For the past 150 years we have been transforming our shared watershed(s) here in the Cowichan Valley. Gone are the magnificent primary forests of huge red cedars, towering Douglas firs, lichen-draped, maple giants, sheltering acres of soft moss, salal, salmonberries, Nootka rose and so much more in the forest understory. Largely gone too is significant summer rain and thick snow-packs in spring that historically nourished our creeks and lake in the summer months. The transformed landscape we inhabit is also the victim of a changing climate.
Yes, the rain still falls on the peaks surrounding the lake, flows downhill to the lake and then down the river to Cowichan Bay. Yes, the transformed watershed(s) is still where we live and play and yes, it is crucially important that we all take shared responsibility for the reality we now occupy.
The CLRSS in collaboration with the Cowichan Valley Arts Council is asking you to pause and reflect upon these profound changes and then share your personal reflections in our event called “Our Watershed - Through a Creative Lens”. We have two components History Meets Climate Change (see below for details and some great images)
and Witnessing the Water A Moment in Time .
Send us your contribution by email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Through a Creative Lens as the subject line or mail hard copies to PO Box 907 Lake Cowichan, BC V0R 2G0. Please include your full name, email and phone number with the JPEG. Photo size medium.
The results of this introspective work could become part of the CLRSS contribution to a community-wide art show, curated in the CVAC Gallery, 2687 James Street, Duncan, August 27th to September 25th Participants will be notified should we wish to use your submission as part of the CLRSS show piece.
Some ways CLRSS would like you to become involved:
Go to your local museums or to their on-line presence, find an historical photo that speaks to you. Try to find the same location today and send us your photo of it along with your thoughts on the changes that you observed and how you feel about those changes. Or visit our on-line archive using the links below to choose one of the paintings or photos that we have selected as your starting point.
Search out your own special spot. Take a photo, write a poem or a story and share them along with your observations/feelings about what has come and gone from our shared watershed.
Check out the interesting public art in Ts’uubaa-asatx Square in Lake Cowichan, the murals at Lake Cowichan Secondary School or the Community Hall in Honeymoon Bay, the wildflower drawings at the Ecological Reserve at Honeymoon Bay etc., photograph and reflect on what they tell you about changes in our watershed(s).
What kind of ‘witnessing’ are you talking about?
Witnessing involves paying attention with all of our senses, recalling a moment, carrying it forward as a part of our lives. Any natural, heartfelt, human response to this moment is appreciated. Some people may do this by taking a series of photographs, or they might take one and then make a painting of it later at home. Some people may feel moved to write a poem, or this moment might inspire them to write a story or to record a memory on a video. Others might compose a song or a dance, while others might simply take a ‘selfie’ with the sign and post it on their own Facebook page helping to encourage others to become part of this witnessing event.
What do I do with my ‘record of witnessing’?
We are hoping that you will record your response electronically and send it to:
email@example.com. Include your name so that we can thank you for allowing us to use your image, song, dance video etc. The last day to send us material is August 15, 2021.
What happens to my images, poems etc. once I have sent them to you?
Our CLRSS team will choose some of the material for inclusion in an installation piece in a public art show running from August 27th to September 25th, 2021 at the Cowichan Valley Arts Council Gallery, 2687 James Street, Duncan. The others will be posted on our facebook page:
Full Text of "Witnessing FAQ and Directions to Water Witnessing Sites" click here
Download this kml file to view the Water Witnessing locations using the Google Earth App. You will have to install the Google Earth App on your computer before you can view the file.
Images from our Watershed
The images displayed here have been sourced from the on-line archives of the BC Museum, the Cowichan Valley Museum and the Kaatza Museum.