Woman who helped protect Camano writes island guidebook

For 20 years, Val Schroeder has been part of the effort to protect wildlife and secure public lands on Camano Island.

A member of Friends of Camano Island Parks, Schroeder started up the Camano Wildlife Habitat Project in 2002. The National Wildlife Federation says Camano is one of the country’s best backyard wildlife habitat communities, with more than 800 participants. Shroeder was the federation’s national volunteer of the year in 2006.

A former reporter and a part-time English teacher at Stanwood High School, Schroeder spent this past school year writing a “Exploring Camano: A History and Guide,” published by The History Press.

“It’s dedicated to landowners who have placed conservation easements on their property and to all the volunteers who make Camano Island such a great place to live,” Schroeder said.

The beaches, forests and wildlife of Camano offer natural beauty and great recreational opportunities.

English Boom Historical Park was where old-growth logs were graded. Now it’s a peaceful spot with uplands, salt marsh, shoreline and tidelands.

Davis Slough is named after Reuben Davis, who lived on Camano Island before 1880.

The island has been inhabited by Coast Salish tribes, loggers, farmers and fishermen. Today many people on the island are among the volunteers who worked hard to protect and preserve the island’s nature sites, Schroeder said.

Those sites are covered in separate chapters in which Schroeder talks about what people can find at each. She also offers historical perspective and gives insight into the legacy left for future Camano residents.

“I wanted to make sure my reading audience can use it as a guide and a reference book,” she said.

The same publisher asked a group of authors — Elizabeth Guss, Mary Richardson, Janice O’Mahony — on Whidbey Island to write a similar book.

“Whidbey Island: Reflections on People &the Land” offers an anthology of stories that capture the history behind the intentional protection and restoration of natural and cultural areas on the island.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.

Island guides

“Exploring Camano Island: A History and Guide” by Val Schroeder, published by The History Press, $19.99 at Snow Goose Bookstore, 8616 271st St. NW, Stanwood.

“Whidbey Island: Reflections on People &the Land” by Elizabeth Guss, Janice O’Mahony and Mary Richardson, History Press, $19.99 at Bayview Cash Store, 5603 Bayview Road, Langley.

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