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Summer Solstice Celebration

Plans for the future

Summer Solstice: Celebrating Fathers, Kayaks, and the Natural World

In dynamic response to the need to integrate a visible family presence into environmental education, this project will bridge the earth-based spirit of the summer solstice with the community-based spirit of Father's Day. The goal is to blend the value-based learning of Aldo Leopold's land ethic with the family ethic of responsibility as a means to restore a community ethic of water conservation. The format will be the creation of a kayak and canoe symposium at the confluence of the Deschutes River and Puget Sound - Capitol Lake. Kayaks will be the medium for conveying an ethic of water quality as well as a family and community interaction of consideration and sustainability.

A Celebration of Father's Day, Kayaks and the Natural World" is especially significant because it bridges two important elements in the structure of any successful community: fathers and water. Based on the recognition that no one will be willing to protect salmon or aquatic habitat until they are connected to water, one of the primary tiers of the program is to invest people in the outdoor recreational use of kayaks. At the same time, the Sunday before summer solstice is typically Father's Day. The design of the program will be to create a family event with an environmental theme that is not general but is specific to the roles and place of both father' and water.

Newspaper article:
Say it with flowers: South Sound greets summer

At present, Earth Day is the only community day dedicated to encouraging appreciation and protection of the natural environment. The Summer Solstice Celebration, as produced by Earthbound Productions in partnership with other local organizations, is designed to bring community members together in a public recognition of our interconnection and dependence upon the natural systems of the planet. Free of charge and open to the entire community, the solstice program engages participants through music, thought and theater in a manner that reflects the wonderment and sacredness of all living creatures.

9th Annual Summer Solstice Celebration
Say it with flowers: South Sound greets summer by Patrick Condon, The Olympian, Saturday, June 22, 2002

White, pink and yellow flower petals dappled the waters of Budd Inlet on Friday as a small group of South Sound residents celebrated the summer solstice at Percival Landing.

You couldn't have ordered better weather for the first day of summer and the longest day of the year.

By early afternoon, not one cloud interrupted the expanse of blue sky. A breeze kept the heat from stifling revelers as two dozen people tossed flower petals into the greenish water, making wishes to mark the quarterly change of season.

"Summer is just such a huge gift, especially in our part of the world," said Eli Sterling, the Procession of The Species mastermind who organized the gathering.

"The whole idea is to stop and smell the flowers."

The baskets of flowers on hand for the occasion included wildflowers that Sterling picked near the Olympic Mountains, as well as rhododendrons, roses and other contributions from local gardens and vacant lots.

Some celebrants learned that nature can be fickle, as the breeze blew many of the petals back onto the wooden deck of the landing.

Gita Moulton and Bonnie Coate, who first organized local solstice and equinox celebrations eight years ago, relaxed a bit as Sterling took the reins of organization.

The two stood to the side and blew bubbles that glinted in the sunlight.

"That's what you do when you get senile," Moulton joked.

Traditionally the seasonal celebrations have been at Heritage Park, but construction forced relocation onto the landing, Moulton said.

"The theory is that maybe if people get a little more into the spirit of nature, maybe they'll be a little kinder to it," Coate said.

Sarah Bear, owner of Flower Child Day School in Olympia, brought a group of kids, who excitedly grabbed fistfuls of flowers and tossed them into the water.

"We're always out and about, looking for opportunities to educate," Bear said. "This is a great way to teach them about the change of seasons.

"This is why I love this community: It offers this kind of opportunity, so unlike just about anyplace else I know."

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