Exploring a tide pool. Photo: Andrea Ismert
Scrambling and climbing along the sandstone shoreline, I follow my older brother as he races across the cove. I love the feel of gritty rock on my bare feet; a slimy length of bull kelp in my hand. As I avoid the slippery seaweed and sharp barnacles lower on the rocks, I glance back towards my younger brother. He’s far behind, distracted by a crab or some other mystery of the ocean. The chittering war cry of a kingfisher echoes across the water, and I watch a flash of blue splash and fly away with a wriggling fish to land on a tree branch hanging over the water. I look for my older brother, but in my distraction he’s disappeared around a rocky bluff. I decide to head back, and see what my little brother has found.
Thirty years later, I’m still exploring the shoreline of the Gulf Islands with my two brothers, when the inconvenience of adulthood allows us the time. Often now we have our own sons and daughters with us, and I smile with memory when I see them exploring together, as we did when we were children. We live in a place still full of natural places to explore, but this is changing as human populations and activities increase. Sandwiched between two large urban centers, the future of the Salish Sea is uncertain. Each year the shoreline changes and becomes more developed. Along the 43km shoreline of Mayne Island alone there are 490 different private properties, each with a piece of paradise, and a responsibility to care for it.
We envision a culture within our community that celebrates and cares for the marine environment and the connection between the land and the sea. In order to properly care for this special place we have to acknowledge its fragility, make informed decisions, and work together as a community to find solutions. We invite you to learn more about our marine environment by participating in one of our many marine stewardship programs this year; from landowner consultations, to habitat monitoring and beach cleanups.
We’d like to acknowledge the Sitka Foundation for helping support our Shoreline Care Program this year!