Linda Sanford has been a Realtor in the Skagit Valley for over twenty-years. Passionate about her niche market, healthy homes and intentional living, Linda describes the valley as the emulsion of saltwater, alpine wilderness, wildlife, and community; “The Skagit is just magic… and there really isn’t any other place like it. It really is a pristine jewel.”
Linda was working as a Realtor in the Seattle area when she became interested in intentional living. She began her education, focusing on eco-housing, intentional living, net-zero, and green building, earning certificates in the field as she expanded her knowledge and credibility. She moved north to find a community strong in agricultural and adjacent to salt water and found it in the community of Anacortes, WA.
Linda recognizes that growth and change in the region is inevitable, therefore she has made it her goal to educate her clients and others on being good stewards of the Skagit Valley. “It’s our salmon, our whales, it is everything; how we live directly affects everything around us.” People in the Skagit Valley appreciate the smallness, the sense of community, the natural resources, and the agricultural prosperity and want newcomers to enjoy and appreciate what the valley has to offer.
As population grows in the valley, a way we can continue to have an abundance of natural resources is to focus on the envelope of our homes; including energy efficiency, landscaping, managing our carbon footprints, reduce waste, repurpose and recycle, be mindful of the indoor air quality, focus on renewable energy sources, and the list goes on. That is why Linda focuses on stewardship and lifestyle change with her clients, “it starts with the opportunity for them [the clients] to look at what their lifestyle patterns are and what they can maybe do to step up the bar and be good stewards.”
Our day-to-day habits are some of the biggest threats to the natural beauty of the Skagit Valley and the world. Climate change and storm water runoff pose a big threat to the wildlife of the Skagit. Simple changes, such as the way our homes function and how we live in our homes could make the difference. Seeking out cleaner ways to heat or cool our homes, bringing in non-toxic interiors, reducing our need for plastics, specifically single-use plastics, and filtering storm water through rain gardens are simple ways we can make our homes more hospitable for a prosperous future in the valley. “It’s very important, to me, that my clients have some understanding of the ways they can engage and live in their homes and how being a good steward benefits our valley,” said Linda.
She lives to be involved in community and hopes she projects that onto others. Linda exposes her clients and friends to the importance of shopping and cooking locally, is engaged with local politics, and volunteers with a variety of organizations. She does not want people to take for granted the natural beauty of the Skagit Valley; as the valley continues to grow, we all need to engage in community and stewardship to keep the Skagit magic.
This is one of many stories in a series about members of the community and what the Skagit means to them, we are calling this series of interviews This Skagit Life.
Skagit is a very special place, with healthy communities and spectacular natural resources. So much of what makes Skagit remarkable is the people who live, work, and play here. We realize that the health of the watershed depends on people seeking to protect that which they hold close to their hearts – without identifying what is special to each of us and then finding common areas of agreement, we will be less likely to succeed.
This Skagit Life is a partnership project between the Skagit Watershed Council and the Skagit County Historical Museum. This Skagit Life is a culmination of multiple oral histories from community members displayed as articles, events, and an exhibit at the Skagit County Historical Museum running April through September 2019.