I suppose we all come to our environmental awareness in different ways. Mine happened when I was very little. I was born in British Guiana, literally in the jungle. I guess this had a real effect on me. I can remember my mother saying, “this jungle will last forever.” As we know, that is not the case. The Amazon Rainforest is in constant danger and its seemingly wholesale destruction is on-going. When my parents moved back to the US, my father worked on atmospheric testing of atomic weapons. Eeesh. Even as a kid, I knew that couldn’t be good. When we moved to Edwards Air Force Base on the Mojave Desert in California, my father worked on the early space program and the X-15 project. I can remember standing on the tarmac during recess under the blazing sun and thinking, “when I grow up, I’m going to live someplace where it rains every day.” I have to admit, some days I think, “be careful what you wish for, Heidi.”
When I moved to the Seattle area in 1970, I thought, “perfect.” I actually love everything about Washington state ~ from the Snake River to the Olympic Peninsula; from Vancouver to Vancouver, I think we live in paradise. And, the first time I had Wild Salmon? Opening Day, 1974. My first thought was, “what is this wonderful fish?” It is a love affair that continues to this day.
In 1998, I ran for US Congress and was pleased to be endorsed by the Sierra Club. Honing my environmental position papers helped me understand how fragile our ecosystem is and how complicated the solutions are. But, the thing that was very clear to me and remains my view today is that we are in danger of destroying the very things we love about this region if we don’t make protection of the wild a priority.
The Great Wild Salmon is such an integral part of our culture we see it everywhere ~ from the bronze salmon on the railing at the I-90 Eastgate P&R highway stop to Salmon Waves at the Locks. For several years, I had Small Works contracts for the Port of Seattle at Sea-Tac. One of my projects was the design of the Northwest art glass display cases to exhibit some of the Port of Seattle’s very robust Northwest art collection. Their commitment to supporting regional art can be seen throughout the airport. When the Terminal B remodel was completed at the airport, I remember walking from my plane and seeing Judith & Daniel Caldwell’s “Flying Fish” bronze fish embedded in a terrazzo stream on the floor. It’s beautiful. On another trip, I’d just heard the news about a particularly poor Wild Salmon run and the threats to our cultural heritage. As I walked through the concourse to baggage claim that day and saw those wonderful bronze fish in the floor, I couldn’t help but wonder if the only salmon run our children will see in the future will be the one on the floor in Terminal B at Sea-Tac. That would be a shame.
Which is why I’m so excited about the Great Wild Salmon Run. This project uses all the skills I’ve developed over the last thirty-five years in business and supports my passion for this fish ~ the Great Wild Salmon.
What could be better than raising money for groups working to save the Great Wild Salmon? The Great Wild Salmon Run is a perfect combination of original public art and private auction with proceeds going to benefit groups working on issues related to the Great Wild Salmon ~ protect, restore, educate, support.