A conversation with Myra and Sean Tucker
On a recent, rainy evening, Myra Tucker and her dad Sean sat in front of the fire and talked to me about the Conservancy 20th Anniversary Gala dinner held September 16th.
Helen: So Myra, I think you were the youngest guest at the event. How did that feel?
Myra: It was an interesting experience being the youngest there. I knew a number of people there from GICEL [Gulf Island Center for Ecological Learning] summer camp and at the Mayne School with the Conservancy, so I didn’t really feel out of place. (Myra is 15 and a student at Parkland Secondary School in Sidney.)
Helen: What was your favourite part of the evening?
Myra: Probably most of David Suzuki’s speech, definitely. I was really into that, and then dinner was also amazing. Definitely listening to him was really engaging and I learned a lot.
Sean: And you grew up watching The Nature of Things and said it was so good to hear his voice and see him in person. And, it was nice to have people gathering together again and the celebratory energy in the room.
Helen: Did you learn anything new that you talked to your friends about afterwards?
Myra: Dr. Suzuki talked about how humans are so able to take over and develop stuff so quickly, their ability to think ahead and really plan ahead, and look back on the decisions they had made. And that all indigenous history is storytelling, and how that has played a major role in learning lessons and passing them on through generations. That was really interesting.
Sean: What a great communicator David Suzuki was! He had an ability to reach different people with different backgrounds with a message that is not easy to hear for some people. The way he worked the room was very impressive… I find it very interesting how he’s culturally empowering people when he calls elders to speak up. I wonder how many people are open to hearing that and taking action? It’s quite a call. It will be interesting to see if that resonates with people. We’ve learned a lot over the years watching The Nature of Things with our kids. He’s a natural science communicator.
Helen: Do you think the rough skinned newt made a good mascot for the anniversary?
Myra: I thought the pin design was really eye-catching and really good, and I immediately put it on. Our whole table put it on, and we brought one home for my brother. It was a very good way of capturing the attention of an animal that is important and then also being able to put it on and show that. The connection around the room of everyone wearing one was really cool. I remember seeing the newts at the Japanese Garden when I was at the Mayne School, watching them in and around the marine plants there, catching stuff and digging in the dirt.
Helen: And what about the food?
Myra: Delicious. It was so good! I was so excited to hear that Jan Gumbmann was cooking. There were so many good smells coming from the kitchen and when I heard that there was going to be Mayne Island meat, I thought that’s going to be really good. There were so many different local ingredients and so many different flavours in the food. Using things from around the island and how they were incorporated. So delicious!
Sean: Everything was so good. And then there was cake for dessert. It was a very memorable evening.
Helen: What do you hope the Conservancy might accomplish in the next decade?
Myra: I hope there’s more clearing out of invasive species. Seeing so much on private properties and even in our parks, I really want to do something about it. I know that work is going on, but there needs to be more of a push on that. I want to know how best to remove them, what season is best and I’m willing to volunteer with that. Getting more parkland and protected areas is important.
Helen: Do you think our goal of 30% of the island protected by 2033 is realistic?
Myra: I think it could be realistic, but it will need a lot of support and work, and lot of people committed to that goal, and a lot of support from the community – a lot of education about it. It’s a very good goal, and I hope it’s achieved.
Sean: When I hear 30% protected by 2033, I think of land we can access. I didn’t think of covenants and other ways of protecting lands other than by acquisition. I hope it’s something people will think about for future generations.