Presenting Earth Day Award Recipients

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Congratulations 2021 Earth Day Award Recipients!

April 26, 2021

Since 1993, Kitsap County Public Works and the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) have recognized groups and individuals for their dedication to sustainability and environmental restoration. This year, the BOCC presented five Earth Day Awards in a virtual ceremony on April 26, 2021. The public was invited to attend as we celebrated community members who provide outstanding environmental stewardship in Kitsap County. 

Award recipients were nominated by the public for their work in environmental education and advocacy, habitat restoration, recycling and litter control. Congratulations to Deb Rudnick, Sinclair Inlet Cleanup Team, Kitsap Conservation District's Backyard Habitat Program, Northwest Hospitality and Magnolia Forest Preschool.

Leaf dividerMagnolia Forest Preschool Headline

At Magnolia Forest Preschool, students learn fully outdoors, where a child is free from external pressures and expectations. The children visit the same woodland on a regular basis and are given the freedom to play, opportunity to explore and learn about the natural environment, and support while learning how to handle risks, solve problems and cooperate with their peers. Through socio-dramatic and constructive play, children learn that their ideas are important, and they are empowered to care for their community of peers and their environment.

Magnolia provides children in Kitsap an opportunity to reconnect with their environment through play. The Preschool believes that play for the young child integrates every discipline in a creative and fluid way. Each forest they meet in becomes the child’s world. Children learn from their teachers, peers and the environment.

“I have seen firsthand how students grow and learn, as they develop an appreciation for the natural world…our four-year-old son is helping teach us to be better stewards”. -Julia Zander, parent

Child ExploringLeaf dividerNW Hospitality Headline

Anton Preisinger is the founding Director & Chairperson of Northwest Hospitality, a non-profit organization with a goal to alleviate suffering and show compassion to all our homeless neighbors through simple, effective programs. Northwest Hospitality encourages participation in local services that can help bring people out of poverty. As they accomplish this goal, Northwest Hospitality serves their supporters as an effective, transparent charity with integrity and efficiency in both their programs and operation. Other members of Northwest Hospitality include Kimberly Malone, Allison Preisinger, Jack Reynolds, Lily Bonilla, and Eric Putaansuu. NWH's Volunteer Leads who enable several of the cleanups include Kimmy Siebens, Katie Everhart and Marc Gabriel.

Northwest Hospitality programs support environmental cleanups, resource curation, hospitality kits and cards, a mobile supply closet, dental services, haircut vouchers, a safe parking network and special projects. Since its creation in 2016, Northwest Hospitality has served 2,997 people, distributed 1,917 hospitality kits, contributed 4,389 volunteer hours, coordinated 38 cleanup events and removed 54,537 pounds of trash.

Pebble Creak CleanupLeaf dividerKitsap Conservation District Headline

The Kitsap Conservation District’s goal to provide watershed stream restoration stewardship is accomplished through the Backyard Habitat Program. Carin Anderson and Jesse Adams are vital to the operation and success of this program. Their dedication and creative efforts protect and rehabilitate riparian areas and streams. These two make streams salmon friendly, correct damage from stormwater and human impact, write grants and provide landowners with cost sharing to accomplish work in their own backyard.

Carin Anderson manages Kitsap Conservation District's Backyard Habitat Program, which remakes a stream into viable habitat and improves fish passage. Carin engages homeowners in the restoration process by teaching them to monitor and care for the improvements made into the future. She works with landowners, the government and contractors to accomplish these costly, critical projects. Carin leverages volunteers and neighbors to complete projects. She also uses state and federal funding sources to pay for the work. In 2020, Carin applied for $1,580,000 of supplemental funding and received $520,000 in funding for projects so far. These funds often make the difference in whether salmon can be saved. Carin also works on fish passage projects, improving access to 30 miles of salmon spawning and rearing habitat in Kitsap County.

Jesse Adams implements streamside planting and noxious weed removal, and assists landowners with project maintenance. Through community engagement with volunteers and interns, Jesse installed 7,128 plants on 40 projects in 2020. Jesse was key in the Orca Recovery Day 2020 outreach for Kitsap, which brought 1,700 people to action across 17 states and four countries to plant almost 6,000 trees, restore over 22 acres of vital habitat and pick up over 53,000 lbs. of trash.

Backyard HabitatLeaf dividerDeb Rudnick, PHD Headline

Deb Rudnick, PhD, educates our community in many roles. As Chair of the Bainbridge Island Watershed Council, Deb runs the annual Bainbridge Island fall salmon monitoring program. She trains volunteers to identify and count adult spawning, and juvenile salmon. This citizen science program has resulted in a robust set of data and experiential education for islanders.

Deb has been on the city’s Climate Change Advisory Committee since 2018. As one of nine members, she helped to develop the Climate Change Action Plan (CAP), which was adopted by the Bainbridge Island City Council in November 2020. The CAP contains over 170 actions for mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2045.

Deb's service to her community includes Chair of the Bainbridge Island Watershed Council, Co-chair of the Rotary Auction Green Team, and founder of BI Earth Month organizing committee and the annual BI Beach Cleanup. She is an active member of BI Zero Waste, BI Weed Warriors, and West Sound Partners for Ecosystem Recovery. Deb works with schools on waste reduction, participates in the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife's mussel cage monitoring project and much more. Whether serving as a leader, steering committee member or active participant, her big picture thinking is an invaluable element in driving effective outcomes.

School GroupLeaf dividerSinclair Inlet Cleanup Headline

The Sinclair Inlet Cleanup Team, a group of volunteers, has remained dedicated to preserving and protecting the Sinclair Inlet for more than 30 years. The Sinclair Inlet Cleanup occurs twice a year in Bremerton and Port Orchard. Over the past 10 years, the cleanup has engaged an estimated 3,500 volunteers and collected over 4,500 bags of trash. Volunteers include scouts, diving clubs, school groups, Kitsap County Juvenile Groups, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard employees and more. The cleanups are supported by many local businesses, organizations and individuals.

Longtime volunteers John Denis, Chance Berthiaume and Rick Feeney have a combined 72 years of involvement in the Sinclair Inlet Cleanups. John and Chance work together to plan and gather volunteers, waste removal experts, supplies and lunch donations. Rick collects and hauls waste, and makes sure that any left over lunches for volunteers are donated to the local Veteran's Home. Their teamwork has inspired generations of volunteers to protect and preserve the Sinclair Inlet.

John is a great role model and motivator for those who participate and, I believe, it changes their lives in recognizing the value of keeping our Earth clean. He did mine. He motivated me from just preaching it to 'doing' it”. - Rick Feeney, Port Orchard volunteer

Sinclair Inlet Cleanup Team

Ken Blair, 2021 Earth Day Award Artist Headline

Ken Blair, a Kitsap resident for nearly 40 years, opened Chameleon Glass Studios 30 years ago, which evolved from stained glass to upcycling other sustainable materials. 

The five Earth Day Awards were sculpted using driftwood and scrap metal. Ken recovers most materials used in his art from scrap yards, garage sales, and construction debris. His work is on display around the County.

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