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Earth Day Challenge: Get outside and PLAY!

By Sierra Club BC Environmental Educator Kirsten Dallimore

April 5, 2017

Earth Day is coming up on April 22. What is your school community doing to celebrate during Earth Week?

Sunshine and Smiles. Photo by Terri Boizard.

Earth Week is a time to celebrate and join together to work toward sustaining and building healthy and vibrant communities. This year I invite every class to take part in a challenge to get outside and PLAY!  Play is an essential part to a child’s development and play-based learning leads to greater social, emotional and academic success. Play is how children explore the world around them. According to research conducted by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, “intentional play-based learning enables children to investigate, ask questions, solve problems, and engage in critical thinking.”

It is important to provide your students with the opportunity go outside and allow them to engage in self-directed free play in nature.

How do you make this happen? It’s easy!

Instead of taking them to the built playground structure on the school ground, take your students to a place where the natural landscape and vegetation is accessible to them. This could mean an open grassy field or, if you’re lucky, a nearby forest. Believe it or not, once the kids are immersed in a natural space they will automatically start to explore, climb, run and ask questions and make observations about what they are seeing on their own.

On your first visit to this natural space, I suggest taking out with you basic supplies to get you started. These could include items such as magnify glasses, small trowels, paper and pencils for nature sketching, or items for a nature scavenger hunt (find scavenger hunt ideas here!) These items would be used to help kids get started in exploring nature. By the second or third visit you should no longer be needing any additional tools to get kids engaged.

The kids will start to immerse themselves in free play and will rely more on nature to provide the tools for interaction and investigation. Ideally, if you are able to continue with taking your kids outside on a regular basis (once or twice a week) for self-directed play, you will start to observe some changes in behavior.

Mason by the Sooke seashore. Photo by Jess Alford.

A deep nature connection activity I highly suggest is a “sit spot.” A sit spot provides time for students to find their own place in nature, sit quietly, and take time to observe and reflect on what is happening around them. Sit spots are an ideal way to start off your nature play time each time you go outside as a class. Observing seasonal changes throughout the year at their sit spot will enable your students to develop a deeper nature connection to a place.  Starting this week, in celebration of Earth Day, take your students outside and enable them to play outside in nature.

Looking for a special event to be a part of as a school community during Earth Week?

EarthPLAY for Earth Day is an Earth Day Canada initiative to get schools more involved in taking their students outside. Earth Day Canada is inviting schools across the country to get outside and play during the week leading up to Earth Day on April 22. They suggest taking an extended recess or hosting a whole day of popup adventure play at your school.

This is an amazing opportunity to connect kids with nature through outdoor, active, self-directed and unstructured play. Encourage kids to get outside no matter the weather or how much nature your school site offers. This is a valuable opportunity for children to create their own playground through outdoor play. Register your school and get tips and a tool kit for an EarthPLAY event at your school.

 

Earth Day community events happening around BC on April 22:

VICTORIA: Celebrate Community and Sustainability at the 6th Annual Creatively United Sustainability Showcase at the Royal BC Museum

VICTORIA: Bioblitz of Garry Oak Ecosystems

SURREY: Party for the Planet

NORTH VANCOUVER: Celebrate Earth Day at Mahon Park!

KELOWNA: Celebrate Biodiversity at the Kelowna Museum

 

Feature image by K. Zolotas.

Take your adventures outside this Spring Break!

By Sierra Club BC Environmental Educator Kirsten Dallimore

March 7 2017

Looking to get the kids outdoors and into nature over the spring break? Interested in joining a group of like-minded kids and families? Check out my recommendations for keeping nature connected and learning something new this spring break.

Getting outside over the spring break is something that we all look forward to doing. The sounds and smells of spring are in the air and we must embrace all the new discoveries that arrive this time of year in nature. The kids are anxious to explore, to play outdoor games and to experience life beyond the four walls of a classroom. Depending where you live, this might be your first opportunity since last summer to explore the beach or go for a hike in the forest without deep snow.

Having grown up in Ontario, I have always associated this time of year with Maple Season and the sound of water melting. The days are getting longer and the temperatures are warming up. The sounds of the spring peepers can be heard in the distance. Animals and birds are moving about and making more of an appearance. I grew up visiting my local conservation parks, learning how to make maple syrup and taking part in an interpretive guided hike program. I loved spending my time splashing in puddles after the thaw of a long winter. It is such a magical time of year for kids to be able to run, play and splash around in puddles and get excited about the tree buds, blossoms and birds. We can all hope after a long winter that spring is finally in the air!

Students at Quadra Elementary. Photo by Craig Janzen.

Regional parks in your own community are amazing places for the entire family to explore and learn something new. They are a great spot to experience and learn about all the changes that are taking place in nature.  During March break, many parks host events that will get you out to learn about wildlife such as bees, birds and beavers. The variety of family-friendly drop-in events as well as guided interpretive hikes are sure to be a hit for all ages.

If you are looking for a nature program for the kids during March break, why not check out what’s happening in regional parks in the Capital Regional District or Metro Vancouver?

If you live or are planning to visit Tofino over the March break and are looking for an incredible opportunity for your child to become immersed into nature each day with like-minded kids, you definitely should check out Tofino Nature Kids. They are facilitating a spring break camp at the Tofino Botanical Gardens for ages 5-9 years old which will include a variety of activities such as fire making, games, songs and stories. Kids will build on their nature skills and connect through play while taking part in this program with Tofino Nature Kids.

There are also great programs happening in the Central Okanagan and the Kootenays!

Wherever you find yourself this spring break with the kids, remember to take a moment to reflect and embrace this wonderful awakening in nature. I encourage you to take your adventures outside and see and experience something new.

Happy exploring!

Feature image by Craig Janzen.

“10 years back, 10 years forward”: Children, families and nature

Saturday February 25, 2017
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM PST

Royal Roads University
Hatley Castle Drawing Room
2005 Sooke Rd. Victoria BC

In February 2007, The Kesho Trust, Mountain Equipment Co-op, the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University hosted a community conference called a Dialogue on Children, Families and Nature. We were interested in the implications of the then-current book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder and invited its author Richard Louv to attend. This gathering, as well as a similar gatherings in 2009 and 2011, led to the formation of the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada and other critical initiatives related to getting children and families outside to experience and enjoy the many benefits of connecting with nature.

The Kesho Trust, Sierra Club of BC and Royal Roads University is hosting a ten-year anniversary meeting where we can all:

  • Hear about the outcomes of the work initiated or growing from those earlier gatherings;
  • Discuss where we believe we should be moving towards in the next ten years and how we might plan to move toward this desired future;
  • Celebrate!

The day will begin with coffee and mingling; our keynote speaker will be author Richard Louv, who will join us via the internet from his home in San Diego, CA. In addition, the Lieutenant Governor of BC, the Honourable Judy Guichon, will be attendng and she will offer her thoughts as a person who has a long-standing interest in this movement.

There will be a series of three panel presentations, each with 3-4 invited speakers. The panels will cover the domains of nature-based programs in schools (K-12), urban issues in child/nature connection, and the role of NGOs and governmental agencies. Panelists will briefly speak on where they see this movement has been and where it needs to go over the next decade.

Lunch will be provided, along with coffee and snacks.

Following the panel presentations, we will have a facilitated process which will allow you to think about what your desired futures might be in terms of the theme of the conference, and then to engage in a process of imagining the steps needed to get to that desired future.

Following the event, an open no-host bar will take place in the beautiful drawing room of Hatley Castle at Royal Roads University.

My favourite environmental children’s books

By Sierra Club BC Environmental Educator Kirsten Dallimore

February 2017

One of my favorite things to do with a class is to read them a story. I use stories as a way to introduce myself and to share an important key message about nature and our connection as people to nature. Stories enable children to get hooked and become engaged in a program.

This month I would like to share with you three storybooks that I read in my workshops to spark nature connection. These stories help share a message about sustainability, local ecosystems and the importance of environmental stewardship.

 

“The Tree in the Ancient Forest” written by Carol Reed-Jones and illustrated by Christopher Canyon is a beautiful story about the interdependence of the plants and animals that live in old-growth forests. Students are reminded of their own dependence upon nature and the importance of preserving and respecting living things.

I have a lot of fun reading this story because of its rhyming and repetitive word patterns. It allows the students to join in the story and follow along in a fun and interactive way. I highly recommend this book to any classes that are learning about relationships between species in their local ecosystem.

 

 

 

“The Little Hummingbird” written by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas is an Indigenous story about a little hummingbird that is doing its best to take care of its home. Children love this story because it is so simple and leaves them feeling empowered. They understand that more than likely the little hummingbird was probably not able to put out the fire alone, but the fact that little hummingbird did something at all is what is most important.

Children feel a strong connection to animals and compassion for them. They see themselves in this story as the little hummingbird and wonder what they would have done in this situation. I always ask them what they believe the lesson is from the little hummingbird and they come back with the same answer every time: “it doesn’t matter your size, we all can make an impact, so always do your best to protect your home.” I recommend this story to anyone who needs a simple reminder of the importance of always doing your part to protect the environment.

 

 

“Wild Berries” written and illustrated by Julie Flett is a lovely Cree storybook about a grandmother and grandson going out to pick wild blueberries. This story really ties in well with our “Going Wild! People & Plants” program. The key message delivered in this book is about sustainability. It reminds us of those special moments when we truly make a connection out in nature.

While the story takes you on a small journey about going out to pick wild berries, it really draws on the connections that are developed over time between people and the land.  Students are able to easily relate to the story because it is simple and clear about how they too can make connections with all living things in nature. I highly recommend this story to everyone who loves picking and eating wild berries.

Here are some more of my favourite environmental children’s books:

Eagle’s Reflection and other Northwest Coast Stories by Robert James Challenger

The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer

West Coast Wild: A Nature Alphabet by Deborah Hodge

Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson

From the Mountains to the Sea We Share the Seasons by Brenda Boreham and Terri Mack

Nowhere Else on Earth: Standing Tall for the Great Bear Rainforest by Caitlyn Vernon

Ten tips for successful outdoor learning

“Did you like going outside? OF COURSE!! I love going outside – it’s my only escape from stress.” -Sierra Club BC Education Program participant

Just like Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962, the 2005 publishing of Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods was a catalyst for change. By coining the term “nature-deficit disorder”, Louv began a much needed conversation about our children’s connection to nature. Why are our children spending more time in front of a screen than they are outside? What are the impacts of this indoor lifestyle on our children’s physical and mental wellbeing? And most crucially, how can we reconnect our children with the natural world?  Nobody has taken on this last question with more urgency than teachers. The research is clear – students learn better when learning takes place outside.

And yet, the majority of a student’s day is still spent inside. As teachers we know that nature provides a more stimulating learning environment than the standard four-walled classroom, so why are we still stuck inside?

With this question in mind, our Education Team has compiled a list of tips to help you feel more comfortable taking your own class outdoors.

Kirsten Dallimore. Photo by K. Zolotas.

Environmental Educator Kirsten Dallimore. Photo by K. Zolotas.

Ten Tips for Successful Outdoor Learning

1. Temperature Checks

Going outside should be a positive experience for students. If a student is too cold (or too hot, thirsty, wet, tired…) they won’t have a positive experience. Taking care to ensure the physical comfort of students is important. That doesn’t mean you should stay inside during freezing weather, just make sure everybody is properly bundled – including yourself!

2. Ask questions

Evaluating experiential, inquiry, or play-based learning takes some creativity. Use questions, peppered throughout an activity to evaluate learning. For example, you can ask “What kind of berry are you picking?” as a simple way to evaluate that student’s learning. At the end of an activity provide debrief questions that allow students to reflect upon what they just learned.

3. Embrace volume…

Let’s face it, there is no such thing as a “proper outside voice.” If you are worried about getting your students’ attention in a large outdoor space, consider bringing a whistle or, better yet, develop a special signal. You could even try mimicking a bird call! (Chickadee-dee-dee!)

4. …and energy!

Your students are excited and invigorated – meet them at their level!

5. Ask an expert

If you aren’t yet comfortable taking your class into nature by yourself, invite somebody to lead a program for you. You will surely be inspired and gain some confidence from community organizations, like Sierra Club BC, that regularly bring nature into classrooms and classrooms into nature. Inviting Aboriginal elders and community members to lead a program for your class can be especially meaningful. School District 61’s Aboriginal Nations Education Division, for example, connects Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations community members with schools to lead students on interpretative hikes about native plant species and their medicinal uses.

6. Have a safety plan

While learning outside presents some risks that do not exist indoors, pro-active planning will ensure these risks are managed. Explain boundaries clearly and use a buddy system if students are freely exploring. Be aware of any allergies and always have an Epi-Pen on hand. If you are travelling a distance from your school, bring a first-aid kit and a cell phone with you.

Kirsten Dallimore with Heritage Elementary students in Prince George.

Kirsten Dallimore with Heritage Elementary students in Prince George.

7. Use nature as your teacher…

If our goal as educators is to prepare students to be active and responsible citizens, we should be engaging them in the natural world that they will be stewarding. This could be analyzing the effects of settlement or resource development in BC, or learning about sustainability. Do a scavenger hunt in a nearby forest, searching for natural signs of climate change vulnerability or adaptations. Have students find their own outdoor sit-spot. Make a connection to the arts by having students draw what they can see from their spot, or, take on the perspective of a bird, bug or animal and draw what that creature might see.

Sierra Club BC’s Education Program website is full of resources to help you bring nature into your lesson plans.

8. …or as your classroom

Who says the Canadian Parliamentary System has to be taught at a desk? Bring those worksheets outside and find a comfy spot on the grass. As students breathe in fresh air, stress decreasing and memory capacity increasing, you might just have your best Civic Studies lesson ever!

9. Going outside shouldn’t be a “reward”

Time spent outside shouldn’t be sold as a reward or as a special privilege. Access to fresh air and a learning environment conducive to student success is a right and should be treated as such. Outside learning can flow seamlessly with what is being learned inside and can easily become a regular part of your school day.

10. HAVE FUN!!

Don’t forget to make it fun. If it’s fun, it will stick!

 

Adapted from an original article by former Sierra Club BC Education Team member Kim McCrory. First published in BC Social Studies Teachers’ Association’s Dimensions (January 2014)

Going Wild! Nature and Play

By Sierra Club BC Environmental Educator Kirsten Dallimore

Sierra Club BC’s Going Wild! Nature and Play program launched in Fall 2016. It has truly been an environmental educator and nature nut’s dream come true. Since September I have had the incredible opportunity to share my program with a dozen kindergarten classes in various classrooms in Victoria, Sooke, Royston, Cumberland and Brackendale.

Willows Elementary. Photo by K. Zolotas.

Willows Elementary. Photo by K. Zolotas.

Going Wild! Nature and Play was designed to get kindergarten students engaged and excited about nature in their own school community. What better way than to facilitate a program that allows students to explore through touching, smelling, looking and listening to unique nature items such as deer jaw bones, moon snails, bracket fungus and local native plants.

We spend most of the program outside exploring nature with magnifying glasses, playing nature games, storytelling, and asking lot of questions about what lives in the students’ school community. Together we have been able to find animal homes, dig up earth worms, see eagles’ nests, and smell fresh fir tip needles in their own schoolyard.

Children are engaging in nature in a way that empowers them to be true explorers of the wild. They are asking questions like “why do the trees lose their leaves?” “what does a bird use to make its nest?” and “why does the tree bark feel different on each tree?”  This type of inquiry has led students to touch a variety of trees, collect materials to build their own birds’ nests, and make art out of fallen leaves and other natural materials.

I have had the privilege of exploring with kindergarten students in areas of their schoolyard or local forest that they don’t usually visit. My visit to the kindergarten classes are always special and very unique. It is all based on what the students are interested in and what kind of nature exists in their own community. Students experience something new in nature that opens their eyes and ears to what is happening around them. This encourages them to continue developing a deeper connection with nature.

Willows Elementary. Photo by C. Lyon.

Willows Elementary. Photo by C. Lyon.

One day when I was out with a class in Sooke, we visited a local forest. While the children were exploring through play, they came across a giant hole underneath a gnarly tree. Thinking this might be a home for a rabbit, together they covered the hole lightly with leaves. The students decided they would return to that same spot in a few days with their teacher. They wanted to see if a rabbit or another animal would show that it lived there by coming out of the hole and disturbing the leaves.

The kids are curious about how nature works and are happy when they have the opportunity to spend time looking for birds, touching plants and feeling the leaves. This is what enables them to develop a deeper connection with nature.

This program has been successful because teachers have decided they want to learn how to get their kindergarten students engaged in nature learning. They see the benefits of taking their students to the forest or ocean, building a garden, or being outside in addition to recess. This program was designed to support teachers in building nature connection and outdoor nature play into their classroom routine.

All the teachers I met this fall are working hard with their students to build an awareness of environmental stewardship. Below I am pleased to share with you the artwork and environmental dedication of the kindergarten class at Brackendale Elementary School. They have created their own educational pamphlet on endangered species in BC. These students are leaders in the movement to get outside and connect to nature.

Congratulations students, and good luck in your future environmental endeavors!

Download a printable version of this pamphlet to share with your students.

endangered-species-brochure_mrs-bowleys-kindergarten-class-at-brackendale-elementary-1 endangered-species-brochure_mrs-bowleys-kindergarten-class-at-brackendale-elementary-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Experience Volunteering with Sierra Club BC

By Jody Holmes

Jody Holmes

I really enjoyed the time I spent volunteering with Kirsten in elementary classes in my hometown of Prince George. It was great to see an experienced environmental educator in action. Kirsten was very good at keeping students engaged during her presentations, and the classes were very interactive. I was happy to help the students with questions they had during the class activities, and it was great to get outside with the classes for the scavenger hunts and other activities. I really enjoyed seeing so much excitement from the students during the outdoor games. It was a pleasure for me to answer questions the students asked about the things they discovered in the natural environment. Kirsten delivered great indoor and outdoor components, and she did a great job of explaining the importance of biodiversity, and describing the threats of over-consumption.

I especially liked the activity in which Kirsten laid out a tarp and asked the students to stand on it. Kirsten then proceeded to fold up portions of the tarp to signify habitat loss resulting from industrial activities. This exercise showed how the carrying capacity of ecosystems and the Earth itself is limited. If humans continue to degrade the environment, there will be less and less habitable land for the continuously increasing populations of humans. We also must share the habitable land with the many plants and animals we depend on for our survival. This activity provided a clear explanation about why humans must find a way to live more harmoniously with the natural environment. We must protect the environment in order to preserve humanity and all of the other inhabitants on planet Earth.

I really appreciated having the opportunity to help Kirsten with some of her presentations. It was a great learning experience for me and I was very fortunate to interact with the many bright students. It was also great to meet the many welcoming teachers who were excited to have Kirsten come to their classes. I believe this experience will help me in my efforts to develop and deliver environmental education presentations of my own. I am currently developing a Sustainability Education program as a major component of my non-profit organization named Connecting Communities. Connecting Communities has been established to educate youth and the public about the importance of sustainable development, and to encourage people to contribute to improving their communities by participating in local projects.

Thanks Kirsten and Lisa from Sierra Club BC! The experience was a great pleasure!

Jody Holmes is an environmental educator in Prince George, B.C. He recently started Connecting Communities, a non-profit organization committed to creating positive change in communities across the globe.

Want to support strong environmental education in B.C.? When you donate today, $25 gives a student the chance to connect with nature at their school. $100 helps us travel to a remote community. $250 gives teachers a free workshop in how to integrate nature into their classroom.

 

Giants of the Salish Sea: Humpback whales

By Heather Fleming

Photo by Orca Spirit Adventures.

Photo by Orca Spirit Adventures.

Standing at Clover Point and looking out into the Salish Sea, it’s hard to believe there are giants swimming just off in the distance: humpback whales. Humpbacks reach lengths of 17 m (55 ft) and 40,000 kg (88,184 lbs). They are predominantly black with variable amounts of white ventrally. The whales have huge pectoral flippers that can reach about a third of the length of their body.  Their underside has 14-35 ventral pleats that span from their chin all the way down to their navel. These pleats will expand like an accordion while feeding, allowing them to take in massive amounts of food. Lining the tops of their mouths, they have 270-400 plates of baleen that work as a big filter. Humpbacks get their name from a small hump with a little dorsal fin located about two-thirds of the way down their bodies. When they go down for a deep dive and arch their backs, you can really see why they got their name, creating a big hump as they descend into the depth of the sea.

They have travelled all the way here from the warm waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands or Baja Mexico, and most are heading even further north. These whales do one of the longest migrations of any species on the planet, swimming almost 20,000 km each year! They do this migration because they must give birth in the warm waters and eat in the the cold waters.

Photo by Orca Spirit Adventures.

Photo by Orca Spirit Adventures.

After around a 12 month gestation period, the calves are born in the warm waters. Here, they will take a month or two to build up their blubber layer on mom’s nutrient rich milk, before heading north. The males and females that have not given birth that year will travel north before the new mothers and calves. Where they end up is completely dependent on where they find food. This will generally be the cold oxygen-rich waters near Alaska. However, sometimes they will find large schools of krill, pilcher or herring along the way, and have no need to continue on further.

Feeding time is immensely important for these animals, because they can go up to 8 months without food. They have developed a unique way of feeding that allows them to engulf massive amounts of food with one big sweep. Humpbacks will find a school of their prey, scare it into a ball and lunge at it with their mouths wide open, often breaching the surface with their mouths agape! They will then partially close the mouth, push the tongue against the roof of the mouth, and push all the water and small particulate out through the baleen, then gulp back the food whole. Ideally, humpbacks will eat one tonne of food a day in their feeding grounds.

Photo by Orca Spirit Adventures.

Photo by Orca Spirit Adventures.

Commercial whaling of humpbacks in the 19th and 20th centuries took a great toll on the North Pacific population. The International Whaling Commission banned hunting of humpbacks in 1966. Unfortunately, by this point only 1200-1400 whales remained from a population that was thought to be greater than 15,000. Since this time, it is believed that they have almost made a full recovery. The greatest threats to these whales now are entanglement in fishing gear and ship strikes.

It is quite remarkable how quickly a species can bounce back when given the chance.  If there is ever an ounce of doubt that our actions won’t make a difference, we have to look back at success stories like this one to remind ourselves that we can make positive change.

Want to support strong environmental education in BC? Please consider making a donation to Sierra Club BC today.

Featured image by Orca Spirit Adventures

Celebrating another year of environmental education in BC

WowYear in Review Infographic! What a great school year!

From Quesnel and Victoria to Surrey and Vernon, our Education Team delivered nature education at schools all across the province. As the school year comes to a close, we are so thankful to all of the students, teachers, school staff, parents, and Sierra Club BC supporters who make this program possible. Together, we are fostering healthier children and a healthier planet.

This infographic gives a quick snapshot of the most exciting things you helped us accomplish this year.

Looking forward to next school year, we have some exciting things planned, including:

-Offering new professional development opportunities to support teachers in implementing the new B.C. curriculum with a nature-inspired lens;
-Hiring new regional and local educators to better support schools in their own communities; and,
-Making our free, in-class workshops available to more remote and/or underserviced areas of B.C.

To do all of this, we need your help. When you donate today, $25 gives a student the chance to connect with nature at their school. $100 helps us travel to a remote community. $250 gives teachers a free workshop in how to integrate nature into their classroom.

Information on our workshops for students and teachers for 2016-2017 will be posted in late August. Sign up for our Education E-newsletter to get updates on our programming, and to receive curriculum-linked lesson plans and other nature-education ideas throughout the year.

In the meantime, we hope that you will be inspired to get outside with the children and youth in your life, that you will continue to stand up for the places and people you care about, and, quite simply, that you enjoy the summer.

ECOSYSTEM 101: Bears, Berries and Bees

The relationship between bears, huckleberries and bees is both straightforward and simple. Bees pollinate flowers, flowers make berries, bears eat berries. Seems simple enough.

It’s not until we consider climate change that this relationship seems more a matter of good luck than a given. In ‘normal’ years, bees are around when the flowers are blooming, which means that berries will form and ripen, providing a summer-long snack for hungry bears looking to fatten up for the fall.

But what if things shift? What if a warm winter causes bees to emerge early in the spring? Will the huckleberries be flowering early too? Or do they rely on some cue other than temperature or precipitation—sunlight hours, for example—to spur their blossoms?

For thousands of years, people (and other animals) have been observing the world around them and making note of when the natural events important to them happen. People pay attention to timing of things like bird migrations, the arrival of salmon, and the ripening of preferred berries. In the scientific literature, this is called phenology. It’s the study or observation of nature through the seasons, making note when and in what conditions different changes happen.

Given current climate trends, researcher Tabitha Graves is concerned that the seemingly straightforward relationship between bees, huckleberries and grizzly bears in the Rocky Mountains could be in trouble. Given that huckleberries make up over 15 per cent of a bear’s diets, a year with low huckleberry production can put bears at risk of going hungry and/or ending up in more human-bear conflicts.

The article “Bears, Berries and Bees” gives readers an insiders’ look at Graves research. The article is accompanied by videos of Graves speaking about her project, as well as maps and photos.

Enjoy!

Featured image by Harvey Barrison, via Flickr

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