“Making Waves,” a new online magazine from the Puget Sound Partnership, promises to bring us the stories behind the many efforts to protect and restore the Puget Sound ecosystem.
The first issue of “Making Waves” — published this week — contains five stories. Jon Bridgman, communications manager, conceived of the magazine format and pushed the idea forward.
“This was Jon’s brainchild; he believes in the power of storytelling,” said Laura Blackmore, executive director of the Partnership, a state agency created by the Legislature to coordinate the ongoing recovery of Puget Sound.
The idea for a new magazine grew out of the successful storytelling incorporated into last year’s “State of the Sound” document — a legally mandated status report about ecological changes throughout Puget Sound.
I asked Laura about the name “Making Waves,” as I read her the definition from the Cambridge Dictionary: “To be very active so that other people notice you, often in a way that intentionally causes trouble.”
“Yes, good trouble,” Laura said, laughing. “Like John Lewis, we want to cause good trouble. We want people to think deeply about Puget Sound recovery and to get involved, pushing for the policy changes and the funding we need to accomplish the goal of Puget Sound recovery.”
“Good trouble,” of course, is the oft-quoted phrase of the late civil rights leader John Lewis, who died this year while serving as a Georgia congressman for the past 33 years.
“Making waves,” Laura said, has multiple meanings, all of which could be applied to the magazine, which is being funded by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, one of several major financial supporters of the agency.
“Making Waves: Stories from the people protecting and recovering Puget Sound” includes within its first edition stories about:
- Eight large salmon-recovery projects funded by the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration (PSAR) Program
- Sense of place, the human connections to the Puget Sound ecosystem
- Bowman Bay in Skagit County, where removal of shoreline armoring has improved habitat for forage fish, bull trout and juvenile salmon
- Kelp, its ecological values and new efforts to restore it to Puget Sound.
- Orca Recovery Day, an annual celebration that brought out more than 1,100 volunteers working on their own during a pandemic.
The first story was written by Carrie Byron, program manager for PSAR. The other four are by Kevin Hyde, a writer in the Communications Program at the Partnership.
Jon Bridgman, who oversaw the production, said five stories with original writing seems about the right number for each magazine. The next edition is tentatively scheduled for spring — about the time of Puget Sound Day on the Hill, in which state and local officials connect with federal lawmakers and policymakers in Washington, D.C.
The last section of the online magazine includes more than 40 links to recovery partners and issues related to Puget Sound. This is a source of information that can be updated as a quick go-to place for connections to those involved in Puget Sound recovery.
Jon, who joined the Partnership during its start-up phase in 2007, headed the Partnership’s “visual communications” for many years. He created or coordinated most of the visual elements that help us understand key data and scientific findings — including the famous Vital Signs wheel. Recently, he was promoted to “communications manager.”
Jon noted that the Partnership’s central role in ecosystem recovery has led to personal connections with a vast number of people working to recover Puget Sound.
“It’s a natural fit for us to use this position to help foster communication across the network,” he told me in an email. “We hope that allowing the recovery community to look at itself, learn more about what’s going on, will promote a tighter bond and shared vision of the work we need to do to recover Puget Sound.”
He said he hopes to bring attention to smaller organizations that don’t have the resources needed to get the word out about the work they are doing. And the online publication has the potential to use the full spectrum of media, he noted.
“We helped Allen Warren turn the footage he took of last year’s Orca Recovery Day into a promotional video (shown above) for this year’s event,” Jon said. “We featured the video as a story in ‘Making Waves,’ but the video also became the main promotion for the event.”
Jon said he is also pleased with Andrea Dingeldein’s illustration of the 22 kelp species found in Puget Sound, and he believes it could be an excellent educational tool for years to come.
“We plan on working with partners and involving them in discussions of what stories might be most important to tell,” he continued. “I’d like this to start a conversation around coming to a general consensus on what messages and stories are most effective in helping the recovery community get inspired and giving them the stories/messages to increase funding or support for their projects.” Jon can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Blackmore said she appreciates that Jon is open to a variety of new ideas and is willing to work with various groups to get their message out.
She also told me that she is thrilled with last week’s presidential election of Joe Biden, who has vowed to support programs to improve the environment and battle against climate change.
While Congress has been fairly successful in fighting off massive funding cuts to Puget Sound programs proposed by the Trump administration, she hopes to see increased cooperation with agencies at the national level. “Right now, we have an excellent relationship with EPA Region 10, the regional office of NOAA, and the (Army) Corps of Engineers,” she said.
One major goal, she added, is to elevate Puget Sound issues to a national priority by establishing a Puget Sound Recovery National Program Office in the EPA and making permanent the Puget Sound Federal Leadership Task Force. Those provisions are part of the Puget SOS bill, which has passed the House but has been held up in the Senate.
I hope to share more information regarding Puget Sound politics in the coming weeks and months.