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Beach Watcher classes stir the adventure of island living

Seaborn Road resident Stephanie Ross discusses the city’s attempts to halt erosion, including tarps and sandbags, along Halls Hill Road. Ross says the hillside threatens her home. - Tristan Baurick/Staff Photo
Seaborn Road resident Stephanie Ross discusses the city’s attempts to halt erosion, including tarps and sandbags, along Halls Hill Road. Ross says the hillside threatens her home.
— image credit: Tristan Baurick/Staff Photo

Life on an island is an adventure — or it should be — believes Kristen Cooley of Oak Harbor.

“If you want to be surrounded by interesting people, learning something new, making discoveries and sharing them with others, we have a suggestion — WSU Beach Watchers,” Cooley said.

Cooley shares the adventure of island living every day in her role as coordinator of the program on Whidbey and Camano islands.

“If you love to learn and feel you still have some talent or enthusiasm to give to your community, Beach Watchers is the way to do it,” Cooley said.

She pointed out that Beach Watchers attracts retirees, especially, because it gives them the tools and training to engage their neighbors, children, family and friends, helping them value and understand Puget Sound’s priceless marine environment.

Since the innovative educational and community service program was founded in 1989 it has enriched the lives of hundreds of Whidbey and Camano islanders. Beach Watchers are engaged in ongoing science, study, education and outreach projects, and have made such important contributions to Puget Sound’s health that the Island County program is now expanding throughout the region.

Those interested in the class of 2007 may download the application from the Beach Watchers’ Website, www.beachwatchers.wsu.edu/about/training, request a printed copy at the WSU Extension office in Coupeville, Admiralty Head Lighthouse, or call Cooley at 360-679-7391. The deadline to apply is Friday, Feb. 2.

Training will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday in March and October. Most classes will be held in Coupeville, but trainees will also participate in field trips to such locations as Skagit County’s Padilla Bay and south Whidbey’s Maxwelton Outdoor Classroom. During the summer months the trainees will engage with seasoned Beach Watchers in active projects such as intertidal monitoring, serving as docents at the Rosario tide pools, staffing the Coupeville Wharf Discovery Center and more.

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