We Have Winners!

Our First Place Winners to the 2013 “Why I Love My State Park” Film Contest:

Jason McRuer

Olivia Sua and Holly Gillespie

Devyn Grillo

Caroline Doyle

Our Second Place Winners:

Niki Alden

Tucker and Emma Gwertzman

Sasha and Tia Ragan, and Nicole Hudson

Mason and Ryley Cramer, and Colton Tinnin

Our Third Place Winners:

Kellen Howe

Owen Kovarik

Barrett Rivera

Rachel Wilcox

Emma Ramsey

Congratulations to all our budding filmmakers! You can see the entire playlist of winners on our You Tube site:




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Forgotten Language: Review of On the Dark Side of the Moon

dksidemoonIn April of 2000, environmental activist Mike Medberry experienced one of our collective worst nightmares: a massive stroke in the middle of a harsh wilderness area.  As his separated companions searched for him, he lay semi conscious and immobile for hours past the time considered the maximum for survival and recovery.

He survived.  But the regaining of the ability to speak intelligibly, to walk, and to work was a much longer journey that the helicopter ride that brought him to “civilization” and to medical care, and it spawned this memoir, named for the weirdly beautiful, rugged and long avoided lava field that is named the Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Disappointed that his work towards preserving the area was completed by others, and as he fought for his life and conscious mind, he used the experience to reflect on what the mind is, and what his love of nature meant to his life.

At one point in his recovery, he was asked to read aloud the two-line poem by  environmental poet W.S Merwin:

I want to tell what the forests
were like
I will have to speak
in a forgotten language.

The clumsy reading that embarassed and humiliated this former literature major in front of the group must have seared in his mind the fact that words don’t come easily for many, and perhaps never do when describing the natural world and what it means to perserve and protect it.

Farrington Foundation loves books like this, and congratulate Medberry on this fine work about the mind, the environment, and striving for healing and recovery.

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Farrington is now creating newsletters bi-monthly instead of quarterly. Check out our September issue by clicking on the blue “newsletters” button at bottom right. We’re all wet in September!

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September’s Book Review

One could be forgiven to assume that nature and conservation, and investigative journalism delving into organized crime, would be two themes not usually be found in the same story. But in Shell Games, by Seattle Times writer Craig Welch, we find both, and in spades. The book follows the years-long investigation by detective Ed Voltz and other environmental protection lawmen in their pursuit and eventual capture of a charismatic, enigmatic seafood poacher named Doug Tobin. Tobin’s specialty? The geoduck, a peculiar and highly prized clam that, due to its strange evocative appearance is legendary in the Pacific Northwest. The account takes readers deeply into the Puget Sound’s remote bays, hidden coves, and the back rooms of urban seafood buyers and restaurants that are willing to buy a few fresh examples of choice shellfish “under the table”. In a region that knows its seafood, the cops and robbers chase for illegally caught sea creatures is bound to be intense, if not inevitable.

Named Outstanding Beat Reporter of the Year by the Society of Environmental Journalists, we at the Farrington offices could barely put this book down, given our love for, and concern about, the value of preserving nature for future generations.



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Updates to Pioneer Park Project

Our book about the park Pioneer Park: A Natural History, is now available at Island Books on Mercer Island.  Here’s a link to their website:


We are of course very proud of our work on this project, but it was very hard to choose which photographs to include…after all we had several hundred!  We hope that this page will serve as a display space to show off some of these photos in all their HD glory.  And we want to start with a story about a beloved (not!) invader to Pioneer Park and to the Pacific Northwest in general.  We’re talking about Himalayan Blackberry, which is actually not Himalayan, but European.  As we sort through our photos of this plant, you might want to check out the WA State Noxious Weed Control website, where they can give more background of this monster brier:


Like all undeveloped spaces in the Pacific Northwest, this weed is a serious threat to native growth in the park and elsewhere; check with the Park’s website for more information:


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Our Latest Book Review

James P. Owen, the author of Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn from the Code of the West should know what he talks about.  His firm, Austin Capital Management, has been a presence on Wall Street and Mr. Owen has reportedly been deeply disillusioned by the behavior he saw in that world.  His offering to us of a heavily photographed book of the “coffee table” type is an exploration of what he sees as “cowboy virtues” and what they could teach the unsavory, greedy inhabitants of the financial sector back East.

Who can argue with commandments like Finish What You Start and Be Tough, but Fair?  Or better, Do What Has To Be Done?  We here at Farrington have always had a stance toward the tougher side of conservation; one of our board members counts herself as a bona-fide Montana cowgirl at heart, and our founder grew up hunting and fishing in Wisconsin, Idaho, and Montana.  So the appeal of this book is obvious.

But unfortunately, Mr. Owen uses as his sources for the Cowboy Code the perhaps mythical ethos of Hollywood westerns–a genre that no doubt contributed greatly to our nation’s social awareness and spirit of independence, but is it really real? One is left wishing for a list written by a real cowboy…perhaps we’ll find one.

There’s nothing unreal about the photographs, however, and we chose to review this book for mostly that reason.  Whatever cowboys really thought or said, their spirit lives on, and the life they live in today’s world is beautifully captured in David Stoecklein’s work, with nary a pickup in sight.  (Well, one, but we’ll let you find it!)

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Otter This World!

Liz Sanderson, our founder, was asked to judge at the 35th Annual International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula…here’s a trailer from one of her favorites!

You can see the entire film this weekend starting Friday at 5:00 PM and ending Sunday at 7:00 PM at the NW Film Forum.  They’re at 1515 12th Avenue in Seattle.

Here’s a link for all the show times–you can buy tickets online.


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Welcome to Farrington

Welcome to the new website for the Farrington Foundation!  We’re updating our site and learning by doing, to say the least.  (As you may have noticed if you’re following our most recent posts).  New media is sometimes a challenge.

By moving into blog format, instead of the old “static” site, we hope to make your time spent on our little corner of the internet a fun and rewarding experience.

Be sure to read up on our next event, a book signing party at the Mercer Island Public Library on March 29!  Our first book publication, Pioneer Park: A Natural History will be on sale and there will be refreshments for visitors.  Mark the date, and join us!

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Desert Solitaire

In what must have been the late 50’s, (we are never told exactly) a young man named Edward Abbey took a summer job in the desert southwest, near Moab, Utah, and the Arches National Monument. Years later, long after the first two seasons spent tending to tourists and park facilities in a largely undeveloped wilderness, he returned, to mourn the loss of the nearly untouched landscape he had grown to love before.
Like Aldo Leopold, his personal relationship to the landscape resulted in a book about his days spent there: the wildlife, the weather, the damage done by man and the way the country affected the man who, for a while, tended it. Unlike Leopold, however, Abbey’s work is far less forgiving of man’s violence towards nature, through road building and “improvements” of tourist facilities. For Abbey, the only way to see and experience the desert is to take things slowly, on foot and roughing it. The changes that brought so many more visitors to his beloved landscape only destroyed it and their experience of it, forever. “This is a tombstone” he says in his introduction, referring to the book in the reader’s hands. “Throw it at something big and glassy”.
The book’s narrative, sometimes in diary fashion, sometimes expanding out to full-blown narrative, chronicles the escapades of his experiences there and of characters long gone but not forgotten in local lore and legend. The death of a lost park wanderer, his near-death in an off-trail adventure of his own, miner’s tales and Indian lore, all are spun together vividly against the backdrop of his own, and now our, Place that Mattered.

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The Lorax


The Lorax is a book that every kid has read in the last 50 years. Here’s what Stephen Colbert has to say about the new movie..

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