Currents of Connection

Writing with the Cycles of the Lake Sammamish Ecosystem
Poetry connects people and places using images, sounds, and patterns in words. Visit one or all of the locations listed below for inspiration to create your own poetry. 

Lake Sammamish is a unique and important environment that has supported life in the region since time immemorial. It is a significant urban refuge site that provides sustenance and shelter for the great web of lifeforms of the Salish Sea, lowland forests, and watersheds.

Downtown Park 16101 Redmond Way
Lake Sammamish: Lakes support webs of life and they draw their water from many sources. Every lake is a territory of biodiversity and shelter, and Lake Sammamish holds a place of power and beauty as it supports generational communities of species and ecosystems. Begin your writing with inspiration from this place of gathering and life with some information about the places, people, and events that have shaped the way you see the world. 

  • What is an important place in your life where some of your memories live? 
  • Write about a place that represents a sense of shelter and connection for you.
  • Who are the people and what are the places that have shaped the way you see the world?

Bear Creek Trail Along Bear Creek Trail just west of 168th Avenue NE, along Bear Creek Parkway
Rivers and Creeks: Our region is defined by its waters, and the waters and creeks of the land have always provided sustenance, movement, and connection. The rivers and creeks that empty into the river are the critical spaces of home and migration to much of our region’s ecosystem.

  • Write about the important sources of water in your life. What are some important bodies of water to you? 
  • Consider the movements of your own life? Where have you been? Where are you now? Where are you going? 
  • How did you get here and what kinds of land and water did you cross?

Redmond Trestle Redmond Central Connector Trail
Bald Eagle: A magnificent icon of the skies and a bird of deep symbolic power, the Bald Eagle is a delight to see. Bald Eagles tell a story of inspiring ecological recovery.  Endangered by human chemical use, the Bald Eagle has made a stunning recovery and shows that change, education, and care can interrupt the cycle of extinction. 

  • Name one powerful or challenging emotion that you feel and try to think of a form of protection that the land could offer to help you process it. Try to describe it through your senses.
  • What are some of the symbols of the land you live on? 
  • Consider the way an eagle takes perspective from the sky. What would you like to see from a bird’s eye perspective.

Juel Community Park 18815 NE 116th Street 
Black Bear: We share our space with a host of large mammals including the intelligent and persistent black bear. The bear can teach us about patterns of rest and activity. You may not see the black bear, but perhaps you will see the signs they leave.

  • What are the patterns of rest and activity in your life?
  • What signs of the ecosystem can you see, and what signs are hidden?
  • How are we all woven together in the great web of the ecosystem?

Douglas Fir: Douglas Fir is a native conifer that stands tall and stately throughout our region.  The Douglas Fir’s thick and tough bark allows it to survive difficult conditions, even forest fires. This tree is an excellent reminder of the tender resilience of the ecosystem.

  • Write about the trees and plants that you see near your home space. 
  • How does the land sustain or protect your life? 
  • Just as the Douglas Fir is a great protector of the forest, what do you look to for protection?

Idylwood Beach Park 3650 W Lake Sammamish Pkwy NE
Kokanee Salmon: In the creeks, rivers, and lake live the Kokanee Salmon, a charismatic and cherished landlocked salmon unique to the waters of Lake Sammamish. Kokanee salmon return to the streams and rivers they were born in to spawn. The journey can be full of challenges and struggles, but the but the genetic imperative to spawn is all-encompassing. 

  • Write about a journey you have taken that may have challenged you or stretched your limits.   
  • Think of some of your own genetic imperatives: are there lessons or ways of seeing the world that come from the past or that you wish to pass down to the future.
  • Kokanee salmon stay near their home lake and surrounding tributaries for their entire lives. Write about a space of home or homecoming that is important to your life story.

Many of the locations above were chosen in collaboration with the Redmond Habitats and Streams due to their connection to the Kokanee salmon. The Poet Laureate created the prompts and symbols based on the exact role each location played in the Lake Sammamish ecosystem. For those looking for additional information or inspiration, the Habitats and Streams team suggests checking out the below links. 

Redmond Habitats and Streams

Lake Sammamish Kokanee Work Group

Snoqualmie Tribe


Urban National Wildlife Refuges

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Trout Unlimited

Salmon Recovery Portal

Kokanee Coloring Workbook: from the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe

Salmon SEEson: Interactive map that highlights areas to safely view salmon 

Seattle Urban Carnivore Project: Explores how mammalian carnivores live and interact with people across urban and suburban areas in the Seattle region. 

Carnivore Spotter: Carnivore Spotter was developed by Woodland Park Zoo and Seattle University to study carnivores throughout the Puget Sound region.