Spotlight on Volunteers 

It’s the “Team” in Stream Team that makes the difference for streams and habitats in Thurston County.

Over the years, many amazing people have spent their time and energy volunteering with Stream Team. Whether a one time volunteer or someone who has participated for years, every volunteer or participant is part of the team! The volunteer stories below show that Stream Team programs are for all ages, abilities and interests.

Clint ColeClint Cole

Clint first got involved with Stream Team in the fall of 2011. As a high school student, he helped to install weed mats to eradicate invasive reed canary grass from the Walker wetlands to provide more suitable habitat for the Oregon spotted frog, a state sensitive species that is declining due to loss of habitat.

In 2013, Clint volunteered over 20 hours surveying ten local ponds for amphibian egg masses. The amphibian egg mass survey is an ongoing Citizen Science program being done in cooperation with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to track amphibian populations within Thurston County.

Clint is a 2013 Tumwater High School graduate, where he has taken multiple classes for advanced placement credit as well as Environmental Resources Management classes at New Market Skills Center. His goal for his senior year was to gain as much experience as possible in the field of resource management to prepare him for his college studies.

Clint intends to finish his AA degree at South Puget Sound Community college and then proceed towards a bachelor of science in Natural Resources/Fisheries Management and eventually a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies.

Clint stated that he believes that Stream Team “provides an excellent opportunity for youth to make a difference in their local environment”. What’s his favorite Stream Team offering? Without a doubt, Amphibian Egg Mass Surveys!

Don EvelethDon Eveleth

Don Eveleth borrowed storm drain stencil kits from Stream Team for his Boy Scout Troop to stencil “Dump No Waste” next to storm drains in McCleary a few years after Stream Team started. Since then, Don has worked on just about all of the different types of projects offered by Stream Team. Don is a fisherman and outdoorsman and cares about keeping rivers, streams, and Puget Sound clean. Don has given countless hours of his time helping and leading Stream Team projects.

Don has participated in wetland surveys, macroinvertebrate monitoring, revegetation projects and Salmon Stewards. In addition, he makes and installs nest boxes for wood ducks and has led workshops for students to construct nesting boxes.

Ann MataczynskiAnn Mataczynski

Ann Mataczynski first got involved with Stream Team when she worked for Washington State and was on the lookout for a volunteer projects for her work team. Ann and her coworkers soon became the adoptive caretakers of Moxlie Creek, which flowed close to their office in downtown Olympia.

For Ann, Stream Walks were just the beginning of countless hours spent helping to restore and protect habitat in Thurston County. Over the years, she has participated in plantings on just about every stream in north Thurston County. She also participates in summer macroinvertebrate monitoring of local streams.

Ann is also a trained Salmon Steward. She has educated citizens about local spawning runs at sites along the Deschutes River and continues to Salmon Steward in the rainy late fall during wild chum spawning season at the McLane Creek Nature Trail.

Nicki JohnsonNicki Johnson

Nicki Johnson first participated in Stream Walks, an early Stream Team program to assess the physical characteristics of streams as part of a long-term monitoring program. This monitoring program provided overall information on the physical characteristics of streams, such as canopy cover and stream depth.

Nicki is one volunteer who truly embraces and participates in the full cycle of habitat enhancement. Each spring and fall, Nicki is out with Stream Team along our streams helping to plant native trees and shrubs, often serving as a crew leader. In the summer, she helps water and weed the plants to ensure their survival and conducts plant survival counts. In the winter, Nicki works with WSU Native Plant Salvage Project to salvage plants from sites slated for development. Many of those salvaged plants are then donated to Stream Team planting projects.

Nicki also participates in macroinvertebrate monitoring, serves as both a Sound and Salmon Steward, and helps with educational outreach events.

Since 2009, Stream Team has recognized volunteers who participate in all four types of Stream Team activities with an exclusive “PS I Love You” reusable, organic cotton bag. The following volunteers have earned the PS I Love You bag:

Joe HissJoe Hiss

Among all of our amazing volunteers, there are always a few people who go “above and beyond” providing extraordinary support and enthusiasm for Stream Team. Joe Hiss is one of these volunteers!

Joe is a trained Salmon Steward and Sound Steward, and a dockside educator for the Marine Creature Monday program at Boston Harbor. Joe is a retired fish and wildlife biologist with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. He has had an interesting career with USFW that included working on applied research for salmon and steelhead recovery with many tribal governments in Washington as well as reviewing projects under the Endangered Species Act for their effects on bull trout, marbled murrelets and the spotted owl. He also contributed to the original research completed for the removal of the Elwha Dam!

Joe got involved with Stream Team because he wanted to pass on what he has learned and to tap into his professional background and passion for natural resources, as well as continue to learn. In this regard, he teamed up with marine biologist, David Jamison to learn more about Puget Sound marine life and led his own sessions during Marine Creature Mondays. Joe brings a wealth of knowledge to Stream Team, but equally important, is his love of nature that he shares with enthusiasm when he is leading a program.

Joe is also involved with South Sound GREEN, People for Puget Sound and South Sound Estuary Association.

Steve ParksSteve Parks

Steve saw a Stream Team announcement for a volunteer project to remove Himalayan blackberries at City of Tumwater’s Percival Creek property located off Sapp Road. This activity intrigued him, and he decided to sign up. To Steve’s astonishment, the property and trees were covered in blackberries. A small area was designated for the blackberry removal on the project day. The group of volunteers was not able to finish, so Steve decided to come back on his own and finish the job.

This event was the beginning of a three and half year (and counting) effort to eradicate the blackberries, cut back reed canary grass, liberate and care for buried and bent trees, plant more trees, remove dumped lawn debris and garbage, and single-handedly foster the survival of hundreds of trees previously planted by Stream Team volunteers.
In addition to his work at Percival Creek, Steve participates in the annual macroinvertebrate monitoring, Salmon Stewards and habitat restoration projects elsewhere in Thurston County.

Through Steve’s efforts, Percival Creek has received numerous recognitions.

Linda HurtadoLinda Hurtado

Linda first learned about Stream Team while watching the returning adult Chinook salmon at the 5th Avenue Bridge during a visit to Olympia. She was amazed and spoke with the Salmon Steward on duty about the salmon run and how someone could become a Salmon Steward. By coincidence, a year later she moved to Olympia and she signed up for the training to be a Salmon Steward. Since 2004, has logged nearly 100 volunteer hours at the 5th Avenue Bridge, Tumwater Falls and McLane Creek. She has consistently been the top volunteer who distributes the most educational materials as she chats with people about salmon.

Linda was the first Stream Team volunteer to participate in all four Stream Team activities and earn a "PS I Love You" tote bag. She has participated in macroinvertebrate monitoring, revegetation projects and educational talks, as well as being a Salmon Steward. In 2011, she participated in the first class of Sound Stewards where she gave guided walks of the historic Olympia shoreline.

Betsy Brandt-KreutzBetsy Brandt-Kreutz

Betsy and her husband, Rick were inspired by the South Sound’s natural beauty. They were looking for something to do outdoors and to give back to the community. They read about the Stream Team celebration picnic at Tumwater Historical Park and decided to check it out. They got “hooked” by the welcoming reception they received at the picnic and became involved.

In her first year (2009) as a volunteer, Betsy participated in nearly all of the Stream Team programs and projects. She collected macroinvertebrate samples from five streams. Her favorite activity has been being a Salmon Steward. Both Rick and Betsy have volunteered at the 5th Avenue Bridge and Tumwater Falls. Betsy also helped out on the school program field trips to watch the chum spawning in McLane Creek. When Sound Stewards was started in 2011, Betsy signed up and gave guided walks of the historic shoreline of Olympia. Betsy also helps Stream Team maintain the walking trail at the McLane Creek Nature Trail and has helped plant numerous trees with Stream Team.

The Davis FamilyThe Davis Family

For Rhonda and Brian Davis and their children, Mark, Andrew and Josh, volunteering for Stream Team has become a family affair. The Davis family lives in Tumwater, next to South Puget Sound Community College. They took an interest in Percival Creek, which flows through the college, and have helped with Tumwater Stream Team and water conservation education outreach events for several years. During the summer of 2010, they participated in every single event in Tumwater, and more!

Family members helped at the Stream Team booth at Tumwater’s 4th of July Celebration, Tumwater Farmer’s Market Kids’ Day, Tumwater Pet Fair, Bike Your Watershed – The Deschutes, Tumwater Library event, Community Day and Harvest Fest. They also helped with macroinvertebrate monitoring of Thurston County streams and attended the Tending the Tidelands shellfish field class.

At each one of these events, members of the Davis family showed up early to help set up, worked tirelessly for the entire event, and stayed afterward to clean everything up. They are truly outstanding examples of Stream Team volunteers!