2021 Ecologist in Residence Paul Bordeau
“The one constant in an organism’s environment is change,” resident ecologist Paul Bordeau shared during last week’s Show & Tell event. As Paul talked about his research on human-caused environmental impacts my eye focused on the polar bear in his slide deck. I could almost feel the ice float thawing out from under its paws.
I confess that the spring equinox snuck up on me this year. I wasn’t quite ready, and its arrival has me increasingly aware of an anxiety that has been building. Part of me is as eager as we all are for vaccinations to roll out, for schools, theaters and museums to reopen and for social interactions and travel to resume. The part of me that feels as if the earth spins faster and faster out from under us, however, has found a sense of equilibrium in this year of dormancy, one my body is signaling it is not quite ready to disrupt.
Do some hibernating animals feel vulnerable reluctance at the first inner stirrings of spring? Does it take an act of subterranean courage for an introverted daffodil to force its way up to the frosty surface and reemerge? If I were a fern, this year my fronds would still be tightly wound, held close to the chest.
As Paul’s talk continued, however, I felt my fiddleheads relax a little. As he shared how the kelp canopy serves as an ocean deacidification oasis, I pictured the sail-like canopies we string up in the courtyard for the workshop season, warm light filtering through the Sitka spruces. I remembered how serene it feels to be with you during workshop season, and the balance of togetherness and solitary exploration that happens on our silvan campus. The sketching workshop I took with my mother two summers ago was some of the most reflective and rejuvenating time I’ve had in years, and I imagined experiencing those immersive and generative feelings again.
For those of us eager for in-person workshops, public registration for Sitka’s summer season is now open, and for some workshops waitlists are already forming. For late bloomers like me, many of our workshops are being offered this year with options to participate virtually or in person, your choice. I encourage you to sign up now and reserve your spot and to listen to your inner voice and regional health guidelines as the spring and summer evolve.
Unfurling at my own pace,