Join us for an upcoming Urchin & Seaweed Wild-Tending Tour
For August 1st - 4th, 2019, we are planning three separate one day-trips to the tidal zones. Please join us!
Harvesting the overabundant purple urchins is just an excuse to spend time in the beautiful tidal zones. It's all about learning about the delicate balance of our eco-systems, but urchin eradication also has the benefit of putting a very small dent towards helping restore the balance in our coastal eco-systems.
In early June, we visited the tidal zones along the Northern California coastline. The tides were low enough for wild-tenders to forage seaweed. Instead of experiencing an abundance that the sea usually provides, we witnessed first hand the scourge of the purple sea urchins, pictured here. The bigger, red sea urchins (I found one so I took a picture - it can be seen here surrounded by purple urchins) are the “uni” urchins that have been traditionally exported for sushi - they are very few in numbers - please don't take any red urchins. But there were thousands of the PURPLE sea urchins - as you can see in the photos.
Several years ago, the sea stars along our coasts died off in massive numbers because of something called "Star Fish Melting Disease." The starfish were the main predators of the purple sea urchins along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to Mexico, but now, the purple urchin population is exploding at a rate 6000x the normal rate, and they are devastating marine habitats, clear cutting everything in its path, destroying entire ecosystems which the fish depend upon, which in turn the birds and marine animals depend upon for food. 93% of the coastal kelp forests have been decimated. And fewer fish means that shorebirds do not have enough food for their chicks. This year, 90 percent of the local cormorant and 80 percent of the black oystercatcher nestlings failed to survive. Fewer young fish also means fewer larger fish for marine mammals, such as harbor seals and sea lions.
So we are organizing a trip to Mendocino in August - we'll be visiting the tidal zones early in the morning to go grab the purple urchins while we can reach them during low tide. The dates are August 2nd (Fri), Aug 3rd (Sat), and Aug 4th (Sun).
Local non-profits like the Noyo Center are organizing eradication efforts, but it hasn’t been enough and a lot more can be done.
Fish and Wildlife has confirmed that with a normal fishing license, we can harvest up to 40 gallons of urchin per person, per day. That's a lot because they want these purple sea urchins removed from our shorelines as well. Kids 15 and under can harvest 40 gallons WITHOUT a license. (So please either get a fishing license or bring the kids!)
After visiting the tidal zones in the morning, we'll be exploring the town of Mendocino, grabbing brunch, hot-tubbing, etc. We'll have a fire going in the fire pit in the evening, and if we're lucky we'll be greeted with a constellation of stars in the unobstructed sky.
You can just do one day, or come out for 2-3 days. The tidal zones are teeming with life and a treat to visit. There are lots of awesome creatures - so come be mesmerized.
PRICE & TICKETS
The price per day is $70 for adults, which include:
- organized dinner showcasing seaweed, mouth-watering fermented veggie and mushrooms in the evening.
- camping fee at Fortunate Farm (you'll get $25 back if you decide to sleep elsewhere) please send us an e-mail at least 10 days before the event if you won't be camping with us in order to receive the refund.
- firewood, and
- some wine.
Wanna skip the dinner? It's $45/person, which does not include dinner and breakfast items so that you can customize your meals.
Kids 9 and under are free.
About Ecological Tours
Ecological Tours, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that seeks to explore traveling from a sustainable lens. As stewards, how can we discuss the responsibilities of protecting our shared resources while learning about how to nourish ourselves, while seeking to leave the bounties of our World to future generations with more healthful options? We seek to create a venue of travel that has a lower carbon footprint than the norm, with a focus on harvesting with a lens on past, present and future generations. By exploring new ways of learning and sharing, we hope to inspire a new generation of travelers that know how to protect our World thru shared conversations.
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