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W̱ENÁ¸NEĆ /Hwune’nuts Sea Gardens

On full moon Summer Solstice and National Indigenous Peoples Day (Friday, June 21), we spent the morning monitoring clams at the Sea Garden in W̱ENÁ¸NEĆ /Hwune’nuts (Fulford Harbour), near Isabella Point.

From 10-noon, we hosted an educational tour in partnership with W̱SÁNEĆ Elders Mark & Robert Sampson, Penelakut Elder Ken Thomas, Parks Canada, and the Salt Spring Island Foundation, as part of a weekend of National Indigenous Peoples Day events.

Along with building a rock wall to terrace the beach surface, First Nations people tended clam gardens by carrying large rocks out of the garden, removing predators and excessive seaweed, and by tilling the sediment. At the event, Parks Canada collected butter clam samples for genetic testing as they and the W̱SÁNEĆ and Quw'wutsun First Nations explore reseeding these beaches with well-adapted baby clams to accelerate recovery of these ingenious mariculture sites. More great videos and information is available from the WSÁNEĆ Leadership Council and at The Clam Garden Network.

Robert Sampson had just returned from Sitka, Alaska, where they'd be invited to share about Sea Garden restoration with the Tlingit Band. Erich Kelch, the Parks Canada lead on this project, told us that over 700 clam garden sites have now been discovered from Olympia, Washington up through B.C. and Alaska.

Big thanks to the SSI Foundation for supporting this community event, to SD64 Indigenous Education for their ongoing support, and to Robert and Mark Sampson and Ken Thomas and Parks Canada for sharing with us all!

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