One River | Five Voices

we wear the otter because they live in
the water and the water is really important to us and then we wear the
deer on our feet and in our dresses because the deer are a source of food in
our hair we wear feathers and that we represent the eagle feather and how
important to air is they all represent the elements that we need to live to
survive that’s our connection to this Columbia Plateau I work for the Yakima
nation fisheries we conduct juvenile salmon steelhead population surveys
there’s little salmon there there’s a whole bunch of em, t hey just hatched. Rock Creek, a lot of it is hard to access. There were some good and landowners and they
allowed us to go in and c…collect data. Since the 70s there was a not so
good relationship between a landowner and the Yakama Nation. He owns a lot of
the watershed to pursue this project I’d have to get his permission and it was
really hard at beginning a lot of the ranchers and lot of the tribal folks in
the area they all said he’s not going to let you on his land and you know it’s
kind of worried but I went to him and I approached him he didn’t want to come out
to the door and he just stuck his head out and then I told him my mission the
fisheries and need to be protected and he was concerned for the the fish and so he
allowed it and I was really thankful he’d be heard and
he’s cattles out and we’d be doing our surveys up and we kind of crossed paths
and he just smiled he was happy and I think I was the first Yakama person
that had been able to work with him I started looking around for land that
would be appropriate for a vineyard and that brought me to the Gorge. Got the
whole family here. Gorge has a lot of different habitats within a very short
distance and that’s what makes actually this area very exciting [music] I think I got a little disenchanted with
agricultural research. There was a lot of money being put in by the pesticide
companies and also there’s a lot of pressure for fragmentation. People will
subdivide their land to get more money and create the obstacles for our natural
system to function properly and so this constant conflict Humans show a lot of fear to nature.
Because we’re showing fear is actually indicative that we’ve lost our
connection with the natural world and because we don’t know it we’re fearful of it. the approach we’ve taken…the vineyard is
part of the natural system there was a logical step to take our winemaking and
make a very natural wine we don’t add anything, we don’t add no sulfites, we
just help shepherd it through its stages. when I first started it it wasn’t clear
that it was going to work but I had faith in it. The moment that I decided I was going to
work in conservation honestly was when I was four years old All through growing up I was really just
interested in farming preservation and ended up going to school for
conservation policy. I got into this work at the age of 23.
I’m pretty young for an ED. I just kind of jumped…jumped right in. [Outdoor recreation economy
that’s so essential…] It’s important to be fearless in this line of work. We’re
dealing with threats to funding, easements, tax incentives for landowners. I’m getting up in front of you know committees and testifying at hearings [also protect the natural resources the clean water that’s so important to our
state] If we don’t make conservation a priority and really double down on
protecting the places that we care about the most right now, we lose our history
and the culture of this region we also lose huge parts of our economy In the US it when the housing market
crashed, that’s when I moved here. Couldn’t find a job didn’t know what to
do, so I started working in the yard. I find out about the Pacific Northwest
through the soil through the dirtying my hands [come on Jess] I currently work as a
technician for the backyard habitat certification program. It’s a program to
revitalize the urban landscape. It’s about bringing elements of wilderness into your backyard to support species that are already here and
thriving in this ecoregion. I’m sitting right here talking to you with the same
fear that everybody out there feels Change is imminent change is just the
beat at which the expression of life happens. I feel that if I only focused on
the fears that I felt at that moment when I moved I never would have enjoyed
this path that led me to the backyard habitat program. I would have missed the
opportunity to engage in something as beautiful and fulfilling as working with
nature. We see ourselves separate from nature but we are nature and taking care
of it it’s just the reflection of loving ourselves and our communities. It’s the
same thing Living on the north coast has been
really the total thrill of my life, it’s been my life been here 73 years. I was a biology teacher at Seaside High
School for thirty-one years. Saying conservation in 1970 in a biology
classroom had some challenges, spent a couple of times in my principal’s office
having discussions about talking about conservation a little too much in my
classes that time everybody all the high schools were trying to pretend like they
were colleges. 15, 16 year-olds reading books they were learning nothing. Went
down to the shop with all the textbooks band sawed the backs off of the books and
then reorganized them into just two or three page sections that I’d pull and
just give the students those little pieces and then we’re gonna use the
landscape as the textbook that was where the photography come in and we’d start
out photographing through the microscope what I found along way was that that
camera was an interface with young people and so I started piling up two
cameras and got a wrote a grant to kodak got ten cameras so really become an
instrument of education. We’re really tied to the Columbia Plateau through our
foods you know. Teaching was that the foods take care of us you know they all
sustain us so that we can live and in return we’re supposed to take care of it. Nature is inherently messy. That’s what it likes that’s what all the species
like. I think it’s important always to to look at it from point of view of how do
we fit in. That just cements that connection to the wild system that we’re
trying to live with him and we have to fit into that system
as we’re trying to do that we’re trying to do. Is that what we’re trying to do? She’ll learn! It’s absolutely critical that were
bold and decisive. Now is the time with all of these challenges
that face our environment It’s the right to do. when things are changing the
most that’s when creativity sparks the best. Humans are creative beings were
curious beings full of limitless potential so to be fearful is to close
ourselves to that potential. …just being fearless, but being fearless because you
know that you have a vision and a plan that fits a culture. You’ve got to think
about it in a larger context. That’s really what I want to do is my
photography is I want to be able to communicate that larger picture of that
whole ecosystem as a holistic phenomena [music]

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