Stillwaters’ 20th anniversary of education, book sales, frog suits

Stillwaters founders, Naomi Maasberg and Joleen Palmer, in the estuary on the day the first bridge opened in 2012. Photo courtesy Beth Berglund.

Stillwaters founders, Naomi Maasberg and Joleen Palmer, in the estuary on the day the first bridge opened in 2012. Photo courtesy Beth Berglund.

If you’ve been around this area for a few decades you may have attended Stillwaters’ very first EcoFest in 2000. You or your adult children may have attended Nature Camps in the woods and wetlands surrounding the salt marsh. And some of you may have vague memories of adults dancing around dressed in frog costumes.

In its early years, Stillwaters was the environmental education nonprofit organization for our area, and our education and outreach scope was as broad as the community information suggested we needed to be. We became known by many for our massive used book sales, our sustainability discussion courses, and our annual EcoFest event. In parallel with our public-facing educational programs, we pushed, collaborated, pitched, nudged, and partnered with everyone possible to support and drive improvement projects and restoration of the Carpenter Creek watershed and pocket estuary. The biggest of many projects undertaken over the last 15 years included constructing two boardwalks, moving an existing building onto the campus, placing almost 100 pieces of large woody debris into the salt marsh, several stream restorations, and replacing two under-sized culverts on S. Kingston Road and W. Kingston Road.

The heightened public awareness of environmental and climate issues and the impacts of development on the natural environment have freed us to refine and focus our efforts on the heart of Stillwaters’ mission – advancing scientific research, education, and restoration on Puget Sound lowland streams and estuaries. As you know, restoring and maintaining the health of our estuaries is directly connected to the success of our beloved and important Pacific Northwest salmon.

Especially to those of you reading this column who’ve yet to visit or attend a Stillwaters event, I hope you will consider joining us at the Village Green Community Center Nov. 3 for the dinner and auction. Besides being the 20th Anniversary Dinner & Auction, it will be a special Retirement Celebration for our founders, Naomi and Joleen. Please come to celebrate 20 years of commitment and connection to the Kingston community and to meet the Stillwaters Staff and the members of the Board of Directors.

Since the beginning of Stillwaters, a small group of curious, caring, committed people have been there. We hope you will be there this year and into the future.

For more information and to purchase tickets to the Dinner & Auction, visit

Beth Berglund is an opinion columnist and also serves on the Stillwaters Board of Directors.

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