The Skagit Marine Resources Committee is accepting applications for the fifth annual Salish Sea Stewards training program.

The program includes 50 hours of classroom and field training to prepare stewards to volunteer with various citizen science and community outreach programs aimed at protecting the region’s marine environment.

The free training is provided by area experts in return for a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer time.

Training is held 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, March 20 through May 22, at the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Bay View, at 10441 Bayview-Edison Road.

Applications, which can be found at skagitmrc.org, are being accepted until March 2.

Applications may be submitted to Skagit Marine Resources Committee coordinator Tracy Alker by email at tracya@co.skagit.wa.us, or by mail or in person to Skagit County Public Works, 1800 Continental Place, Mount Vernon, 98273.

Since the Salish Sea Stewards program began in 2014, dozens of trained volunteers have contributed thousands of hours to citizen science and community outreach programs.

Stewards can volunteer for a range of activities, including searching area beaches for fish eggs, setting traps for invasive European green crabs, or talking with families at area events about marine resources and threats to those resources.

— Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199, kcauvel@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH, Facebook.com/bykimberlycauvel

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