Climate Programs


The Madrona Institute and Our Changing Climate


The Madrona Institute focuses on climate science education and climate resilience efforts at the local level.  Educating the public on the latest research and analysis on changes to our climate is accomplished through an annual climate lecture series featuring climate scientists from around the state and the nation.  Being prepared for and adapting easily to changes in climate is known as climate resilience, and local efforts in this arena are being addressed by a small group of dedicated islanders known as Islands Climate Resilience which is supported by the Madrona Institute.


Community Climate Action Night - Friday Harbor

Saturday, April 28th @ 7PM - San Juan Island Grange

climate action night.jpg


Climate Action Day in Olympia, WA. January 8th 2018

 State Senator Kevin Ranker with Madrona Institute board member Gretchen Allison & other San Juan Islanders.  Photo by Steve Porten.

State Senator Kevin Ranker with Madrona Institute board member Gretchen Allison & other San Juan Islanders.  Photo by Steve Porten.

Islands Climate Resilience


Islands Climate Resilience (ICR) is a grassroots volunteer group on San Juan Island whose mission is to establish and facilitate a collaborative process to encourage preparedness for climate related impacts in the San Juan Islands.   Their primary goal is to foster the development of a San Juan Islands Climate Resilient Community Plan.   To help accomplish that goal, ICR prepared the report, "Working Towards Climate Resilience in the San Juan Islands", described below.


This report was developed in 2016 and 2017 by the Islands
Climate Resilience (ICR) group, a grassroots group formed in
2014 to encourage preparedness for climate-related impacts
in the San Juan Islands. The current steering committee
includes staff from the San Juan Islands Conservation
District and Friends of the San Juans, as well as interested
residents who are educators, artists, climate activists, and
conservationists. ICR has organized several awareness-raising
events in the Islands over the last few years.
This document provides an initial overview of what we know
about climate change projections and potential vulnerabilities
in four sectors: water, terrestrial ecosystems, energy, and
agriculture. We have also included preliminary ideas about
adaptation measures that could help address our climate
change vulnerabilities. These ideas are intended to serve as a
basis for further discussion in the Islands community.


 ICR Water Resources Forum 




Dr. Jan Newton

On August 3rd, 2017, Dr. Jan Newton gave a talk on "The State of the Ocean: Understanding effects from climate and humans" to a packed audience at Brickworks in Friday Harbor, WA. Jan Newton is a principal oceanographer with the Applied Physics Laboratory of the University of Washington, and an affiliate assistant professor in both the UW School of Oceanography and the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. Jan serves as co-director of the recently established Washington Ocean Acidification Center, which operates from the College of the Environment and fosters connections among researchers, policymakers, industry, and others to address key priorities established by the state legislature concerning ocean acidification. She also is the executive director of the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS), which is part of a broader program of Integrated Ocean Observing Systems throughout the United States. Jan's expertise is in biological oceanography, and her work focuses on the physical, chemical, and biological dynamics of Puget Sound and coastal Washington, including understanding effects from climate and humans on water properties.


Climate Lecture Series 2016


Dr. Roger Pulwarty

On August 25, 2016, Dr. Roger Pulwarty gave a lecture on ” Drought, Water, and Climate Resiliency” at the Brickworks in Friday Harbor.  Dr. Pulwarty is the Senior Science Advisor for Climate, and the Director of the National Integrated Drought Information System at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Boulder, Colorado.  Throughout his career, Dr. Pulwarty has helped develop and lead widely-recognized programs dealing with climate science, adaptation, and services.  He is a lead author on the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Reports on Water Resources and on Extremes, and a convening lead author on the IPCC Working Group II Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.  He has served on advisory committees of the National Academy of Sciences, provided testimonies before the U.S. Congress, and acts as advisor on climate risk management and services to the Western Governors Association, the Caribbean Economic Community, the Organization of American States, the UN Development Program, the UN Environment Program, and the InterAmerican Bank and World Bank, among others.  Dr. Pulwarty chairs the World Meteorological Organization Commission on Climatology Climate Services Information System.

Dr. Pulwarty’s lecture is available on the Madrona Institute’s YouTube Channel, click on the icon below:



Climate Lecture Series 2015


Dr. Daniel Kammen

On October 23, 2015, Dr. Daniel Kammen gave alecture on “Decarbonizing Energy Systems: Addressing Climate Change Cooperatively” at the Brickworks in Friday Harbor after spending a busy week at The White House.  Dr. Kammen is a Distinguished Professor of Energy at the University of California at Berkeley, and the founding Director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory.  He is Co-Director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment, and Director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center.  He has served as a lead author on reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 1999, and shared the IPCC’s 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.”  He serves on the Advisory Committee for Energy & Environment for the X-Prize Foundation, served as the World Bank Group’s Chief Technical Specialist for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, was appointed the first Environment and Climate Partnership for the Americas Fellow by Secretary of State Hilary R. Clinton in 2010, and contributed to Pope Francis’ recent environmental encyclical.

Dr. Kammen’s lecture 



Dr. Nicholas Bond

On September 10, 2015, Dr. Nicholas Bond gave a lecture on “Recent NE Pacific Warming or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blob” at the San Juan Island Grange.  Dr. Bond is the Washington State Climatologist and a Research Meteorologist at the Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington.  “The Blob” is a large mass of warm water in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of North America, and was first detected in the fall of 2013 and spring of 2014 by Dr. Bond who coined the term “The Blob”.   An article about “The Blob” appeared in the July 31, 2015 issue of The Seattle Times quoting Dr. Bond and noting the effects now evident in the Puget Sound.


Dr. Bond’s lecture



Dr. Charles Greene

On June 11, 2015, Dr. Charles Greene gave a lecture on “Fossil Fuel Junkies, Bioenergy, and Algae” at the San Juan Island Grange.  Dr. Greene is Director of the Ocean Resources and Ecosystems Program, a professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and a fellow at the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University.  Dr. Greene served as a science adviser to Years of Living Dangerously, the groundbreaking film series that won the 2014 Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary produced by Showtime.


Dr. Greene’s lecture


Here’s what the Climate Lecture Series looked like, last year:

Climate Talks on YouTube

The 2014 Climate Action Imperative speaker series is now on the Madrona Institute’s YouTube Channel (thanks to Doug McCutchen!).  To watch any of last summer’s presentations, click on the link below:



Journal of the San Juans        Sept. 18, 2014 at 11:00AM

Climate change, at our front door– Editorial

The rains will come. Temperatures will drop. Skies will turn grey and in a couple of months from now someone, while trying to fight off the chill, will no doubt take a poke at climate change.

“Geeez… it’s cold, so much for climate change!”

A little humor never hurts.

But if you still think climate change is a joke, or that what’s happening across the globe (think coral reefs, snowpack and ocean acidification, to start) is simply some kind of cyclical twist in Mother Nature’s grand scheme or bag of tricks, then think again.

Better yet, track down the story about Washington state’s shellfish industry. There, you’ll discover how a multi-million dollar resource-dependent enterprise that employs 3,000-plus people statewide can be brought to its knees by “corrosive” sea water laden with carbon, how hard-working, thrifty, conservative-minded businessmen and businesswomen become believers, and how science, and private-public partnerships, can figure out a way to change, adapt and find solutions to complex, daunting problems before it’s too late.

Kudos to the coalition of local public agencies, civic groups and non-profits that sponsored the 2014 summer climate change lecture series,  “Climate Action Imperative,” led in large part by the Madrona Institute, San Juan Island National Historical Park and the Stewardship Network.

The day of the Sept. 10 series finale began with an alarming presentation by Bill Dewey of the Taylor Shellfish Company, and ended with a panel discussion.

The take away?

Together we can find solutions, and inaction is not an option. Here, here.


Climate Action Imperative: Summer Speaker Series Finale Event

San Juan Islands Community Theatre

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

5:00 PM          Northwest Straits Foundation Reception

                          San Juan Island Community Theater Foyer

7:00 PM          Welcome/Introductions

                          Lee Taylor, Superintendent, San Juan Island National Historical Park, NPS

                           Stewardship Network of the San Juans 20th Anniversary Recognition

7:10 PM          Keynote Address 1: “State Climate Initiatives”

                         Kevin Ranker, State Senator and Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup

7:25 PM          Keynote Address 2: “Solutions That Make Sense”

                          Stephanie Solien, Vice President, Climate Solutions, and PSP Leadership Council Member

7:40 PM          Presentations and Panel Discussion: “ Climate Action Perspectives”        Lee Taylor, Moderator

                         Joel Baker, Puget Sound Institute

                         Bill Dewey, Taylor Shellfish Farms

                         Terrie Klinger, WA Ocean Acidification Center

                         Jan Newton, WA Ocean Acidification Center

                         Kevin Ranker, State Senator

                         Stephanie Solien, Climate Solutions

                         Billie Swalla, Friday Harbor Labs

8:45 PM          Discussion Summary and Closing Comments

                         Linda Lyshall, District Manager, San Juan Islands Conservation District

9:00 PM        Adjourn


News Release Date: May 18, 2014
Contact: Mike Vouri, 360-378-2240, ext. 2227
Contact: Ron Zee, 360-378-6690

San Juan County residents and visitors will have an opportunity to learn more about the impacts of climate change through a dynamic speaker series scheduled June through September in venues in Friday Harbor, as well as on Orcas and Lopez Islands.

The Climate Action Imperative: Understanding Impacts & Making Choices will feature eight experts on the topic—from oceanographers to botanists, biologists to meteorologists. The series will provide a current look at climate change and what actions are warranted by individuals as well as by our state and nation, according to Ron Zee of the Madrona Institute, a co-sponsor of the series. Lee Taylor, superintendent of San Juan Island National Historical Park, another co-sponsor, emphasized the dramatic ecosystem changes National Parks are experiencing.

“The impacts of climate change on national parks are immediate and real–rising sea level, ocean acidification, and increased wildfire to name just a few,” Taylor said. “We need to increase our resilience to these changes here in the Islands and beyond.”

All talks are free and scheduled for 7 p.m. at different venues (see list below). Please call 360-378-2240, ext. 2227 or 2228 for information. A concluding session on September 10 will feature State Senator Kevin Ranker, a leading legislative advocate for climate action, along with special guests.

The Imperative

Climate change has moved to the forefront of international, national, and state concern. In November 2013, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report stating that climate change will pose sharp risks to the world’s food supply in coming decades, potentially undermining crop production and driving up prices at a time when demand for food is expected to soar.

This brought a strong pledge of action from President Barak Obama in his January State of the Union address. In the last eight years, the United States has reduced its share of total carbon pollution more than any other nation. The President noted, however, the effects of climate change will cause harm to western communities from drought and coastal communities from floods.

Meanwhile in Washington State, the Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup in Olympia made their final recommendations to the Washington State Legislature, recognizing the dire urgency of our climate dilemma and calling for action.

In March 2014, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the most comprehensive assessment yet of the effects of climate change on our planet. The report summary provides overwhelming evidence of the scale of these impacts.

In late April 2014, Governor Jay Inslee issued an executive order outlining a series of actions to cut carbon emissions in the state and advance development and use of renewable energy and energy efficiency. A taskforce has been formed to design and implement an emissions reduction program.

The Third National Climate Assessment, released by the White House last week, warns that the effects of climate change will become increasingly disruptive in the coming years. The President said regarding the Assessment, ” We’ve got to have the public understand this is an issue that is going to impact our kids and our grandkids, unless we do something about it.”

Understanding Impacts and Making Choices

The series co-sponsors reflect the multiple fronts addressing climate change in the San Juan Islands: San Juan Island National Historical Park, Madrona Institute, San Juan Islands Conservation District, The League of Women Voters of the San Juans, San Juan Island Library, San Juan Nature Institute, San Juan County Marine Resources Committee, Northwest Straits Foundation, Stewardship Network of the San Juan Islands, Washington State University Extension Service, San Juan Island Grange #966 and the Agricultural Resources Committee of the San Juan Islands.

After each talk, discussion will be encouraged to think global and act local – identifying choices relevant to our community.


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The Madrona Institute
PO Box 738
Friday Harbor, WA 98250