Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Water Tenders is resurrected

Key Club members help to restore a Bear Creek tributary
Water Tenders is a group of people who care about the wetlands and streams in the Bear Creek area and King county.

The torch of Water Tenders (WT) leadership was passed from President Eric Soshea to Susan Wilkins at the WT Annual Meeting last week.  Many of the of the original tenders were present, including a relative of the founder. Leader Terry Lavender and past president Dick Schaetzel were out of town. Gary Smith was present. Debbie Aftebro from Novelty Hill had never attended a WT meeting yet she collects and measures rainwater for Guy Baltzelle's program. She wanted to meet Guy but unfortunately he wasn't at the meeting.  Shirley Doolittle-Egerdahl was up front with Susan and Eric. Shirley was once President and is now the Treasurer, replacing John Reinke,who replaced Dick S.  One of the new board members, Heather Poe was president and secretary for WT in the Early 2000 - 2005 era (before Susan became a member.) Shirley Doolittle-Egerdahl was also once a president along with five others. 

In her presentation, (video) Susan held up a map of the entire Bear Creek watershed. She was re-directing and expanding our attention to the entire Bear Creek watershed.  She states:

"The Bear Creek Basin is an exceptionally natural and healthy environment for our native salmon runs given that it is so close to a major metropolitan area.  We want to direct more community involvement into observing the stream habitat and collecting year-round data (such as rainfall, water temperature, stream flow) across the whole Bear Creek Basin.  We also want to carefully monitor land use planning by the local government jurisdictions to encourage preservation and protection of our land and water resources."
Five members who volunteered for the new Board met with Susan after the meeting.  The first order of business was to select officers.  Susan is the President, Mark Reynolds is the V.P. (he told a touching "avatar" story about the value of engaging children.)  Mark is a software engineer for Nordstrom and a "take charge" kind of guy.  He is working on a new website and very motivated for WT to make a difference for kids.  Me too.

Youth have been involved in WT over the years:

My daughter was once a Youth Board member -- the first and last.  She wrote an article on the history of environmentalism that was published in the WT's 25th Anniversary Issue of the newsletter.  Terry recruited her to lead the Green Team in a Derby Day parade...and work the booth. Lexie recruited her Key Club members to help restore a forest in what is now the Redmond Bike Park site.  Notably, Dick S. attended that.  The Key Club also spent a day restoring a northern Bear Creek tributary -- an ongoing WT project.

Susan Wilkins actively engaged her children in the environment.  Her daughter was a docent for the annual WT salmon "SEEson" event.  In 2007 her children surveyed the Camwest Perrigo Heights preliminary plat's northern forest boundary ...in preparation for the citizen/council/mayor/Eric Campbell's woodland march to the proposed Steep Slope sewer location.

Colorful salmon cut-outs were made for children. (don't have the details.)  Kiosks were built to educate children and adults. Exhibits were held at REI.  Terry Lavender worked at the Redmond Medical Center from where the Derby Day Children's Parade started every year. She organized the kids and I think gave them a short education on salmon before they took off on their bikes. 

A 5-minute YouTube of Susan Willkin's presentation at the Annual Meeting:  https://youtu.be/_SfMBTinhqg

A slide show of my daughter and her Key Club/ Bio-Chem classmates restoring the Bear Creek tributary.  

1 comment:

Terry Lavender said...

It is wonderful that Water Tenders has new leadership and energy. Susan is the seventh President - Wally Prezbendowski (I am sure I don't have that spelled right) Ellouise Pritchett, Heather Poe, Dick Schaetzel, Shirley Egerdahl, Eric Soshea and now Susan. There have been four (maybe 5 - one other in the very beginning)Treasurers - Gwen Maxfield, Dick and I were Treasurer for about 10 years each and now John passing it on to Shirley. We have never had an Executive Director which is usually a paid position. I have kept just enough paper that I have most of the history. Judy Westall has even more I and has been there since the very first meeting.