Design a License Plate for the SJ Islands!

San Juan Islands Specialty Plate Design Initiative

What is this all about? 
This initiative encourages the public to help create and select a specialty license plate that will generate funds on an annual basis for the conservation and stewardship of natural, agricultural, historic and cultural resources in the San Juan Islands. 

Who is running this effort? 
The Terrestrial Managers Group, a chartered organization representing all of the land management organizations, came up with the idea. Working with the Madrona Institute, the initiative will progress through 2017 to complete the steps needed for Sen. Kevin Ranker to introduce a license plate bill to the legislature in January 2018. 

How does the plate generate money? 
The San Juan Islands specialty license plate will be offered by the Washington Department of Licensing as an alternative to the state’s regular vehicle plate. It will be issued to those who ask for it and voluntarily pay an additional fee of $28 which is tax-deductible as a charitable contribution on both the original purchase and renewals. Two additional dollars are charged by the Department of Licensing for administering the program. 

How much money will it generate? 

Based on the monies generated by the first 3500 plates purchased, we will raise $100,000 annually. As more people purchase the plate, more money will be raised. 

How will the funds be dispersed? 
A grants program will be managed by the Madrona Institute to award monies to non-profit and tribal applicants who work to protect the special resources of the San Juan Islands. Activities may include conservation of natural and agricultural areas, preservation of historic structures, wildlife and special status plants protection, research, and education. See the details on the backside of this FAQ for the budget breakout. 

Who designs the plate? 
This is our Plate Contest and Campaign! While promoting awareness of the initiative, plate designs will be accepted from artists and photographers until June 1. 

Through the summer mini-exhibit voting events for the plate art will occur on all the islands, featured alongside the signup sheet for individuals interested in purchasing the plate. 3,500 signatures are required for the initiative to be accepted by the legislature. At the end of September, the votes will be tallied and a community announcement will be made of the favorite. See the details on the backside of this FAQ to submit a plate design! 

What does the winning artist receive? 
In addition to having thousands of cars driving around with your artwork, the winning artist will also be treated to the purchase of a one-time San Juan Islands license plate with vanity plate detail. While you could chose to have your name emblazoned, we are holding the 001 plate number aside should the winning artist desire that privilege! 

Submit a Plate Design! 
Specifications for the plate design are here:, but don’t get intimidated by the language you find there. Just follow the specs and draft something up. A graphic designer will make necessary tweaks to the winning plate once the winning plate has been selected. You can see other specialty plate designs here: 

How will Plate Monies be allocated? 

  • 10% goes to license plate program administration, grants support, and marketing 
  • 25% goes to grants for two local youth conservation and stewardship programs -Youth Conservation Corps of the San Juan Islands and Coast Salish Stewardship Corps 
  • 65% goes to the conservation and stewardship grants applications program, dispersed to non-profits and tribal applicants. 

How do I submit my Plate Design? 
Deliver designs in person to: San Juan Islands Conservation District at 530 Guard St., or mail to: Madrona Institute at PO Box 738, Friday Harbor, WA 98250 

Contact Ron Zee at Madrona Institute at 378-6690.

Published by

Tim Dustrude

Just another part-timer - Part time photographer at and, part time graphic artist, part time blogger at Occasionally a New Photo . And now... full time editor at The San Juan Update.