The North Olympic Salmon Coalition will receive this year’s Out Standing in the Field Award from North Olympic Land Trust at the 11th Annual Conservation Breakfast.
The community is invited to join the Land Trust for a light breakfast of local pastries, fruit and coffee, and celebrate the Salmon Coalition at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 22 at the Vern Burton Community Center in Port Angeles. This will be the sixth consecutive year the Land Trust has presented the award that is intended to highlight the work done within an individual or organization’s field of expertise that has positively impacted the North Olympic Peninsula and its communities.
Conservation Breakfast is free to attend thanks to its sponsors Sound Community Bank, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Ennis Arbor Farm, Suzi Schuenemann Real Estate Broker, the customers of Sunny Farms, Natural Systems Design, and Koenig Subaru, as well as generous food and beverage donations from Pane d’Amore Artisan Bakery, Fogtown Coffee Bar, and Olympic Springs. Donations from guests are appreciated however, and directly benefit local land conservation. Land Trust officials are requesting guests RSVP by March 13, as the event is filling up fast and already is half “sold” out. (CLICK HERE to RSVP)
The Salmon Coalition – a community nonprofit aimed at promoting robust wild salmon stocks for families, fishers, and local economies by furthering habitat restoration and education across both Jefferson and Clallam counties – was selected as the 2019 award recipient following the Land Trust’s request for public input.
More than 350 community members submitted recommendations for this year’s Out Standing in the Field Award honoree. It was close between all three nominees, which I believe reflects how mutually appreciated each candidate is among the community.
Along with the Salmon Coalition, photographer and cinematographer John Gussman and Streamkeepers of Clallam County made up the 2019 award nominees selected by the Land Trust Board and staff.
“Receiving the 2019 Out Standing in the Field Award is such an honor,” said Rebecca Benjamin, North Olympic Salmon Coalition executive director. “We keep our heads down and work really hard every day to carry out a wide array of projects and programs, and this award offers us a moment to pause, see the community is noticing our impact and is giving us an opportunity to celebrate with our partners, volunteers and community.”
In addition to honoring the Salmon Coalition, Seattle Times Environment Report Lynda Mapes is slated as this year’s keynote speaker for Conservation Breakfast. Based on her ongoing and in-depth coverage, Mapes will discuss the ebb and flow of orca recovery in Puget Sound in connection to conservation on the North Olympic Peninsula.
Specializing in coverage of Indian tribes, nature, and the environment, Mapes has been an environmental reporter with the Seattle Times since 1997. She has also published multiple books, including Elwha: A River Reborn.
Wild salmon habitat restoration like that done by the Salmon Coalition is closely tied to the health of Puget Sound’s orca population.
Aside from leading large-scale restoration projects like that recently completed at 3 Crabs in Sequim, the Salmon Coalition aims to benefit wild salmon into the future through youth education. For the past four years, the Salmon Coalition has provided a 7th grade education program where students get to design and implement their own restoration project. Known as “Real Learning, Real Work,” the Salmon Coalition is gearing up to expand the program into more schools in Clallam County.
“I’m really excited about this because the program shows local students that there are viable, professional opportunities for them right here at home, and while some may choose an environmental career path eventually, we know we are also instilling a strong stewardship ethic in the short term,” said Benjamin. “Cultivating the next generation of volunteers, members, activists, educators and leaders through this experiential program feels like the absolute right thing to be doing for the long term benefit of salmon and all of our natural resources.”