The Eel River Recovery Project (ERRP), Round Valley Indian Tribes (RVIT) and Firescapes Mendocino are co-sponsoring the most ambitious Salmon Awareness Festival ever in Covelo on Friday and Saturday, September 13 and 14. Ceremonial dances, a traditional salmon feast, a watershed education fair, and a forest health workshop are all part of the event.
The Salmon Awareness Festival is an annual event to celebrate the return of the salmon that enter the lower Eel River at this time each year to stage for their spawning run. The event will kick off on Friday night at 7 PM at Hidden Oaks Park in Covelo with a new addition to the event, the Women Bear Dancers. At 10 AM on Saturday morning, September 14 there will be a workshop entitled Restoring Forest Health in the Middle Fork and North Fork Eel River Watersheds. This is the third year in a row that this event has been held, but this year will focus on the potential to win a CAL FIRE grant to fund crews to do forest health work in Mendocino National Forest. Upper Lake/Covelo Ranger Frank Aebly will be there with other MNF staff to discuss the possibilities and Mendocino Fire Safe Council Co-Coordinator Imil Ferrara will lead discussions. Call Imil for more information at (707) 972-2115.
Starting at 2 PM there will be a watershed education fair at Hidden Oaks Park that will include displays by ERRP, the RVIT Environmental Protection Agency, Firescapes Mendocino, the Forest Reciprocity Group, and other community groups. Something fun has been added this year as the fantastic Cosmic Family Band has offered to play during the watershed education fair.
At 6 PM, there will be a traditional salmon feast with the fish cooked ceremonially on stakes around an open pit fire. The dinner will also feature corn and donations for the meal are optional, but welcome. People are invited to bring their favorite side dishes for a potluck, but such contributions are not mandatory.
Those attending will have a special treat after the feast as the Round Valley Feather Dancers perform traditional dances at 8 PM to be followed by the make Bear Dancers, who will perform their ceremonies from 10 PM into the night. Camping at Hidden Oaks Park will be allowed on Saturday night after the event. Volunteers needed to help put on the feed. For more information see www.eelriverrecovery.org, ERRP Facebook or call Ernie Merrifield at 707 983-8120.