2019 Seaweed Symposium


Friday Aug. 16th-Sunday Aug. 18th

Bull kelp image by Josie Iselin.


Downtown Discovery Center | 338 N. Main Street in Fort Bragg (unless otherwise noted)

Taste | Learn | Play | Create | Experience

We hope to see you there!

This community-created celebration of our local seaweeds promises to be a full weekend of discovery, exploration, and engagement with the wondrous world of kelp. We want this experience to be accessible to all, so most of the events are free to attend, though a few do require pre-registration and a payment (read event descriptions carefully & please reach out if you have any questions).

A note on the “pay what you can” scale: the low end covers our cost of putting on the event and the high end price allows us to direct proceeds from the weekend into our educational programming. If you are a volunteer or member, we encourage you to give yourself a 25% discount in appreciation of your continued support! For more information about becoming a member, click here.

We will also be accepting donations throughout the weekend to support our “Help the Kelp” program, which is aims to restore giant bull kelp in our local ocean ecosystem.

Thank you for supporting our work!

The Curious World of Seaweed coverFriday, August 16

5:30-8 pm. Our Kelp, A Seaweed Conversation with Larry Knowles of Rising Tide Sea Vegetables & author/artist Josie Iselin.

5:30-6pm: Arrival & mingling–enjoy seaweed hor d’oeuvres; view Josie’s wearable art, seaweed-inspired scarves; and pick up a copy of Josie’s most recent book, The Curious World of Seaweed, and get it signed by the author.

6-7:30pm: Presentation by Larry & Josie.

7:30-8pm: Wrap-up discussion, & continuation of pre-presentation activities (scarf-viewing, book-signing, & finishing hor d’oeuvres–if there are any left!).

Saturday August 17

Image result for seaweed pressing
Google Images “seaweed pressing.”

8-11 am. Seaweed Field-Walk & Pressing Demo with Larry & Josie. Location TBD.

8-10am: Josie & Larry will be joined by Erica Fielder for a 2-hour field walk at MacKerricher State Park, focusing on identification, discussion, and appropriate harvesting etiquette of near-shore seaweed species.

10-11am: Return to the Downtown Discovery Center with a few specimens collected from the walk for a seaweed pressing demonstration. Seaweed pressing was particularly popular during the Victorian Era and follows a similar procedure to that of flower or leaf pressing.

Pre-registration required. Pay what you can–$18-35. Online Registration is now closed.  Please contact our Downtown Discovery Center at 707-733-6696 ext. 105 to see if space is still available.

1-3 pm. Kid-friendly, Creative Kelp Exploration with Sue Coulter (Education Coordinator, Noyo Center) & Janet Self (Flockworks).

Discover the wonders of the underwater world through all five senses. Hosts Sue and Janet will have a variety of engaging activities for kids of all ages.

5:30-8 pm. Seaweed Sampling & Underwater Update, A Panel with Local Divers, Researchers, and Kelp Stewards involved in the Help the Kelp project

slide image
Sea lettuce infused butter & seaweed sourdough made at Harbor House Inn. Photo by John Burgess/Press Democrat.

5:30-6:30: Enjoy samples of seaweed salad from Larry Knowles and “noritos” (nori fried in coconut oil) & other seaweed snacks from Ocean Harvest Sea Vegetable Company. Indulge in the infamous seaweed bread & butter from the Michelin star-awarded Harbor House Inn in Elk. It’s prepared with seaweed and salt gathered from local coves, and the care and integrity of the food is attracting visitors from all over the world. Read more about this historic site and the vibrancy and integrity Matthew Kammerer (Executive Chef) and his kitchen team bring to their sea-to-table culinary creations.

6:30-8pm: Panel discussion amongst the divers, researchers, and scientists, who are maintaining kelp oasis zones in our local coves, collective urchin data, and interacting with the marine ecosystems on a regular basis. Hear about what they’re experiencing, ask questions, and engage in dialogue about the future of our oceans.

Image result for seaweed cyanotype
Google Image “seaweed cyanotype.”

Sunday August 18

11-2:30 pm. Art & Algae, Cyanotype Workshop with Josie Iselin.

Learn about the history of this photographic process and its role in Victorian-era specimen collection. View Josie’s own extensive collection of dried seaweed, and then learn to make your own cyanotype either from her specimens or from specimens collected on Saturday morning. This is a hands-on workshop and all materials will be provided.

Pre-registration required. Pay what you can– $48-75. Online Registration is now closed. Please contact our Downtown Discovery Center at 707-733-6696 ext. 105 to see if space is still available.

3-4 pm. Aquarium Feeding & Conversation with Sarah Grimes (Stranding Coordinator, Noyo Center). Crow’s Nest, Noyo Headlands.

Join Noyo Center’s Stranding Coordinator Sarah Grimes at the Crow’s Nest and watch while the aquarium creatures enjoy some tasty treats. Hear about her work as the Stranding Coordinator of our region, and learn about her take on the state of the ocean ecology.



Symposium Presenters

Larry Knowles, owner of Rising Tide Sea Vegetables, and author/artist Josie Iselin will talk about the kelps of the local Mendocino Coast and in particular the threatened kelp forest. They are both passionate advocates for the marine algae and kelp of our near shore waters and will thrill you will stories from their experiences and work in the intertidal ecosystems of our area.

Josie holds a BA in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard and an MFA from San Francisco State University. For over twenty years Josie has used her flatbed scanner and computer exclusively for generating imagery. She is still captivated by the fluidity with which this technique allows her to render and design with three-dimensional objects. As a fine artist, Josie exhibits large-scale prints at select galleries and museums, designs architectural scale seaweed commissions and gives workshops on art & algae. She has also designed a line of luxury scarves. She hopes that celebrating the ordinary wonders we find at the beach, and the algal world in particular, will bring thoughtfulness and stewardship to this extraordinary place of discovery.

Josie is the photographer, author and designer of seven books, with new projects always in development in her San Francisco studio, Loving Blind Productions. Her books focus on those forms in nature we find at hand and in particular, at the beach. Her visual primer on seaweed, An Ocean Garden: The Secret Life of Seaweed, was published in 2014 by Abrams. Iselin continues her explorations into the world of marine algae with her forthcoming book, The Curious World of Seaweed: Stories from the Pacific Coast, an ambitious combination of essays and historical as well as contemporary imagery. This book chronicles the natural history as well as the history of science of sixteen iconic Pacific coast seaweeds and kelps.

Larry became involved in Rising Tide Sea Vegetables in 1995 inspired by his passion for whole, local, food and a commitment to Right Livelihood.

He became sole proprietor of Rising Tide in 2004. Today, Rising Tide Sea Vegetables is a thriving business that supplies culinary grade wildcrafted dry seaweed and healthy seaweed snack products to stores and individuals in the Western United States.

Larry holds a Green Building Certificate from Sonoma State University. With his contractor skills, he invented and constructed a passive solar seaweed drying facility to accommodate a more extensive operation and grow the business. In 2005 he founded Chubby’s Shared Use Commercial Incubator Kitchen in Fort Bragg. Chubby’s not only provides space for Rising Tide to package our line of culinary seaweed , and bake seaweed snacks, it also houses other local food entrepreneurs.

Larry was appointed to the Marine Life Protection Act Regional Stakeholder Group by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors in 2008 and served for 2 years working with state and tribal government agencies along with scientists and public and private stakeholders to design a series of Marine Protected areas from Point Arena to the Oregon Border.

Because of his seaweed harvesting passion over the last 24 years, his love of recreational free-diving and spearfishing here on the Mendocino coast, as well as a long-term study of the ecosystems unique to these rich cold-water habitats, Larry has an in-depth knowledge of ocean conditions, especially the changes in recent years in the near-shore rocky kelp habitat that he loves.



The Symposium with be hosted by the Noyo Center for Marine Science at the Downtown Discovery Center, 338 N. Main St., in Fort Bragg.