Kitsap County, WA – A new crop of Kitsap County Beach Naturalists is in the larval stage, growing quickly and, like wandering barnacle plankton, each member is searching for the best place to settle down and contribute to the health and well-being of the plants, animals and people of the Salish Sea.
We met weekly for five action packed weeks to soak on subjects from plankton and seaweeds, to marine invertebrates and insects, as well as big picture topics such as global patterns, restoration and preservation. Out on the beach and armed with our handy identification guides, we applied learning as we tracked wonder in the shallow waters and rocky tide pools of five local marine parks.
Expertly led and nurtured by WSU marine ecologist Jeff Adams, our group started out in April with lots of curiosity and enthusiasm. As we have waded into the water together, I saw the unmistakable expression of curiosity and child-like wonder on your faces . We have all been absorbing material in different ways for different reasons, but we all have one experience in common… wonder… which is defined as “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.”
As a teacher for over 30 years, I got up every morning in hoping to see that expression on the faces of my students, and when I saw it, I knew learning would be deeper, highly personal and have the potential to grow into something much larger than isolated facts and skills. Wonder leads to discoveries of design and function, as well as application and inspiration. But wonder is like a seed that must be nurtured and fed and I hope you will cultivate wonder on a daily basis in yourself and the people around you, especially children. Pacific Wonder Tracker is my whisper of an attempt to encourage north westerners to fan the embers of wonder for this magnificent place and discover the worlds within worlds found only here.
Now it is mid-May and we are winding up this year’s formal adventure together. It has been pure pleasure to track wonder with all of you and to enjoy our shared love of the beautiful and mysterious Salish Sea.
Cultivate Wonder… Discover Design
Many thanks to Jackie McLure, who encouraged me to just jump in and start Wonder Tracker, an idea that has been simmering in my mind for a long time, and to Jeff Adams, Sam Larson, Sylvia Yang and Kitsap Beach Naturalists for providing enough material for years and years of inspiration.