Conservation Breakfast to highlight nature connection

Free event conducted virtually Thursday with panelists

During the online Conservation Breakfast this Thursday, speakers — from left, David Brownell, Emma Brownell, Erik Kingfisher and Stormy Purser — will discuss how local tribes care for the land. The four are pictured last spring on Chimacum Ridge, one of the parcels the Jefferson Land Trust is working to preserve. (Tim Lawson/Jefferson Land Trust)

During the online Conservation Breakfast this Thursday, speakers — from left, David Brownell, Emma Brownell, Erik Kingfisher and Stormy Purser — will discuss how local tribes care for the land. The four are pictured last spring on Chimacum Ridge, one of the parcels the Jefferson Land Trust is working to preserve. (Tim Lawson/Jefferson Land Trust)

This year’s Conservation Breakfast is about nourishment — both from the land and from knowledge handed down through generations.

“Listening to the Land: Understanding the Indigenous Landscape of Jefferson County” is the name of the virtual program at 9 a.m. Thursday — online and free to the public — while tribal members and historians from neighboring counties will also appear.

The Jefferson Land Trust invites local residents to tune in to the 90-minute discussion after signing up in advance; to reserve a free spot, visit www.saveland.org/breakfast.

The S’Klallam, Makah, Hoh, Quileute, Quinault and other local indigenous people hold a deep, ancient connection with the plants and animals of the Olympic Peninsula, noted Ric Brewer, Land Trust community relations manager.

To explore how that bond informs today’s land conservation practices, five people will sit down at the virtual Conservation Breakfast table: Jamestown S’Klallam tribal member Kathy Duncan, Jamestown tribe traditional foods and culture program assistant Emma Brownell, Port Gamble S’Klallam tribal member Stormy Purser and Jefferson Land Trust Conservation Director Sarah Spaeth are all panelists.

David Brownell, a former Jamestown tribe staff member who is now director of the North Olympic History Center in Port Angeles, will serve as moderator.

The discussion, Brewer said, will go into how indigenous people have thrived for millennia alongside the natural resources of the Peninsula.

After David Brownell provides some brief context, the panelists will talk about the traditional ecological knowledge kept strong by local tribes.

The Conservation Breakfast “illustrates the growing collaboration among local tribes and the Land Trust,” Brewer said.

It also will reflect on the cultural legacy vital to understanding the current landscape.

“By incorporating the accumulation of centuries of knowledge, practice and belief handed down for many generations, we can create a more holistic approach to land management,” he added.

The nonprofit Jefferson Land Trust, an organization dedicated to preserving the rural character and iconic landscapes of Jefferson County, has protected more than 17,500 acres of farmland and wildlife habitat, according to saveland.org. This includes the 853-acre Chimacum Ridge Forest, which the trust intends to acquire and transform into a community forest, added Stephanie Wiegand, Land Trust communications manager.

Just last spring, she added, David and Emma Brownell, Purser and Land Trust stewardship director Erik Kingfisher visited the property to explore what native plants were present. These could potentially be harvested for future use by the tribal community, Wiegand said.

The Jefferson Land Trust’s Clallam County counterpart, the North Olympic Land Trust, will hold its Conservation Breakfast next month.

The guest speaker at 9 a.m. April 22 is Robert Michael Pyle, author of “The Audubon Society Field Guide to the Butterflies of North America,” “Watching Washington Butterflies” and “Handbook for Butterfly Watchers.” To RSVP to that online event, visit northolympiclandtrust.org.

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