Farewell, but not Goodbye, Alex of the Salish

Jun 21, 2017 | Padilla Bay, Washington

It’s hard to imagine a gathering of reserve educators without Glen Alexander, aka “Alex,” at the center, making everyone laugh with one of his greatest hits. (Treat yourself to his “Has Anybody Seen My Crab” or  “I Want to Dig a Clam.” You’re welcome!)

Yet that’s exactly what we must do. This spring, the Bard of the Salish Sea and coastal science educator for thousands of Washington residents rode his intrepid bicycle into retirement. Alex has been growing the education program at the Padilla Bay Reserve for nearly 30 years. He taught many people about estuaries and the Salish Sea—especially its eelgrass and mud flats—but he particularly enjoyed working with school children. He encouraged them to integrate poetry, music, history, culture and economics into their learning about coastal science. When asked about the best part of his work with the reserve, he says:

“I can’t begin to pick one thing out of the whole lot. I love the place. I love the people I work with. I love performing (to me, teaching is a performance). How can there be a job that is better than taking kids to the beach to look for crabs? When people tell about the influence I have had on their lives, I’m overwhelmed with honor. I have been blessed with the opportunity to get paid for doing the best job in Washington State.”

We know this isn’t goodbye, because Alex has already signed up to volunteer at the reserve and is planning to visit other reserves in his future travels. Once a NERRD, always a NERRD.

ReservesPadilla Bay, WashingtonFarewell, but not Goodbye, Alex of the Salish