New Year, New Crew!

For the first time since pre-Covid, Stewardship Partners now has a full field crew! We are pleased to have Aaron, Maggie and Mar working with us this year! This group is strong, knowledgeable and makes a great team. This season, we have been working extra hard to remove a ton of stubborn blackberry roots from our sites (grubbing) and filling in the areas with native plants. We look forward to this arduous work paying off by allowing us to cut back on our summer maintenance demands and improve plant health. We’re eagerly awaiting spring to see how our winter work has paid off and for volunteer events to hopefully resume! Meet our crew below!


Ashley Aversa  – Ecological Restoration Project Manager

Ashley first joined our Team during fall of 2020. She hails from the Pinelands region of New Jersey, where she worked with Rutgers University and SJ Land and Water Trust. Her work focused on program development, stream monitoring, habitat restoration and green infrastructure projects. Ashley holds an Executive Masters in Natural Resources from Virginia Tech, with a focus on water resource stewardship. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys wild foraging, herbalism and exploring the PNW with her partner and hound Arrow.

Magie Regis – Ecological Restoration Crew Member 
Maggie joined the restoration crew team during the winter of 2021. She was born in the Seattle area but was raised in Northern California and moved back to Washington about 10 years ago. Maggie attended Whitworth University in Spokane WA where she earned a B.S. in Biology and minored in Environmental Science and Technical Theatre. She loves working outdoors with nature and wildlife as seen in her work with Washington State Parks, the Woodland Park Zoo as a Research Assistant, and the Sierra Nevada Americorps Partnership program doing watershed restoration, monitoring and outreach. In her spare time, she enjoys musicals, exploring national and state parks, board games and reading.

Aaron Cloudwood – Ecological Restoration Crew Member 
Aaron joined the restoration crew during the fall of 2021. Originally from Portland, Aaron moved to Seattle in 2006 to pursue a degree from the University of Washington in Physics and has since been dedicated to protecting the natural world with an emphasis on water resources. Just prior to joining Stewardship Partners, he was a Seattle Public Utilities RainWise contractor, working with homeowners and schools to install green stormwater infrastructure. In his spare time, he enjoys foraging with his partner, gardening, and building things.

Anne Marie Stapper – Ecological Restoration Crew Member
Anne Marie joined the ecological restoration crew in January of 2022. After moving to Seattle from Austin, Texas in June of 2021, they joined an AmeriCorps field restoration crew where they worked to restore natural areas across the Salish Sea region.  Anne Marie graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in December of 2020 with a B.A. in Geography, Anthropology, and Sustainability Studies. They have a background in environmental education, soils and watershed research, and landscaping, and hope to return to school in the future. In their free time, they enjoy creating music with friends, reading, and exploring the natural areas of the Pacific Northwest.

Our 2021 Accomplishments

Dear Stewardship Partners Community,

As we approach the end of 2021, we are thankful for your continued support that has allowed Stewardship Partners to continue providing environmental solutions for landowners and businesses who care for the land and water of the region. We are proud of our on-the-ground work as we continue to forge long-lasting partnerships and measurable positive impacts on the environment and communities across the region.

Stewardship Partners’ resilient, hard-working staff comprises the most experienced and knowledgeable people working to solve our region’s complex environmental issues. We’d like to share several program highlights for the year.

The Snoqualmie Stewardship Program restored two acres of habitat, planted over 3,000 plants at multiple farms, and maintained a record 9.5 acres of restoration sites. We also completed a new Snoqualmie Valley Stewardship Handbook. This guide includes tips and funding sources for projects including home stewardship, agricultural stewardship, forest stewardship, sustainable recreation, volunteering, and green consumer tools. The program continues to expand, working with schools and cities in the Snoqualmie Valley, building rain gardens, and installing other green infrastructure projects in addition to riparian restoration.

A new innovative ad campaign was created this spring that calls on people to become “Rain Changers” by creating rain gardens at their homes and businesses. The campaign was the brainchild of Sam Neukom and the pro-bono creative team at NorthboundMerlino Media also provided resources to match advertising funding. Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard, who is planning his second rain garden, lent star power to the campaign. Noting in one radio ad, “if you want to keep your basement dry and the Sound clean, cisterns and rain gardens are a beautiful way to help.” The campaign was featured in the Seattle Times and South Seattle Emerald and included bus-side ads, radio ads, and billboards. The RainWise website saw the largest ever number of visitors to the site after the Seattle Times article. Visit www.rainchangers.org to see if your property qualifies for rebates from the City of Seattle or King County or to find incentives in other areas of Puget Sound. 

The 6th Annual Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea gathered seven virtual panel discussions and an online networking event over two days in March. We covered big ideas and impacts that go way beyond water alone. Discussion topics included innovative partnerships, whole watershed approaches, climate resilience, systems of power and access, science, and research-based pragmatism, and we shined a spotlight on innovative leadership in northern Puget Sound watersheds. 

We continue to educate the public on supporting local farms and restaurants by choosing sustainable Salmon-Safe products. We also hosted educational workshops and webinars, such as the virtual Flower Farmer Workshop in April. Stewardship Partners maintains a vital relationship with the Salmon-Safe headquarters team in Portland, and we all meet regularly. We are thrilled to welcome new farms to the program this year, such as Farm at Water’s Edge in Belfair and Paradise Parking Plots in Kent. We hope you will help us protect our Puget Sound and all its residents by choosing Salmon-Safe products! 

Once again, we couldn’t gather in person for Feast on the Farm; so we feasted and celebrated with supporters, each in our own homes across the region. It wouldn’t have been possible without our sponsors, farmers, and chefs. Feast on the Farm at home raised $25,500, which will directly support our conservation and restoration initiatives in Puget Sound! 

Stewardship Partners would not be here without you. Thank you for being dedicated to our team and our mission and loving this special place we call home. Please consider Stewardship Partners in your annual giving this year.

New Program Offers Free Rain Gardens and Cisterns

Pearl Jam Guitarist Stone Gossard and Local Residents Promote Win-Win Solution to Protect Puget Sound, Reduce Flooding, and Improve Health

SEATTLE – With Spring upon us, a new ad campaign on radios and buses around King County calls on people to become “Rain Changers” by creating rain gardens at their homes and businesses. The best part? The City of Seattle and King County will pick up the bill for eligible properties.

“Rain gardens and cisterns can prevent flooding on your property, keep your basement dry, and protect Puget Sound from pollution,” said Aaron Clark, director of strategic partnerships at Stewardship Partners, which is running the Rain Changers campaign. “With public dollars available, this is a no brainer.”

Every time it rains, stormwater carries pollution from our roofs, driveways and sidewalks into local creeks, and ultimately into Puget Sound. Recent research, for example, found tire dust washed into local streams and the Sound killed 40 to 90 percent of returning coho salmon before they spawn.

One residential rain garden can divert 70-100 percent of the rainwater from a property. If 12,000 homeowners build rain gardens, 160 million gallons of polluted stormwater would be treated, helping to protect the Sound. Rain gardens also keep water out of basements, keeping them dry and preventing unhealthy mold.

Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard, who is currently planning his second rain garden, is lending star power to the campaign. In one radio ad he notes, “if you want to keep your basement dry and the Sound clean, cisterns and rain gardens are a beautiful way to help.”

The campaign introduces the Orca, the Salmon, and the Octopus, local residents of Puget Sound who support the use of cisterns and rain gardens to protect their homes. One such project is at Duwamish Co-Housing, where new cisterns are helping to prevent flooding and keep polluted stormwater out of the Duwamish River.

“We were so fortunate to receive three 265-gallon cisterns through a grant from King County,” said Ruth Anne, a neighborhood champion who lives at Duwamish Co-Housing. “So many people could benefit from these cisterns and rain gardens – and help Puget Sound – if only they knew the money was there to pay for them.”

Funding for rain gardens comes from two sources, depending on the property location. RainWise, operated by Seattle Public Utilities and King County Wastewater Treatment Division, offers rebates for projects in eligible drainage basins; the average rebate is $4,200. For properties that are not eligible for RainWise rebates, there are Green Stormwater Infrastructure Mini Grants through Stewardship Partners of up to $1,500 or $4,500 for income-limited people and nonprofits.

Rain gardens make financial sense, as they keep stormwater out of the sewers and reduce infrastructure costs. For example, Seattle Public Utilities estimated that natural drainage systems – like rain gardens – would cost $410,000 per block, compared to $720,000 for traditional infrastructure – a savings of more than 40 percent. To check your eligibility and learn more about the Rain Changers program, visit www.rainchangers.org.

About Stewardship Partners

Stewardship Partners is a nonprofit organization that creates people-based solutions to engage Puget Sound communities as caretakers of land and water. Stewardship Partners was founded over 20 years ago, as Puget Sound was in a steep ecological decline. The organization focuses on the role of private landowners—people with a deep connection to the land and a strong motivation to act as responsible stewards of the ecosystem. Starting with a single farmer in the Snoqualmie River Valley, the organization has grown into a national model for developing effective, people-based solutions and engaging communities as caretakers of the land and water. Its programs include Snoqualmie Stewardship (including Adopt-a-Buffer), Salmon-Safe, and Green Infrastructure (including City Habitats, 12,000 Rain Gardens, Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea and Sound Impacts). More at https://www.stewardshippartners.org/.

I’m a Stewardship Partner Campaign

You may have recently seen the faces of some of our supporters artfully displayed on bus sides and web banners around town. These are part of our new “I’m a Stewardship Partner” public awareness campaign, thanks to the pro-bono hard-work of Jill Marshall and Janice Merlino of Merlino Media Group and Cal McAllister, formerly of Wexley School for Girls.

The campaign features photographs, treated by local artist and musician, Brandon Milner.  These feature a few of our community of supporters expressing how Stewardship Partners helps them become caretakers of our land and water.

In the coming months, this campaign will continue to be featured throughout the Puget Sound region. Look for “I’m a Stewardship Partner,” on billboards, bus sides, on the radio and in digital, print, social media and more.

Read about our partners at: https://www.stewardshippartners.org/im-a-stewardship-partner-campaign/

Welcome Grant to the Stewardship Partners Team!

Grant P.H. Barber joined the Stewardship Partners team this month as the new Development Manager. Moving from Denver to Seattle in 2013 to pursue a Masters in Museology at the University of Washington, Grant instantly fell in love with the natural splendor of the Pacific Northwest. Joining Stewardship Partners in 2018, he brings several years of fundraising experience at museums and cultural centers. As the Development Manager, Grant aims to create a culture of philanthropy where donors understand how their generosity has positive, direct benefits on our shared environment. Grant enjoys exploring the Northwest through hiking, camping, running, and biking. When he’s not out in nature, he enjoys cooking, brewing beer, and baking bread.