Walk for the Wild Things, Tofino Style

Locals came together on November 30th to mark their concern for vanishing wildlife as part of an international series of events (see website: https://onca.org.uk/2018/11/20/some-of-us-did-not-die/ )
In Tofino the event was marked by a walk from South Chesterman Beach to Frank Island, a reflective opportunity to challenge the creative mind to act with hope in our commitment to nature.




The walk was followed by a beach fire at which Pacific Rim National Park warden Tanya Dowdall shared information about locally endangered species and the need for all of us to keep pushing for better and setting examples of excellence for others to follow.
Poet Sherry Marr reflected on the event with this poem: https://stardreamingwithsherrybluesky.blogspot.com/2018/11/in-remembrance-of-lost-species.html

Locally endangered species identified by the park include:
Basking Shark
Edwards’ Beach Moth
Southern Resident Killer Whale
Northern Abalone
Pink Sand Verbena
Sand Verbena Moth
Red Knot
Seaside Centipede Lichen

It is significant that the list of threatened and endangered species in Canada is many pages long.
Thanks to Toby Theriault for the photographs

Your feedback is welcome. I’m seeking ways to make this event more inclusive and meaningful in future years.

Janis McDougall, Red Tape Dress #MMIW

Sherry Marr is a Tofino poet and a regular contributor to the Poets United website. Her current post features Janis McDougall’s powerful poem, Missing You. Don’t miss it!

In 2015, Jan created her “red tape dress” — to mourn and bring attention to missing and murdered women as part of Tofino’s participation in the REDress Project.

Two years later, the Pacific Rim Arts Society put on their Cultural Heritage Festival Show, with the theme “Celebrating Women of the West Coast”. Jan wanted to honour and draw attention to the women who were absent from the show—the missing women. She mounted the poem on the red tape dress.

There are many missing women from Vancouver Island, including Lisa Marie Young, whose family is Tla-o-qui-aht, and have never given up hope of finding her. Learn more in this article by Shanon Sinn.


Walk For The Wild Things

Walk For The Wild Things

Walk from South Chesterman Beach to Frank Island to raise awareness of threatened and extinct animals as part of the International Remembrance Day for Lost Species.

Join a beach fire afterwards to hear and share local stories, updates and sentiments.
Children may want to dress as a favourite creature, or bring their favourite stuffed animal.

This walk is a way for adults and children to show we care about the animals, plants, places that are vanishing. Such sadness is something we haven’t coped with on today’s scale before.
This summer Tahlequah the orca carried her dead calf at the surface for 17 days straight, prompting a deluge of grief from around the world. A strong part of grief lies in feeling helpless to prevent extinctions from happening. Studies show that even something as simple as a group walk can help build resilience when dealing with feelings of loss.

Friday November 30th.  (It may rain, but we can handle that—right?)
3:30—4:30 pm
South Chesterman Beach entrance (see map, below)


This poem, Tribute, is in response to the totem pole, or Čiinuł, raised in Tofino by Tla-o-qui-aht carver,  Joe David on September 7, 2018. The pole reminds all people to respect the Tla-o-qui-aht Hawiił, (hereditary chiefs) whose immaculate stewardship of these lands and waters is the embodiment of responsible leadership. The beautiful teaching of hishuk ish tsawalk (everything is one) and the value of stewardship were my inspirations for this.
I was honoured to present this poem at the celebration following the pole raising.



War In The Woods

Twenty five years ago nearly 11,000 people came to Clayoquot Sound to take part in the protest against the logging of Clayoquot Sound. Every day for three months, protesters blockaded the Kennedy Lake logging road. They would then be arrested, charged and released. By the middle of the year, the sheer number of people that had been arrested made it one of the largest acts of civil disobedience in Canadian history. There were at least 900 arrests, including the iconic mass arrests of more than 300 people on Aug. 9, 1993.

Part of the poet laureate role is to respond to requests for poems on specific topics. This poem is in response to a request by resident Eileen Floody, who pointed out the anniversary.

(Click on the image if you can’t see the entire poem)


In searching the ocean for lost loved ones, there is a strange fortitude that holds us up, keeps us going even as knees buckle at the thought of what we might find. I originally wrote this poem during the search for survivors of the Leviathan II, but  it has been running through my head in the last few days.

At the time of the Leviathan there was a full moon. This time, there has been a perfect sickle moon sinking into the horizon at day’s end as if to remind us, over and over, that beginnings and endings are natural, even when the agony of loss seems to contradict that.