Questions to the BI Park District Candidates: Answers by Dawn Janow
1) What interests inspired you to run for a position as a commissioner of the Parks and Recreation Board?
I have lived on Bainbridge Island since 2005 and have raised two children here. As an active community member, I have been on sports boards, school boards, and volunteered with numerous performing arts groups. In the past 18 years, I have watched the Park Service grow and develop, have taken advantage of many programs, walked miles and miles of trails, and have been thoroughly impressed with its work and organization. I would be honored to help continue the direction the Park has set, and help move the organization forward with a dedication to communication, community and care of our shared natural resources.
2) Describe your relevant previous experiences that prepare you for the board role.
Along with multiple and varied community service roles, I bring professional leadership experience from the mountaineering industry. I was instrumental in the development and growth of Alpine Ascents International, an international mountaineering company. Starting with a small group of professional climbers, the company has grown to be one of the leading mountaineering companies in the world. This has involved working with people from multiple walks of life from guides, clients, National Park Service, National Forest Service and international agencies who are all passionate about proper land management, care of wilderness and how to mitigate the effects of human travel on both commerce and the environment at large. With this experience, I bring a unique background, broad understanding and sensitivity of the myriad of constraints, equally compelling and competing desires and concerns that people have with changing and interacting with their environment (in this case, our home, Bainbridge Island). I would welcome continuing to find ways to bring consensus and compassion as we manage the land and the community’s desire for best ways to interact with, protect and share our home.
3) What skills, training. resources, and expertise will you bring to the Board?
I am a strong communicator, good listener and creative negotiator. I am comfortable tackling hard discussions and am not afraid to initiate change and innovation. My experience with land management is extensive and I have a background in fiscal management of non-profit as well as for-profit agencies. I bring an entrepreneurial spirit, community focus, fiscal soundness, and organizational drive to see projects through from conception to completion, with particular strengths in broad picture vision coupled with detailed execution.
4) What are the most important challenges/projects facing the Park and Recreation District in the next few years?
I believe climate change, the expanding Island population and maintaining our robust Parks lands and programs are our most important challenges. Working in concert with the BI Parks Foundation, BI Land Trust, individual donors, conservation groups, and numerous state agencies to secure and protect our natural resources is a priority for me. As our local population continues to grow it places pressures on our open and recreational lands. I believe it is essential to the health of any community to place a high value on natural resources and appropriate access/restriction to those resources, to that end I believe working in tandem, when appropriate, with the City, School District, Fire Department and other municipal agencies is paramount to establishing long term, cohesive, adaptive solutions to balance the needs of our community. In addition, I will work to continue programing that contributes to the education and enjoyment of our Island for people of all ages, abilities and walks of life, fostering a community where information, learning and growth are provided with a keen eye to the health and wellness of the individual as well as our communal physical home.
Two major projects are currently in discussion, the development (or not) of the Sakai Property and a proposed new Aquatic Center. Both of these projects involve other agencies and I would work to find compromise and creativity to see these potential projects come to fruition for the betterment of our community as a whole.
5) What can and should the Park District do to reduce its carbon footprint and prepare for climate change?
Climate change and carbon footprint are topics the Park service deals with in each and every decision, and I would work to continue bringing that consciousness to the top of any discussion, decision. Climate change is projected to bring higher sea levels and increased chance of wildfire our Island. The Park Service is and should continue to look for ways to mitigate these changes, as well as prepare for any potential they may bring. Planting species that will tolerate draught while helping to protect and enhance flora and fauna, working to remove root rot, planning waterfront access with variable sea level heights in mind, incorporating sustainable building practices, working with the City and other municipalities to promote alternative transportation, educating program and park users in Leave No Trace and other sustainable practices, this list goes on and on. The Park Service is in an unique position to protect and preserve land helping to balance the carbon footprint of the Island, educate and support people of all ages and abilities on best practices and be forward planning to mitigate and adapt to climate change.