By Donna Furey | LB Indy
Laguna local Cheryl Procaccini, a self-described “singing naturalist” has just released “Lonely Abalone,” a song inspired by a marine creature once so popular in California coastal cuisine, it was eaten to near extinction. She and her singing partner Marcie Jenner, whom are known as Birdsong and the Eco Wonders, will perform “Lonely Abalone” at the conclusion of Laguna Art Museum’s Art & Nature Family Festival at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 10. Admission is free.
When the tide pool docent program was first introduced, volunteering was a natural and easy decision for Procaccini who “has always loved the ocean.” Falling in love with the anemones, urchins, snails and octopuses also came naturally. So it was not surprising when Procaccini, who works as a family therapist and had a little song-writing experience, picked up her guitar and found a song about sea creatures coming into her head.
Since “The Tide Pool Song,” Birdsong and the Eco Wonders have written and performed songs about sharks, sea otters, humpback whales, octopus, kelp and nearly a dozen more, all “infused with facts,” Procaccini said. “Keep the Ocean Clean,” a song about sea turtles, is used a lot in classrooms. The Laguna Canyon Foundation, with the objective of helping third and fourth graders learn vocabulary words, commissioned “Adapt to the Habitat.”
Procaccini has won multiple awards for her songs, which are available from the Birdsong and the Eco Wonders website.
At one time, seven species of abalone, which live in kelp forests and are related to snails, teemed the coast of California. Now two are endangered, two are in decline and three more are “of concern.” It is now illegal to harvest abalone for any reason.
A volunteer for Nancy Caruso’s nonprofit, Get Inspired, encouraged Procacinni to write the abalone song. Caruso, long a friend of Procacinni’s, is conducting ocean restoration projects along 42 miles of the Orange County coast. “We started by restoring the kelp forests, then we started growing White Sea bass, and we are now growing and restoring green abalone to our coast,” Caruso said. About 100,000 baby abalone were farm raised, then placed at three public aquariums and are now in the care of school kids. When they are big enough, Caruso and her team will transplant them to the ocean floor in the kelp forest.
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