Submitted by the The Nature Conservancy Washington Field Office.
The Nature Conservancy has made the difficult decision to continue Covid-19 closures at the Yellow Island Preserve in the San Juan Islands and the popular Bluff Trail at the Robert Y. Pratt Preserve at Ebey’s Landing on Whidbey Island. The National Parks Service plans to keep their portion of the Bluff Trail closed as well.
While many state recreational lands are opening, the conservancy is continuing closures at these private preserves to ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors, and for the preservation of fragile lands. To protect visitors, staff and fragile lands, please don’t visit.
The Bluff Trail hosts sensitive and culturally significant plants such as camas, chocolate lily, and death camas. It’s impossible to maintain social distancing on the narrow trail without going off-trail onto the steep slope. Going off-trail damages the fragile soils and plants along the bluff and undermines the work of our staff, partners and many volunteers who all work to maintain the trail for safe use.
At Yellow Island it’s difficult for staff to maintain social distancing with visitors.
In other Conservancy owned or managed lands in Washington, we are asking people to follow state guidelines. Stay close to home; don’t travel overnight to visit. If you’re sick, or have any symptoms of cold or flu, stay home. No camping. Visit only in your household group; no large parties. Maintain social distance – at least 6 feet from other users. Bring your own food and drink to keep the community safe. Be safe so you don’t impact local rescue or medical facilities.
Our offices in Washington remain closed. Some on-the-ground restoration and conservation work deemed “essential” under state guidelines is moving forward. Volunteer opportunities in the field remain on hold, although some at-home opportunities are available. Check to see updates.
Virtual field trips
Yellow Island virtual field trip on May 12 from 5 to 5:45 p.m., it’s free but we want people to pre-register: https://www.washingtonnature.org/volunteer-events/2020/5/12/nature-at-home-yellow-island Join the Conservancy’s Yellow Island Preserve Steward, Matt Axling, to learn about the history of the island and the beautiful wildflowers that cover it this time of year.
We are also offering four birding events – “Birds of May.” Tuesday, May 12 – 11-11:45 a.m. Teanaway and Central Cascades Forests with Deb Essman. This is good prep for people who are planning to get out in Central WA now that things are opening up. Zoom and Facebook live https://www.washingtonnature.org/volunteer-events/2020/1/30/date-with-nature-intro-to-birding
Tuesday, May 19 – 5 to 6 p.m. Moses Coulee, with Nature Conservancy staff and Dr. Michael Schroeder, a sage grouse expert. The Moses Coulee and Beezley Hills Preserve is situated on the spectacular Columbia Plateau, these large preserves are protecting open skies, dramatic geology and fascinating desert species in this region. Zoom only – must pre-register – https://www.washingtonnature.org/volunteer-events/2020/5/19/birds-of-may-moses-coulee
Wednesday, May 27 – 5 to 6 p.m. Birds of Yellow Island, with Phil Green, who lived and worked on Yellow Island for 20 years. Phil brings an extensive and intimate knowledge of Yellow Island birds, having submitted over 4,000 bird checklists to eBird and over 400 audio recordings to the Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds. Zoom only, must pre-register, https://www.washingtonnature.org/volunteer-events/2020/5/27/birds-of-may-yellow-island
You can find all these events, plus more volunteer opportunities at wanature.org/volunteer-events.