Louisa Nishitani, San Juan Island

Louisa NishitaniLouisa Nishitani
San Juan Island
2013 Stewardship Award Winner – Individual Stewardship Category

Louisa has been an advocate for prairie restoration since she first arrived on San Juan Island many years ago. One nominator stated, “She reveals the reverence she has for these islands with each exuberant discovery of a new bloom or emergent shoot.” Through educational, fun, and well-attended community events, she began to sing the praises of the prairie and the biodiversity it has the potential to hold. Louisa decided that the National Park on San Juan needed more support in their Prairie Stewardship Plan, so she came up with letters to send out to the community to educate them and encourage them to submit their concerns to during their comment period.

After showing support for the prairie restoration efforts at American Camp, Louisa didn’t quit. When the issue of the proposed coal terminal in Bellingham was brought to her attention, she went into action in her own quiet, thoughtful way. Louisa came up with her own strategy to inform as much of the public as she could. She researched the potential catastrophic effects and talked to ship captains and scientists about the impact of increased vessel traffic in the San Juans. She took this information and had flyers printed with her own funds.  Louisa then began to patrol the ferry lines to Anacortes, flyers in hand. She would knock on a car windows and speak to the occupants in a low-key, informational tone as she handed them a flyer and urged them to send in their comments, heedless of the reception she received. When it seemed she was not reaching enough people, she rode the ferries and handed out her flyers to those she had missed in line. She did not stop until all 2,000 flyers she had printed were distributed.

Louisa is a true citizen of these islands and a tireless advocate for their heath, and therefore was the “natural” choice to receive this award.