Without a doubt, salmon is one of the most iconic species of the Pacific Northwest. Its significance is far-reaching, and for thousands of years, has been at the center of cultural rituals and economic activities. Salmon are also an indicator species, in that they serve as a key measure of ecosystem health and vitality.
Jeremy FiveCrows of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission spoke about the various salmon species in the state and discussed the cultural and ecological importance of restoring them and their fragile habitat.
Experts Dr. Erica Fleishman, Director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, and Lynn Tompkins, Executive Director of Blue Mountain Wildlife, discussed the recent heatwaves, how they impacted forests and wildlife, and what we can do to combat climate change, restore fragile ecosystems, and support wildlife care centers and their incredible work to protect injured animals.
There's no question about it: Indigenous peoples have the longest memory of, and most profound connections to the life cycles of native plants and animals. Wenix Red Elk, the Education Outreach Coordinator for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), spoke about the specifics and preparation of First Foods like salmon, deer, elk, camas bulbs, biscuitroot and huckleberry.
Jessica Kieras is an avid swimmer, and delights in open-water swimming, ultra-distance swims, and even cold water swims! She's chronicled many of her adventures in her blog, Oregon Lake Bagging, and joined us to recount her recent 13-mile swim at Waldo Lake. She offered a variety of wisdom for more terrestrially-inclined people, including tips on how to get started.