Our Story


A group of islanders formed Friends of the San Juans in 1979 to help preserve the beauty, character, and wildness of the Islands in the face of increasing development.


Friends works locally and throughout the region to protect:

  • The Salish Sea
  • Shoreline ecosystems
  • Our communities and island resources
  • The future!

We do this through:

  • Community mobilization and legal action
  • Science, mapping, and restoration
  • Advocacy and policy
  • Immersive community education and science

In the early 80’s the area surrounding Lime Kiln State Park was almost lost to 100 single-family homes and 198 condominiums.

herring bull kep

Our Core Values guide our mission, vision, and goals. These are deeply held beliefs that are manifested in all that we do, and how we conduct ourselves …

We respect the intricate web that binds us to nature and community, and we value the rich tapestry of cultures across our bioregion. Our actions are guided by a reverence for the stewardship of sovereign Tribal Nations and a shared responsibility for wildlife, plants, people and the environment now and for generations to come. We honor collaboration, inclusivity, and gratitude for the work we do together.


We recognize the pivotal role of science, educational outreach, and community-driven initiatives in shaping environmental protections and policies. We equip our community to make systemic change and advance environmental restorative justice. We do so advocating for all voices to be heard and respected, and when needed, we stand as a voice for the voiceless.


This guiding principle informs every facet of our work, including our interactions with members, donors, supporters, and partners, strengthening our credibility and deepening our connections within the communities we serve. Our dedication to doing what is right, in both word and action, is a testament to our resolve to protect the environment from harm.


Our work is powered by the understanding that protection sometimes requires us to advocate for causes that others shy away from due to their complexity and magnitude. It is in these moments that we shine brightest; but we don’t do this work alone. We invest in deep relationships that inform our convictions and drive our understanding of the high stakes for both people and nature.



We are proactive in protecting the beauty and wonder of our bioregion. Our watchful efforts are built upon the work of those before us and made possible by collaboration with Tribal Nations, science experts, public leaders, government agencies, community organizations, civic change-makers, and other allies for the environment.

Friends of the San Juans is a nonpartisan organization and does not engage in political endorsements. We do not speak to individual candidates’ qualifications. Friends of the San Juans does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in our programs or activities.

Images: Underwater Sea anemone and starfish by Jen Strongin. Underwater bull kelp and herring by Jess Newley.

It means so much to me to have helped protect the rural environment and natural beauty of the San Juan Islands during the 1980s and 90s. Now I get to share my appreciation of these beautiful islands with my grandchildren, too.

Nancy DeVaux

former Executive Director and member, San Juan Island