Exploring the Fraser River Estuary

Low tide at Swishwash Island, BC. (Photo by Fernando Lessa)

Low tide at Swishwash Island, BC. (Photo by Fernando Lessa)

The Fraser River is one of the most important rivers in Canada. Its waters, running for almost 1,400 kilometres before reaching the Pacific Ocean, are a major salmon waterway that is used by all five species of Pacific salmon and salmonids to...

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A peak experience at Buffalo Pound

Buffalo Pound Lake, SK (Photo by Bill Armstrong)

Buffalo Pound Lake, SK (Photo by Bill Armstrong)

Many Canadians, I think, perceive Saskatchewan to be one billiard table-flat, never-ending field of wheat. Not so. To prove my point, I recently made a second visit to a property at Buffalo Pound Lake, where the Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC) is...

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The voice of nature

"Beaver," ink with watercolour wash. (Painting by Leanne Cadden)

Capturing ecosystem health through sound When I was six years old, my family moved to a suburban neighbourhood on Vancouver Island. We came from Ontario, so we were not at all acquainted with the incredibly wild and lush biodiversity of British...

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Terminarch: Making music out of birdsong

Sage thrasher (Photo by Dick Cannings)

Sage thrasher (Photo by Dick Cannings)

One of the best things about composing music for the concert hall is that inspiration can come from just about anywhere. My latest work, Terminarch, is a 10-minute piece for a quartet of percussionists based on the birdsong of 12 endangered...

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A breezy hike at Buffalo Pound

Buffalo Pound property, SK (Photo by Bill Armstrong)

Buffalo Pound property, SK (Photo by Bill Armstrong)

What a delight it was to watch a wary coyote cross the trail in front of me, sizing me up before continuing on its way into a nearby coulee. This encounter may not seem like much, but after three months of staying at home to help stop the spread...

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How do you solve a problem like migration?

A flock of shorebirds takes to the air at Oak/Plum Lake Important Bird Area, a migration stopover site in Manitoba. The mixed-species flock includes Wilson’s phalaropes, red-necked phalaropes, stilt sandpipers, pectoral sandpipers, dunlin, white-rumped sandpipers and semipalmated sandpipers. (Photo by Christian Artuso)

A flock of shorebirds takes to the air at Oak/Plum Lake Important Bird Area, a migration stopover site in Manitoba. The mixed-species flock includes Wilson’s phalaropes, red-necked phalaropes, stilt sandpipers, pectoral sandpipers, dunlin, white-rumped sandpipers and semipalmated sandpipers. (Photo by Christian Artuso)

I can feel the rapid thrumming of the bluebird’s heart against my palm as I carefully manoeuvre its foot into position over a tiny Ziploc bag. I pick up my nail scissors and take a deep breath to steady my hand. I will only get one chance to...

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Insects have a PR problem

Northern barrens tiger beetle (Photo by Dan MacNeal, CC BY 4.0)

Northern barrens tiger beetle (Photo by Dan MacNeal, CC BY 4.0)

It's time we change that. You may have heard rumblings in the news about the loss of insects around the world. While some scientists have been screaming about this from the rooftops, it doesn’t seem to get the widespread attention it...

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Restore it and they will come

Henslow's sparrow (Photo by Adam Timpf)

Henslow's sparrow (Photo by Adam Timpf)

One spring day last year, I was doing what I always do: walking the family dog and noting on my ebird app what birds were around. This daily ritual exercises the dog and allows me to collect data on what birds and wildlife are inhabiting our farm...

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Could there be an invasive species in your backyard?

Person taking picture of a plant (Photo by iStock)

Person taking picture of a plant (Photo by iStock)

The changing of the seasons in Canada brings back some of our most beloved species. Migratory birds fly back north, our gardens come alive and buds reappear on the trees. However, the warming weather can also bring some less-than-desirable...

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How human-made dams impact rivers

Dam (Photo by Austin Evans, Unsplash)

Dam (Photo by Austin Evans, Unsplash)

As the lifeblood of the planet, rivers are teeming with biodiversity. They support a wealth of wildlife and provide many benefits to humans. In Canada, we have over 8,500 named rivers, according to WWF-Canada, and are home to 20 per cent of the...

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