Representatives from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Dungeness River Audubon Center and Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society (OPAS) come together to accept an award from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Saturday at the river center’s amphitheater. Pictured are (back row, from left) former river center director Bob Boekelheide; OPAS member/president Ken Wiersma; (middle row, from left) Theresa R. Lehman, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe council treasurer; Kendra Donaldson, capital campaign member and Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society member; Annette Hanson, river center founder and capital campaign chair; W. Ron Allen, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe council chair and CEO; and (front row, from left) Annette Nesse, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe program transportation manager; Vanessa Fuller, Dungeness Audubon River Center administrative services and development manager; river center director Powell Jones; Lyn Muench, river center board member, and Clare Hatler, capital campaign committee member. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Representatives from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Dungeness River Audubon Center and Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society (OPAS) come together to accept an award from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Saturday at the river center’s amphitheater. Pictured are (back row, from left) former river center director Bob Boekelheide; OPAS member/president Ken Wiersma; (middle row, from left) Theresa R. Lehman, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe council treasurer; Kendra Donaldson, capital campaign member and Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society member; Annette Hanson, river center founder and capital campaign chair; W. Ron Allen, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe council chair and CEO; and (front row, from left) Annette Nesse, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe program transportation manager; Vanessa Fuller, Dungeness Audubon River Center administrative services and development manager; river center director Powell Jones; Lyn Muench, river center board member, and Clare Hatler, capital campaign committee member. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Dungeness River Audubon Center staff, advocates get NSDAR honors

“This is not our center,” Powell Jones reminded the dais of dignitaries at the Railroad Bridge Park amphitheater Saturday morning. “It’s everyone’s center to enjoy.”

With the historic Dungeness Railroad Bridge and namesake river as a backdrop and the multi-million-dollar renovation to the Dungeness River Audubon Center a few yards away, members of the Michael Trebert Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution gave thanks to Audubon society, river center and Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe representatives.

Led by conservation committee chair Mary Van Dyke, Michael Trebert Chapter members distributed to Jones, the center director, and several other key figures in the center’s history with National Society DAR (NSDAR) certificates, as well as NSDAR conservation medal to Annette Hanson, who with late husband Mark Hanson were the founders of what became the present day Audubon Center.

The NSDAR Conservation Medal recognizes volunteers who “exhibit sustained efforts to improve the environment or to educate the public on conservation issues.”

Hanson said her husband Mark was the inspiration behind the creation of the Sequim Natural History Museum. He had overheard sixth-graders talking about what birds they’d shot and showing a general disregard for animal life, so he began mounting taxidermied birds and, with proper permits, began showing them in classrooms, she remembered.

Theresa R. Lehman, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe council treasurer, shares a laugh with Mary Van Dyke, Led by conservation committee chair of the Michael Trebert Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, at an awards ceremony Saturday. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Theresa R. Lehman, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe council treasurer, shares a laugh with Mary Van Dyke, Led by conservation committee chair of the Michael Trebert Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, at an awards ceremony Saturday. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

The museum was hosted for nearly a decade in a vacant room at the old Sequim High School building.

“We had visitors from all over the world come into the (museum),” Hanson said.

Scores of elementary classes were guided through the museum by volunteers for years before the museum found a home at what’s now the river center in 2001.

But it took collaboration between the Dungeness River Audubon Center and Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society to the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe to make it happen.

Hanson credited a number of key figures along the way — some present, and absent others such as Stu MacRobbie, Les Jones and Dennis Dickson — for their work in making the center a reality.

“We would not be here today without everyone working on this,” she said.

W. Ron Allen, Jamestown’s tribal council chairman and CEO, concurred, noting that there is a synergy between the desire for growth and respect for the environment.

“(The center) was a collective vision and we were committed to it,” Allen said Saturday. “The council and I are honored.”

W. Ron Allen, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe council chair and CEO, accepts recognition from NSDAR representatives at an awards ceremony Saturday, with Annette Hanson and Powell Jones looking on. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

W. Ron Allen, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe council chair and CEO, accepts recognition from NSDAR representatives at an awards ceremony Saturday, with Annette Hanson and Powell Jones looking on. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Theresa R. Lehman, Jamestown’s tribal council treasurer, said she’s pleased that future generations will be able to enjoy the park’s amenities, all thanks to the hard work of many.

“We have such a connection to the earth; it needs to be protected,” she said.

The “Inspire Wonder” capital campaign to expand the Dungeness River Audubon Center by about 59,000 square feet —initially estimated at about $2.9 million — is projected to be short about $1 million thanks to exponential rises in building costs, said Hanson, who chairs the campaign.

Those who have questions about the project and the campaign goal or gap can contact Hanson at 360-670-6774 or annette_hanson@msn.com, or visit dungenessrivercenter.org/our_story/building-expansion.

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