Lighthouse Environmental Programs

Lighthouse Environmental Programs

In the early 1990s, Don Meehan of Washington State University (WSU) Extension recognized a disturbing trend. Island County was rapidly losing its fragile natural systems.

Few people understood how to care for our waters, shores and uplands. So Meehan launched WSU Beach Watchers (now known as Sound Water Stewards) and WSU Waste Wise volunteers to educate the community and recruit volunteers. Both groups set out to engage citizens with a combination of education and service.

A third group, Keepers of Admiralty Head Lighthouse, soon joined them with similar goals and values. As this program grew, Washington State Parks Docents took over lighthouse education, while Keepers assumed the role of special fundraising.

People wanted to help these programs with gifts of support, so the three groups came together under a non-profit, charitable umbrella organization, IRS 501(c)3, Lighthouse Environmental Programs.

The docent program is now under the guidance of the Washington State Parks and managed through the Fort Casey Program Specialist and the Docent Council.

For the complete evolution of LEP, read our Historic Timeline.

Corps of Volunteers

It’s a phenomenal story of grassroots citizen involvement that started with the realization that talented people were eager to help save and enhance the natural environment of our islands, if only they were asked and shown the way.

In the last 17 years, hundreds of LEP volunteers have received expert, intensive training in the classroom and in the field from resource managers, researchers, educators and other authorities. In turn, they have made a commitment to give back 100 hours of service, though most actually do more. In 2004, these volunteers gave about 20,000 hours of service at no cost to Island County taxpayers – a $250,000 gift when valued at $12.50 an hour.

Whenever there’s a need for environmental education, citizen science or boots-on-the-ground service in Island County, chances are good you’ll find the volunteers of Lighthouse Environmental Programs – the Sound Water Stewards (formerly known as the Beach Watchers program), Washington State University (WSU) Waste Wise volunteers and Washington State Parks volunteers.

Become a volunteer and help keep Lighthouse Environmental Programs shining!

LEP Mission and Purpose


the general public about Island County’s cultural and environmental heritage as well as the protection of the environment.


LEP is established as a Washington Non-Profit Corporation to provide advisory support and fiduciary services for specified educational programs in Island County Washington. The two Washington State University Island County Extension programs holding membership in LEP are Sound Water Stewards and WSU Waste Wise volunteers. The Lighthouse Docent Program and Lighthouse Docents are Washington State Parks programs. LEP also provides fiduciary functions supporting Keepers of Admiralty Head Lighthouse, a fund raising membership group focused on restoration and enhancement of the interpretive displays at Admiralty Head Lighthouse. Additional WSU groups may be approved by the Board of Directors.