Times of Change


In a time of remarkably rapid climate change, the impacts on human and non-human lives are substantial. In this series of talks, we’ll engage local experts and forward thinkers to help us explore the local and global changes that are afoot, and to inspire our creativity for meeting the challenges ahead.

Anacortes Senior Activity Center, 1701 22nd St.
These presentations are part of Transition Fidalgo & Friends’ monthly gathering,
the Seventh Generation Supper. All are welcome to enjoy a simple supper
(suggested donation $5, please bring your place setting),
at 5:45 p.m., or simply join us for the presentation around 7:00.


Tuesday, November 28,  Swinomish First Foods and Community Health as Indicators of Climate Change

Larry Campbell and Jamie Donatuto of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community  speak on “Swinomish First Foods and Community Health as Indicators of Climate Change.”

Dr. Jamie Donatuto is a Community Environmental Health Analyst for the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. Larry Campbell is the Community Health Specialist in the Swinomish Community Environmental Health Program, and a distinguished Swinomish tribal elder. Together, they co-manage the Swinomish Community Environmental Health Program.

Their project is to develop and implement a Swinomish community health climate change impact assessment based on simple descriptive scales to evaluate the connections between community health and natural resources. How is community health effected as nearshore habitats change, impacting the availability of traditional foods? Resutls of their study will be integrated into results into the Swinomish Climate Change Impact Assessment and Action Plan.


Sept. 26: Early Warning Systems for Biodiversity in Cascadia: a journey via southern Africa and Antarctica, with Dr. Phoebe Barnard

Dr. Phoebe Barnard’s life so far has taken her through evolutionary ecology, ornithology, conservation biology, global change science, environmental observation systems, ecosystem assessment, sustainability strategy and environmental futures.  A mountaineer, poet, and volcano climber by heart, she works in government, academia, and nonprofits with economists, lawyers, policymakers, citizen scientists, and other scientists to change the way we do things. Her constant message: “The world doesn’t have to be this way. We can change it.” Phoebe is the Executive Director of the Pacific Biodiversity Institute, an Affiliate Professor at the  University of Washington, and a Research Associate at the University of Cape Town.

August 29: A Path to Pricing Carbon in Washington State,” with Sameer Ranade. Price the pollution, fund the solution!  Sameer Ranade of the Washington Environmental Council will talk about how the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy is pursuing an exciting carbon charge and a clean, resilient infrastructure investment policy to take to the state ballot in 2018. Share your perspective and dreams of a green future, and together we’ll discuss how we can build a strong local campaign to win on climate and clean energy.  Sameer has been a staffer in the state and federal legislative branches, working on multiple state and federal candidate campaigns, and has interned for several environmental organizations, including the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Come and get inspired!

July 25: Our presentation this evening is Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation in the Forests of the North Cascades, with Dave Peterson of the U.S. Forest Service. It is co-sponsored with the Skagit Climate Science Consortium.

Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns are altering the forests of Northwest Washington, affecting forest structure and productivity, wildlife connectivity, fire and flood disturbance, road maintenance costs, recreational access, and more. These changes create substantial management and economic implications for federal, state, and private forest lands alike.

This talk will address how Northwest forests are expected to change as the climate continues to shift, and how agencies are adapting to increase the resilience of forest and infrastructure and reduce the economic impacts of climate change.

Dr. David Peterson is a research biologist with the U.S. Forest Service and Director of the Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team. He has conducted research on the effects of climate change and fire on forest ecosystems throughout western North America, has published over 200 scientific articles and three books. He was a co-author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and his contributions helped the organization receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for bringing global attention to the issue of human-caused climate change. He was the lead author for the book Climate Change and United States Forests. Dave lives on his family’s tree farm in Skagit County.

June 27, 2017: The Changing Foodweb of Puget Sound and What it Means for Salmon

Puget Sound supports one of the most productive and diverse food webs of all the large estuaries in North America, symbolized by iconic species like salmon and the orcas who eat them. Those icons are fed by an abundance of small forage fish, who are in turn fueled by a rich community of tiny plankton. But that food web is changing as key forage fish are declining and jellyfish are booming. Why is this happening, what does it mean for the species we value the most, and what can we do about it?

Dr. Correigh Greene is with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. He collaborates with several scientists to study the broad food web dynamics across Puget Sound, and how they have changed over recent decades. He also focuses on the population dynamics of estuary-dependent species, including the influence of climate on the migrations of juvenile and adult salmon.

May 30: “Healthy Homes” 

Ann Raab, visionary and creator of GreenPod Development, will discuss sustainable building methods and products that create a healthy home environment. She’ll look at the toxic problems we face today and why making green choices in everything we do is so important for our future.

For the past decade, Ann has been refining her “BuiltGreen” practices and designs to create green homes that are affordable, aesthetically pleasing, and healthy for mind, body, and the environment. Ann builds low-impact homes with sustainable materials free of chemicals and allergens, recycled-water systems, and energy-efficient heating and lighting.

April 25, 2017: Native Plants as Food: Integrating human ecology and natural history in a time of shifting climate

Our presentation this evening is “Native Plants as Food: Integrating human ecology and natural history in a time of shifting climate.” Abe Lloyd is an ethnobotanist and director of Salal, The Cascadian Food Institute, whose mission is to integrate human communities and native ecosystems through indigenous foods. Native plants thrive in our soils and climate, without supplemental fertilizers and care. In a time of rapid change, they provide a local, sustainable, predictable, and resilient source of food. Come learn about the many sources of native, nutritious food. Abe’s Institute performs research, farms with native food plants, develops wild food products for the local market, and supports educational efforts on topics related to human ecology and natural history. For his Masters research he collaborated with Kwaxsistalla, clan chief with the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation, with whom he experimentally restored a traditional estuarine salt marsh root garden in Kingcome Inlet in British Columbia. Abe wrote the field guide “Wild Berries of Washington and Oregon” and will have copies to sign.

March 28:
The Woolley Food Forest: Using Permaculture to Grow a Resilient Community

Come learn about the Woolley Food Forest Association, an effort to create a two-acre, low-maintenance Food Forest, growing fruit and nut trees, shrubs and vines, edible and medicinal herbaceous perennials, and self-seeding annuals. The Woolley Food Forest Project is in partnership with the Sedro Woolley Helping Hands Food Bank, the largest food bank in Skagit Valley, serving 14,000 annually. The project actively creates a more resilient, skilled, and self-reliant community by training volunteers to maintain and harvest food, providing a portion of the harvest to the food bank, and teaching the use of permaculture principles to produce a self-sustaining food ecosystem. The Woolley Food Forest design includes features and space to host classes and events that celebrate and promote community.  Will Honea is the owner of the Woolley Market and an attorney for Skagit County.  Sarai Stevens is one of the founding members of Chuckanut Transition and has worked on many projects over the last seven years with the goal of creating a more inclusive, resilient, localize food system.

February 28:
Preparing Your Home and Yourself for Emergencies

From earthquakes and tsunamis to major floods and forest fires, there are ample reasons to prepare yourself, your family, and your neighborhood for emergencies. In the case of a major earthquake, Fidalgo could be isolated for weeks…how long would your supply of food and water last? In other situations, you may have no more than a few minutes to grab a “Bug-Out” bag as you evacuate your house. Are you ready? Come learn how to survive and thrive during emergencies.

Rick Wallace is a retired firefighter and the instructor for the Certified Emergency Response Training classes (CERT).

January 31, 2017:
Jellyfish Increases in Puget Sound and Beyond: the roles of climate and humans

The Puget Sound food web is changing. One indication of this is an increase in jellyfish. Come learn about the many types of jellyfish in Puget Sound and around the world, where jellyfish blooms have increased, possible causes for the increases, and the problems they cause for humans.

Jennifer Purcell is a Marine Scientist at the Shannon Point Marine Center (WWU). She has authored over 125 publications and is the associate editor of the Marine Biology science journal. In her research Jenny explores the food web interactions of jellyfish, including who they prey on and compete with. She also studies how climate affects the formation of jellyfish blooms. Jenny’s work has taken her to many parts of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans.


October 25
Fire In The Anacortes Forest Lands
We live in a unique community where large portions of our island have been set aside as protected forest lands and parks.  These forested areas are community treasures that also present risks.  Get a first-hand account of the recent fire in the Anacortes Forest lands.  Anacortes Fire Chief Richard Curtis will talk about:

  • What happened during the August fire
  • Who worked to control and put out the fire
  • What the residents of Anacortes should expect in the future
  • What people can do to ready themselves for that future

Chief Curtis’s presentation will tell much of this story using the pictures taken during the course of fighting the fire.

September 27
From Glaciers to the Estuary: Climate Change Impacts on Water in Northwestern Washington
As temperatures increase and precipitation patterns shift in response to climate change, many important water resources in northern Puget Sound are affected. Come hear Jon Riedel, of the National Park Service, and Roger Fuller, from Western  Washington University, discuss what’s happening with our glaciers and snow pack, and what this means for river floods and summer low flows. We’ll consider impacts on humans, plants and animals, and inspire you to consider how we can respond as individuals and as a community.