May 14, 2001
Lambs galore, but changes in store
by Lisa Allen
Valley View Editor
DUVALL - It was a shared interest in fish that brought Don and Tanya Bevan together over 40 years ago.
The two met in 1959 at the University of Moscow in Russia (then U.S.S.R.). Tanya, a Moscow resident, had graduated from the university the year before with a degree in biology and fisheries and was doing some graduate work. Don, then from Kirkland, was there on a fisheries exchange program.
Don made several trips to Russia before the two were married in 1971. Don brought his bride to the small sheep farm he owned on Cherry Valley Road, a long way from the fisheries program in Moscow.
Tanya remembers what it was like.
"After I moved here, people would ask me about 'culture shock'," she laughs. "But the real shock was moving from Moscow, a city of eight million people, to a farm near Duvall, a town that had about 800 people then."
Tanya also had to learn English and how to drive a car, besides learning to care for the sheep.
For 25 enjoyable years, between the feeding, the lambing, the shearing and the fence-fixing, the couple was never short of things to do.
And there was wool. Lots of it. Tanya got a loom and learned to weave, while Don kept the farm going by working at the UW School of Fisheries, where he was considered a leader in fisheries management.
"Don always loved animals, and he liked keeping the sheep," she said. "It made a good balance between his work at the university."
But when Don passed away suddenly five years ago, Tanya was unsure of what to do next. So she continued the sheep operation as a sort of grief therapy.
"It was important emotionally to keep everything going," she said, as she tended her flock on a a recent wet spring morning. "But this is the last year. I want to spend more time on Don's legacy."
That legacy is "The Bevan Series of Sustainable Fisheries," free public lectures on the past, present and future of marine resources, that honors the former Director of the UW School of Fisheries, Dean of the College of Fisheries and Associate Dean of the College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences.
Don's career spanned the years from 1940-1988, concentrating on proactive fisheries research, management and conservation. He worked to promote responsible fisheries management, particularly with respect to salmon in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Bevan Series speakers focus on finding solutions to the problems sustainable fisheries represent.
"Don was a wonderful man," said Tanya. "He is missed by so many people."
Tanya says, that in addition to supporting the Bevan Series, she wants to continue to stay involved with the oceanography and fisheries departments at the UW.
"All this has been a difficult and emotional change," she says. "Time is a good healer and now I have more enthusiasm to do things."
She admits she wouldn't have been able to continue with the farm work without the help of her neighbor and handyman, Russ Galusha.
"He's such a good guy," she says. "He is always willing to help with anything that needs fixing. He even takes the lambs to school for 'show and tell', teaching the children what farm life is like."
Meanwhile, the small flock of 13 Suffolk-cross ewes, Boris the ram and 20 lambs can still be seen in the pastures alongside Cherry Valley Road.
"Boris is an incredible ram," said Tanya. "Last year he sired two sets of triplets and this year there was one set (two white and one black)."
Her decision to sell the sheep will surely make regular passers-by a little sad. Her flock by the side of the road has attracted many visitors who often stop to take snapshots of the tranquil scene.
But even when the woollies are gone, there will still be plenty of work on the farm to keep her busy. There is the garden and the work with the creek on the property to keep it "fish friendly."
And, she volunteers at the UW retirement center.
"It (the retirement center) helps me to learn how to age gracefully," she says, with a smile.