the cause, but it is also about the people.  The people that work for the supporting breweries and restaurants, the people who host the event, the people who attend the event and the those impacted by the nonprofit work of Washington Wild.

As the only statewide conservation organization primarily dedicated to protecting Washington’s wild lands and waters, Washington Wild emphasizes the people portion of the equation.  By building coalitions and through other collaborative efforts, Washington Wild plays a key leadership role of bringing diverse groups together to promote and protect a wild and green state for generations to come.  When working in an area we identify the multiple uses, benefits, values and subsequently the people who have a vested interested in the wild landscape, so that we can work together to protect the landscape and all it encompasses. In the last year Washington Wild made over 1,000 connections with local elected officials, business owners, recreation organization, sportsmen, and breweries to support the permanent protection of wild lands and waters.

Wild waters and the watersheds that protect them impact the quality of Washington beer in large portions of the state.  It hasn’t taken long for our local brewing community to jump on board to support Washington Wild’s efforts to protect a critical part of the brewing process, water. We call this the Brewshed® Connection: protected water leads to superior downstream beer.  Since 2012 the Brewshed® Alliance climbed from 8 partners to over 30 in almost 15 different cities throughout Washington State.  With the help of these partners, including the Washington Beer Blog and Craft Beer + Food, we have reached thousands of beer drinkers with the Brewshed® Connection and raised over $50,000.  In one year the Brewshed® Alliance went from generating a little less than $5,000 to contributing 10% of the revenues of Washington Wild’s budget at large.  Beer will change the world, and we know how- by keeping it wild!

We at Washington Wild are so grateful to Kendall and Kim Jones for their relationship with the Brewshed® Alliance and choosing Washington Wild as the beneficiary of this awesome event for the last two years.  As a small nonprofit this event makes a huge difference to our budget and goes a long way to support the Brewshed® Alliance and conservation work throughout the state.  Additionally, we would like to thank all the brewers and restaurants that participated with a special thank you to our host Tom Douglas Restaurants!  And finally, thank you to all the attendees, especially those who came by to pop a balloon!  If you didn’t get a chance to pop a balloon then look for the 3rd Annual Washington Wild Brewshed® Beer Fest in June, as the balloon popping shenanigans will return!

Craft Beer + Food = A wild and green Washington full of great beer!