The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Love Isn't Easy

Posted by | February 14, 2020 | Filed under: Opinion

I'm such a drag. Just as a single failing mark ruins the straight-A student's perfect GPA, my middling response to a simple question slipped our staff average out of the top notch.


This #iheartestuaries week, I launched a quick survey to gauge my coworkers' attitudes toward the annual campaign and its subject. Fifteen people took a minute to respond to three questions:

  1. Will you be participating in the #iheartestuaries campaign February 12-14, 2020?
  2. How do you feel about estuaries?
  3. What makes you feel that way?

Only one-third of us planned to use the hashtag. That didn't surprise me; I know not everyone here is into Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter (homes for the I♥ campaign).

Despite being social media sticks-in-the-mud, they left no doubt they l-o-v-e estuaries. The sliding scale from hate to love nearly went beyond the right bezel of my monitor — 1,422 points against a 1,500 max. Infatuation!

Honestly, I don't feel guilty for deflecting Cupid's arrow. (And I know I had help; I didn't unlove estuaries by *that* much.)

For one thing, I'm not all that emo. Take the heart out of it and I'm all in. Brain says estuaries = amazing. Fascinating. So very cool.

For another, how does one heart an estuary? Love? Really? Research reservists? With all that science at the core? Love that mixing of salt water and fresh? Love that deep mud and saline crust? Love that crab, clam, and sculpin? Love those saltmarsh mosquitoes and greenhead horse flies? Love that sulfurous stench of bacterial decomposition?

Hmm. Maybe I'm coming around. I do adore the egret's plumes, the salt hay sway, the roiling surface waters of a fish-filled salt panne. But I need more inspiration. How did the rest of the staff justify their enthusiasm? Again, I ask…

Why do you love estuaries?

  • Grew up with them, value their environmental role, beautiful and fun.
  • The meeting place of land river and sea
  • Estuaries are vital systems for supporting biodiversity and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
  • Estuaries provide habitats and food for many species.
  • They are beautiful areas that provide valuable services for so many species!
  • Estuaries are vital to protecting our coastlines and serve as the home or nursery for so many creatures!
  • Lots of cool organisms, but they're not quite as much fun to explore as the rocky intertidal.
  • The beauty, their function, and how they work.
  • They're beautiful, they're dynamic, and they provide us so many ecosystem services! Most importantly, they are the intersection of terrestrial human activity and the marine environment, making them a critically important ecosystem.
  • Their importance to coastal communities, fisheries, wildlife, recreation, commerce, and intrinsic values like beauty, and solitude.
  • Estuaries are two worlds that collide and create one of the most ecologically rich habitats. It not only supports a diverse array of wildlife and flora, but does/can support socioeconomic and culturally rich areas.
  • they're pretty, they're important, they're pretty important

Wait a minute. There's a lot of brainy answers in that heartfest. I think I need even more opinions.

Monthly Subscribers Speak Up

Days before the employee poll, I sent our monthly e-news readers a button with this prompt: "Why I Love (or Like) Estuaries." A scant few replied. I thank them for sharing.

Katherine C. wrote:

I always love the many 'faces' of Laudholm. Each Season is special because each Walk I take there is enjoyable and envigorating:)!

Jim B. said:

Each time I visit our Estuaries at Laudholm you can be sure to find helpful volunteers to greet you and help direct your visit to be a satisfying experience. You will learn something new each time or meet a familiar face and be able to share with the world a place a very special place.

I sense some conflating of the whole "Wells Reserve at Laudholm experience" with "estuaries," but that's okay. You can't put boundaries on love.

Then I read that reply that seemed to say "intellect, meet emotion; emotion, meet intellect." Thanks, Gale M., you brought my heart, brain, and soul together. #iheartestuaries 100%.

I can sense the earth breathing.

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