The importance of kelp

Sea otter, Vancouver Aquarium (Photo by Wikimedia Commons, Stan Shebs)

Sleeping sea otter at the Vancouver Aquarium (Photo by Wikimedia Commons, Stan Shebs)

Sea otters are a keystone species. They play an important role in the health and stability of near shore marine ecosystems. They eat sea urchins and other invertebrates that eat vast quantities of giant kelp. In the absence of sea otters, grazing...

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Call of the wild: Up close and personal with screech owls in Fernie, BC

Western screech-owl (Photo by US Fish & Wildlife Service)

Western screech-owl (Photo by US Fish & Wildlife Service)

There is nothing more incredible than witnessing a whole family of owls interacting and communicating with one another. This is what I discovered after an intimate and humbling experience with a family of screech-owls in the Elk Valley this past...

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Doing Science that Matters: Engaging with Communities in Collaborative Scientific Research

University of Victoria student Megan Adams monitoring hair snags near Wuikinuxv Village, BC (Photo by ACS lab)

University of Victoria student Megan Adams monitoring hair snags near Wuikinuxv Village, BC (Photo by ACS lab)

I should have known I would become an ecologist. As a child, I always seemed to catch a salamander while waiting for the school bus, or bring home precious flowers to press through the seasons. I could stare from the bus window out into the...

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Where the roads have no name: Road deactivation on the Darkwoods property

Culvert deactivation, Darkwoods, BC (Photo by NCC)

A culvert is removed as part of the deactivation process for a logging road no longer needed in Darkwoods' conservation operations. This prevents landslides, which can occur when neglected culverts are blocked on abandoned roads. (Photo by NCC)

“Ok pickup truck, you’re good to go,” the crew chief calls over the radio. We cautiously crawl across the active logging site en route to Darkwoods, the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC's) vast conservation area in...

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Connecting birds with people...and people with birds

Pat Shaughnessy with a savannah sparrow, TLBO (Photo by NCC)

Pat Shaughnessy with a savannah sparrow, TLBO (Photo by NCC)

Much is written about the importance of getting young children out into nature, while their joy of engagement with natural life is unmitigated. We should not overlook the idea that that joy is not restricted to children. Pat Shaughnessy is 83...

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Tatlayoko forever! The Tatlayoko Lake Bird Observatory opens for a ninth season

White-winged crossbills, Tatlayoko Lake Bird Observatory, British Columbia (Photo by Steve Ogle)

White-winged crossbills, Tatlayoko Lake Bird Observatory, British Columbia (Photo by Steve Ogle)

Although trained as a vegetation ecologist, I have been interested in birds and birdwatching for many years. To my delight, in 2006 I was asked to design a monitoring program for migratory birds at the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC's)...

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Patience

Mother grizzly bear and her cub (Photo by Brocken Inaglory)

Mother grizzly bear and her cub (Photo by Brocken Inaglory)

The skies are clear on this mid-afternoon in July, with a light breeze blowing in from the Pacific Ocean. A flock of geese fly overhead, honking loudly to one another. A grizzly sow plops down on the small, grassy ridge overlooking a knee-deep...

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Exploring wildlife in Wuikinuxv

This image, taken of a bear scratching its back against a tree, was taken with a trail camera in Wuikinuxv. (Photo by NCC)

This image, taken of a bear scratching its back against a tree, was taken with a trail camera in Wuikinuxv. (Photo by NCC)

We just transitioned out of Wuikinuxv, so now is the perfect time to give a spring update. The Wuikinuxv bear monitoring project was a huge success in 2014. With support from Wuikinuxv Nation, the Tula Foundation, Raincoast Conservation, and the...

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Photographing one of the Cowichan Valley's best-kept secrets

Elkington House (Photo by Toad Hollow Photography)

Elkington House (Photo by Toad Hollow Photography)

In all truth, Elkington House is one of Cowichan Valley’s best-kept secrets, with deep roots in our local heritage and history dating back to the time of colonization on Vancouver Island. The 119–year-old heritage house sits in the...

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Small mammals of the Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area

Western harvest mouse, the real life Pikachu!  (Photo by Andy Teucher)

Western harvest mouse (Photo by Andy Teucher)

In the early 1990s, esteemed entomologist Geoff Scudder spent time in the South Okanagan creating an inventory of the insects that lived in this near-desert landscape. In a happy accident, the traps set out for insects ended up catching a couple...

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