Island Kids Explain

We asked local kids to share their tips for keeping the islands clean, being fire safe, and respecting wildlife. Learn about the principles of Leave No Trace from these bright (and often funny!) budding island stewards.

Fire Safety

Why do you like living on San Juan Island?

Jonah: "I like living on San Juan Island because there's trees, and rocks, and clouds, and pinecones."

Sebastian: "San Juan Island has my favorite cheese pizza here." 

What does it mean to "leave it as you find it?"

Jonah: "You can't pick the flowers, but you can look at them and sniff them and take a picture of them. But I can't because I'm allergic to pollen."

Sebastian: "You can't pick the flowers. You can't! If you pick the flowers, nobody else gets to see them." 

Jonah: "We shouldn't take shells from the beach because a person's house will get stinky. And then you wouldn't like that and you'd have to move out of the house." 

Jonah: "It's not okay to carve on trees because it could really hurt the trees. And then they would be dead.

How do you feel when you see litter? 

Jonah: "It's bad to litter because it can kill dolphins or sharks. It makes me feel sad because it could blow into the ocean." 

Sebastian: "When I see garbage on the ground it makes me mad because I don't like litter in the ground. I just like how the things on the world are fine — are like all clean." 

Why should we "leave it as we find it?"

Sebastian: "People should leave it as they find it to keep it safe." 

Why do you like living on San Juan Island?

"I like living up here because all the nature is beautiful and the sun is mostly always shining. And everybody is nice around here."

What do you like to do in the Islands?

"South Beach is the place to go! You've got a big beach, an ocean you can play in, and up here we've got rabbits and foxes all over the place.

How can people respect the wildlife they see in the Islands?

"Don't feed them - rule number one. And don't go near their babies. You shouldn't feed the foxes because then they won't hunt for themselves. They'll start going up to people and getting food from them, but that's not the world should work.

What advice do you have for visitors?

"It's really cool how animals work and it's cool what they do in their natural habitat. But don't go anywhere near them because they might never come back."

Why do you like living in the San Juans?

"I like living on San Juan Island because I have sleep overs with my friends and cousin and we get to go to the park and the pool and have picnics." 

Why should visitors plan ahead for their trip to the Islands?

"It's important to plan and prepare when you come to the San Juan Islands because there's a lot of places here. So you should prepare where you're gonna go." 

What should people know when they're planning their trip?

"People should know to make a ferry reservation or you're going to miss the ferry or you'll have to wait longer. It's different every season because in summer, they'll have different days and times for ferries, and in winter, they'll have not that many times a lot." 

What should people pack?

"It's super important to bring warm shoes, a warm jacket, and warm pants because it can get cold here. You should bring a water bottle and something healthy if you plan on walking somewhere." 

What else do you think visitors should know?

I'd like people to know that there are a lot of animals here and not to litter because that could harm the animals. And also, I would not be in such a rush. Like, "Island Time" means that you don't have to be in a rush. You can just take it slow." 

What's special about Orcas Island?

"I love living on Orcas Island because there's so many creatures."

How do you feel when you see garbage around the islands?

"There was a glass bottle, wrappers, and a lot of plastic things. I was telling my mom that people are really just weird to do this." 

What do you do when you see trash on Orcas?

"I would pick it up and put it either in my dad's pocket or my mom's pocket or my pocket. And then I would go find a trash can when we are done with the hike or the walk." 

What advice do you have for people visiting the islands?

"Don't litter. And if you have a snack bar and you want to bring it to the beach, make sure there's a trash can nearby."

Why do you like living in the San Juans?

"There are lots of farms and beaches - and these big hikes where you can go up hills. There are high places and low places. There's a lot of cool animals on Lopez - especially the birds. It's like a mixture of everything."

How can we make sure our fires are safe? 

"When it's summer you don't really want to make a fire that is not inside a burn pit that is made out of metal."

What kind of things are okay to burn?  

"I prefer not putting things in a fire that you're not supposed to. Like don't put in plastic or garbage or burnable things that are not supposed to be burned."

How do we safely put out our fire?  

"Pour some water on it. I would get a stick and go around and break through it and put water, then move it around and see where the rest of it is. Then pour some more water so you know you got it all and you know there's not going to be a problem."

Contact Us:
San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau
1-888-468-3701 | (360) 378-9551
P.O. Box 1330, Friday Harbor, Washington 98250
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