SHADOW (Save Habitat And Diversity of Wetlands) started out with just two individuals, Max and Erin Prinsen, determined to make a difference in their community. In 1995, Max and Erin purchased a 18.5-acre forested lot next to their home that was being used as an illegal dumpsite. The Prinsen’s saw the potential the lot had to be restored to native habitat for local wildlife. Max and Erin quickly realized that this lot wasn’t just any old patch of forest. It contained a globally imperiled hemlock-sphagnum moss treed bog (the only one of its type currently under protection in the state of Washington).
Shortly after purchasing the 18.5 acres, Max and Erin worked with the community to remove truck load after truck load of trash from the property. Soon after the garbage was cleared, they worked with Klaus Richter, a Washington State Biologist, to restore the area which included creating a pond that would serve as a breeding location for native amphibian species. By 2000, Save Habitat And Diversity of Wetlands had formed as an official nonprofit organization with the simple mission to preserve critical habitat, restore ecosystems, and provide environmental education to the community.
By 2005, SHADOW had over 85 acres of land under protection. Over the years, SHADOW has slowly grown the size of the Nature Preserve; currently protecting and stewarding over 100 acres of critical habitat including wetlands like Shadow Lake Bog. There are many native plants and wildlife species that are found at SHADOW. Last year, we documented a black bear and her cub regularly roaming around the Nature Preserve grounds. We’ve also documented deer, elk, bobcats, coyotes, and many more precious species.
SHADOW’s education programs have grown over the years to include field trips for K-12 classes and groups, community nature walks, seasonal events, and workshops that provide environmental education to students of any age. Each year 1,500 people visit the Nature Preserve just through education programming.
Now, 25 years since the 18.5-acre lot was purchased, SHADOW still runs on the same basic principles of which it was founded on: preserve, restore, educate. We work to put more habitat into permanent protection and use best practices to steward the land that we own and manage. Our environmental education programs are continually evolving, so that we can find new and better ways to serve the many communities around us. We hope to continue our work for many more years to come and to keep providing all of you with educational opportunities and a quiet green space to visit. Please join us in our environmental protection efforts by registering for a Virtual Summer Fundraiser event where you can learn more about SHADOW’s work, why it makes a difference, & how you can make an impact in local conservation. Even if you are unable to give, you can help by sharing our message and virtual event among family, friends, and fellow community members.