I grew up on asphalt near the streets of Boston, Massachusetts. Every Friday night, cod and baked beans graced our dinner table. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that weekly meal became a part of who I was, where I grew up, and the connections I made to New England. That meal created a coastal connection for me, one which remains with me to this day.
Today, I’m an Oregonian, and while I cannot boast of being a 7th generation Oregonian, I can tell you I’ve pitched a tent on Steens Mountain, pulled a crab pot off the Oregon Coast, harvested an elk with a muzzeloader, and hiked the wondrous trails of Opal Creek. I definitely consider myself an Oregonian.
In a few weeks, the Oregon Marine Reserves Partnership and Oregon State University are hosting a small workshop in Newport to engage in discussions with people of all backgrounds and interests about how we connect to and value Oregon’s marine reserves. It’s going to be an interesting discussion.
From my perspective, marine reserves are living laboratories, places we have designated to conduct research to better understand the status and functioning of our nearshore ocean. Will they someday mean and be more than that? Only time will tell. I only know that we cannot value what we do not relate to, so I’m hoping all Oregonians learn about why Oregon created marine reserves and what information we are learning as we study these ecosystems. Cod and baked beans helped me to develop a relationship with coasts and oceans – what connects you to Oregon’s marine reserves?