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Wild Stone Day
First Annual Wild Stone Day
Wild Stone Day: Welcoming the Salmon Home
Wild Stone Day - Welcoming the Salmon Home is an event we take a "wild" stone we have found on our hikes and travels or even our backyards, come together and share the story of our stones. We then cast our stones into the City of Olympia's Capitol Lake as a symbolic gesture of restoring salmon habitat. Capitol Lake, a man-made lake created at the point where the Deschutes River enters Puget Sound, was originally dredged out to be a "reflecting pool" to display the image of the State Capitol.
The wild run of coho salmon are in serious decline, although the lake has a run of hatchery salmon. The surrounding area of the lake has been redesigned as an urban park and is presently under renovation. There are two underlying themes. The first is to impress upon people that the 'Lake" is really a living ecosystem of the Deschutes River and should be treated as such. The second is that we are here to elevate and honor the mandate of the Endangered Species Act to save salmon from extinction.
By involving people in a public expression of sharing their stories as an act of commitment, Wild Stone Day creates a tradition within the urban corridor which will influence citizens' behavior to protect our water. Nature is physical and protection cannot be achieved only on an intellectual or technological level. It must be acted out in rituals, stories, and daily acts of protective behavior.
First Annual Wild Stone Day - Welcoming the Salmon Home
October 8, 2000
We meet today to start thinking about the quality of water here in the South Sound and what we can do for the salmon who must survive in that water, as well as ourselves whose life depends on the life of the salmon. The Endangered Species Act is very very important as a piece of legislation to force us to think about ecological quality issues. Whatever we will be able to do for the salmon is a result of the ESA. We must start celebrating and creating culture around the waters.
On Wild Stone Day people will bring a "wild" stone they have found on their hikes and travels or even in their backyards, share a personal story of their stone, and cast that stone into the City of Olympia's Capitol Lake as a symbolic gesture of restoring salmon habitat. This will begin the creation of conversations around the stories shared that day and about the stones everyone will know are lying at the bottom . Capitol Lake, a human-made lake created at the point where the Deschutes River enters Puget Sound, was originally dredged out to be a "reflecting pool" to display the image of the State Capitol. The wild run of coho salmon are in serious decline, although the lake has a run of hatchery salmon. The surrounding area of the lake has been redesigned as an urban park and is presently under renovation. We forget that Capitol Lake is really the Deschutes River. It is a living system. Instead of the Capitol building reflecting in the lake, the lake should be a reflection of what goes on in the building - of how the people and legislators of the state of Washington choose to act about wildlife protection in the lake and in this state. Instead of treating it as an urban park we should be preserving it like the Nisqually Delta.
As part of Wild Stone Day a conference will be scheduled specifically for organizers of other 'salmon welcoming' celebrations to discuss our individual purposes and regional intent for producing such ceremonies. Besides a conference, a festival of art and information about salmon will take place along the shore of the lake and throughout the City of Olympia. A 'riparian zone of respect' will be set up around the lake for educational purposes. Outside the zone will be informational booths set up by any group or agency working with salmon restoration. It will be the tradition of "throwing one's stone as a commitment to saving salmon" that will be the signature piece of the event. People bringing a "wild stone" to throw in the lake will be encouraged to tell the story of their stone to at least one other person and to choose at least one activity they can personally do in the coming year to save salmon habitat.
And finally, we will attempt to bend technology and begin 150 years of conversations by having a helicopter similar to those used for logging carry a large stone from the Olympia Farmers Market to hover over the middle of Capitol Lake and drop the stone into the lake as part of the ceremony. Although it will never be seen again, everyone will always remember watching it fall. It is in this conversation that culture resides. The stone will be something like limestone from a local quarry and will be at the Farmers Market for a month before the 2001 event. It will be carved in a salmon motif by willing artists and the public.
We see art as behavior, as a medium of expressing how we choose to behave on this planet. Art is seen more as entertainment rather than the historical cultural relationships. But in this event art will be woven into the thread of everyone's consciousness for a long time to come.
A few stone stories
I took my stone from a small Zen garden at home, a sacred space. This has the magic that I create from my garden. It represents my commitment to the earth and carries the memory of back when I advocated for the salmon at the Dept. of Ecology at a public hearing. I wanted my daughter to witness salmon in the streams and not as pictures in a book. I don't want the salmon to go the way of the passenger pigeon.--Mark Gray
This comes from Porter Washington near Elma. It has an ancient life form embedded in it. This represents a time when there was no intervention by humans, when life existed as it did.--CJ Russo
The stone is broken as is our educational activities. People know what they need to know to save the salmon but are not doing it or teaching others how to do it.--Mike O'Malley
I picked up this rock up in 1972 from the headwaters of the Nile, where Livingston and Stanley met. This connects both living systems.--Marie Hodul
One rock came from the CleElum River behind a dam with no fish ladder. River restoration worldwide is an issue. We can start small, knowing that this will grow to something large. Man has chosen to destroy, but here today we can say No, it's wrong for us to destroy. The Columbia system is sick and desperately needs renewal. I have 150 stones I have picked up from all over so I have my supply for years to come.--Nancy and daughter Jessica Eberle
This is a crystal given to me by a friend, a purple amethyst. It has a vibrational energy that I choose to throw into the lake in hopes that the energy will continue vibrating until someday the lake can be restored to an estuary.--Ginger Phalen
This stone was found in a yard with trees and grass in a front yard. The Stones around the tree seemed to be a barrier dividing order and chaos. By picking up the stone I am doing my part to break down the barrier we set up between ourselves and the natural world.--David Moseley
My rock has a white circle which reminded me of the moon and the sun and the circle of the salmon life cycle and the circle of community.--Laurie Zuzoto
This is the spawning of an idea. You have today those first swims upstream. When you hear people with their stories you hear hope and possibilities. This is your commitment to be in a restorative and protective relationship with the nature that is part of us. It shows that it is possible to use a living system as an icon for behavior and a reminder that we live in a constant relationship with nature.