14 November 2005

Marking Our Place: Presentations pt.1

Last night, approximately forty people gathered in the Large Meeting Room of the new Medford Public Library to watch four groups present their projects for the Jefferson Nature Center's Marking Our Place Project.

The first group shared their fictional controversy surrounding the development of the Sky Lakes Wilderness. Each member of the group role played a different participant involved in the debated development. Diana Coogle started as Joe Woods, the folk-speaking man who wants to bring people to nature: "Don't worry about the bears; we can take care of them." Then, Marylou McAuley took the podium as the spokesperson for the World Wildlife Federation, crying out for a stand against the development and calling Joe Woods on his rhetoric. Next, Karen Phillips provided the voice of a child who visited Sky Lakes with its mom. Diana returned as the head of a Headwaters project, concerned about the environmental impact of such development, followed by Marylou, who portrayed the mall-trolling woman who was interviewed by the news regarding the development ("Anyone who's seen my backyard knows I love Nature; I mean, there isn't a single bug in my yard and the grass is the greenest on the block). Karen ended the skit as the voice of the Sky Lakes Wilderness itself, reading the script while standing behind a picture from the Wilderness.

The second group visited the Bear Creek Greenway Group, representing the bit of nature that hides within the urban areas of the Rogue Valley. Each member worked on separate projects. Betsy Moore, expressing a complete lack of civil responsibility for not having spent enough time on the Greenway in the past, painted three versions of the watershed: one needlework canvas to allow stitching across Bear Creek to indicate where people cross, one comic painting representing the feudal kingdoms of the valley and awaiting captions, and one representation of the field next to the future site of the JNC building with crop circles for communicating with aliens.

Also in the second group, Althea Godfrey read her poem about watching for salmon in Bear Creek as an iconic act, lamenting the absence of salmon spawning in Bear Creek and having to travel to the Rogue River to feel the power of the fish. Bruce Marsh rounded out the Greenway Group with a DVD of pictures of the Greenway accompanied by "Salmon Song," a piece of guitar/mandolin music written and performed by Bruce.

The third group was us, the Rocky Point Klamath Bird Observatory. I've already written about our contribution, so I won't elaborate. Except, I wound up trembling as I read my story. I always think I'll be all cool in front of people, but wind up shaking sheets of paper instead.

The fourth group consisted of high school students who spent time at the site of the Jefferson Nature Center. They drew pictures of the site and wrote little reflections on the site. Two of the three students were unable to attend the event, so the adult facilitator introduced their pieces and Logan Harper read their reflections along with his own one-page essay.

I look forward to next week's presentation in Ashland, where groups from Yale Creek Ranch, Cascade-Siskiyou Monument, Greensprings Oak Woodlands, Lithia Park, and Table Rocks will share their projects. I understand there will be dance and music performances.

Join me Sunday, November 20, from 6-9 pm at the Ashland Public Library for Marking Our Place: Presentations pt. 2.

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