As a model for solar energy use—even in the traditionally rainy Pacific Northwest*—and in partnership with Puget Sound Energy, local citizens have invested in community solar projects that provide free power to the Anacortes Public Library, Anacortes Middle School, Anacortes Police Station, and Maple Hall in La Conner. The Photovoltaic systems will be turned over to the hosting sites in 2020.
*Anacortes receives 30% more sunlight than Germany, which leads the world in solar production!
The City of Anacortes conservation easement program has protected over 2,800 acres—including 50 miles of multiple-use trails—on Fidalgo Island for recreation and habitat preservation. Skagit Land Trust holds the easements and monitors compliance.
Spurred by participation in the Georgetown University Energy Prize, the City of Anacortes created a citizen and business site, Anacortes Community Energy, and The Community Energy Plan, which tracks and enhances the city’s own energy performance and efficiency.
Anacortes Community Gardens provides growing plots at its 29th Street Garden for community members to grow vegetables, herbs, ornamental plants—and friendships. Excess produce is donated to the Salvation Army Food Bank. The organization also supports Fidalgo Island Gleaners as well as gardens at Anacortes elementary and middle schools.
The Marine Technology Center teaches sustainable marine construction practices. The new facility was built with sustainable design standards, including solar and geothermal energy sources, rain gardens, low-maintenance landscaping, and rainwater capture systems.
Ace Hardware stores in Anacortes and Friday Harbor on San Juan Island are using Orca Friendly Product labels to identify products that won’t harm the marine environment of the Salish Sea, which includes three pods of orca whales. The products are also safe for wildlife, human handling, and the environment.
Surrounded by marine and fresh water sources, many local efforts focus on preventing stormwater runoff.
Among the solutions to protect Fidalgo Bay and surrounding lakes and streams are attractive rain gardens that capture polluted runoff, water catchment systems, and stormwater education.
Students are digging in, too. The Anacortes High School Green Club learned about stormwater management by building a rain garden on the edge of a local horse farm. The garden captures pasture runoff, preventing contaminants from flowing into the street and storm drains, then on to Fidalgo Bay.
Local citizens are working communally to grow a resilient future with lowered dependence on fossil fuels. TF&F supports Skill Share Workshops, Fix-It Days, Fidalgo Island Gleaners, the Anacortes Community Garden, and monthly Seventh Generation suppers. Two TF&F publications outline a pathway to a more sustainable future, Vision 2030 and Living Well, Living Green.
The group also offers grants and presents Eco-Business Awards. Linda Sanford and American Dream Realty were among the first award winners in 2014.