The Wrack

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

Watermark, Summer 2022

Posted by | July 29, 2022 | Filed under: News
Cover of summer 2022 Watermark newsletter with drone photo of Webhannet estuary

In the summer 2022 issue of Watermark:

Download the Summer 2022 Watermark 

(20 MB PDF)


The More Things Change…

In a college philosophy class nearly 25 years ago, I debated a Norwegian museum’s restoration of an 11th-century Viking longship. “How many deck boards and timbers can be replaced before it is no longer the original ship?” asked our patient professor. Answers, impertinent and earnest, burst from each of the seven students seated at the long wooden table. “Exactly a bit less than half.” “99 44/100%?” “Not one!” Rapidly, definitions of “original” and “ship” were put forward, challenged, and revised. I remain cursed, and blessed, to this day by that liberal arts degree: I haven’t been satisfied with just one answer to anything since.

I’m often reminded of the Viking ship question here at the Wells Reserve. We replaced the cedar shingle roof on the Visitor Center this past April. Is it still the same Visitor Center? The wooden boardwalk trails, first laid in the 1990s, will soon need a new generation of planks. How does a place stay the same, for decades, and yet also continuously change? Like all natural things, it adapts: gradually, incrementally, culling the least and investing in its best. The Little River mouth and Laudholm Beach shift each season, old buildings take on new uses, even a newsletter evolves to full color. 

Maybe it’s not the Viking longship, but it’s still a Viking longship? What’s the “original” Wells Reserve, or is it always the original Wells Reserve? Perhaps the answer has a parallel in the idea of home: no matter where you live, you make it a home. The Wells Reserve is the physical place of historic buildings on beautiful lands and also the motive force dedicated to coastal research, education, and conservation. Like the dynamic mix of saltwater and fresh in an estuary, the Wells Reserve is both place and mission, buildings and people, history and future. Both/and, not either/or, always the same place and also always different. And we keep it in reserve for you, with an open invitation to visit any time so you can see for yourself what’s old and what’s new.

Nik Charov
President, Laudholm Trust
Chair, Reserve Management Authority



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