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Photo courtesy of CoastSavers volunteer mowebb


Ballard Locks Fish Ladder Viewing Gallery Renovation

Seattle's iconic Hiram M. Chittenden (aka Ballard) Locks Fish Ladder Viewing Gallery is in drastic need of updates for visitors. The Locks hosts over one million visitors a year and the Fish Ladder is the primary educational attraction. Built in 1976 as a venue for people to watch the salmon migration through the Locks, the gallery has had no major upgrades since it was created 40 years ago. It’s in need of major renovations to physical structure, interpretive exhibits, and educational technology.

Once completed, renovations will raise the quality of visitor experiences on many fronts. New exhibits will expand interpretive opportunities, connect the plaza with the underwater viewing story, and provide year-round education in the gallery.

Artist's concept: renovated Fish Ladder Viewing Gallery

We have received several generous grants for the Fish Ladder Viewing Gallery renovation, and are receiving support from the local community and businesses to bring this project home through a Legacy Wall at the entrance of the Ballard Locks Fish Ladder.


If you have ever walked along the Washington coast, you probably noticed all kinds of things washed up on the beach: plastic water bottles, fishing nets, old tires, and maybe even a rusted-out crab pot or two. Besides spoiling the beauty of our coastline, such ocean trash is also a serious hazard to our coastal ecosystems. Birds, fish, and plantlife are all harmed by these items and the toxins they carry.

So we got together with several other nonprofits and agencies and organized the Washington CoastSavers program. The year-round program focuses on organized beach cleanups, but also includes educational outreach and other efforts to help make sure the astounding beauty and ecological diversity of Washington's coast is kept free and clear of plastic and other man-made trash. In April 2009 alone, over 1200 volunteers removed over 30 tons of debris from Washington's Pacific Coast!

Visitor Experience

Bonneville Lock and Dam
Bonneville Lock and Dam celebrated the anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s employment by the Federal Government. We funded a temporary display from the Woody Guthrie Foundation. We also sponsored a musical performance by The Wanderers (a.k.a. Carl Allen and Bill Murlin), who performed Woody Guthrie songs to a full theater at Bonneville Lock and Dam. Woody Guthrie was a folk musician who wrote songs, ballads, prose, and poetry during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.


Woody Guthrie

Cedar River Education Center
We funded a part-time front desk store manager at the Cedar River Watershed Education Center. Visitors to the education center ask about hiking, water supply, wildlife, and the history of the area, as well as signing up for classes and facility rentals. Having additional front desk staffing enabled the education center to extend its summer hours (open 6 days a week) and to offer additional classes and tours.

Deschutes National Forest
We provided $10,000 of critical funding in support of conservation education programs at Newberry National Volcanic Monument. These programs reached 5,250 students in three curriculum disciplines: physical geology, ecology, and heritage conservation. Visitors make many positive comments about these programs, indicating the difference our work makes. We also provide funding for the free visitor publication, Volcanic Vistas.

Mount St. Helens Institute


Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Mount St. Helens NVM
Partnering with the National Forest Foundation, we supported the development of the Mount St. Helens Institute by helping to transform it into a nonprofit organization capable of supporting the mission of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
We funded the performance of the Cascade Chamber Players at the dedication ceremony of the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center, as well as an original oil painting titled Sheep Rock by artist Margaret Willis for the silent auction at the opening. We also created a poster of the Sheep Rock painting to help raise funds from visitors.


Thomas Condon Paleontology Center

Lolo National Forest
We provided funds for a taxidermist to clean and whiten a black bear skull, which was installed at Seeley Lake Ranger District. The black bear skull make for a great educational experience for the public, as well as a terrific addition to the full-body black bear mount previously purchased and installed at the same location.

Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
We funded the printing of the Heather Meadows Native Plant Brochure. This colorful brochure on native subalpine plants in the Heather Meadows area of the Mount Baker Ranger District supports educational efforts and interpretation aimed at subalpine restoration efforts in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest area. This brochure is targeted towards local residents visiting the area, as well as national and international travelers. We also provide occasional support for free publications, such as the Winter Activity Guide.

Mount Rainier National Park
Our funding supported three teachers who developed curriculum for the education program at Mount Rainier. The teachers attended a pilot Mountain Geography and Cultures teachers workshop hosted jointly by the National Park Service and The Mountain Institute. The teachers then served as advisors to adapt curriculum to Mount Rainier for use in area schools. The project helps maintain effective relationships with the education community and will ultimately allow students to learn about ecosystems and human history in the Pacific Northwest. We also provide support every year for the park's free visitor publication, The Tahoma News.

Nez Perce National Historical Park
We supported Wolves: Legend, Myth, and Fact, a wolf education program series that featured several guest speakers from the Nez Perce Tribe, the Wolf Education and Research Center, and the Wolf Recovery Foundation. The program was free and open to the public. We aslo help interpretive staff publish a wide variety of free publications for visitors, including the Partners and Friends Newsletter, The Mylie Lawyer Collection, White Bird Walking Tour, Spalding Brochure, and more.

Olympic National Park
Ranger Doug Enterprises worked closely with Olympic National Park and us to create the newest in a series of posters designed to replicate posters created by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Between 1935 and 1943 the WPA’s Federal Art Project printed over two million posters in 35,000 different designs to stir the public’s imagination for education, theater, health, safety, and travel. The beautiful poster for Olympic National Park depicts a subalpine meadow with a dramatic backdrop of the Olympic Mountains.


Olympic National Park Vintage Poster (Ranger Naturalist Service Series)

Shasta-Trinity National Forest
We financed the replacement of plexiglass on the after hours visitor information kiosk for the Mount Shasta Ranger Station. The new windows consisted of tempered glass and were waterproofed as well as sealed. This prevented shorting of the lighting system by the sprinklers, as well as displays from becoming damaged and unreadable.

Trail at Cape Perpetua. Photo courtesy of US Forest Service.


Siuslaw National Forest
To help visitors make more powerful connections with the area around the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center, we sponsored several volunteer naturalists to attend a weeklong training program offered by the National Association for Interpretation. Volunteers learned state-of-the art techniques for developing and delivering educational programs on everything from Pacific whales to coastal wildflowers. Drop in the Visitor Center some time and discover what an amazing place the Cape is. Take a walk through the coastal forest or enjoy an indoor program on those famously rainy days!

Whitman Mission National Historic Site
Whitman Mission houses over 8,000 artifacts. Our funding provided a small display case to house temporary, rotating exhibits. Curatorial and interpretive staff worked together to research and create displays featuring artifacts from the park’s collection. Some of the displays tied into the park’s special weekend events. Topics included archaeology at the park, blacksmithing, Native American basketry, riding sidesaddle, early explorers, and Native American beadwork. A display on 1840s cooking included a piece of the Whitmans’ cast iron stove. All of the displays included items not normally available for view by the public. Over 20,000 visitors saw the temporary exhibits.


Display case at Whitman Mission National Historic Site.

Make a Difference Today!

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