When Vashon Nature Center Director Bianca Perla returned to the island where she grew up to raise her family, she was excited to apply her scientific background to her love for island natural history. And so she set out to learn all she could about local flora and fauna. Although she unearthed loads of intriguing anecdotes—people once filled wheelbarrows full of Judd Creek salmon to use as fertilizer, old-growth driftwood made it difficult for early beachcombers to walk the shore, and carnivorous plants thrive in Whispering Firs Bog!—she was surprised to find very few scientific records of island nature phenomena.
In talking with local naturalists and scientists, Bianca realized the vast stores of knowledge and expertise here. She wanted to harness this talent and bring together the many experts and nature lovers on the island. So, Bianca created Vashon Nature Center not only to fill the need for more scientific data, but to bring together a community of scientists and naturalists of all ages to do citizen science projects, swap stories, learn from each other, and share their knowledge with islanders and visitors.
As a virtual nature center, our “offices” are located mainly outside, but we dream of one day opening a physical research and nature center. We envision it as a gathering place for the naturally curious, as well as a laboratory where scientists will explore questions about greater Puget Sound animals and plants, and where we can all champion ways for humans to live respectfully within our awe-inspiring ecosystems.
Welcome! We hope you’d like to be part of our journey.
Get Outside and Join the Fun!
We invite you to report a wildlife sighting or ask a naturalist to help you solve a nature mystery, follow our blog, find citizen science opportunities (families welcome), purchase island-focused publications, browse our interactive field guides, and more.
(Featured photo by Susie Fitzough)