Special Guest from the Seattle Times

Last week the 7th grade had the opportunity to host Seattle Times environmental reporter Lynda Mapes.  Students have read some of her articles on dam removal at the Elwha, in advance of our trip to NatureBridge.Her series can be found here.

Lynda shared her experiences over the years meeting with tribal elders, the two sole employees at the dam, scientists and various community members who managed to come to consensus.  Their decision to remove two dams in the interest of preserving salmon (and all the species they impact) and restoring the Elwha-Klallam tribe’s access to sacred sites was unprecedented.

Scientists have been monitoring dramatic changes as the Elwha River – having found its natural path – heals the environment and communities. There was truly no manual for destroying a dam, as it’s never been done like this. There is likewise no record of how an ecosystem recovers from the trauma of dam construction in an era with no rules to protect species. (The dams were built in 1911.)

Lynda Mapes was under deadline when she came to SGS. Her front page story in this past Sunday’s issue of the Seattle Times is here. She was about to leave to cover news of the proposed Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain oil-pipeline, planning an expansion from Alberta to Burnaby. The article is about the thousands who marched last Saturday to prevent this expansion.

Students did a beautiful job of appreciating her in person for coming. Here’s what a few recall:

“She knows a lot and was very informative.” Hannah S.

“I discovered another path of career which is environmental journalism. This would mean being able to go into the wild to see it with my own eyes and document it so everyone knows about it.” Mathilde

“It was inspiring and made me really excited to go to NatureBridge.” Eden

“She knew a lot about the topic and I really like the quality of the pictures.” Helen

“Lynda Mapes was really informative and it was really easy to pay attention to.” Landa

We are all very excited about our upcoming trip to NatureBridge, March 26 – 28, bordering on Olympic National Park. We will see in person the sights and history Lynda spoke of, and will physically take part in bringing the ecosystem back to life.

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