Connections to the Salish Sea run deep for the SeaDoc Society’s two newest board members.
“My grandparents had a cabin out on Lummi Island,” says Ardi Kveven, who was born and raised in Everson, WA. “Growing up, I spent time every summer exploring the beaches and experiencing all that the Salish Sea has to offer.”
Those early adventures sparked Ardi’s life-long interest in marine science and her passion for sharing what she learned with others. Earning a biology degree from University of Washington and a Masters in Science Education from Western Washington U, she embarked on a career teaching oceanography to high school and college students.
In 2003, Ardi founded the Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA), the only program of its kind in the US. Along with core classes, ORCA students receive an intensive, hands-on, college-level marine science education that enables them to graduate with both their high school diploma and an associate degree from Everett Community College.
Working with grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Science Foundation, Ardi has developed ORCA into a world-class educational program complete with a waterfront lab and its own research vessel.
“Exposing our young people to the Salish Sea provides a connection to the place they live,” says Ardi, who’s excited about the chance to foster close connections between her students and the SeaDoc Society.
“Powerful programs are about the passion of the individuals who choose to be a part of them,” she says. “I appreciate the passionate people who choose to be part of SeaDoc, and I applaud their enthusiastic efforts to save the Salish Sea. I look forward to strengthening the opportunity for our students to join those efforts and to feel empowered to make a difference.”
In recent years, some of the most powerful and effective groups making a difference in the Salish Sea’s health have been the Coast Salish tribes and First Nations. And another new SeaDoc board member we’re thrilled to have join the team, Larry W. Campbell, Sr., is a distinguished elder of one of those tribes, the Swinomish.
Larry, whose tribal name is Wanaseah, is currently the Community Health Specialist For Climate Change in the Swinomish Environmental Health Program.
"Ninety percent of our tribal land borders the water," says Larry. "So we're very sensitive to changes in sea level and chemistry that will effect everything from our economy and health to our salmon runs and ancestral sites."
Before beginning his three decades of service as a Swinomish government and cultural leader, Larry made his living out on the water as a salmon fisherman. He first worked with SeaDoc several years ago on a project to evaluate the impact of increased energy development in the Salish Sea region.
“We know how to measure impacts and classify threats to wildlife,” says Joe Gaydos, SeaDoc’s Science Director, “but Larry helped us identify the species that were of particular economic, cultural, and spiritual value to the Coast Salish tribes and First Nations.”
Since the tribes are co-managers of Salish Sea natural resources, concerns for species important to their way of life carry extra weight when it comes to management decisions, and can often determine whether impactful projects like coal ports move forward.
The Coast Salish philosophy that every species and element of the ecosystem are important and interconnected meshes perfectly with the SeaDoc Society’s scientific beliefs, just as Ardi Kveven’s dedication to educating young people meshes with our belief that SeaDoc's work is pointless if we don’t engage those who will continue the mission into the future.
“We’re so fortunate to add these two new board members,” says SeaDoc Director Markus Naugle. “Ardi connects the society to the next generation of marine scientists and conservationists, while Larry further bonds us to the very first guardians of the Salish Sea. We look forward to calling on their ideas, guidance and wisdom in the years to come.”
Please join us in welcoming Ardi and Larry aboard!