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Lifetime Achievement Award for Val Schroeder

posted Nov 26, 2016, 5:02 PM by Roxie Rochat   [ updated Nov 26, 2016, 5:02 PM ]


Conservation district honors Ballard, Klesick

  • By Sarah Arney Staff Reporter
  • Updated Nov 22, 2016

The backbone of Camano’s Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program, Val Schroeder, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from Snohomish Conservation District on Dec. 1.

Her efforts have resulted in 866 properties certified as friendly habitats for critters, said Laura Goff, SCD Information & Education Coordinator, who leads the Better Ground awards program for the conservation district.

Among other efforts, Schroeder has encouraged her Stanwood High School senior English students to participate in National Make A Difference Day, which won them a national award last year. They used their prize money to help preserve Barnum Point on Camano Island.

“These are just a few of the actions that demonstrate her incredible leadership and enthusiasm for training the next generation,” Goff said.

Two other Stanwood residents will be honored in the adult category of the district’s Conservation Leaders of the Year.

Robin Ballard adopted several strategies on her Stanwood-area horse farm to protect the land, including diverting clean rainwater away from her paddocks. She used a winter holding area for the horses to protect her pastures and reduce runoff, added covered manure bins to protect the stream by fencing animals out, and planted a stream buffer.

“She also hosted a tour so others could learn about farm best management practices,” Goff said.

Tristan Klesick of Stanwood is being honored for his outstanding leadership role as the agriculture caucus chair for the sustainable land strategy in Snohomish County, Goff said.

Under his leadership, a robust conversation on the value of agriculture in salmon and Puget Sound recovery is underway – bringing together diverse stakeholders to help drive real change.

Better Ground awards

The annual awards ceremony will celebrate the conservation district’s 75th anniversary this year.

Awards will be presented during the annual Better Ground Awards Showcase, Thursday, Dec. 1, 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Rosehill Community Center, 304 Lincoln Ave., Mukilteo.

“This feel-good event is sure to inspire attendees with a sense of possibility and a hope for the future,” Goff said.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for a cocoa bar and hors d’oeuvres, live music, door prizes and keynote presentations. Register at

Other conservation leaders of the year

• Libby Reed restored the creek on her property in Monroe by planting a riparian buffer and hosted several community planting events where students and adults could participate in the restoration process.

• Terry Meyer transformed her yard into an edible, sustainable landscape and then held classes at her home in Lake Stevens to teach other community members how to convert their lawn into an edible paradise. In the past year, she has donated countless pounds of healthy produce to her community food bank.

• Greg Moga has restored his 100-acre farm property in the Snohomish River floodplain by removing barriers to open a side channel that will allow salmon passage. He created a wildlife haven by planting trees, adding a pollinator habitat, eliminating dumping sites and removing invasive species.

• David New provided labor and engineering support to improve fish passage on an important coho salmon stream in the Pilchuck Creek watershed near Arlington.

• Gail Walters and her Green Team students at Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek transformed a compacted patch of soil by designing and installing a sustainable landscape. Her students removed invasive species behind the school and are evaluating potential green stormwater infrastructure projects to further reduce stormwater impact.

Youth conservation leaders of the year

In the youth category, conservation leaders are Ben Rankin of Darrington, Rondi Nordal of Edmonds, Dalila Habul of Everett and Jasmine Kraus of Everett.