Stewardship Network to celebrate seven with 'Good Steward' award

Lopez Island
Lopez Island's Christine Langley, a sustainable farming devotee and ambassador, is one of seven recipients of the Stewardship Network's 2014 Good Steward Award.
— image credit: Contributed photo/Cathleen Wilson

Embracing the spirit of, "The more, the merrier," the Stewardship Network of the San Juans will honor seven individuals and organizations this year with its annual "Good Steward" award.

The Good Steward award, embodied by the coveted "Finee," a glazed ceramic salmon made by Crow Valley Pottery, is bestowed upon deserving islanders and local businesses in recognition of exceptional efforts in environmental stewardship.

This year's seven award winners, listed below, will be honored and receive a "Finee"at the annual Orcas Island Solstice Celebration, June 21, in Eastsound.

The Stewardship Network, a coalition of private and public organizations supporting a healthy, thriving ecosystem in the San Juan Archipelago, has honored individuals, families, teachers, students and businesses that demonstrate an ethic of natural resource conservation since 2008.

The 2014 Good Steward award winners:

Youth Stewardship: Zach Kostechko, a senior at Orcas High School, contributed 66 volunteer hours serving with the Orcas Youth Conservation Corps in summer of 2013. He also served as a volunteer cadet for the Orcas Island Fire Department and helped plan and install a demonstration rain garden in front of Ray's Pharmacy.

Educator Stewardship: San Juan Island's Debbie Taylor teaches 6th grade math and science at Friday Harbor Elementary School. Through multi-media technology and dynamic learning experiences, she motivates students to develop skills that encourage creative thinking while becoming responsible and respectful global citizens.

Farmland Stewardship: Christine Langley of Lopez Island, a sustainable organic farmer for more than 15 years, controls diseases and pests organically, rotates her crops, uses drip irrigation and rain water for irrigation, utilizes solar energy for chicken fences and keeps bees to help pollinate her crops. She is always ready to educate farmers and friends interested in sustainable farming.

Individual Stewardship: Chuck O’Clair of San Juan Island has been an animal-care volunteer at Wolf Hollow for more than 12 years. He also volunteers countless hours to various organizations, including beached-bird surveys for COASST, data collection for Three Meadows Marsh and Christmas bird trumpeter swan counts for Audubon each winter.

Woodland Stewardship: Orcas Island's Ken and Marcia Culver and family donated a 24-acre shoreline forest preserve to San Juan Preservation Trust in 2013. The property has been in the family for six generations, and the Culvers are working with neighbors to place a conservation easement on 60 additional, adjoining acres.

Business Stewardship: Deer Harbor Charters co-owners Tom and Nate Averna have run their charter business for over 30 years. The father and son team were chosen for their generous donation of time and resources in support of the marine environment and community education.

Special Award for Environmental Awareness: Orcas Island-based Friends of Moran provides exceptional stewardship and outreach programs for visitors to Moran State Park. Special thanks goes to Michel Vekved, who contributed many hours over the years to build a volunteer team, launch the organization’s website and create the Summit Gift Shop and Learning Center, and more.

— For full profiles of these inspiring islanders, plus previous years’ award winners, go to




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