Natural Color on the Creek

April 17, 2010

The banks of the last central Californian Salmon run–a young man stands on the edge of the Lagunitas creek.  He was accompanied by a group of 20 exquisite sixth graders.  We spent a limited amount of time together– just a few hours, surprisingly it was plenty of time to shed the effects of the long car ride from the body, the squirmy response to bugs, and initial trepidation of moving from their urban homeland and onto the land.  I asked the students as they were about to leave, what they would like to see on this site if they were to come back in ten years… a big question, but one they had no problem answering.

After this was taken the students spent a few final moments standing on logs, looking into the clear fresh water. This creek had a return of 66 salmon this year, and I’m grateful for those fish that made it.  And yet, with a population that used to be thousands upon thousands strong– the situation does engender a mix of sadness and hope simultaneously.

Students show coffeeberry scarves in front of that very plant, that was recently placed into the new 'Rain-drop Dye Garden' at the SPAWN gounds

As more young people are given opportunities to get into the ecosystem, and process it through the sensory experiences provided through the visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic systems– the more the land is embedded into their awareness–an unforgettable collage of native plant colors, warm mud, draping arroyo willow branches, and the promise of salmon is created and woven in memory and will inspire untold and infinite small actions.

Preparing for the toyon and coffeeberry dye vats

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3 Responses to “Natural Color on the Creek”

  1. velma Says:

    i want to visit this river, too, and find salmon people. great responses from your kids. i think there are some bloodroot people outside my backdoor right now.

  2. ecologicalartist Says:

    i would think Bloodroot people make nice neighbors.

    A community of salmon people wearing native plant dyed clothes– good image, good thing to focus our attention towards.

    Such great young people!

  3. velma Says:

    and the bloodroot people saying “hey”. we have salmon on this side of the country, too. two “salmon rivers” that i know of in two counties hereabouts.


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