There are 3,888km of Huron coastline in Canada

...and the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation (LHCCC) cares for them all. Volunteers monitor and report findings weekly, constructing a database which is interpreted by the experts and shared with the people – citizens, students, governments, corporate leaders – to promote Best Practice for the future of Huron.

It’s a lot of work, and it’s worth it. The integral role of our Great Lake to all of life cannot be overstated. And so, it’s time to say thank-you.

LHCCC Executive Director Erinn Lawrie imagined an artistic tribute but didn’t know whom to approach. Bethany Ann Davidson,who grew up in Blind River along the North Channel of Lake Huron and now dwells in Goderich, was facing the opposite problem: lacking the time and place, she had a dozen fellow artists eager to form a coastal-themed exhibition. It was the natural progression of Davidson’s broken-glass wave art she’d been designing to support the LHCCC through WorldRooted: the Art Project for People.

One of those artists was a kindred spirit Davidson had never met. Justine Goulet is from Camlachie, at the very opposite end of the Lake. She might have obtained a Masters of Philosophy in Performance Art from Trinity at Dublin, Ireland; but when Lake Huron called her home, she answered. Goulet has since founded Lake Life Studio to sell her glasswork wares and begun donating a portion of garment sales to the LHCCC. She spends most of her free time just beyond the dunes.

Those dunes comprise 25% of Huron’s Southeastern shoreline (from Sarnia to Tobermory), but only 2-3% of the entire coastline. They’re an entirely different ecosystem from what Davidson had known, swimming and playing across from the largest freshwater island in the world, Manitoulin.

“We called it ‘wave knocking’, and it was our favourite thing to do whenever the wind picked up: jumping into the waves and letting them smash us around a bit,” smiles Davidson. ”They were never very big, though. I guess that had to do with the Channel being narrowed by the Island, and the lake’s kinetic energy being absorbed by all those craggy shores. Moving to Goderich – seeing the bluffs and gullies for the first time – was a bit heart-stopping. You know they’re working their way downward; you just wonder how long it will take. It filled me with questions. The Coastal Centre works to answer them.”

For example: eroding bluffs contribute the sands that form dunes at other shore locations as materials are washed into the lake, carried by long-shore currents and deposited as beach materials. American Beach Grass (the most common dune grass) can grow roots up to 3 metres long, stabilizing the sand and preventing erosion.

Does this whet your appetite? Toast the Coast will be an evening of art, science, cocktails and jazz at Beach Street Station in Goderich on Saturday, May 4th. In anticipation of the event, we will highlight the participating artists, as well as more useful information about the coast.

Buy tickets at www.lakehuron.ca/toast and follow the artists’ progress on Facebook and Instagram by searching #carriedtothecoast. Art can be purchased at www.bethanyann.ca where 25% of sales will benefit the LHCCC.

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