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About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (June 25, 2019)
THE ASTORIAN • TuESdAy, JuNE 25, 2019
Doug Gorsline/Columbia Land Trust
Timber stands rise from South Tongue Point, just south of Mott Island in the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge.
Tongue Point: ‘It’s a sacred place, and it should be considered that’
Continued from Page A1
River Estuary Study Taskforce, a local hab-
itat restoration group, and transferred to the
college as a living laboratory for an environ-
mental science program.
The college recently closed on more than
20 acres at the north end of South Tongue
Point, where it has rented land since the
mid-1990s for the Marine and Environ-
mental Research and Training Station.
The career-technical training campus hosts
automotive, welding, firefighting and mar-
itime science programs. For the past six
months, faculty and the administration have
been planning an environmental science
Christopher Breitmeyer, the college
president and a former environmental sci-
ence teacher at Yavapai College in Arizona,
touted the unique opportunity for real-world
research connected to the local environ-
ment. He plans to teach one of the environ-
mental science courses.
“The best way to learn science is to do
science, and that’s what we’ll do at South
Tongue Point,” Breitmeyer said.
The college’s last attempt at an environ-
mental science program about 15 years ago
fizzled because of a lack of enrollment, said
Michael Bunch, a longtime biology teacher
at the college. The new program will be
closely tied to the community, Breitmeyer
Edward Stratton/The Astorian
Austin Tomlinson, a land steward with the
Columbia Land Trust, describes South Tongue
Point to Janet Gifford, a board member with
South Tongue Point is home to wildlife, including blue heron, left, and osprey.
The college plans a degree track for field
biologists and another for environmental
policy and law, along with yearlong cer-
tificates in forestry, fisheries, environmen-
tal remediation and other areas that can put
graduates directly into the local workforce,
With its location along one of the larg-
est estuarine environments in the world, the
North Coast hosts researchers, stewards,
restorationists and others in the environ-
mental field with the government, nonprof-
its like the Columbia Land Trust and inter-
ests like the task force.
The first step for the college is to assess
the resources of South Tongue Point before
creating field assignments for students, Bre-
itmeyer said. His students at Yavapai Col-
lege received similar field experience.
“Students got publications,” he said.
“They got job offers. That’s exactly what
we’re expecting here.”
Lamb invoked the historical stewardship
of the region by the Chinookan people as
an overarching reason why South Tongue
Point needs to be preserved and used as a
way to empower the next generation of land
stewards and conservationists.
Tony Johnson, chairman of the Chinook
Indian Nation, addressed the group of stake-
holders on the importance of preserving the
Photos by Doug Gorsline/Columbia Land Trust
The ability to spend millions preserving
land is a privilege the land- and cash-poor
Chinook Indian Nation doesn’t have, John-
son said. The group recently spent around
$200,000 buying 10 acres at Tansy Point,
a historical village where tribal members
negotiated a treaty with the Oregon Terri-
tory to avoid relocation east of the Cascade
Mountains. The $200,000 represented the
most money the group had ever assembled,
Johnson touched on the importance of
Tongue Point, a stopping point for Chi-
nookan historical figure Coyote and the site
of a graveyard. “It’s a sacred place, and it
should be considered that,” he said.
So you have the
we’ll keep going
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