AAUW Port Townsend to host forum on aquatic stewardship

Donna Frostholm

Donna Frostholm

PORT TOWNSEND — Three women working to improve the area’s aquatic environment will speak at the AAUW Port Townsend branch meeting Saturday.

The meeting of the American Association of University Women will be from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Elks Lodge, 555 Otto St. in Port Townsend.

Rebecca Benjamin from the North Olympic Salmon Coalition, Donna Frostholm from the Jefferson County Department of Community Development and Caroline Gibson from the Northwest Straits Foundation will provide their perspectives on topics such as increasing the odds of salmon survival, protecting vital wetlands and restoring nearshore/marine habitat.

The AAUW-PT program is the second in a series on “Heroes in Our Midst.”

Benjamin is the executive director of the North Olympic Salmon Coalition, a non-regulatory nonprofit organization that works with willing landowners and government agencies.

The coalition’s volunteers work to increase the odds of salmon survival and foster community stewardship and education.

Benjamin has facilitated the growth of the coalition into a regionally significant organization, AAUW said.

Frostholm is a planner and wetlands specialist at the Jefferson County Department of Community Development.

As the department biologist, she reviews development applications and biological reports for compliance with local regulations to achieve a balance between the use of land and the protection of aquatic resources.

Frostholm got her start as a wetland research assistant for the Environmental Protection Agency and currently enjoys being in the field to assess how water moves through the landscape into and out of wetlands, to make wetland functional assessments and to help local property owners work through the process of using their land while still protecting wetlands.

Gibson is executive director of the Northwest Straits Foundation, the nonprofit partner in the Northwest Straits Initiative.

She has served on numerous regional advisory bodies including the Forage Fish and Food Webs Work Group, Giant Pacific Octopus Advisory Committee and as alternate on the Ecosystem Coordination Board.

Gibson studied marine biology at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Maine.

She will talk about engaging conservation leaders in marine stewardship and provide a brief overview of the Northwest Straits Initiative, highlighting citizen science surveys of kelp forests, derelict fishing gear removal and nearshore/marine habitat restoration.

For more information on AAUW projects and membership, visit http://pt-wa.aauw.net or contact Anne Englander at 360-390-5896.

Caroline Gibson

Caroline Gibson

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