During our 3 days of Streamkeepers training last week I was delighted to see how many times the above words of our amazing teacher, ZoAnn Morten from Pacific Streamkeepers Federation, rang true.
I have often felt that people in our small community in Northern BC love the created world only for the enjoyment and resources it provides for us. I have heard people come right out and say that the natural world is merely a backdrop for the human drama to be used and cared for because it feeds us and gives us a place to do our work and try out our toys…a philosophy that I have seen time and time again lead not just to use but abuse. I myself have been guilty of this kind of thinking, particularly on unsuccessful fishing trips that used up a lot of time, energy and resources but did not provide food for our freezer.
Deep down though, I believe that God created this world not just for my pleasure and sustenance (although that is undeniably a part of it) but for a larger purpose. As much as I’d like it to be about me and other humans, prayer and study of God’s word have shown me that it really is not. It is about love. It is about creativity. It is about God. Afterall, the story of the creation of the universe in Genesis, begins and ends with God, not humans. God who, in the beginning, created – and God who at the end of the creation story rests and proclaims that ALL created things are “very good”.
Last week I was excited (and relieved, truth be told) to see this other side of people in my community. I was privileged to learn alongside people who love creation because they enjoy and use it for their sustenance AND because they “are curious people” – people who explore, experience and seek to explain the natural world and recognize that creatures are valuable in and of themselves apart from whether they serve humanity.
And the best part of our time together? Questions. Questions ranging from natural history to politics and everything in between. Questions like: If the water quality is good and there is lots of fish food in Buck Creek (two things that we discovered during our training) why aren’t there salmon filling the stream? Do lamprey lay eggs or have live young? Will the creatures survive this present government’s anti-environment laws, destruction of research libraries and funding cuts to the departments that are mandated for conservation? What kind of fish are hiding in that pool there just behind the rocks?
Thankfully Google was able to answer some of the questions (lamprey lay eggs apparently), sadly only time will tell the answer to some of the harder political questions and delightedly we learned skills that will allow us to monitor our watershed to answer the more specific questions. I look forward to the next time we meet to ask and answer some of our questions. And I look forward to meeting other “curious people” in my community. God is so good.
The Upper Bulkley River (UBR) Streamkeepers will meet this Thursday at 6:00 pm at the Houston Public Library. To get on the mailing list for other UBR Streamkeepers activities over the summer click here or contact cindy.verbeek [at] arocha.ca. Visit our facebook page