Letter to the editor: The Chehalis River Basin Land Trust and “WDYDWYD”


I’ve been a part of the Chehalis River Basin Land Trust for nearly 20 years, and I’m still learning. At the Nonprofit Leadership Conference, I participated in a workshop on communications. I learned about the acronym WDYDWYD. That means “why do you do what you do?”

And that got me thinking of which personal experiences led me to the Chehalis River Basin Land Trust.

I remember many new experiences as a young teen at a group camp with acres of large trees, a lake, trails and opportunities. The trees seemed very large and most of them are still standing today. Opportunities included swimming, canoeing, cooking over a campfire, hiking and sleeping under the stars. We also learned about knives and knots, first aid and learning to trust and care for each other and our camp — our environment. How many youth are able to grow from such learning today?

As a young adult renting a small home on the Deschutes River, I was able to walk roads through the timber and along the river. I watched coyotes hunting and otters playing in the river. I watched the fish and the current. I was in a place where breathing was good and quiet was better. But one day, the timber was gone. It was a shock to walk past the stumps. There was no place for coyotes or hawks to hunt. The creek water was muddy and, by midsummer, there was no creek at all.

Today, I know much more about timber practices and the environment. I know that humans today need both; wood for homes and standing trees to protect the rivers, habitat and wildlife. I also know that a Trust for the camp saved it from being sold. The camp was donated by the Seymour family and the trust was dictated by Mrs. Seymour in August 1935.

About 2002, I read a news article from the Chehalis River Basin Land Trust needing volunteers to help plant native trees on the Discovery Trail north of Centralia. The Land Trust holds a conservation easement (another type of Trust) on the Discovery Trail and is dedicated to protecting it in perpetuity.

Washington is known as the Evergreen State, and most of us enjoy seeing large green areas around us. All of Washington’s green hillsides are storing carbon which helps fight climate change.

In closing, why do I do what I do? I plant trees as a way to slow climate change. That is one small action; there are others that you and I can do. Simple things like turning off the electric lights when leaving a room, using a car as little as possible (take the bus or walk). And I trust all the land trusts across the state will continue to protect natural lands so that communities and individuals will have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a healthy environment. It’s what I do.


Jan Robinson