Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dec. 2nd - Meet the Remarkable People of Whidbey Island's Special Places

One of the great things about Whidbey Island is that almost everyone has a story. And any adventure is more fun when you're with a good story-teller. That is the premise behind Whidbey Island's Special Places And the People Who Love Them.  It's also why I'm excited about an event happening this Thursday evening in Clinton -- the first-ever gathering of many of the people I interviewed for my book.

Susan Berta and Howard Garrett
When I wrote the book, I kept in mind that many people fall in love with the island and take beautiful photographs of the views and wildlife. But beauty is only skin deep and pictures convey a shallow experience. I wanted to give readers something more meaningful that would convey why this island is worthy of our love, understanding and care.

So I built the book around interviews with local guides who could help readers experience the island through their own voices and eyes.

Ranger Rick Blaa
I chose 10 individuals and couples whose passions range from birds to orcas, to flying, diving, biology, forestry, cemeteries, lighthouses, land protection, recreation and small-town life.

Thanks to Clinton Librarian Debby Colfer, we will gather many of these people together for the first time at 7 pm, Thursday, Dec. 2.  She had the idea to invite them and you to an evening she calls, "Special Places, Special People," at Clinton Community Hall.

The event is to honor the community volunteers who help keep our library going, and Debby thought it would be fun to get her special people together with as many as possible of mine to talk about the things we love. We all think this is pretty cool.

Veronica von Allworden
So please join us. If you have a copy of Whidbey Island's Special Places, bring it along to collect a slew of autographs from people you'd be proud to know. I'll also have it available for purchase.

My good friends, Craig & Joy Johnson, will be there with The Amazing Hummingbird Story of Red Rufous, their brand new children's book, hot off the press. It is the story of a Whidbey Island hummingbird whose birth Craig documented from "egg" to "fledgling" in a remarkable series of daily photographs 1-1/2 years ago. Now, a little about "my" people:

Sarah Schmidt
Rick Blank of Coupeville is a park ranger at Deception Pass State Park, and he's nuts about owls and eagles, and doing interpretive education.  He loves "when the light bulbs come on" -- helping someone see for the first time the value of nature and how all life is connected.

Maribeth Crandell is environmental educator for the City of Oak Harbor. She loves trails and exercise, and creative ways of teaching.  The more she talks about exercise, the faster she walks, as I learned while interviewing and photographing her one beautiful spring day on Oak Harbor's impressive shoreline trail.

Howard Garrett and Susan Berta of Greenbank are the voice and conscience of orcas. As founders of The Orca Network, they have dedicated their lives to understanding and protecting these beautiful, bright, social animals that live alongside us in the waters of Whidbey Island and Puget Sound.
Maribeth Crandell

Roger Sherman of Coupeville is a farmer, historian, ship's captain and author whose land overlooks the historic homesteads of Ebey's Prairie. He's a walking encyclopedia of pioneer history and the go-to guy if you're wondering where the bodies are buried at Sunnyside Cemetery, and the story of each one.

Dick Malone of Oak Harbor is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer and school teacher who loves history, forts and lighthouses, so it's not surprising he wound up as a volunteer at Admiralty Head Lighthouse, leading tours of these cherished island landmarks, and sharing his love and insights with visitors.

Craig and Joy Johnson of Freeland are passionate about wild birds. Joy is a writer. Craig is an artist, photographer and graphic designer. Together they have published several stunning books of wild bird photography, some gorgeous greeting cards available in local shops, and most recently their first children's book, The Amazing Hummingbird Story of Red Rufous.

Patricia Powell of Coupeville is director of Whidbey Camano Land Trust. She loves wildlife, and wildlife habitat.  Her organization has saved thousands of acres of natural habitats, scenic vistas, and working farms and forests, in partnership with island landowners.  "It's all about love," she says.

Patricia Powell
Roger Sherman
Elliott Menashe of Clinton is an environmental consultant and forester who helps landowners, developers and government find better ways to work with nature, not against it.  He took me on a long walk in the old-growth of South Whidbey State Park and opened my eyes to why such places are so priceless, and what they can teach us.

Sarah Schmidt of Coupeville, my good friend and colleague on many projects, is a biologist, bat expert, birder and principal author of Getting to the Water's Edge on Whidbey and Camano Islands.  She once remarked, "I love every bug, bird, bat and snake." That's Sarah.

Elliott Menashe
Veronica von Allworden of Langley is a pilot, diver and photographer who views our island from "under" and "over." She shared with me the story of gray whales that surfaced beside her while she was swimming in front of her Langley home. She is a volunteer naturalist at the Seattle Aquarium, an engaged member of The Orca Network and Whidbey Camano Land Trust, and has studied and spoken about whales, sharks and other marine life. Many island shops carry Veronica's gorgeous greeting cards of local aerial and underwater subjects.

Any community is as strong as the people who give something back. On Whidbey we are blessed with caring, gifted and engaged neighbors who build up their community in countless personal ways.

Dick Malone
On December 2, let's all get together and celebrate that spirit, and say thank you to our good friends for a job well done.

Special Places, Special People
Thursday, Dec. 2
7 - 8:30 pm
Clinton Community Hall 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Dan, you did a great job putting all these people together in a book, but I'm amazed you've managed to get them all in one place at the same time. Should be quite the party.