Category Archives: Society

Salmon Dreams – a walk through memory in Riley Park/ Little Mt.

Enjoyed this walk ‘n talk with the False Creek Watershed Society.

Here’s the description:

Salmon Dreams – a walk through memory in Riley Park/ Little Mountain Landscape.

Please join us for our 3rd annual ‘Connecting to Place’ gathering.

Our exploration will nurture a connection with the visible and hidden waterways in the Riley Park/Little Mountain Neighbourhood. The guides are Celia Brauer, co-founder and staff of the False Creek Watershed Society and Amy Kiara Ruth, a somatic movement educator. We will continue afterwards with a gathering filled with community connection, scrumptious snacks and hot beverages!

We acknowledge that we gather and garden on the unceded traditional territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-waututh First Nations.

riley little mt park tour

Urban Wildlife — We’re All Wildlife

Yumi and I attended an event the other day on urban wildlife.

I found some of the discussion disturbing. There was a notion bandied about that perhaps we should wall off our cities from wildlife, to, er, protect the wildlife.

I think the #1 issue about modern city folks and wildlife is the lack of contact, knowledge, and experience.

How do we “help” wildlife by detaching human beings even further from nature?

Yes, of course there are conflicts at the urban-suburban/wild interface. But putting up walls, be they physical or mental, is not going to make this better.

Some brave soul noted the we, humans, are just another species of mammals. Isn’t that obvious?

We humans keep taking up more and more of the land. And when the animals try to do what they’ve been doing for millennia, all of a sudden they’re pests, or they’re dangerous.

I know folks who live much closer to the so-called wild. When they see a bear in their yards, they’re careful, and they let the bear enjoy the apple tree. They don’t call officers to shoot the bear, they don’t shoot the bear themselves.

They live with the bear.

Why Do Female Stars Feed SuperBowl Misogyny?

I’m nervous writing this post.

Don’t want to sound like a fuddy-duddy, but that Superbowl halftime show?

Both Yumi and I found it, er, over the bottom, I mean, top.

There were loads of comely bottoms gyrating all over the place, not to mention all the thigh-splayed thrusting. And thrusting, and thrusting, and bent-over butt displaying. . .

And the young girls watching portrayed adoringly mesmerized by those “role models. . . ”

“I have to learn to pole dance, and thrust, and shake my booty just like them!”

Is this empowering? Is this Me Too?

Sledding in South Burnaby, BC

Yumi the Kid cajoled me into walking over to Ron McLean Park in SE Burnaby for a few runs down the slope.

We don’t get snow that sticks very often in south Burnaby, and this year has been quite the exception. It’s been tough on commuters, so take what fun you can!

It was pretty dark by the time we got out. Most shots at ISO 12,800. Tried a few at 25,600 but those looked overly grainy.

snow sledding south burnaby bc

Gateway to fun!

Skytrain zips by in the background


Salmon Run is Ending on Byrne Creek, Sharing Some Love

As the salmon spawning season draws to a close on urban Byrne Creek in south Burnaby, BC, I have a few thoughts. . .

Thank you to the dog walkers who ask us when the “keep your dogs out of the creek” posters will go up. You’re some of our best eyes on the creek! You’re out there every day.

Thanks to City of Burnaby Parks who approve posting the posters and oversee invasive plant removals, and thanks to City of Burnaby Engineering who follow up when volunteers report issues with water quality.

I also want to thank the increasing numbers of folks who are aware there are salmon in this urban creek, and who stop and chat with streamkeeper volunteers and ask how the run is going.

It’s emotional for me when the spawner run draws to a close. I feel bereft until I start spotting fry in the creek in the spring.

Yes, we do see alevin popping out of the gravel in the spring, and watch as they become fry.  It’s a wonder to behold and cherish.

I’m a prairie boy, Yumi is a northern Japan girl, and we have a common passion in BC salmon that started soon after we moved here some 20 years ago.

A lot of that goes to mentors like Stream of Dreams Murals Society founders Joan Carne and Louise Towell, and ZoAnn Morten of the Pacific Streamkeepers Federation, and our DFO Community Advisors over the years, Maurice and now Scott. . .

Streamkeepers in British Columbia are an amazing community.

We’ve had some hard years, and we’ve had too many low runs.

Here’s to making things better!

Respecting Wildlife Without Making Life a Disney Movie

I’m an animal lover. I’m a wildlife and nature photographer. I’ve always had pets, always cared for them to their dying days. . .

But I think some folks are ignoring reality when it comes to animals.

Humans are terrible? Sure, some are, hopefully not too many. Of course we’ve had huge impacts on wildlife, not to mention on each other.

And factory “farming” is gross and disgusting.

But have you ever watched a large cat disembowel an ungulate, and start eating its stomach and organs while the ungulate is still alive?

Ever watched an eagle or an owl stripping flesh off of a still-quivering rodent?

Ever seen a 12cm coho smolt gulp down a 6cm chum fry?

Is that somehow better than us killing?

Nature is not Disney. It never has been, and it never will be.

I think Disney and its ilk have done a huge disservice to children who’ve fallen under their spell.

Predators are not sci-fi movies or documentaries. Predators are daily life, starting from plankton all the way up the food chain to carnivorous mammals. . .

That does not mean that humans cannot reduce their footprint by reducing meat consumption etc.

But let’s not somehow put wildlife up on pedestals as shining examples of harmony and love and whatever. . . .

Humans Are Terrible at ‘Managing’ Wildlife

Something I think we need to keep in mind when thinking about issues such as “culling” wolves and seals, or working with species at risk, or habitat loss, or sustainability, or climate change, etc., is that here in British Columbia, our homo sapiens species has gone from a population of about 55,000 in 1851 to some 4,648,000 in 2016.

That’s an 85X increase in only 165 years.

And our population continues to grow at 5.6% a year.

Caribou? Elk? Wolves? Seals? All a drop in the bucket compared to our numbers. . .