Frame of mind

Evan Howells (Photo by Cathie Archibould)

Evan Howells (Photo by Cathie Archibould)

Evan Howells, 16, one of this year’s Nature Inspiration Award youth finalists*, is grateful to be growing up in the Yukon, surrounded by nature and its endless photo opportunities.

I live in Whitehorse, known as the wilderness city, where a backpack adventure is only minutes away. I never leave home without my backpack, and an essential item I always pack is my camera. I like to connect to nature by capturing photos of whatever I see around me — from  insects to plant life. In recent years, I learned the importance of using photography to document observations for my multi-year science fair project. At 13, I started collecting data for the first study that compared pollen foraging patterns of native bumble bees and honey bees in  natural landscapes in Southern Lakes, Yukon. Each summer, I took photos of the study sites, including bees and flowers during each visit. After identifying bee pollen samples under a microscope, I used the photos for cross-referencing the flowers blooming in each collection period.

Photography was also an integral part of communicating my study results online and in designing my science fair display. At the 2023 Canada-Wide Science Fair, I was honoured to receive a medal for my project. I hope my study findings will raise awareness of the needs of native bumble bees and further guide beekeeping and landscaping practices to maintain their populations locally. Spending lots of time in the meadows of the Southern Lakes region has made it one of my favourite nature spots in the Yukon. I plan to go on many hikes there in the future, and I’ll be sure to take my camera along.

* An annual award hosted by the Canadian Museum of Nature.

This story originally appeared in the fall 2023 issue of the Nature Conservancy of Canada Magazine. To learn more about how you can receive the magazine, click here.

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