news & updates
November 2021 | Issue 9
Increased Challenges Demand Solutions -- You Can Help! by R. Brent Lyles, Executive Director
2021 has been a tremendous year for Friends of the San Juans. As you’ve read in our newsletters and as you heard at our Annual Meeting last month, we’ve matured as an organization this year, and we’ve had terrific programmatic successes. In every case, the financial support of our members and donors made those accomplishments possible -- thank you! 

In the coming year, we will expand our work and increase our effectiveness. Why? It’s no exaggeration to say that climate change and rapid development pressures are approaching crisis proportions in the San Juan Islands -- Friends must grow to meet these challenges.
Salish Sea Vessel Traffic Projections – November 2021 Update
The recently updated Salish Sea Vessel Traffic Projections (Nov. 2021) provided by Friends shows that at least a 25% increase in large, ocean-going commercial vessel traffic, could occur if all of the proposed new and expanding terminal and refinery projects are permitted, as compared with 2020. These calculations do not include the ten projects in Washington state, several of which will likely result in increased ocean-going vessel traffic, because they have not quantified any increase in vessel traffic.
A Very Fond Farewell 

Katie Fleming, our Community Engagement Director, has spent nearly ten productive years with Friends of the San Juans. In that time, she has had a tremendous impact, deepening relationships with Friends’ members, organizing a million fun events, changing the lives of young environmental leaders, helping to lead our county’s efforts in waste reduction, and importantly, bringing a warm, authentic enthusiasm to our organization and our work. At the end of November, Katie is leaving Friends to pursue a tremendous opportunity at the County. We’re excited for her -- and also sorry to see her go! Click through to read her farewell message.
Youth for Change Program is Looking for Participants!

Calling all high school students on Orcas and San Juan Islands interested in collaborating with other youth on an environmental action project! Youth for Change provides an opportunity for young people to share ideas, learn about environmental challenges in our community, engage in local stewardship projects, work together with peers in implementing action projects, and earn a $200 stipend for their time and effort.
Friends of Friends – Peter Cavanagh

Peter Cavanagh and his wife Ann have been members for decades. They never hesitate to share their passion for the work Friends does. What you might not know is that Peter contributes his talents to support Friends through videos and photography for our events, brilliantly conveying the message of how important it is to protect what we love. 

As Peter recently said, “My passion for wildlife and my belief in the mission of Friends of the San Juans are intimately connected. The birds I photograph are here because their preferred foods are here, their food is here because their water is clean and the shorelines and the marshes are protected from development. It’s all part of the interconnected web of our island ecosystem that Friends is committed to preserving.”
Interpretive Panels Installed at Sucia Restoration Site
Friends of the San Juans worked with artist Larry Eifert to design two different educational signs for our restoration site at Sucia Island’s Mud Bay. The panels were installed last month to help visitors understand why the site was restored and the enhanced benefits the area will now provide for salmon and orca. We hope you have the opportunity to see them in person, but in the meantime you can click here to see the amazing artwork and learn more about our restoration actions.
Photo by Mark Gardner
Words from the Next Generation: Hy’Shqa—Blessing by Kaia Olson
Twenty years ago the Samish Nation gave J37, a newborn Southern Resident Orca calf, the name Hy’Shqa. From the Coast Salish language, the name translates to “blessing” or “thank-you” in English. Hy’Shqa was born in January 2001 to Samish (J14), and in 2012, she gave birth to a calf of her own, T’ilem I’nges (J49).

Read on to learn more about this orca family and how when we take steps to protect them, we also build resiliency for ourselves and all other life.
FSJ and QCD: These Acronyms are Synonymous with Big Impacts
At Friends of the San Juans (FSJ) we advocate for orca, healthy seas, and natural beaches. Our policy and education efforts rest on a foundation of science, research, and community engagement. The problems our community faces are wickedly complex and your support is fundamental to building organizational capacity to implement solutions. You have the capacity to make an impact through a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). Your QCD can help fund and sustain the mission of FSJ. 
Origin Stories: August 1984 Newsletter
Learn more about how our islands’ community was growing back then and what the concerns and action items were – from expansion of the Roche Harbor resort, to changes in the town of Friday Harbor, to road construction on Orcas, and a sewer project at Fisherman Bay on Lopez. It’s fascinating to learn how far we’ve come in almost 40 years and also see that we’re still facing some of the same challenges.
What We're Watching & Reading
Watch Friends' Executive Director Brent Lyles and renowned journalist and author Lynda Mapes discuss Lynda’s new book Orca: Shared Waters, Shared Home and how the programs at Friends of the San Juans address solutions to help orcas and salmon thrive in the Salish Sea.

There’s an alternative to climate catastrophe and this Story Map from our friends at RE Sources shows what kind of future northwest Washington could have if we act now. Climate resilience will help our communities bounce back from impacts from climate change, especially when we focus on conservation, restoration, and climate-adaptive land management.
Friends of the San Juans respectfully honors the fact that this beautiful place we strive to protect and restore with our mission-centered work is comprised of the ancestral lands, waters, and natural resources of the Coast Salish peoples. These Tribes have cared for and stewarded the San Juan Islands and the Salish Sea since time immemorial — and continue to do so — and we honor their inherent, aboriginal, and treaty rights that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Or text to donate at 360-317-2610.