Non-profit On Sacred Ground works to protect the islands

Submitted by On Sacred Ground

In 2012 On Sacred Ground, a 501c3, was established to heal, educate, steward and provide a Garden of Eden for generations to come. We use the three permaculture ethics to determine our vision, involvement, and action plan – care of earth, care of people and fair share (or share the surplus). We look for innovative ways to raise the bar on environmental stewardship best management practices, and we pursue meaningful intersections of social, ecological and financial justice. We realize the environmental commonwealth we share in the San Juan Islands is precious, worth fighting for, and represents a better balance with the natural world than many are lucky enough to experience. Our unique approach through a permaculture lens allows us to focus on conservation through restoration and design, without minimizing the potential for resource harvest. Our aim is to help re-integrate humans back into the ecosystem as stewards, instead of resource extractors through the restless drive of capitalism. We help advance the leadership role that San Juan County often plays for the rest of the state as pioneering, progressive and outspoken ecological activists and conservationists.

Our accomplishments include serving as the initial fiscal sponsor for Ihiya Biological Preserve to ensure that 33 acres along San Juan Island’s Trout Lake and False Bay spawning watershed remain undeveloped, provides a sanctuary for wildlife, and offers indigenous interaction with the land, including herbal wildcrafting opportunities. We have helped Spring Street International School with their sustainable campus goals through the co-creation of an on-site herb garden and through the implementation of a Styrofoam composting experiment using mealworms. Our outreach and education goals have extended to sister communities on the mainland to build integrated actions that support salmon and orca ecologies. Our focus thus far with the three hundred 9th graders at Lynnwood High School has been on the headwaters and shorelines of Snohomish County, and how their stewardship efforts positively impact Southern Resident Killer Whales. We partner with Coast Salish tribes to support salmon, orca, canoe and ancestral heritage awareness to help repair historical and contemporary damage to the Pacific Northwest ecological fabric.

Most recently, On Sacred Ground has played a key role in supporting Island Marble Butterfly, a federally listed endangered species, through leading its captive rearing program in partnership with US Fish and Wildlife Service and San Juan Island National Historical Park. Additionally, to support Island Marble’s habitat and overall species needs, we are building a volunteer program in concert with Island Marble’s multiple partner agencies and the Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances program.


We need dedicated and consistent volunteers to join our island marble butterfly volunteer program! If interested, please contact We also offer fee-for-service permaculture design consultations for your site, home or business and ‘beyond sustainability’ partnerships. To find out more about us and for donor opportunities, visit