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Friends Notes

Keep up to date with news from Friends of Skagit Beaches

Trail Tales: Repair and Clean Up

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A helping hand with our volunteers

erica pickett and parks rec helperIn 2013, Friends of Skagit Beaches’ Trail Tales project worked with the City of Anacortes Parks & Recreation Department to install the first group of interpretive signs along the Tommy Thompson Trail between 34th Street and March Point. Over the years, several signs were vandalized and other damaged by seagulls dropping shells along the causeway and trestle.

Last year, Project Lead Betty Carteret received funds from the 2018 Anacortes Lodging Tax fund to replace several signs with the most damage. Working with the sign manufacturer, IZone Imaging, it was determined that this group of signs had a manufacturing defect that was contributing to early deterioration. IZone offered to replace all the signs in that group at no cost under warranty. Friends didn’t have to spend a dime to get 15 new signs to replace the old signs along the trail.

We really appreciate the outstanding customer service offered by IZone Imaging

On March 8th with support from Anacortes Parks & Recreation staff, a group of 8 volunteers removed the old signs, cleaned the aluminum support frames, and installed 15 new signs. Thank you to all who helped get the job done!

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The interpretive signs tell the storying of the history of Anacortes’ working waterfront; the ecology of the shoreline and watershed; activities that led to shoreline pollution; and the Anacortes Baywide Cleanup project that has restored the shoreline along Fidalgo Bay. The signs are popular stopping points along the trail and are visited by many residents, tourists, and visitors staying at the Fidalgo Bay Resort. You can pick up a map brochure guiding you to see the interpretive signs at the Anacortes Visitors Center, Cap Sante Marina Office, or the Anacortes Library.

Learn more about our Trail Tales interpretive signs here 

You can attend an update on the Baywide Cleanup project (the Custom Plywood Mill site) on March 25th @ 11 am at the Anacortes Library.

With the weather improving and Spring on its way, grab your trail map and head out for a Journey of Discovery along the Tommy Thompson trail. If you’d like more information about the interpretive trail, you can contact Betty Carteret at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Create Memories, Not Waste, this Holiday Season!

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According to Stanford University, Americans throw away 25% more trash during the holiday season than any other time of year. This extra trash amounts to 25 million tons of garbage! That’s a lot! The good news is its not difficult to reduce waste during the holidays.

Here are seven things we all can do to prevent waste this holiday season. 

  1. Eat, drink, and be merry without single-use plastic. All those party plates and platters may look festive, but they will last long after the holiday season has ended. Use real cups, dishes, and cutlery at your holiday parties. And bring your own cup, plates and cutlery on the go, so you can refuse those ubiquitous to-go cups and containers when you’re out and about.

  2. And while you’re at it, join the clean plate club and avoid holiday food waste. The average American household throws away $2,200 worth of food every year. Yikes! Avoid contributing to this shocking statistic by preparing food for the holidays in reasonable quantities and make sure you and your family eat those leftovers! And avoid food gifts unless you are sure they will be appreciated and eaten!

  3. Use natural materials to wrap gifts and reuse wrapping materials. Forgo traditional wrapping paper and plastic tape and use newspaper, recycled paper, or even fabricto wrap gifts. Use twine or cloth ribbons to secure. If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet.                

  4. Ditch plastic decorations. Refuse "fake snow," which is often made from finely ground polystyrene. Choose reusable decor over disposable, and real garland over plastic. Avoid decorations packaged in unrecyclable plastic.

  5. Recycle Right. Contamination of the recycling waste stream is a significant problem, resulting in loads of recyclable plastics landing in landfills. Keeping abreast of what goes in those plastics recycling bins is important. In Skagit County, if you have curbside recycling you can recycle clean bottles, cups, jars, jugs, and tubs. If you take your plastic recycling to the transfer station, you can recycle clean plastic bottles and jugs, but not cups or tubs. Easy right? Just remember the SHAPE of the container is what’s important, not the number in the triangle recycle triangle.               
  6. Don't purchase gifts in unrecyclable plastic packaging (like clamshells/oyster packaging). This packaging is not recyclable in Skagit County or in most other places in the nation. Seek out gifts that are unpackaged.

  7. Give gifts of time and experience instead of more packaged “stuff.” Some great options are theater or movie tickets, an afternoon roller skating or bowling, a special lunch date, or coupons for time spent together.

Enjoy the holidays with your friends and family as a time to be together, to cook and share stories.

Create memories, not waste! Happy Holidays!

 Sources:

Stanford University https://lbre.stanford.edu/pssistanford-recycling/frequently-asked-questions/frequently-asked-questions-holiday-waste-prevention

The Plastic Pollution Coalition https://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/pft/2016/12/16/5-ways-to-reduce-plastic-for-the-holidays

Friends new plastics project, Skagit Plastic Reduction & Recycling Coalition, is funded by a grant from the Washington Department of Ecology with additional support from Skagit County Solid Waste Division and Friends of Skagit Beaches. For more information about this project or to volunteer, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Article submitted by Joan Drinkwin, Natural Resources Consultants, Inc.

Skagit Plastic Waste Reduction & Recycling Project

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(pictured right: FOSB Plastic Interpretive Display rolled out at Fidalgo Shoreline Academy)

Friends of Skagit Beaches -  with support from Skagit County Solid Waste Division and the Skagit Marine Resource Committee's Salish Sea Steward volunteer program - has undertaken a new project to provide education and outreach to residents of Skagit County to reduce single-use plastics that can find their way into our waterways and become marine debris, a major issue threatening our bays and oceans.

A second goal of the project is to educate local communities about changes to plastic waste recycling requirements. As some of our readers may be aware, China is no longer accepting plastics for recycling from the United States and other countries due to the high percentage of “contamination” of the waste stream. This is not contamination of the sort you might expect, it’s really an issue of the plastic being collected containing a high-percentage of non-recyclable plastic waste. This has significantly impacted the viability of plastic recycling and changed the requirements for the types of plastic that can be accepted into the recycling stream. We are calling this part of our project a Skagit County plastic recycling “reboot” to convey that we all need to relearn what plastics can and cannot be recycled.

Friends recently received a grant from the WA Department of Ecology to support rolling out this program in Skagit County. Board member, Betty Carteret, who drafted the proposal, will manage the project. We are just getting started and recruiting volunteers to help make it a success. Friends has contracted with Joan Drinkwin of Natural Resources Consultants to lead the project and coordinate volunteer activities.

Some of you may know Joan from her work with the Skagit MRC’s Salish Sea Stewards Volunteer Program this year. She is working with Callie Martin, Skagit County Waste Reduction and Recycling Educator, to develop a full-day training program for the volunteers to learn details about issues with marine debris and single-use plastics, changes in the plastic recycling market and requirements, and alternatives to single-use plastics. Additional training will be offered to hone outreach and communication skills so our volunteers can effectively foster plastic waste reduction and proper plastic recycling in Skagit County.

Volunteers will be asked to contribute a minimum of 10 hours of volunteer time in exchange for this training program.


If you’re passionate about doing something about marine debris and plastics in our environment, we hope you’ll join the team. For more information or to sign up for the training, please contact Joan Drinkwin via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In upcoming editions of the Friends’ newsletter look for articles about the project as our volunteers get to work in the community and what you can do to help solve the problem with plastics polluting our environment.

Fidalgo Shoreline Academy is a wrap!

Thank you to everyone who helped make this year's Academy a great success. We had a great line up of presenters and exhibitors, wonderful volunteers and over 85 attendees who enjoyed the day of learning

Check out the Fidalgo Shoreline Academy write-up in the Skagit Valley Herald

Membership Drive with Board members Barb and Gina

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 Registration with Rachel and Brad

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Jude Apple's Keynote Address on Blue Carbon was great!

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Shannon came to share more information on the
Swinomish Department of Environmental Protection

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Thank you Skagit Conservation District for spending the day with us!

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Friends of Skagit Beaches new Plastics Interpretive Station

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Karen and friends enjoy lunch

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Todd McLeish shares some great stories about our coastal sea otters

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2019 Membership Drive Kicks Off

Friends of Skagit Beaches has kicked off our 2019 Membership Donation Drive!

Once again, FOSB Board member, Gina Johnson, has put together a wonderful series of raffle prizes for new or renewing members who sign up by - or at - the Annual Meeting. We will draw the winning member names at the Annual Meeting and member potluck on January 17, 2019.

There are many reasons to support Friends of Skagit Beaches and this raffle is something we do in appreciation for all our members who help us over the year. To join online or download a membership form - click here

Two sets of prizes:

From Seabear - Smoke salmon gift boxes

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From Island Adventures - Whale watching excursions for 2 people

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 Thank you to Island Adventures and Seabear for supporting our efforts!