Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Spring Projects Bring Summer Fun

Huge facility projects and programming logistics are in full swing as the camp prepares for the beginning of our program season. Ben and Jay are busily working on the remodel of the girls' bathroom, Joseph and Connie are readying the camp garden, tipis and trails, Margaret is liaising with campers and parents, excited to soon be arriving, and I am getting reacquainted with the programming for this summer (le Jacques Martin, fondue sur la plage, la nuit des moines... laissez les bon temps rouler!). We look forward to hosting the Orcas Bird Festival’s participating scientists on Thursday and participants of our Spring Work Party this weekend. A grand merci to our Canoe Island family and friends for continuing to support this magical place!

A bientôt!


Ben prepping the bathroom for its new counter!

Monday, April 20, 2015

For the birds à Canoë

Canoe Island is for the birds this April. Looking for a ray of sunshine early one morning to warm me out of my torpor, I marched from the shady porch of Malmaison along le chemin de la plage to the sun-kissed grass slopes along the north east side of the island. The forest was humming with morning songbirds. See me pretty pretty me! See me pretty pretty me! White-crowned sparrows have warmed up enough to declare their beauty to all. Chickadee dee dee dee chest-nut backed chickadees announce their presence by singing their name. cheee cheee cheee Kingfishers zip along the rocky shore hunting for their breakfast. Knock Knock Knock A majestic raven welcomes the bevy of returning birds from their long migrations. zeeee zeeeee chupitty chip chip!  A Rufus hummingbird warns me not to venture too close to its claimed territory. Soon Mr. hummingbird will have to become accustomed to people on island. Our programming starts this weekend with the annual on island board retreat!

To celebrate this spring air and the birds that fill it with sweet songs, here are the last few stanzas of a poem by Victor Hugo entitled, Après l’hiver, 26 juin 1878

"Ô printemps! bois sacrés! ciel profondément bleu!
On sent un souffle d'air vivant qui vous pénètre,
Et l'ouverture au loin d'une blanche fenêtre;
On mêle sa pensée au clair-obscur des eaux;
Ob a le doux bonheur d'être avec les oiseaux
Et de voir, sous l'abri des branches printanières,
Ces messieurs faire avec ces dames des manières."

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Je suis de ces eaux, terres et montagnes

Bonjour à tous! I am excited to be returning to Canoe as the Program Coordinator after two years of being away. During my absence from Canoe Island I completed a Masters program in Environmental Education through Western Washington University and the North Cascades Institute.This included a year long residency at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center where I developed knowledge and skills of Northwest natural history, non-profit administration and leadership. My time at the Institute also included being an instructor for Mountain School, an environmental education program that welcomes groups of fifth graders through seniors in high school to explore the North Cascades ecosystems via experiential learning and inquiry based field studies.The experience was unique and inspiring. It has been wonderful to work and play among the peaks of the North Cascades. I am happy to be returning to the inter-tidal zones of the San Juan Islands. Raised in the little bayside town of Poulsbo Washington, vibrant sunsets and salty air were well missed during my time in the mountains. I'm also thrilled to become reacquainted with my love of French language and culture, which was the focus of one of my bachelor degrees. I look forward to working with staff and campers to ensure a positive atmosphere of exploration and discovery of French language, culture and the San Juan Islands. I hope to incorporate my love of natural history, my curiosity of all things French, and the happenings here at Canoe Island into my blog posts for your reading pleasure.

As a final introduction, I'm happy to share a photo of an artistic map I created, under the tutelage of Jocelyn Curry, that represents my home, the Pacific Northwest.

A bientôt,
Sarah Stephens