Friends of the Hylebos downsizes; conservation efforts will continue

Friends of the Hylebos, a non-profit conservation organization based in Federal Way, is reducing staff from 4.5 full-time employees to two.

Among the eliminated positions is executive director Chris Carrel, who has served at the position for 10 years.

Carrel said the organization has lost nearly 25 percent of its operating budget from county subsidies — about $125,000. Other eliminated positions include a restoration coordinator and administrative assistant.

"As I've worked over the past year to find solutions, it's become clear that the funding for conservation and non-profits in general is just drying up," said Carrel on the recession's effects.

Friends of the Hylebos was formed from an all-volunteer group in the late 1990s. Accomplishments include preserving the 120-acre West Hylebos Wetlands along with more than 535 acres of local open space. The organization is responsible for restoration of stream and wetlands habitat as well as planting more than 93,000 native trees and plants in the Hylebos Watershed.

"I've been part of a decade of really notable conservation successes, and that's been a result of a lot of people in the community that believe in healthy environment and beautiful green spaces in our community as part of quality of life," said Carrel, who made the decision to step down.

The group will continue its conservation activities in the Federal Way area, including English Ivy removal, said board president Margery Godfrey.

"We have a mission that people buy into. We have a common cause," Godfrey said.

To learn more, visit

Check out Carrel's blog at

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