A new book is out that will likely be of interest to anyone who has just moved to the region and maybe even to some old-timers.
Explore The Salish Sea is a nature guide for kids. It’s about the unique marine ecosystem that connects Puget Sound with Canada. It’s aimed at fifth and sixth graders and based on a previous edition made for adults. Both books use lots of colorful photos and facts to showcase the abundant life that depends on the Salish Sea.
Joe Gaydos from Orcas Island is co-author of the books and Chief Scientist at the nonprofit SeaDoc Society. Their first book came out of a paper he wrote with a colleague that attempted to catalog the hundreds of species in the Salish Sea.
“We were just trying to say, you know, what’s in the ecosystem? And the book is just taking that on the next scale, saying, you know, what is this place? How is it formed? What are the things that we love about how does it work?”
He says after their book for adults came out, lots of people sent them pictures of themselves reading it to kids. So they decided to make a children’s version. They’re targeting fifth and sixth graders because it's an opportune age for getting young people hooked on science.
The new book is streamlined, but it still has complex concepts. Ten-year-old Lilly Redick picked up on that right away. She says she liked the cover, which shows a collage of creatures from the entire Salish sea ecosystem.
“Some of the animals didn’t even live in the sea, but relied on the (other) animals in the sea or the plants in the sea,” she said.
Full disclosure: Lilly is KNKX producer Geoffrey Redick’s daughter. They moved here recently from Tennessee. So Lily says for her, the whole idea of the Salish Sea was a new thing. But she thinks it could be new to most of her friends who have lived here longer too.
“I think people who live here probably think, ‘Oh I know about the Salish Sea. I live right next to it!’ But, if you look at this book, maybe you’ll know things that you didn’t think existed.”
Her favorite discovery? The bright orange sunflower star.
“Which is like a sea star, but it can have up to 24 arms. And it can weigh up to eleven pounds. And it can measure 4 feet across, which I think is pretty cool! I never knew that there was that giant a sea star,” she says with a laugh.
Lilly says this is a book you’ll need to spend a bit of time with – you probably need four or five sittings to get through the whole thing. But she says she was interested in it right away.
She also agrees with the mission of the book and the SeaDoc Society: to restore and protect the Salish Sea from pollution.
SeaDoc has an Indiegogo campaign raising funds to make the book available to science teachers and all kids, regardless of ability to pay. They’re also encouraging young people to help the Salish Sea by becoming Junior Sea Doctors. Information about both of those programs are on the SeaDoc Society’s website.