Live blogging SalmonAid
A day spent celebrating and raising awareness for salmon.
The second year of SalmonAid is also Oregon Wild's second year of participation. The SalmonAid festival is the largest gathering of West Coast salmon advocates in the country and brings together conservationists, tribes, commercial fishermen and more. Yours truly, will be manning the Oregon Wild table at the festival while Klamath Campaign Coordinator Ani Kame'enui helps staff the event to keep things running smoothly. Throughout the day today (and tomorrow) I'll try and keep y'all up to date on the SalmonAid happenings.
Just finished setting up the table with all the Oregon Wild goodies: stickers, temporary tattoos, fact sheets, books, postcards, newsletters, and a special salmon mask designed specifically for this event (we'll see if I end up with one on my head by the end of the weekend).
The festival is housed in Oakland's Jack London Square. The square is right on the harbor and after yesterday's setup is packed with tents and tables (all ready to blow away if a strong gust comes up). We've got a restaurant set up on the square all ready to serve up some fantastic fresh and local salmon delicacies. There's also a stage for the musical acts which are supposed to be some rockin' blues acts.
Just a few minutes ago I had my first booth visitor--a self described "homeless artist." He grabbed one of the salmon masked and went to town with his own crayons to create a message for the kiddies who will be coloring their own later. He colored brightly around the edges of the salmon on the page, being careful not to fill in any of the actual fish. He wrote at the top: "If they die out there will be nothing to color in." He asked me if I thought people would get the message. I think so. We'll see. Tribal prayer ceremony starts soon. Check back soon.
Things are picking up. Lots of folks coming through the table. Most are from the Bay Area but some are from farther afield. I'm telling Californians that we pulled a novelty act and came from Oregon to California rather than vice versa. Not sure how well my CA to OR migration humor will go over. Ani and I are committed to unloading all the materials we flew down with. We've decided that a duffel bag full of newsletters is not something we want to fly back with.
The postcard signing business is brisk. We've got a great Patagonia pullover to give away to the winner of the raffle although I think people are equally motivated by the prospect of influencing salmon recovery on the Klamath. This is a pretty activist oriented crowd.
The band that kicked things off sang a version of Jackie Wilson's "Higher and Higher." Made me think of Ghostbusters II. For the rest of the day, I'm going to channel that film into some "dam-busting efforts."
Lots of people, lots of sunshine, and the wrong shirt for Sean. Short sleeves tomorrow for sure. I'm surprised at the number of folks coming through the festival that have lived in Oregon. Universally they say something along the lines of, "I lived in Oregon for a few years and I moved here for work and ever since I've been trying to get back."
I even encountered a former Oregonian who worked for the Willamette National Forest in the 1940s fighting fires. We chatted about how the Ranger Districts have changed over the years and got to talking about Detroit. Turns out they had to move the whole town back in the 40s to make way for the reservoir behind the dam. It also turns out that this particular former Oregonian is an Oregon Wild supporter. You can travel far and wide and find folks that care about the wildlands, wildlife, and waters of our great state!
Seen some colorful characters and a few fish--and one person that fits both of those bills. Can't decide if I am inspired or terrified by this fish-costumed lady. But she was working the crowd, I can tell you that.
There is a nice breeze here that's keeping me cool but also wreaking a little bit of havoc on easily gusted materials.
Combined, Ani and I have discussed Oregon salmon issues with three different reporters/documentarians. There sure are alot of microphones in the square today.