Free vaccines available at back-to-school clinic

Posted August 9, 2022 at 10:39 am by

The Coun­ty sends along news about a free vac­ci­na­tion clin­ic tak­ing place in September.

San Juan Coun­ty Health and Com­mu­ni­ty Ser­vices is pro­vid­ing free child­hood vac­cines for K‑12 stu­dents at a back-to-school clin­ic on San Juan Island on Sept. 1. The clin­ic is free and no appoint­ment is need­ed. Immu­niza­tions will be giv­en on a first-come, first-served basis.

The clin­ic will take place at the Health and Com­mu­ni­ty Ser­vices office at 145 Rhone St. from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

All chil­dren in Wash­ing­ton are eli­gi­ble for free rou­tine child­hood vac­ci­na­tions through the Vac­cines for Chil­dren pro­gram. HCS will not be charg­ing vac­cine admin­is­tra­tion fees at these back-to-school clin­ics. If you are not sure which vac­cines your child needs, HCS pub­lic health nurs­es will be able to dis­cuss vac­cine sched­ules with you and can help look up your child’s vac­cine record. If you have oth­er vac­cine ques­tions pri­or to the clin­ics, you may reach a pub­lic health nurse by call­ing 360–370-7511.

It’s baby bat season on San Juan Island

Posted August 9, 2022 at 8:13 am by

A Townsend's Big Eared Bat, the rarest bat in the San Juan Islands — Contributed photo

Rus­sel Barsh of Kwai­ht shares insights into the late sum­mer activ­i­ty of some of San Juan Island’s most inter­est­ing residents.

Encoun­ters with bats inside island homes peak in mid- to late August each year. Biol­o­gists at Kwiaht study the diets and health of island bats, and the expla­na­tion is simple.

After a two-month preg­nan­cy begin­ning as ear­ly as mid-April, but more often in mid- to late May, mouse-eared bats return to the mater­ni­ty roost one or twice each night to nurse their pups for up to a month before the young bats can begin to fly and feed on their own. Here in the islands, most bat pups fledge in August and, if they sur­vive, grow to adult size by the time that their moth­ers are ready to dis­perse for the winter.

Naïve young bats, like fledg­ling birds, are at first some­what clum­sy fly­ers, com­pli­cat­ed by the need to learn how to nav­i­gate in the dark by echolo­ca­tion. In addi­tion, like human teenagers, young bats are curi­ous to the point of reck­less­ness as they explore the world that lays out­side the enclosed roost in which they have lived thus far. Although they learn very quick­ly, young bats are more like­ly than expe­ri­enced adults to fly into open unscreened win­dows, doors, and chim­neys — or to pop through a tiny crack in a ceil­ing that sep­a­rates an attic or crawl­space roost from rooms occu­pied by their unwit­ting human hosts.

At this stage of life, young bats are still quite small and have flex­i­ble bones like hard rub­ber, so that they can squeeze through sur­pris­ing­ly nar­row open­ings. And while they are not yet expert nav­i­ga­tors and pilots like their moth­ers, they fly swift­ly and almost silent­ly. Open­ing a door for an evening dog walk can be enough for a young bat to dive inside for a look.

Once inside a room, young bats fre­quent­ly can­not relo­cate their point of entry, espe­cial­ly if it was a tem­porar­i­ly open door or win­dow. Bright lights also con­fuse them; their eyes and ears are giv­ing them con­flict­ing infor­ma­tion. Pan­ick­ing, a young bat will seek a high point near the ceil­ing, such as a beam or a small niche, where it will try to hide. If it does not find its way out in a few days, it will die of dehy­dra­tion; bats must drink almost nightly.

Give trapped baby bats a break by open­ing a near­by win­dow, turn­ing off all lights, and leav­ing the room for at least 15 to 20 min­utes after twi­light. Left to itself in the dark, young bats can find the open win­dow acousti­cal­ly — like sonar — and will take the oppor­tu­ni­ty to go out in search of fresh water and fly­ing food. Avoid han­dling bats; they are very frag­ile, espe­cial­ly the thin bones in their wings, and that’s when peo­ple get bit­ten. No rabid bats have been found in the islands, but peo­ple and bats share oth­er dis­eases as well.

If you want to learn more, help the island con­ser­va­tion lab­o­ra­to­ry Kwiaht expand its bats-and-bees tech­ni­cal assis­tance pro­gram for home­own­ers, gar­den­ers and farm­ers. Kwiaht is rais­ing mon­ey through the San Juan Island Com­mu­ni­ty Foundation’s 2022 Coun­ty Fair Giv­ing Cam­paign, which will match the first $1,000 in dona­tions dollar-for-dollar.

To be eli­gi­ble, dona­tions must be made dur­ing the 2022 Coun­ty Fair, August 17–20. Dona­tions can be made in per­son at the SJICF booth at the Fair; online at the SJICF web­site; by phone at 360–378-1001; or by mail­ing a check payable to SJICF (and dat­ed between August 17–20) with Kwiaht in the memo line to P.O. Box 1352, Fri­day Har­bor, WA 98250.

And if you find a trapped, injured or ill bat, phone Wolf Hol­low Wildlife Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter at 360–378-5000. They have exper­tise to han­dle and help bats in need of med­ical atten­tion. Con­sid­er a dona­tion to Wolf Hol­low as well.


Posted August 8, 2022 at 9:35 pm by

Photo credit: Kristen Arnim

The County Fair, community, and conservation

Posted August 8, 2022 at 4:32 pm by

The Waste Reduc­tion Team from Tran­si­tion San Juan Island shares an update about how this year’s San Juan Coun­ty Fair fits into ongo­ing con­ser­va­tion efforts here on the island.

There is one annu­al event that unique­ly cel­e­brates the many bless­ings of the good life in our small com­mu­ni­ty. Since 1906, the San Juan Coun­ty Fair has rarely been dis­rupt­ed – only dur­ing the two World Wars and the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. After near­ly three years, this return to a four-day cel­e­bra­tion for islanders by islanders feels won­der­ful­ly famil­iar. And if you think about the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of large pub­lic gath­er­ings through a lens of resource con­ser­va­tion and com­mu­ni­ty resilience, as we do, you will be pleased to know that sig­nif­i­cant changes are afoot.

Many peo­ple are work­ing hard to make this year’s renew­al of the mid-August tra­di­tion a real­i­ty. There are also impor­tant devel­op­ments behind the scenes with the old infra­struc­ture and man­age­ment prac­tices at the Coun­ty Fair­grounds. Our group, the Waste Reduc­tion Team with­in Tran­si­tion San Juan Island, feels strong­ly that fair­grounds and the fair itself ought to be a show­case of com­mu­ni­ty inno­va­tion and adap­ta­tion in chal­leng­ing times.

There will be booths, diet-bust­ing food, music, elec­tion­eer­ing, fun rides, dis­plays of remark­able com­mu­ni­ty tal­ents and of course the quirky home­grown events like the Zuc­chi­ni 500 and Trash­ion Fash­ion. The lat­ter spec­ta­cle was born in New Zealand in 2004 as an effort to high­light reduc­ing sol­id waste by reusing and repur­pos­ing items found in the trash to fab­ri­cate unique gar­ments – an eco­log­i­cal fash­ion state­ment. Make no mis­take, we love the event, as it sheds an oblique light on our prodi­gious waste stream here.

For the first time there will be food waste recep­ta­cles for com­post­ing and oth­er con­tain­ers to sep­a­rate out recy­cling and trash. The com­postable food scraps will go to Skag­it Soils. Fair staff and vol­un­teers ask for your help to make this a suc­cess. Stop in at the Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Stew­ard­ship booth to take the Com­post Facil­i­ty Sur­vey and let them know what you think about the effec­tive­ness of comin­gled recy­cling. What do you think about a glass grind­ing facil­i­ty on San Juan Island? Did you know that glass and com­postable waste com­prise just about 50 per­cent of our total waste stream by weight?

Many food ven­dors are fol­low­ing the state law to only offer sin­gle-use plas­tic uten­sils if request­ed. Spend your mon­ey with those ven­dors, com­mend them for reduc­ing waste and the high trash costs incurred by islanders. Bring your own water bot­tle, wash­able uten­sils and a reusable bag for your fair bling.

We trust that you will take pride in the impres­sive new solar array cap­tur­ing the pow­er of the sun on the roof of the main fair­ground build­ing. Inquire about oth­er efforts to remod­el fair­grounds build­ings to lessen pre­cious water and fos­sil ener­gy use. Take a moment to chat with our OPALCO rep­re­sen­ta­tives about inno­v­a­tive projects, oppor­tu­ni­ties to save mon­ey while con­serv­ing ener­gy, and the crit­i­cal impor­tance of rate nego­ti­a­tions with the Bon­neville Pow­er Admin­is­tra­tion loom­ing in 2028. Final­ly, don’t for­get to vis­it the Stew­ard­ship Network’s Green Vil­lage for inspi­ra­tion from local groups mak­ing a tan­gi­ble difference.

Camp Bogardus welcomes low-income Scouts to San Juan Island

Posted August 8, 2022 at 1:13 pm by

Eric Stone shares good news from Camp Bog­a­r­dus, where the island’s scout­ing orga­ni­za­tion has been using state grant funds to pro­vide unique expe­ri­ences for off-island youth.

Last year the non­prof­it Troop 90 Trust, which owns and oper­ates a 15-acre Scout camp on the west­side of San Juan Island for the ben­e­fit of local Troop 4090, was award­ed a $25,000 grant from the State of Wash­ing­ton Recre­ation and Con­ser­va­tion Office. The No Child Left Inside pro­gram grant is aimed at get­ting low-income and minor­i­ty youth out of the home and into nature.

Thus far, Camp Bog­a­r­dus has host­ed grant-eli­gi­ble troops from Okanogan, Omak, Grand Coulee, Tonas­ket, and Seat­tle’s Rainier Val­ley. More than 100 youth have been able to make the trip of a life­time to the San Juan Islands, enjoy­ing sea kayak­ing, whale watch­ing tours, moun­tain bik­ing, hik­ing, and inter­act­ing with local wildlife.

Because most of the busi­ness­es that the Troop 90 Trust is work­ing with are local, near­ly all of state grant funds are being spent here on San Juan Island.

The funds pro­vid­ed by the state have also been sig­nif­i­cant­ly aug­ment­ed by the gen­er­ous sup­port of our char­ter­ing orga­ni­za­tion, Amer­i­can Legion Post 163, as well as the local busi­ness­es and non­prof­its who have pro­vid­ed us with dis­counts on pur­chas­es, rentals, and pro­grams. These orga­ni­za­tions include Ace Hard­ware, Har­bor Rentals, Browne’s Home Cen­ter, Fron­tier Lum­ber, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island Out­fit­ters, Cycle San Juan, the Nation­al Park Ser­vice, and Wolf Hol­low Wildlife Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Center.

It’s good news all around. Not only is this pro­gram host­ed by our local Scout troop help­ing low-income youth from around the state, it’s also boost­ing the local econ­o­my and intro­duc­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of young peo­ple to the won­der­ful place we call home.

San Juan Islands license plate registration to take place at the County Fair

Posted August 8, 2022 at 9:37 am by

The Madrona Insti­tute sends along news about the reg­is­tra­tion process for San Juan Islands-themed license plates, the annu­al fees from which help ben­e­fit local nonprofits.

Don’t miss the oppor­tu­ni­ty to show off your island pride and sup­port local con­ser­va­tion and stew­ard­ship pro­grams with a San Juan Islands license plate. You can sign up at the San Juan Coun­ty Fair from Aug. 17–20, where the Madrona Insti­tute will host a booth of helpers to get you reg­is­tered for a license plate fea­tur­ing San Juan Island artist Nan­cy Spaulding’s paint­ing Evening Pas­sage.

The ini­tial cost for plates ranges between $65.25 and $117.25 for plates with the next avail­able num­ber, depend­ing on your vehi­cle type. Per­son­al­ized plates cost between $117.25 and $169.25.

If your tabs expire in six months or less, you can save mon­ey by get­ting your new plates and tabs at the same time.

$28 from each tab renew­al goes to sup­port Madrona Insti­tute grants, which totaled $22,500 to local orga­ni­za­tions in the first year of grant­mak­ing. Recip­i­ents for 2022 include the San Juan Islands Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict (Youth Con­ser­va­tion Corps), the Friends of the San Juans (Youth Envi­ron­men­tal Men­tor­ing Pro­gram), Alche­my Art Cen­ter (Young Envi­ron­men­tal­ists Art Inten­sive & Exhib­it Pro­gram), the Coast Sal­ish Youth Stew­ard­ship Corps oper­at­ed by the Madrona Insti­tute, and the Indige­nous Edu­ca­tion Insti­tute (Indige­nous speak­er series, titled A Sense of Place in the Pacif­ic North­west: Indige­nous Per­spec­tives on Land, Water, and Sky).

Awards are made on an annu­al basis for local projects and pro­grams that sup­port the con­ser­va­tion and stew­ard­ship of agri­cul­tur­al, cul­tur­al, his­toric, and nat­ur­al resources in the islands, with empha­sis on youth engage­ment. It is expect­ed that grant­mak­ing will increase each year as plate sales increase across the coun­ty, region, and state.

If you have sto­ries of your favorite jaunts in the islands with your San Juan Islands license plate, vis­it the Madrona Insti­tute’s booth at the fair, where they will be gath­er­ing sto­ries of your favorite trips and island expe­ri­ences for their new blog series fea­tur­ing islanders on the road. You can also share your sto­ries by email.

Summer Film Series preview for Aug. 9

Posted August 8, 2022 at 6:45 am by

The orga­niz­ers of the Sum­mer Film Series at San Juan Com­mu­ni­ty The­atre send along a pre­view of this week’s film. The show­ing starts at 7 p.m. Admis­sion is pay-what-you-can. For this sea­son only, fresh pop­corn is avail­able for free.

The Automat

Doc­u­men­tary — rat­ed PG
Run time: 2 hours

This is tru­ly my favorite movie of the year — and maybe the best film I’ve ever shown. At Horn & Hardart’s height, it was the largest restau­rant chain in the Unit­ed States with 150 loca­tions — this despite being in just two cities, New York and Philadel­phia — and with 800,000 peo­ple a day eat­ing there. The direc­tor and pro­duc­er, Lisa Hur­witz, takes a ter­rif­ic sub­ject and treats it with undis­guised and jus­ti­fied affec­tion. In addi­tion to inter­views with Ruth Bad­er Gins­burg, Col­in Pow­ell, Elliot Gould, and Howard Schultz, we hear from for­mer employ­ees, social his­to­ri­ans, even the great-grand­son of one of the cofounders. There’s a wealth of news footage and peri­od photographs.

Even more inter­est­ing is the role automats played in shap­ing 20th cen­tu­ry Amer­i­ca — wel­com­ing immi­grants, the poor (its hey­day coin­cid­ed with the Great Depres­sion), Hol­ly­wood and Broad­way stars, young and old — offer­ing them qual­i­ty food at afford­able prices, and treat­ing them with respect. Employ­ees were also val­ued. The com­pa­ny arranged pic­nics and hol­i­day par­ties, with gifts for each child, and helped pay for med­ical care. This is the sto­ry of Amer­i­ca at its best. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could recap­ture that magic?

Final­ly, there is the pro­duc­er and direc­tor her­self. You must come just to hear how this movie came to be. I met Lisa while get­ting per­mis­sion to screen the film and will share her sto­ry before the screen­ing. Thanks to Alice Ache­son for insist­ing we include this film.

Federico Farm dog

Posted August 6, 2022 at 8:24 pm by