foulweather bluff

2016 Volunteer of the Year

Each year, Nature Conservancy staff members vote on who will receive the distinction of being named "volunteer of the year." With more than 200 volunteers active on a regular basis and more than 1500 volunteers “on call,” a person has to have made an unusually generous contribution of his or her time, talent and energy to receive this honor. 

This year’s volunteer of the year leads the Foulweather Bluff Preserve Committee, helping to coordinate an especially dedicated team of local community members in stewarding, educating and safe-guarding the preserve. He has coordinated and facilitated meetings twice a year, stayed connected with area schools for engagement and education and provided the community (and The Nature Conservancy!) hours of friendly, heart-felt, ecologically grounded service and knowledge.

Congratulations to Dave Allen on being selected as The Nature Conservancy in Washington’s 2016 volunteer of the year!

Dave Allen, in front in a blue jacket

Dave Allen, in front in a blue jacket

Dave was nominated by Stewardship Manager Randi Shaw in this heartfelt essay:

The Foulweather Bluff Committee and Docent teams as a whole do an awe-inspiring job of walking the talk — and talking while walking. They get out weekly, if not daily, during the summer season to make sure of sustainable use by visitors. They do maintenance work to keep the ecosystem of both the coastal forest and nearshore habitats thriving. Dave does this too, on and off the property. However, what makes him a clear choice for this award were his determined efforts to revive an important educational outreach program connected to the preserve.
Dave took a long-standing field trip and science and ecology book-donation program for three area elementary schools that had lapsed and revived it, resulting in six days of field trips in a single summer and the purchasing of $2,000 worth of books for the three schools. This was no easy feat, as school administrators had changed, awareness of the grant has been lost and there was no clear leading entity to collaborate with. Nonetheless, he stuck with it until a schedule of trips was implemented and a suite of worthwhile books had been bought. Not only did he revive the program, Dave hosted the field trips — which can total up to 20-plus youths at a time. He gave generously of his time, knowledge and resources, providing local history and ecological knowledge, purchasing supplies out of his own pocket, such as binoculars and identification cards, and handling the majority of the communication and logistics. He plans to continue supporting the program into the future, and The Nature Conservancy will certainly be there to cheer him on. 
His tenacity and earnestness are a rare gem in a volunteer. He has stuck by the preserve and the potential for it to inspire, educate and rejuvenate the human community, while he and the Foulweather Bluff Committee ensure that it remains ecologically vital for years to come. 

Thank you for your many years of service Dave! We congratulate and thank you — along with our other nominees: Alicia Rhoades, Hannah Letinich, Larry and Becky Scholl, Jeff Osmundson and Rick Skiba — for your outstanding achievements. 

Learn More About Volunteering

Podcasting and Volunteering at Foulweather Bluff

Audio and photographs provided by Sam Maupin

If you haven't been out volunteering with us, Samuel Maupin's podcast provides just the right amount of insight during a volunteer work party at Foulweather Bluff! Listen in above!



Photos: Cleaning up Foulweather Bluff


Photography by (1-5) Cameron Karsten & (6-10) Hannah Letinich

Last weekend, hardy volunteers rolled up their sleeves (not literally, it was too blustery for exposed skin!) and cleared out a patch of the invasive weed Yellow Archangel, as well as holly and ivy throughout the preserve.  

All of these plants have been used in ornamental arrangements because of their attractive leaves, however when they are introduced to the forest they become problematic when they outcompete and crowd out native plants.  If left uncontrolled they would eventually take over the entire forest floor, pushing out native plants like salal, huckleberry and salmonberries that native birds and animals rely on! 

Did you know? Yellow Archangel is difficult to control because it can re-sprout from roots left in the ground, so our volunteers took painstaking efforts to follow the underground root system and remove as much of the roots as possible! Because of the hard work of this group of volunteers the native plants at Foulweather Bluff will stand a chance against those noxious invaders!

If you would like to join a work party on one of our preserves in Washington please send an email to for more information.