Whidbey ECO Network is a cooperative network of several local individuals and organizations committed to protecting the environment of Puget Sound and recovering its vital functions. ‘ECO’ is standing for Education, Communication, & Outreach. The ECO Net members are striving to affect change in Whidbey Island’s local communities through various outreach programs and activities such as manure management, shoreline restoration, water quality monitoring, forest planning, outdoor education, salmon recovery, and special events. ECO Net is promoting good stewardship of nature, waters, and land.

Over the past years, ECO Net has reached some remarkable accomplishments including a Social Marketing Project in cooperation with several livestock owners in Maxwelton Valley, the South Whidbey High School ‘Earth Day Green Career Fair’, organizing the Whidbey ‘Earth and Ocean Month’, K-12 alignment with NextGen Science Standards, setting up the ‘Science While Sipping-Pub Talk Meetings’, and several professional development training courses for ECO Net’s members on subject fields like volunteer management, social marketing, project design, project management, and social media application for promoting your organization.

Through June 2016, funding of ECO Net’s organization and activities was taken care of the State agency Puget Sound Partnership, set up to protect the environment of Puget Sound, but this relationship was discontinued by the end of June 2016 due to the partnership’s funding policy changes*). What’s good, though, is that all ECO Net members are committed to providing these services on a continuing basis to the community and have decided to maintain the Whidbey ECO Network organization, and to keep on working together as environmental activists for the beautiful Island. During the remaining months of 2016, the organization plans to find new funds to continue its mission, express its vision, and attract new members who can support its efforts.

ECO Net has expressed its gratitude to Puget Sound Partnership. Without their support over the past eight years, many activities and opportunities would not have been possible. ECO Net expressed thanks as well to Justin Burnett (Whidbey News Group) for sharing ECO Net’s vision and activities via this monthly column. And last, but surely not least, ECO Net wished to say a great thanks to Susie Richards, the organization’s strong leader and coordinator during the past years. Tess Cooper will from now be leading Whidbey ECO Net and she’s looking forward to new exciting adventures that will be coming their way and new partnerships that will be set up. A new chapter will start with ECO Net’s meeting at the Pacific Rim Institute in the Fall.

On December 16, 2015, the Whidbey Examiner published an article with roughly the following content:

*) Sustainable Whidbey Coalition leaders announced the end of the 8-year program. After much deliberation, SWC’s steering committee decided that, pending Council of Governments approval, the remaining Sustainable Whidbey Coalition funds are to be donated to the organization ‘Sound Water Stewards of Island County’ (aka the Beach Watchers), and to be used in their sustainability programs. This was stated by SWC coordinator Melody Kuschnereit. The Beach Watchers have always been supporting our organization strongly, and SWC leaders are confident that the Beach Watchers will use this donation properly, and for the good of Whidbey Island.

Throughout the years of operating, SWC has been a hub for resources and information regarding sustainability issues and education on Whidbey Island. The organization has served as a pivoting point for collaborative efforts and think tanks, and has offered great and frequent support as well as technical assistance for various environmental and educational programs and projects. SWC has 25 full members and almost 80 affiliate members, and over the years, more than 75 businesses, agencies, and organizations have obtained a Whidbey Green Seal for their sustainable activities and practices. Source: The Whidbey Examiner.