Padilla Bay newsletter

Our e-newsletter is published quarterly with current events, articles, and program information.
Retiring manager of Padilla Bay, Terry Stevens

Terry Stevens leaves a long legacy at the Padilla Bay Reserve!

After 35 years, the Padilla Bay Reserve is saying farewell to Director Terry Stevens. Terry joined the reserve in 1983, just months after it was officially founded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Department of Ecology. Terry was no stranger to the reserve. As a shoreline planner with Skagit County, he had served on the project team to help make the reserve a reality. When the opportunity arose to apply for the director position, he felt that it would be a great fit. He was ready to take a break from the regulatory world and focus on his other interests, which included scientific research, education, facility management, and real estate. This unique skill set positioned him perfectly for building the reserve from the ground up and acquiring thousands of acres of tide flats to expand the reserve boundaries.

When asked what he feels most proud of, Terry said, "One of my top priorities was finding the very best people to fill our important staff positions. I feel that I helped to put gifted staff in key positions who have stayed for many years, most of them over 25 years. They've been leaders in their fields and contributed enormously here in Washington and to the national reserve system."

Other accomplishments that have marked Terry's tenure include significant expansion of the Reserve campus to include a new science laboratory, guesthouse, training room, aquarium, and staff offices. He has built solid relationships within the local community, as well as with members of congress at the state and federal level. Other reserve directors have viewed Terry as a mentor, and he has helped several reserves go through the lengthy establishment process, traveling from Alaska to the Great Lakes and east coasts to meet with advisory groups and governmental officials. Fellow managers in the Department of Ecology value his depth of knowledge and insight as they navigate issues in their different sections.

Terry also played a major role in launching the Padilla Bay Foundation in 1987, the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association in 1988, the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative in 1998 (at Senator Patty Murray’s and Congressman Jack Metcalf’s request), and the Northwest Straits Conservation Foundation in 2002.

When asked what he is looking forward to in retirement, Terry says that he plans to stay active with state and local conservation organizations so that he can continue contributing to the protection of our aquatic resources. He also would “like to go catch some of them!”

Research Coordinator, Dr. Jude Apple has been appointed Interim Director and will assume Terry’s duties in November 2018.  Terry will remain with the Department of Ecology through the winter in a part-time management position to assist with transition and complete ongoing construction and real estate projects.

Americorps staff Erin Matthews and Kat McCarroll testing water quality.

Padilla Bay welcomes new Washington Conservation Corps / AmeriCorps staff

Each October, we welcome new staff to Padilla Bay’s education and research teams. Erin Matthews and Kat McCarroll are service members with Washington Conservation Corps (WCC), an AmeriCorps program. They will spend 11 months collecting plankton samples, measuring water quality, entering and analyzing research data, presenting research findings, assisting in the field, leading student groups in educational activities, educating visitors, and maintaining the facilities and aquariums.  

Erin Matthews grew up in Tacoma. Her parents cultivated her love of nature with frequent camping trips and visits to local aquariums. She decided at age 6 she was going to grow up to be a biologist and never looked back. After graduating with a BS in Ecology from Western Washington University, Erin worked on Alaskan commercial fishing boats, collecting bycatch data for NOAA. Then Erin served a year as a WCC AmeriCorps service member at Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group, a non-profit dedicated to restoring streamside habitat in the Skagit and Samish river watersheds. She is very excited for another AmeriCorps service year as a member of Padilla Bay’s research crew.

Kat grew up in nearby Anacortes, and has many memories of visiting Padilla Bay with her mom and little brother when she was younger. They used to spend hours playing at Bayview State Park, walking the upland trail, and looking at all the animals in the aquarium. Kat recently graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Community, Environment, and Planning and minors in Environmental Science, Marine Biology, and Urban Planning. While learning about the natural environment, built environment, and how people interact with them in school, Kat realized that she wanted to go into education and teaching people about how to protect nature. Working at Padilla Bay as an environmental educator was the perfect opportunity to teach people about the importance of nature and what they can do to protect it, while also getting to spend time in one of her favorite places.

Welcome Erin and Kat!


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