“A One of a Kind Naturalist and Educator”

In a recent Kitsap Sun article, journalist Josh Farley drew attention to the amazing lifetime achievements of Kitsap county arborist and community forester Jim Trainer. Jim was an incredible advocate for local conservation efforts, and he spent many years leading educational tours for Great Peninsula Conservancy on our preserves and local greenspaces.

Former GPC staff member, and 2018 Conservation Award winner, Kate Kuhlman remembers Jim as a “one of a kind naturalist and educator.” 

Jim led walks and talks for GPC’s Outdoor Activity Program for at least 8 years. His walks on GPC properties and our partner properties were always a big hit. He believed in what GPC does and helped get GPC’s name and mission out into the community. His walks on Guillemot Cove and Illahee Forest Preserve were always popular, often attracting 25 or more participants per walk.  Jim, as a certified arborist, donated his expertise and time to assist GPC’s stewardship program with hazard trees and other tree health issues. Jim was an enthusiastic educator. He loved to share his knowledge of the forest ecosystem with children and families. His unique approach to learning was captivating. I appreciated his help with GPC’s outreach. I could always count on him to provide an entertaining and unforgettable program whenever asked. He will be missed. 

A memory about Jim from nature columnist Nancy Sefton:

I walked many a forest trail with Jim Trainer, and I wrote about him more than once, in my nature column for Kitsap papers; in 2019, I included this in my column “Kitsap, Naturally”:

It’s 6 a.m., but Jim has promised me we’ll see a black bear at this hour! As we trudge along, Jim tells me his personal bear story: “I was moving quietly down the trail next to a big cedar here. As I passed a busy outcrop at its base, I felt a blast of hot, moist air against my bare leg, and a loud ‘woof’. As I whirled around, a bear rose up from the foliage and went crashing away; evidently I’d awakened him from a deep sleep,” he laughed.

Thank you, Jim, for teaching me what treasures our forests are!  You will be sorely missed.

Nancy Sefton, Poulsbo

Below, you’ll find just a few of the photos we’ve uncovered in the GPC photo archives that provide a glimpse of the work and the woods that Jim Trainer loved. Thank you, Jim! From all of us at Great Peninsula Conservancy!


Have a story about Jim that you’d like to share? Send it to Claire Voris (claire@greatpeninsula.org). We’ll include your memory here on the blog, and share it with the Trainer Family.