Category Archives: Nature

Byrne Creek Spawner Patrol, No Fish, Fishing Heron

Yumi and I did a two-hour patrol of Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby, BC, today, looking for spawning salmon. We were skunked again. With the recent rains, chum and coho should be moving up the creek from the Fraser River any day now.

But it was still a lovely ramble, and we spotted a Great Blue Heron successfully fishing in the creek.

great blue heron fishing Byrne Creek Burnaby

byrne creek autumn colours burnaby bc


Tagged tree down! Many years ago, volunteer streamkeepers laid out a system of numbered tags along the creek to which we reference data collection and activities. This tree has toppled, so we’ll move the tag to another nearby.

Let’s play Spot the Streamkeeper : – ).

Even with hi-viz vests on, you can lose your patrol partners even on this urban creek in the middle of the city.

streamkeeper high visibility vests


OK, here’s an easier one!

Byrne Creek Autumn – Bring on the Salmon!

I love autumn, and while the colours are starting to diminish, next up will be spawning salmon. We volunteer with the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers in SE Burnaby, BC, and for us this is the most exciting part of the year when salmon start returning to spawn and die.

There’s so much anticipation to see how many fish we’ll get as our numbers vary considerably over the years. Some years have been very poor with only a few dozen spawners counted, but last year we had over 100.

byrne creek dog posters


We have permission from Burnaby Parks to zapstrap two or three funny dog posters to trees in the lower ravine during the spawning season. We’ve had excellent responses to them, with dog walkers asking us when they’ll be up.

salmon redd nest byrne creek burnaby
While we haven’t seen any salmon yet, they should start arriving any day now. Yumi spotted this disturbance which is likely a redd, or nest of eggs, so they may be here and hiding. That could mean coho, as they are very secretive, while chum, the other species in our creek, is readily observable.

byrne creek garbage
Unfortunately the creek also attracts irresponsible types and we often find garbage dumped in it. This speaker was tossed off of the Meadow Ave. bridge.

Plastics Street Garbage Entering Storm Drains

Street garbage seen today, much of it plastics, leading straight to a storm drain at the corner of Edmonds and Fulton in SE Burnaby, BC. This was perhaps a 5-meter stretch of curb.

I am documenting more of this when I run across it because the Stream of Dreams Murals Society is researching how plastics are impacting local streams, and eventually the Fraser River and Pacific Ocean though storm-drain pollution.

The City of Burnaby is providing some support for this project.

All drains lead to fish habitat. When this garbage is washed into street drains, it ends up in local creeks, begins breaking down, and keeps moving downstream affecting fish and wildlife along the way. It will eventually arrive in the ocean, perhaps as microplastics.

plastics garbage burnaby bc street

Last Day Exhibiting with Stream of Dreams at EcoCity 2019

It was yet another gorgeous day in downtown Vancouver at the EcoCity 2019 event (@ecocity2019). It was my second day helping staff the Stream of Dreams Murals Society booth @StreamofDreams . I’ve been doing some PT work this year helping deliver the Stream of Dreams watershed education and community art program in schools.

I really enjoyed this event. Talked to lots of folks over the two days, collected a bunch of biz cards, and will be following up with many.

There was a serendipitous moment as I was chatting with a conference goer who didn’t seem all that impressed with our watershed education and community art program. Just then another woman walked by and squealed “Oh my gosh, Stream of Dreams! I love your program, my kids got so much out it, and teachers at her school were raving about it!”

No, I’d never met the second woman, and no cash was exchanged under any table : – ).

It’s very rewarding to get such unsolicited positive feedback.

stream of dreams founder Louise Towell Manager Krystal Brennan
L-R: Project Manager Krystal, Co-Founder Lu. Great people to work with!

stream of dreams murals ecocity 2019 vancouver

Stream of Dreams Booth at Vancouver EcoCity 2019

Lovely day in downtown Vancouver at the EcoCity 2019 event (@ecocity2019). I was helping staff the Stream of Dreams Murals Society booth. I’ve been doing some PT work this year helping deliver the Stream of Dreams watershed education and community art program in schools.

Had fun chatting with lots of other exhibitors and visitors, and also enjoyed meeting the folks from Royal Roads University where I did my MA, and University of Saskatchewan where I got my BA and BEd, and the University of Victoria, where I did a year of writing.

Great to see all the environmental programs coming out of these unis, and others!


While the multi-hundred-million dollar buildings are impressive, what really stands out to me is the tree. It outshines them all.