Top 'o the morn

"Over on Vancouver Island Garry oaks grow in profusion, with young ones sprouting from the roadsides. Indians used the acorns for famine food, taking a quantity of acorns in each canoe as they toured the islands, just in case food was scarce. They made what they called bitter butter by mashing the acorns. Historically, Vancouver Island was the source of Oak Harbor's Garry oaks; as Indians came they left some of their acorn cargo on the shore some several hundred years ago, when the waters of the bay covered the land north where Highway 20 is today.And now on Vancouver Island, with an increasing population, it is becoming apparent that the oaks are being destroyed and much interest is being taken to save them.In an Associated Press article in the Aug. 26 Everett Herald, the headline reads Women bare all for the sake of the trees and tells of some environmentalist women of Saltspring Island, B.C., having stripped to their birthday suits for a calendar to raise money to preserve strands of verdant forest on this island about 20 miles north of Vancouver.Sneak previews of the calendars, set to go on sale the first week in Septemeber, have resulted in articles in newspapers as far away as Jordan.Andrea Collin, one of the residents behind the fund-raising campaign said. There has been an amazing amount of interest. Everyone thinks it's a brilliant idea. Wow! Who wouldn't?The Saltspring calendar is part of a campaign to save second growth forests from being logged by Texada Land Corp. of Vancouver. Denise McCann, a long time environmentalist, is featured with two other women on a beach with strategically placed musical instruments. We knew we would be opening ourselves up to ridicule and be the butt of jokes, McCann said. But even if we can save one little grove of Garry oaks, it will have been worth it.It is an amazing circumstance that any wildlife planting as unusal and beautiful as the Garry oak should receive as little interest in its perpetuity. Here on North Whidbey, a harbor surrounded by oaks that have named the town, have survived a century and a half under human sovereignty. Oak Harbor, in spite of man's indifference, is still home of the mighty trees, some of which are several hundred years old.A grove of Garry oaks stands at the top of the hill on Midway Boulevard, at Whidbey Presbyterian Church, while down the hill is a half block of the oaks, given to the city by an early settler named Smith. Eighth Avenue East, toward Victory Homes, is one of the most beautiful streets in town. A several-hundred-year-old tree was left in the middle of the thoroughfare. At the east end of Eighth Avenue, an extensive clump of young oaks stood in a mass of undergrowth for many years, until it recently became the target for a builder in this fast-growing town.We want to thank and congratulate Harry Scharnikow, owner of East Bay Construction, for saving most of the Garry oaks growing on that corner property. Those living in the two-building compleses will know that their homes are in Oak Harbor, a unique and historical area planted a long time ago by a people long forgotten. Thank you Mr. Scharnikow.We are not by any means pushing for the same type of Save Our Oaks program as on Vancouver Island. In the first place, the excitiement and/or interest in a couple of nekkid women would overshadow the goal of the venture. Oaks? What oaks? "

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