Monday, June 1, 2015

FRIENDS of the San Juans à Canoë

This weekend Canoe Island French Camp was honored to host members and friends of the FRIENDS of the San Juans, an organization founded in 1979 that advocates for healthy and sustainable communities in the San Juan Islands. For Stephanie Buffum, the FRIENDS Executive Director, there are three key pieces to creating a thriving community: citizen science, community engagement and continuity of people being there.

Tina Whitman with a captive audience at Malmaison beach

Tina Whitman, the FRIENDS science director, shared her citizen science research techniques for monitoring and restoring forage fish habitats. Gary Bergren from Lopez recounted a story of witnessing surf smelt spawning in an area that had been restored a year earlier. Troy Olsen of Lummi Indian Nation gave a powerful talk on the reef net fishing revival movement and presented his handmade model of a sxwole (reef net). Debbie Fincher from San Juan Excursions introduced the group to the resident orcas and ways to advocate for them.

Joseph, Troy,  Mike, Shirley, Stephanie and Connie with Troy's model sxwole

Between discussions folks enjoyed the wonderful homemade cuisine, canoed, kayaked, played soccer and tennis, roamed the island in search of plants and birds and gathered around a campfire for songs and s’mores. The thriving community experienced this weekend is just the beginning of the many enduring friendships to be made here this summer during camp. We at Canoe Island would like to thank all who participated this weekend and we hope to see you, à bientôt.