Posted 2/28/24

Nominations open for youth environmental award 

  Celebrating young environmental leaders in the community, the Jefferson Land Trust Fairbank Award for Youth Environmental Action …

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Nominations open for youth environmental award 

 Celebrating young environmental leaders in the community, the Jefferson Land Trust Fairbank Award for Youth Environmental Action remains open for nominations now through midnight on March 1. 

Named in honor of Sarah and Owen Fairbank's extraordinary 20-plus years of volunteer service to Jefferson Land Trust, the award recognizes 12- to 19-year-olds who show strong leadership skills and a demonstrated commitment to the environment. 

Jefferson Land Trust is a local, nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to preserving the rural character and iconic landscapes of Jefferson County. The Fairbank Award includes a cash prize of $500, given to a young person who has, during the prior year, shown leadership, commitment, and innovation toward building a community that is healthy, sustainable, and deeply connected to nature. This might include showing initiative in environmental restoration, influencing behaviors toward sustainable living, or building climate change awareness within the community.

Nominees must be between 12 and 19 years old as of March 14, 2024, and must live within Jefferson County. Jefferson Land Trust current or former staff members, board members, or their immediate family members are not eligible to win the award or to nominate anyone.

The winner’s guardian will be notified by email on March 8, and the winner will be announced publicly at Jefferson Land Trust’s 2024 Conservation Breakfast virtual event, held via Zoom on March 14 from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

Nominations can be made by email or mail. More information is available at

County seeks Utility Committee member

The Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners is actively seeking a community member who operates a water system serving fewer than 50 users to join the Water Utility Coordinating Committee (WUCC).

Established to address issues such as uncoordinated water planning, inadequate water quality, or unreliable service, the WUCC has been in operation since 1983. Its inception was prompted by concerns that Jefferson County's water resource needs were not being adequately met. Consequently, the Board of County Commissioners designated a Critical Water Supply Service Area covering the entire county, recognizing the potential benefits of a Coordinated Water System Plan (CWSP) for all residents. However, the current CWSP is in need of updating.

"We're looking for a dedicated individual to join the Water Utility Coordinating Committee and help shape the future of water management in Jefferson County," said Commissioner Greg Brotherton in a statement. "Your involvement will be crucial in addressing the challenges faced by smaller water systems and ensuring reliable and sustainable water services for our community."

As a member of the WUCC, this person would play a vital role in the development of the updated plan, particularly in identifying challenges and requirements specific to smaller water purveyors. Anticipated commitments include quarterly 90-minute meetings over the next 18 months, during which the new member would collaborate closely with a hired consultant to guide the plan's evolution.

For more information, visit WUCC online at, or contact Brent Butler at

Seed Alliance welcomes new director

The Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) has announced the appointment of Dr. Laura R. Lewis as its new executive director in Port Townsend. 

Lewis brings significant leadership experience to help OSA continue to strategically evolve as a nonprofit, according to board president Emily Rose Haga in a recent statement.

“Her strong connections in the realm of seeds and crop diversity will be of great benefit to the mission as we continue to build upon 20 years of good seed work,” Haga said. 

Prior to joining OSA, Lewis was a professor at Washington State University (WSU) where she founded and directed the WSU Food Systems Program. She holds a Ph.D. in geography and a degree in agriculture, with specialization in the utilization of agrobiodiversity, coupled with leadership and development skills aimed at fostering a healthy food system for all.

“Seed is the foundation of our food system and connects us as humans across so many aspects of our lives – culturally, historically, environmentally, and politically,” Lewis said. 

Lewis steps into the executive director role after her predecessor Cara Loriz’s retirement in the autumn of 2023. 

“After an extensive nationwide search, our board and staff are confident that Laura’s mix of passion, integrity, research excellence, and management expertise will strengthen our work,” said OSA’s research and education co-director Jared Zystro. “I am excited to be working with her as we look forward to the next 20 years of promoting an abundant and diverse supply of organic seed.”



$40k grant available for PNW filmmakers


The Cascade PBS Origins filmmaking project is accepting grant applications from Pacific Northwest artists now through April 17. The winner will receive $40,000 for filmmaking expenses, along with mentorship and an opportunity to air their project on Cascade PBS (formerly KCTS 9) in March 2025. 

Cascade PBS Origins is a project for Pacific Northwest and Canadian filmmakers to tell stories reflecting people, places, and values from the region in a five-part documentary series. Each filmmaker must be a member of the community being documented. 

In the first season of Origins, “Refuge After War,” director Thanh Tan followed Vietnamese immigrants as they helped new Afghan immigrants adapt to life in the Northwest. The second Origins project, Lady Scribe’s “Lost at SEA,” is a personal history of growing up Black in Seattle’s Central District, and the challenges of gentrification.

Applications for the third Origins series may be submitted online at and are reviewed by a five-person panel composed of representatives from Cascade PBS, SIFF and leaders from the Northwest film community. The next series will be completed by year’s end, with episodes unveiled at an in-person screening and discussion with the filmmaker and characters.