Kimberly Orren (Photo by Emily Williams)
Kimberly Orren, executive director of Fishing for Success, is guided by the sounds and stories found at the ocean’s edge.
While I can’t bring a boat in my backpack, I would definitely want to make certain that my wanderings bring me to the water. Whether it is a stream or a pond, a lake or waterfall, or, as so often in my favourite places to hike in my province, to the ocean’s edge! We are fortunate in Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove to have the East Coast Trail, which runs along some of the most beautiful coastlines in Newfoundland and Labrador and passes through a Nature Conservancy of Canada property, part of the fog forest.
This brings me to my favourite spot here: a magic tree! Sitting beneath it, you can hear the waves crashing below and tell stories about weather lore and how the sound of waves changes with the wind direction or intensity. Beneath the crashing, you might hear another rhythm of the swells that hint at tomorrow’s weather that is pushing just beyond the horizon.
There are barriers to nature access, and they are multiplied when it comes to the ocean or learning traditional fishing skills. Fishing is part of the human experience; a shared heritage that predates agriculture. The experience of fishing is transformative. It is deeply personal and drives creative thought.
Many scientists even cite an experience at the beach or a fishing trip with a parent as the moment that sparked their interest in the natural world. Every child should be provided with this activity as a building block to their education about the natural world. As land dwellers, we forget that we cling to less than 30 per cent of the Earth’s surface. Our very existence depends on the health of aquatic ecosystems. I urge you to plan a hike to any water’s edge, perhaps sit beneath your own magic tree, and listen to the water as it makes its way out to the ocean.
This story originally appeared in the summer 2023 issue of the Nature Conservancy of Canada Magazine. To learn more about how you can receive the magazine, click here.