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Frequent Questions

Who We Are

Frequent Questions

Here are some answers to our more common questions.  If you can’t find the information you need please contact us at 360-969-0131

  1. Are your trails open to the public?

    Yes! We have over 2.2 miles of trails - so far - open to the public. For your first time, stop in and say hello and get the layout of the property. You are welcome to come out seven days a week.
    They are either two-track trails that we also use for our pickup truck, Gator or tractor, or single track trails meant for walking only. Bring your dog along, but they must be kept on a leash. Please pick up after them so we don't have to divert our time and energy from our main work. Throughout the year, immediately adjacent to many parts of the trails, we are either conducting restoration work or research. We also collect seeds of the rare native plants on site, and must leave these areas undisturbed prior to collection lest they all drop to the ground. The trails extend through the north forest - where again, it is critical to keep on the trail, and dogs on a leash. We conduct multi-year research on native plants that grow right on the trail edges as well as deeper into the forest. What may look like a completely undisturbed area along a path may actually be a research site (with or without flags) where we are making small collections or inputs. Please don't pick flowers or any other living or non-living objects. If you notice something unusual, kindly call us at 360-678-5586.

  2. Can I take courses at PRI?

    PRI offers two types of formal education at this time. One, through a partnership with Michigan based Au Sable Institute, we have six college-level courses for credit each summer. They last five weeks. If you are a current college/university student, contact for more information on which courses are available here and how you might apply.

    PRI offers workshops on practical subjects including grafting fruit trees, selecting and caring for fruit trees, and other subjects.

    PRI offers seasonal lectures on issues related to the environment, sustainability and more. If you have a subject or a speaker, kindly call us with your suggestion. 360-678-5586.

  3. Undesignated funds are used to support our personnel and interns, our restoration work, our educational programs and our ongoing maintenance/utility/office expenses.

    At PRI we are very much aware of the hard-earned funds you graciously entrust us with, and we always take a business-like approach to programs and expenses. We believe your "donations" are actually an investment in the people and programs of PRI - our mission. We strive to produce positive impacts - long term returns on your investment! Much of our work is done with matching funds to achieve more leverage. If you wish to speak with us or visit our site and discuss and see our work, kindly call or email us.

    We have a responsibility to our community and our donors and work hard to ensure long-term sustainability of the organization. We make our IRS Form 990 available for review, as required by law. Visit our Financials page to learn more.

  4. Call us at 360.678.5586 and leave a message with your name, phone number and area of interest

    Email Dr. Robert K. Pelant at

    We’re always looking for individuals like you who want to get involved.

    Standing volunteer opportunities include:
    - administration, computer work, data entry
    - landscaping and mowing
    - minor repairs and maintenance
    - painting
    - collecting seeds of rare native plants in the spring through fall
    - cleaning and processing seeds of rare native plants
    - growing rare native plants throughout the year
    - out-planting rare native plants at PRI and around Whidbey

    Visit our How To Help section to find out ways to donate or volunteer.

  5. What are the greenhouse and shade area used for?

    The fenced area north-northwest of the Brooder building and directly north of our main parking area is called our Native Plant Center. It consists of a fruit tree orchard, general garden, greenhouse, shade area, ground-level nursery beds and raised-nursery beds. The greenhouse is used for growing native plants in tubes (plugs) to out-plant in the fall. The shade area allows us to grow out most of our plants outside without significant solar damage to the plants. The shade cloth is either 50% or 60% opaque and allows the plants to receive rain and "harden off" by being accustomed to the wide temperature swings and occasional strong winds. The nursery beds are used to grow out plants for bulb/corm, rhizome or seed production. We then use these to plant out onto our prairie or other sites where we work throughout the Puget Sound region. In 2020 we grew over 40 species of rare native plants, including the threatened golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta) which is on the State of Washington's Endangered Species List. Tours are available by appointment. Call 360-678-5586. We also sell live plants in plugs (plastic tubes 1.5" x 5"), 4" pots and 1-gallon pots.

  6. What is PRI's privacy policy?

    At PRI we take your and our privacy seriously including steps to protect and ensure the safety of our supporters. We do not sell or otherwise disclose information about our volunteers or supporters outside of our immediate organization. This policy has no exceptions. We do not sell or exchange your information with any other organizations, public, private or nonprofit.

    For more detailed information visit our Privacy Policy page.

  7. PRI:
    - provides formal and informal educational and skill-building opportunities for the public
    - actively restores degraded habitat throughout the Puget Sound region
    - produces, uses and sells native plant materials such as bulbs, live plants and seeds
    - has over 2 miles of trails through prairie, savanna and forest open to the public and pets on leash
    - offers multiple and diverse experiences for volunteers, interns and students
    - provides knowledge and skills for individuals, schools, churches and other conservation organizations relevant to ecological restoration in the Pacific Northwest
    - rents multiple facilities on our site near Coupeville to individuals, families, organizations, schools, churches and other groups

    For a list of specific programs and services we provide, visit our What We Do section.

  8. What does PRI have for sale?

    PRI sells various products from the land as well as general merchandise.

    You can purchase native plants, plant bulbs or rhizomes, local honey (in three sizes), and other merchandise.

    Merchandise for sale includes PRI t-shirts and PRI sunglasses.

  9. When did PRI begin?

    01 July 2009

  10. Why are there so many white buildings?

    The buildings at PRI are almost all from the days when it was operated as the State of Washington's Whidbey Island Game Farm. The state purchased these 175 acres from private landowners in 1945 for $15,000. Most of the buildings seen today were constructed by the end of 1946. All for the purpose of raising ring neck pheasants to be released around the state for hunting. The small white buildings - brooder houses (or coops) where used to house day-old pheasant chicks and were heated with large propane burners until the birds were old enough to thermoregulate themselves. The Brooder Building currently houses our offices, classrooms, bathrooms and multipurpose room. It used to be the Nesting Shed, and there was no front door - just an open entrance to drive into. This is where they had hen pheasants, and then hen chickens sit on the eggs to hatch them. The concrete brick building is called the Incubator or Bradshaw Laboratory. When incubator technology because commercially available, the Game Farm switched from using live birds to using incubators to keep the eggs occasionally turning, and at the right temperature and humidity to have a high hatch rate after 23 days. The other large building in the center of campus is the Granary. During the time of the Game Farm it was also used as a granary to store feed for the birds. The small green building further south is called the Roost. It used to be a shop for repairing items and was raised 18" during remodeling. The Brooder, Granary and Roost were all adaptively remodeled in 2000-2001, keeping most of the historic aspects on the outside, but improved on the inside to make them useful for a functioning organization. Making them useful in the current context means that they can help pay for themselves as opposed to being a museum exhibit. Many thanks to Dr. Cal and Ruth DeWitt for their vision and perspicacity in finding the funds and volunteers to do this critical remodeling. Why are they white? That's because they were white during the Game Farm days and we are preserving that part of the history by keeping them that way.