A Perfect Sturgeon Moon

 

Sturgeon Moon

“Many, many moons ago”, I saw my first moon.  The old expression of my mother and her mother, captures the cyclical nature of time quite perfectly.  I love the moon as much, or perhaps even more than the sun. On special “moon” days, I have gotten on my bike to find the perfect place to watch the moon rise into the sky.  Our condo also has an upstairs deck where you can watch the moon.  However, I have never in my “many moons” ever seen such an amazing moon as the sturgeon moon a few nights ago.  Perhaps it was that I ventured out of bed and on to the deck at the perfect time.  Perhaps it was the place.  Perhaps it was luck. On this particular night, I was not on high alert for anything.

Certainly the night sky takes on a new light when you are high in the mountains away from city lights. However, the moon was so bright the other night that I initially thought it was a flashlight being shone in my window.  It crept around the cabin towards Carson Peak, the stream and then the lake.  It evoked descriptions of moonlight in a multitude of books I’ve read but obviously never understood.  Until now. The moon was not just something beautiful in the sky but a dominant force of the night sky. 

Everything was alight.  The waterfall on the mountain is usually identifiable as a dark streak down the mountain with a hint of movement depending on how much the dam ordains.  However, the bright light from the moon reflected off the waterfall and it looked like molten silver running down the mountainside.  It was magical enough that I sat down and watched the moon move across the sky and imagined what else was going on 

by the light of the moon.

A Dandelion Dreams post.

The Birth of a Birder – Part 2

Mono Lake County Park

I learned so much with my first Bird Outing at Mono Lake County Park and Tufa State Natural Reserve Boardwalk, that I decided to attend another.  I got caught up having coffee with the Red breasted Sapsuckers, the Steller’s Jay, the Hummingbird, the Mallard Ducks  and the Coots at Silver Lake. I was late for birdwatching!  My Birding Buddies were gone.  Logical consequences!  There was no sight of them when I arrived.  I had taken the advice of my last California Parks interpreter and purchased a comprehensive bird identification manual.  Did I really need a group?  

I headed through the park and met a robin.  I did not need the manual for this one.  The robin is a bird I can identify by sound and by sight, and likely in my sleep.  It is the first bird I remember from childhood in Vancouver, British Columbia.  I watched it stretch worms out of the ground before I went to school.   I sang about it in Kindergarten.  I love how it delights in the Vancouver rain yet is versatile enough that it can also thrive in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Years of observation has delighted and served a purpose in my life as a birder.  I felt my confidence grow and headed out on my solo birding venture.

I continued to hear lots but see little in the park.  The field guide doesn’t help if the bird won’t stay in one place.  And the antique binoculars belong on the mantle by the Mallard Duck lamp in the cabin.  My confidence as a birder waned.  I continued towards the boardwalk and the tufa towers.  I paid attention.  I heard a lot, saw some movement and the flicker of feathers in the wetlands as I proceeded down the boardwalk toward the tufa towers.  My attention was diverted.  Lizards.  Small ones.  Large ones the size of my outstretched hands.  Ones with bright blue iridescent chests when they lifted their heads to consider me.  And they stayed in one place so I could get a good look without binoculars.  

At the end of the boardwalk, I was able to identify the obvious birds in the mix.  The lone Canadian Goose.  Another familiar friend.  The myriad of Eared Grebes.  The sheer quantity made identification obvious.  The young Osprey poking their heads from their nest on their tufa tower castle.  The California Gulls so familiar yet so distinctly different with their black feathers and smaller size as compared to the massive Glaucous Gulls on the Vancouver beaches of home.  The dainty, long legged Avocets and the Phalaropes with their very functional needle-like bill. 

I made my way back towards the park, only to discover an obvious group of birders on another unfamiliar part of the park.  Binoculars faced skyward.  Telltales light clothing.  Hats.  Not one but two spotting scopes in the group.  I cut through the sprinklers and connected with my people.  

“We haven’t seen a robin, yet,” mutters one of the birders. 

Her self-appointed task is tallying birds and carting the second of the spotting scopes.  This person is an experienced birder and has also done the interpreter job.  The second spotting scope is for her to enters all of the information of birds sighted on the eBird APP so we can access the information from today’s bird watching endeavour.  This information is also fed into several initiatives involved in preservation of species.  She is very focused on the task and does not participate in small talk in the group.  

“I just saw a robin in the park.” Pleased that I have a contribution to redeem myself for being late.    

“Hhhmmm.  I guess I could check that off on the list,” she replies doubtfully.

Dave, was filling in for the regular California State Parks interpreter on this Bird Outing.  He retired a few years ago from this same job, where he had worked since 1983.  Word was out that Dave would be sharing his expertise. It was not a group of tourists like the last group, but a group of mostly locals who had been birding for years.

Dave is no doubt a font of knowledge but in a very humble laid-back kind of way.  He is the kind of guy who his favourite bird song on his iPhone.  He has an APP with bird sounds but doesn’t like to use it when he’s out birding because it disrupts that natural life of the birds.  In fact if he did want to garner the attention of the birds, he could do it without the APP.  Dave loves songs about birds.  His advice, get to know the sounds of birds.  

“It will give you a hint of where to look and what to look for.”

Since reading the book Birds, Art, Life by Kyo Maclear, I ask everyone about the bird that drew them into the world of birding.  Dave’s “spark” bird was the Red-necked Phalarope.  Not surprising.  He sets up his spotting scope for us to get a good look.  He is familiar with this bird but obviously continues to delight in watching it.  He points out one of these birds swimming in tight circles and focuses the spotting scope on it. It looks very much like a little kid spinning around until she gets dizzy and falls on the ground.

“Why do you think they do that?”  

The probing question of an effective mentor.  Good teaching techniques in other fields always impress me.

“Chasing lunch?” was my guess.

“Actually, it is stirring up the larvae and alkali flies and bringing lunch closer to himself.”

Another illustration of smart behaviour from our feathered friends with the small brains that we continually underestimate.  Dave has well developed background knowledge that I assumed came from a degree in biology.  In fact, it was acquired through the pursuit of his passion for birds.  Another example of the power of inquiry learning.  

Dave identifies the bird call before he sees the bird.  He focuses his attention.  Waits. Then smiles. A genuine smile that has been sparked by joy.

“And there he is.  The Violet-green Swallow.  And there he goes.  Doing what Violet-green Swallows do, catching a bug in flight!”

Another clue that I will remember to verify what I’m looking at.  I have never been quick enough to locate the Violet -blue swallow with my binoculars or see it in the spotting scope before it is gone. And that is the beauty of a good mentor. They provide the hints that you need when you need them that allow for that “eureka” moment.

Identifying birds by sight can be as mystifying as identifying them by sound unless you know some tricks. One need to know fact is the male Mallard and many of the other male birds shed their colours after mating season. So my dabbling ducks by the cabin that look like Mallards and sound like Malillards are likely Mallards. A yellow bill to go with those orange legs is the male. The duck with the orange and black bill saying the iconic “quack, quack” is the female. Eureka! Mystery solved.

I have finally figured out that it’s a man’s world, even in bird world. Many of the birds are named after the male in mating season. He is not going to the gym or flashing cash, he is sporting some bright colourful plumage. So the Red Headed Duck, the Red Necked Phalarope or the Mallard may not be sporting any colour at all. This being the case, I ran to my handy identification manual when I saw black woodpecker with a white head and white markings. I went through two books before I discovered the name. A White-headed Woodpecker. Sometimes the name is quite descriptive. Or Sometimes it is named after the person who discovered it like the Clark’s Nutcrackers around Saddlebag Lake. They were discovered by Clark of the famed Lewis and Clark when they were trekking around Idaho in 1805.

Another hint that is important is about how to recognize one bird call in the myriad of calls. A little personification always helps. The hint that the Yellow Warbler is in the neighbourhood when you hear,

“Sweet, sweet, sweet.” has made all the difference for me.

“Oh, THERE’S a robin,” exclaims the “official” tracker.

“I told you I saw a robin.” 

“Yes, you did.”  

Clearly, I am continuing to radiate “novice.”  I am still sporting my antique binoculars and perhaps chatting too much and I am wearing black shorts.  Verification was required prior to including my sighting in the “official” count.  And yet, I can identify a robin with confidence. And with continued mentoring there is hope for my birding future!  

My Dad At the Cabin

Silver Lake – June Lake Loop, California

Sitting in his spot,

on the couch by the window,

Looking out on the lake, 

Clouds hovering low,

The juniper berries on the table reminiscent of the gin and tonics

I mixed for him as a child,

Playing bartender.

Considering the rocky path leading up toward Carson Peak,

To God,

Or at least to the waterfall,

To cool off in the now forbidden waters

Plunging down the mountain.

Or fishing early in the morning

When no one else was interested in getting up.

Quiet times.

Just me and my dad.

And it was good.  

Dandelion Dreams – the section of my blog devoted to my personal writing and reflections. The name is inspired by my favourite piece of art by David Klassen.

What is a Birder?

“Serious” Birders

For years I have done bird units with my students.  First as an elementary teacher introducing the basics of scientific observation of habitats.  Later as a middle school teacher facilitating inquiry studies.  As a COVID principal and entrepreneur, it provided a catalyst to get children outside and engaged.   It encouraged them to stop, listen and take notice of what was going on around them.  It sparked joy.  Since I can remember, I have connected with specific birds at specific times in my life.   The robin in kindergarten.  The seagull I aspired to be in Grade 2.  The red-winged blackbird that intrigued me at the cabin.  The eagles in the Haida Gwaii.  The stellar jay when I had a debilitating sinus infection.  The crow that shepherded my Mom when she was in hospice.  The blue heron that graces my presence with calm along the seawall.  Yet, I never considered myself a “real birder.”  I am a “faux birder.”  But then again, what is a birder?

On Sunday, I talked my husband into going to the U.S. Forest Services Bird walk in Mono County of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  We proceeded 5 miles past Lee Vining and down Cemetery Road to the County Park.  I spotted the birders.  There was no doubt in my mind they were birders.  Light clothing.  Hats. Binoculars around their neck and big cameras.  Clearly, they fit the stereotype of birders.   I proceeded to say hello, as my husband engulfed himself in a cloud of bug spray.  He is not a birder.  Just a husband with a willingness to play.  One man mistook me as the leader of the group.  Clearly another husband with a good attitude, along for the ride.

Our leader from California State Parks arrived with what looked like a massive telescope and tripod used to study planets, falling stars and other space phenomena. She went through introductions. One couple from Monterey. Another couple from out of state visiting the area. And my husband and I from Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. And our birding leader, Catherine, also initially from out of state. Catherine, handed out bird identification sheets and with incredible grace looked at me and said,

“I have some other binoculars that you could use, unless you prefer your own.”

I glanced down at my opera style binoculars that I had thrown in the car for the road trip.  I glanced over at the binoculars around my husband’s neck that had been sitting in the cabin since 1972.  

“No, yours would be good!  Thanks.”

And we were off.  The beauty of this location was that it converged on three different habitats.  We started off in a meadow, interestingly enough belonging to Los Angeles.  The looming question of water rights has been pervasive in this area since Los Angeles started to suck Mono Lake dry in 1941 by diverting water from its tributaries to thirsty Los Angeles.  Then we moved into the County Park where a Native American group was hosting an event.  Then finally to the Protected area of the oldest lake in North America, Mono Lake with tufa towers created when calcium rich freshwater springs seep up from the lake bottom and mix with the lake waster s rich in carbonates.  This alkaline lake that is too salty for fish has was home to the Kootzaduka’a Peoples pre-Gold Rush, for thousands of years and continues as a habitat to brine shrimp, alkali flies, and millions of birds.  

Fortunately, the smoke from the Mariposa Fire did not thwart our bird watching efforts.  We listened.  We looked for movement.  We were very attentive.  We made observations and consulted our references.  Catherine was quick with her giant magnification tool and we saw birds up close.   In fact, after a life of being surrounded by robins, through the scope I was able to observe a mother robin feeding two babies.  It was like watching the videocam set up right by the Blue Heron rookery at Stanley Park or the eagle nests in Delta.  Amazing.  

I learned that the darting redhead I have been seeing while hiking is in fact the Ruby Breasted Sapsucker, that is prolific in the area.  The bird waking me up each morning is the Downy Woodpecker.  I learned that the osprey love making their nest with the safety of tufa towers in Mono Lake and commuting for food.  I learned that one of the Osprey that we were viewing in the nest was the baby even though it was almost the same size as the mother.  I also learned that the hundreds of birds on Mono Lake were Eared Grebes and they were there for the alkali flies and brine shrimp.  That the American Coots were not actually ducks.  With support, I learned that what really differentiated a birder is the extent of the background knowledge and that something or some bird has sparked their interest.  

Catherine, our California Parks Ranger, was drawn into the world of birding through a summer internship.  She spent her time in a museum cataloguing specimen of birds.  At that time, she became fascinated by the seemingly infinite differences and the capabilities of the birds she was studying.  In her book, Birds, Art, Life, Kyo Maclear talks about “spark” birds or the birds that first draw you in.  Kathryn says her husband, who also a birder in their first years of dating, refers to these as “gateway birds.”  People in the group shared theirs.  My friend John was drawn into the world of birds through the lens of a camera.  One of the group members was brought in during covid because it was a safe and interesting outdoor activity.

What I loved about this birding group was the coming together with a quest to learn.  The experts. The novices.  The “faux” birders all united in the quest to see a bird.  Identify it.  And share in the celebration of the sighting.  The process is not one of direct instruction, but one of mentoring.  Of inviting everyone in.  An inclusive sense of belonging emerges quite quickly.  A friend at home shares that she has been welcomed into her birding group even with her less than serious interest in becoming a “real” birder.  I have been coming to our family cabin since I was 10 years old.  Except for the robins, stellar jays and Canadian geese, it is a whole new world of birds.  Even the California Gulls are markedly different from our Glaucous Gull variety on the beaches of Vancouver.  

I learned in our group to never underestimate the power of a good resource.  Kathryn was quick to make a prediction and even quicker to verify using her well-worn bird identification guide.  With mentoring, I saw the Lazuli Bunting, Yellow Warblers, tiny Blackbirds, house wrens, the Western Tanager, the Tiger Swallow, Wilson’s Snipe, the Mourning Dove and the Eurasian Collared Dove, the Downy Woodpecker, the Violet Green Swallow, Marsh’s Wren, the House Finch, Bullock’s Oriole, the American Avocet and lots of Canadian Geese.  I promptly headed back to the Mono Lake Committee bookstore after my fieldtrip and bought a book to take hiking with me while in the Sierras and to leave in the cabin collection of books.  I got another more comprehensive text of all the birds common on the western coast of North American.  I have expanded my understanding of what to look for when I am trying to identify a bird.  It isn’t just colour, size, sound and how they move through the air.  It is the shape of the tail, the shape of the wings, the size of the beak and where they are hanging out in the habitat.  

Is it a Gadwall? Where is Alison, my favourite biologist when I need her?

It is early in the morning and I’m sitting by the lake writing.  The Downy Woodpecker got me out of bed.  An American Coot has just sailed by.  The brown ducks that I think are Gadwalls are hanging out under and around the dock.  My usual early morning risers, the Stellar Jays and the pair of very spousal acting, Red Breasted Sapsuckers, are nowhere to be seen.   A small black bird with a small beak and an orange chest and a white spot on his wing just flitted by.  The same shade of orange as a robin but not a robin. Making his way from the quaking alder to the bush to the grass by the lake.  Clearly, I need my bird field guides.  

During COVID, I spent a lot of time in the garden with the students I was covering for teachers in my capacity as a principal.  At one point three eagles were circling overhead.  One small girl came flying at me with her binoculars bouncing around her neck, waving the laminated bird identification chart from the outdoor learning backpack. 

“Where is it?  Where is it?” She uttered with urgency as she anxiously shook the chart at me.  

“Raptors section.  Look!”

She followed my finger as we scanned the pamphlet together. 

“There!”

“Oh my gosh!  It’s a miracle!” she exclaimed.

Now that is the heart of a birder.  The victory of the find!

References:  

Dunn, John l., & Alderfer, Jonathan, eds. (2008).  Field Guide to the Birds of Western North 

America, National Geographic, Washington, D.C. 

Maclear, Kyo (2017).  Bird, Art, Life – A Year of Observation.  Scribner, New York.

Mono Lake County Park / State Reserve Boardwalk Bird List

Tekieta, Stan (2022).  Birds of California Field Guide, 2nd Edition.  Adventure Publications,

Cambridge, Minnesota.

The Mystique of Mono Lake

My father dearly LOVES Mono Lake.  One of his very grateful patients really wanted my Dad to buy his cabin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the eastern doorstep of Yosemite after my Dad operated on him.  The cabin on Silver Lake became a regular part of my summer visits to see my Dad.  When I was a kid, my Dad was always talking about wanting his ashes to be scattered on Mono Lake when he died.  He went on and on about it being like no other place in the world.  He took lots and lots of the same pictures every year and told the same stories.  We went there for fireworks displays on the 4th of July.  I seem to remember bomb blasts that created huge towers of water.  Could that actually had happened back in the day when disrupting a bird habitat and blasting the tufa towers were regarded as inconsequential?  

Mono Lake from the rim of Panum Crater

My Dad also had me write reports on the Kutsadika Peoples and I internalize an incorrect pronunciation that I would carry with me until this past weekend.  That was a thing with my father.  Having us write reports during summer holidays.  For my older sister who was a perfectionist, it was nothing short of onerous.   Not me.  I was a second born.  I finished quickly and submitted it to my Dad with spelling errors and all.  Then he put his arm around me on the couch and we had an animated discussion about whether we’d eat alkali fly pupae if we were hungry enough.  For me, who had never experienced real hunger, it was a definitive “No”.  For my father who had endured times of starvation as a kid in wartime Germany, it was a definitive “Sure!”  

I didn’t understand his love for Mono Lake at all.  It was stinky.  When I swan in it, I emerged with sore eyes (yes, even when I closed them) and itchy skin which quickly became covered in a white, salty finish.  As a child, I regarded Mono Lake as part of a lunar landscape.  Surrounded by volcanic mountains.  No trees.  Few flowers.  Tall limestone tufa towers formed when fresh waters from five tributaries hit the carbon-rich waters with sources of calcium.  Waters too salty for fish to survive.  Too salty for me to swim in no matter how hot it was.  With rattlesnakes lurking in the sagebrush.  Limited chance of survival if left behind.  

My father looked at Mono Lake with a different set of eyes.  A lake with no outlet that created a unique context and a spirit of survival that endured for thousands of years.  The mystique of calcium carbonate structures emerging from a lake that had sustained the Paiute People with with alkali fly larvae and continued to feed over a million birds each year with brine shrimp and alkali flies.  A habitat where most of the California Gulls are born on Negit Island aka on the “blue winged goose”  safe from predators when the water level was high enough.

There were lots of other pretty lakes where you could fish and have a much better swim.  Yet, every year included Mono Lake.  Because it was special.  Because it was the oldest lake in North America.  Because it was disappearing.  The upside was that it always included a trip to the Mono Cone in Lee Vining for a half and half chocolate dipped cone.  It was sometimes the best part of the trek to Mono Lake.

Mono Cone in Lee Vining, Mono County

Mono Lake is a good metaphor for my father.  Quite salty, but holding secrets and history that bring little glimmers of understanding to present circumstance.  An enduring mystique and a will to survive in the midst of seemingly unsurmountable challenge.  

This summer three events converged to give me a new perspective on Mono Lake.  The first was that my husband and I decided to hike around the rim of Panum Crater.  The panoramic view of Mono Lake from above is in itself is awe inspiring.  The second event was that I talked my husband into the Forestry Services Birdwalk that started in the County Park about 5 miles north of Lee Vining on Sunday morning.  This took me to a part of the lake that I was not familiar with and it caused me to pause and take notice.  Thanks to our Forest Ranger, Kathryn, who was leading the Birdwalk, we benfitted from her insight and background knowlege.  

The third event was I scheduled a meeting to start a non-profit called Wild About Outdoor Learning, an extension of the grassroots movement called Wild About Vancouver.  Thanks to an appreciation of our Indigenous Peoples, or perhaps because the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada pushed the card, part of the practice in most of my business meetings is the acknowledgement of the ancestral lands of the Indigenous people where we are meeting.  It slapped me in the face that all I knew very little about the Indigenous people in the area.  I knew they didn’t use the term First Nations in the US.  Do they use Indigenous?  My friend’s Dad calls himself an Indian but I don’t think anyone else is allowed to.  Is Native American a more politically correct term?  Were there any Kudsadika who were still alive?  Were they the only Indigenous or Native American group in the area?  

The waitress of the Double Eagle Lodge where I was eating breakfast couldn’t help.  She gave me a strange look when I told her I was wondering if there was standard language for an Indigenous acknowledgement of ancestral lands used to start a meeting.   My new friend, Kathryn, bird watcher extraordinaire and Forest Ranger in Mono County could.  She set me up with a number to text to discover the Native American groups in any area in the United States.  She also shared her initial attempts to bring the practice of Native American land acknowledgements into her meetings.  And she encouraged me to go back to the Mono Lake Committee Information Centre and Bookstore aka the Lee Vining Information Centre, to buy a great new book written by the Native American groups in the area in collaboration with the Forest Service.  She was particularly impressed with the inclusion of the Native American languages. 

I followed her advice.  I bought the book for our cabin library collection and I sat down at the cabin and read the book from cover to cover.  Elders share their stories with an Indigenous lens that I haven’t heard before in this area.  The voice is definitely that of the oral tradition that is part of their culture and it makes it a good read.  In my experience at our family cabin, stories from daytrips to Bodie and stories of the Applegate Trail, the Oregon Trail, and series like Covered Wagon Women (1985), give a perspective of history that trivializes the history of people who inhabited the land for thousands of years before they ventured here.  Treaties that were negotiated in good faith but never ratified by Congress do not find their way into these stories.  Neither do the lands never transferred to the Indians or the impact of placing bounties on the scalps of Native American men, women and children.   The devastating impact of the gold rush on obliterating the traditional ways of life is not considered or explored.  So many questions to ask.  So much to learn.  

I was ready for my Monday morning meeting.  I acknowledged that I was grateful to be working, learning and meeting on the ancestral lands of the Paiute People and more specifically the Kootzaduka’a Tribe who continued to fight for federal recognition and to raise the water levels of Mono Lake in order to protect the Mono Basin ecosystem from the water diversions to supply the thirsty Los Angeles people, golf courses and gardens.   And yes, I pronounced Kootzaduka’a correctly but only after lots of repetition and practice!  Old habits die hard!  I also came to the realization that I still have much to learn about the area, as well as the historical and present day context of the Seven Traditional Associated Tribes of the Yosemite National Park.  And with all that comes a tremendous sense of wonder that Mono Lake represents so much more than the salty, lunar presence of my childhood.  Turns out, my Dad was right!  

Knowledge Keepers of the Seven Traditionally Associated Tribes of Yosemite National Park. (2019).

 Voices Of The People.  National Park Service Yosemite National Park.  

Dandelion Dreams is the section of my blog devoted to myself as a writer. The name is inspired by my favourite piece of art by David Klassen. It was previously known as Sunday’s Child. Too many of us were born on a Sunday.

Dandelion Dreams: Then It Rained

I woke up this morning to the patter of rain on the windows.  And I smiled.  I jump out of bed and grab my red velour housecoat to wrap the coziness around me.  Then I open the door, close my eyes and breathe in the smell of pine forest taking bath. It smells like home.  But the rain is not the rain of home.  The raindrops are bigger and they feel like plops of water running off a gutter rather than actual raindrops.   Not the torrential downpour of Vietnam or Taiwan but big, fat drops that soak into the parched soil of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and drip drops that travel down my face.  The air is cooler.  Fresher.  And the day is filled with possibility.

Rain in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

I have come to the conclusion that rain means very different things in different places.  The rate of suicide and depression goes up exponentially in places like Vancouver, where the gray days of living in a temperate rainforest overwhelm people who have not embraced it.  This is not so for me.  A rainy day is an excuse to slow down.  It is the permission to make a pot of tea and crawl back into bed to digest a book in its entirety.  Or open the computer and write.  There is no pressure to seize the day.  To get out and enjoy the sun while it’s still around.

Today I have made the decision to sit down in my father’s spot, beside the cabin window overlooking the lake and more recently Rush Creek.  To listen to the rain hit the leaves of the quaking alder.  The surface of Rush Creek.  The deck.  Interestingly enough the ducks have disappeared.  It’s like they don’t quite know what to do with the unfamiliarity of rain in the middle of summer.  They are not like Vancouver ducks who grasp the opportunity to do acrobatics in the ponds and party in the puddles.  

I have brought my boots to the cabin this year.  I’m an excited to venture out into the rain.  To remove the layer of dust that coats everything within its reach.  The deer calmly venture out when everyone else is hunkering down in cabins.  In trailers.  In tents.  Their dainty way of being that reminds me so much of my mother.

The rain comes out in waves.  Like someone occasionally takes the opportunity to wring out the clouds.  Then there is a lull.  Just a light tapping and drips from the green metal roof.  Some of the braver birds have ventured out and are quite engaged in a conversation about the weather.  The chipmunks are not to be deterred.  They dart out and about in the same way that they do on sunny days.  Then burgeoning population of cottontail rabbits are encouraged by the quiet.

Even the lake is quiet.  The fishermen have gone back to bed.  There is no parade of kayaks and paddleboards carrying dogs, chairs, and people too afraid to stand up, as they venture down Rush Creek on the “jungle cruise”.   Not actually a jungle but the creek does narrow enough to have inspired the name way back in childhood.  Today no stories of past relationships, observations on cabins or the people in them waft down the waterway with them.  Just silence.  And rain.

Dandelion Dreams is the section of my blog devoted to myself as a writer. The name is inspired by my favourite piece of art by David Klassen. It was previously known as Sunday’s Child. Too many of us were born on a Sunday.

Dandelion Dreams – The Sierra Nevadas of my Childhood

This morning I was woken up by a woodpecker. However, it was a very large Stellar Jay who got me out of bed just before 6 am. It sounded like a bear coming to see what had been on the barbeque or bold visitor coming up on to the front deck. Just a bird playing the drums on the bbq.

From the dock

A perfect half-moon is still visible at 12 o’clock in the sky and the only sounds are the waterfall that Edison is allowing to fall, the twitter of little birds, and the occasional call of a California Gull. No one has ventured out on the lake or down Rush Creek on paddle boards yet. No one has ventured out on the hike up the mountain towards Carson Peak. The mountain air is still too cold for the mosquitoes get up. It is a different world first thing in the morning in the mountains. The sky is so uniformly blue and the mountains so perfect that they look like a Hollywood set. Perfection.

I read once that so many movie stars came to the June Lake Loop because it was written into their contract that they could never be more than five hours away from Los Angeles. On our little Silver Lake alone, Wallace Berry, the Sr. Mr. Capra, and Walter Lantz bought cabins up in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas. In 1973, we stumbled on to the set of High Plains Drifter and Clint Eastwood at the south end of Mono Basin. A whole town erected in 28 days, then sold off or given away. It always struck me as odd that Hollywood had already discovered this pristine piece of wilderness. Yet, even on our hike to Panum Crater yesterday, the memory flickered through my mind as we got high enough to take in the vast expanse of dust and sagebrush. Clint Eastwood with no other choice than to take the first shot. Nothing to hide behind out here.

On the rim of Panum Crater overlooking Mono Lake

The only shots my husband, Brad and I were taking yesterday, were from our cell phones.  To document how high we climbed on the rim of Panum Crater.  The desert wildflowers.  The colour of Mono Lake.  The tufa towers.  The audacious pines defying all reason by growing between the rim and the core of the crater.  The plethora of obsidian still there, in all it’s glory.  A clear indication that this area has not been geotagged like Obsidian Dome, where all pieces of carriable obsidian have been swept away into pockets and perhaps collections near and far. 

I first learned to passionately love rocks in the Sierra Nevada Mountains on those first trips to Obsidian Dome with my California family and my older sister.  In those days, there were no rules with signs forbidding the removal of obsidian or pumice from the area.  Just tons of black volcanic glass reflecting the desert sun.  On one visit to Obsidian Dome, my very intelligent, neurosurgeon father brought a sledge hammer to claim a substantial chunk of obsidian to display beside the cabin.  I was fascinated and intrigued by the possibility.  My father had me stand back but I nevertheless had a front row seat.  He pulled back that sledge hammer and slammed it down on a big chunk of particularly brilliant obsidian.  That sledge hammer bounced off that obsidian and flew back so fast that my father only had seconds to tilt his head, with his own precious brain, to the left, and focus all his energy onto keeping from losing his grip on the sledge hammer.  A narrow miss that kept me holding my breath.  Our eyes locked.

My obsidian tower in Patnum Crater

“Son of a bitch!  That thing nearly killed me!”

We went home without a large chunk of obsidian but a healthy respect for the Paiute Peoples who were able to fashion obsidian into arrow heads and spears for their own purposes.  Clearly, they were not using sledge hammers.  

Dandelion Dreams is the section of my blog devoted to myself as a writer. The name is inspired by my favourite piece of art by David Klassen. It was previously known as Sunday’s Child. Too many of us were born on a Sunday.

Dandelion Dreams – Early Retirement Opportunities

Potholes – Galloping Goose Trail in Victoria, B.C.

One year into early retirement and I am learning things that surprise me.  And it’s exciting.  We shroud retirement with statistics like “death after two years.”  I watched my father diminished with the replacement of “Dr. Dyck” with regular ole’ “Peter” or Pete.”  And yet, I am the lucky recipient of the early retirement buy-out, a pension from having one government employer, a husband who is fun and the health that allows early retirement to be equated with freedom and time.   

I decided that I was not having enough fun as a covid principal and decided to take early retirement quite suddenly.  Perhaps it has something to do with the coming of spring and the desire to break out of the sameness of winter.  It was much like the year that I decided I was going to go to Toronto for my second year of university.  

“You mean this coming year?” was my mother’s response.

It was exactly the same response of my husband, Brad.  And yes, anything can happen quite quickly once you’ve made a decision.  

My first inclination was to travel.  It was a good thing because my daughter and her partner returned from Taiwan and needed to isolate in our home.  COVID restrictions kept us close to home initially.  Off we went to Whistler, which feels like a second home.  Years of generousness of friends, allowed us regular family ski trips to Whistler when our kids were young.  Thanks, Joe and Yvonne!  Our next journey took us to the smoke and scary fires of Penticton where Alison and Al welcomed us into their home.  A different face of the interior than we are familiar with but as always, there were fun times to be had with Alison.  I also got to my favourite winery, Serendipity, to drink wine with my favourite wine maker, Judy!  And Brad and I went out into the world of wine in the interior with our friends, Dave and Catherine.  We made a fun discovery, The Hatch.  So much fun!  You can find Dave on YouTube where retirement and life in Kelowna has immersed him into everything wine.  Our next stop was White Rock where Linda and Dave  welcomed us into their home.  First time we’ve actually explored White Rock beyond a day trip.  On foot.  By bike.  By car.  And from the deck.  Nothing like living in the home of an artist!  David’s “Dandelion Pieta” has inspired much of my writing about my family and ponderings about myself.

Of course, I could not be home at the beginning of school in September, so off we went to Victoria to bike the Galloping Goose Trail.  I was shocked to discover that Victoria was filled to the brim with people just enjoying their lives.  In September!  Unheard of in my line of work.  We went out for dinner, not with one, but two couples of friends who happened to make their way there.  I even had the time to catch up with the woman who I met on a flight to Toronto years ago, who owns my favourite Tea Shop, Silk Road Tea.  Then off for more fun in the calm of Salt Spring Island.  More hospitality.  Lots of turkeys and hiking.  Thanks, Rod and Uni.

COVID did prevent our trek to Texas for my nephew’s wedding but alas, not the trip to our family cabin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  I could drive across the border because I was born in Alhambra, California but Brad had to fly to Portland and be picked up.  COVID turned Portland and most places into scarier places with more homelessness and abject poverty, but the beauty of life was reflected in Silver Lake.  It was my first time to be in The June Lake Loop in fall.  My friend, Judy, braved the journey to join us and the snow held off until after she arrived to celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary.  Yes, we were children!  We did lots of splitting wood from the side of the road, but I was grateful for the new addition to the cabin with the forced air heat.  Brad and I loved the quiet of this time of year and of course, Brad was grateful for fewer mosquitoes.  My aspirations of finishing my first novel did not play out but I certainly had a chance to read a lot.  We also participated in the “Leaves on the Loop” event and met some very friendly locals.  Thanks to my Dad for ensuring the cabin did fall into the hands of all three of his daughters.

Back home in Vancouver, I golfed more and got better.  I discovered that I have a special relationship with my Big Bertha that cannot be replaced.  That driver has come to represent my mother’s belief that I could do anything I set my mind to.  Funny that she would buy me the club even though she never golfed a day in her life.  Big Bertha has also become a mark of my resilience in the face of adversity.   One of my very effective coping strategies learned from a nurse I golfed with at Musqueam Nine’n Dine.  

For the first time in my life I bought a seasons pass at Whistler and brand new skiis.  And my skiing improved.  I was delighted to be able to have the whole family together in one city (albeit for a short time) to ski / board.  Our happiest as a family is when all four of us are skiing and boarding together.  I am so delighted that Justin learned to ski this year and is a particularly quick study.   Contrary to all indicators, Brad enthusiastically bought another time share that promises Whistler ski time with family.

I also did what many retired principals do, I started an Educational Consulting Company.   For me this set me on an uncharted journey of discovery about myself, education, consulting, and opportunity.   I learned that my advice as a consultant does not need to be taken.  It just needs to be paid for.  I’ve learned about “scope creep” and the demands on private educational institutions and the possibilities of non-profit societies.  I’ve learned I can’t count on my position as a principal or zestful enthusiasm to generate funds for worthwhile projects like Wild About Vancouver.  I’ve learned about how COVID has changed the landscape in event planning but that those challenges can be overcome.  I learned that there are many opportunities to make a meaningful contribution.  

I now have far more ideas of how to fill my time and how not to fill my time.  I’ve learned that having your own business means that you can do work from home, from a deck. from the beach, from a chair while getting a pedicure, and from the Sierra Nevadas.  I’ve also learned you can go off to Portugal and Spain for a month and not think about work at all.  I’ve learned that Brad and I still find a certain thrill and sense of accomplishment in climbing hundreds of stairs each day.  That we love the smell of fresh orange blossoms in Seville in the springtime.   That we still have so much to experience and learn.  And of course, that we need to go back to Porto and Seville and lie on the southern beaches in Spain and Portugal when it’s much warmer.  

I am surprised that the year has flown by. I can look passive aggressiveness and aggressive aggressiveness in the eye and not flinch. I now have the luxury to identify it and step away. For the most part, I spend time with the people that I want to spend time with. The lifting of COVID restrictions even allowed my daughter and I to go down to Sandy and Lee’s Baker cabin, another home away from home. I am doing the things that I want to do. Although I still haven’t disciplined myself to finish even one of the books I have floating around in my mind, I will. This year. My friend, Omar, and my writing buddies on Twitter, have given me renewed inspiration.

Dandelion Dreams is the section of my blog devoted to myself as a writer. The name is inspired by my favourite piece of art by David Klassen. It was previously known as Sunday’s Child. Too many of us were born on a Sunday.

Dandelion Dreams – Fatherhood

Following the girl child to Taiwan

Today I have given my husband a cart blanche to do whatever he wants.  Both kids are out of town, but the day is officially his.  He still hasn’t forgiven me for the year that I bought him a wagon and sent him out to Mundy Park with the kids first thing in the morning.  I thought it was brilliant.  Him – not so.  

He walked around for the rest of the day saying “No really, where’s my real present?”

Today apparently, his only desire is to just stay in bed.  I am an early riser and sleeping in, is anything past 9 am.  It’s now noon and he’s leaning into this rare gift.  

My parents were separated a year after I was born and divorced long before any clear memory of my father.  I grew up with my father in a different house.  Different city.  Different country.  My conception of “Dad” grew out summer holidays down in Los Angeles, road trips to Vancouver, postcards, letters, and time together negotiated by a step-mother.  My best friend in Grade 5, Carla, decided that both of us not having fathers was another way that we were “the same.”  I regret the words that spewed out of my mouth that represented my insecurity more than anything else.  I was trying to make sense of myself in relation to my father.  I clarified that I did in fact have a father who loved me and wanted me to live at his house with him, even though I didn’t want to leave my Mum or Vancouver.  We were definitely not the same.  School and communities provided one paradigm for family in the 60’s and 70’s.  My mother and older sister had their own struggles navigating through our reality.  I was on my own to figure it out.

My husband, Brad, had memories of his father before his parents divorced.  Those were the days where mental health was not understood or discussed.  We continue to fight that stigma today but at least there is hope of a path forward.  His father went from a vague presence to a complete void.  His father was completely under the radar until Brad set out to find him after we had our first child.  His father believed until the end of his days, that the Air Force, Brad’s Mom and his kids were the best things he had done in his life.  The pride he radiated towards his son filled in the huge gap left by years of silence.  And somehow it was enough for Brad.

There were four kids in both my Mum and Dad’s families.  I have been surrounded by large extended family, my husband’s extended family, friends, my colleagues, my students, and their parents.  I have seen incredible examples of amazing fathers who nurture their children, my husband included.  I have seen examples of fathers who love their kids but are somehow ill equipped to nurture their children.  I have seen men who have fathered children but who are so egocentric that there is no room left to consider the needs of their children.  And always, there are the children trying to make sense of themselves in relation to their father.  Whether he is good, bad, indifferent or absent.

I have been told I look like my mother but think like my father. Yet, in summer I’d be at my brother’s baseball practice or game and someone would walk up and say: “Well, obviously you’re Peter Dyck’s daughter.”  

I was always taken aback. When I graduated, my mother chose a grad picture of me and a grad photo of my father around the same age and had them blown up for me to send to my father.  A silent communication between parents.  My father and I do have striking similarities.  Both of us had a similar drive to do hard things that are scare the shit out of us. To learn new things.  To push ourselves.  To make a difference. To win.  To climb all the way up to Gem Lake.  To make a really good golf drive.  The common understanding that you do not show vulnerability or fear at all costs, seems positively genetic.   I had no need to go out into the world to do battle and overcome fear.  I had my father to sharpen my tongue, my thinking, my understanding of myself and develop the backbone not be intimidated into silence.

As my husband and I were going down the elevator to our room in Hawaii on a family trip, my husband quizzically stared at me and said, “I have no idea what that was about, but it had nothing to do with apartheid in South Africa.”  In any fight or any debate, it was “to the death”.  It was usually about him dismissing me. It was always about his quest to control and my fight to not be controlled.

I refused to make my life easier by acquiescing to my father, or the way he wanted me to be in the world. Perhaps it would have been different if I had been a son.  Not with the demeanor of my younger brother but like me.  Would he have been quicker to appreciate the tenacity or see another perspective?  I wanted my father to respect my right to have my own ideas, to express them, and to own truth rather than a version of life manufactured for his own personal gain.  I got glimmers of it when he would tell me that I was “like him” or tell true stories of his childhood and relationships, or when we got very rare times alone or discussed travel or Edgar Allen Poe or Victor Frankel or the neuroplasticity of the brain.  I never aspired to be Daddy’s little girl which was a good thing because my father was not that kind of guy.  I do wish that he would have golfed with me after he bought me my first set of clubs. And if I’m honest, it matters that he acknowledged my intelligence and achievement.

My father is now tucked away in a home and is likely eating shrimp cocktail for the Father’s Day brunch with a false narrative being spoon fed to him.  Perhaps that is the least disruptive for patients with dementia.  Yet, what he gains in calmness he loses in unconditional love. Tragic.  I pray that in the end of my life, I am immersed in the messiness of the life than is authentically mine.  When my Nanny Keenan had dementia and my heart was breaking, my father told me that dementia was God’s gift to Nanny. “It’s best she doesn’t understand that she has lost all control of her life.  She’d hate that,” he mussed knowingly.

My Dad was someone who loved and respected my Nanny too. Perhaps, dementia is now God’s gift to my Dad.  He would hate to be completely aware of all he has lost too and unable to do anything about it. 

For my husband, his kids are not in town.  Yet, he’s good.  He is shrouded with unconditional love from his kids, whether they are near or far.  Our FAB 4 Messenger group has morphed into FAB 5 with the addition of Larkyn’s fiancée, Justin.  The banter continues.  Although Brad bemoaned the gift of the wagon, the kids carry happy memories of his pulling them to McDonald’s as their “special secret” when I was not around.  The wafting smell of grease filling the air with anticipation of forbidden fruit.  They fondly remember the massive loading of that wagon and heading to Sasamat Lake or Spanish Banks with their Dad lugging all the necessary supplies.  Memories of hiking, biking, camping, skiing, snowboarding and swimming and boogie boarding at the beach house provide the stories for endless reminiscences.  Time spent enjoying each other and showing it.  And Brad is a good sport and laughs along with the stories of “Was that a body?” and “Brad Froese, 82!”  And his pride and appreciation of his kids is equalled only by their pride and appreciation of their Dad.  

En route to our family cabin in the Sierra Nevadas.

Makes for a Happy Father’s Day!

Dandelion Dreams is the section of my blog devoted to myself as a writer. The name is inspired by my favourite piece of art by David Klassen. It was previously known as Sunday’s Child. Too many of us were born on a Sunday.

Tidal WAV 22 Wildness

“We live in a temperate rainforest.” I had one class that teased me and said it in chorus when I entered their classroom. It is a regular part of my announcements before recess, lunch and any other special events in which kids are heading outdoors in the rain. You need to understand to dress appropriately for the weather in Vancouver, so you can embrace opportunities as they present themselves. If you don’t venture out in the rain, you miss chances for fun, adventure or perhaps a really good story. Never was there a clearer example of this than at the Tidal WAV 2022, hosted by Wild About Vancouver and the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation on Friday, June 3rd.

As the day drew nearer, the probability of rain increased. It went from a 40% chance of rain to a 100% chance of rain during every hour of the event. It was not the rain of Spring showers. It was not one big downpour followed by a beautiful rainbow. It was heavy torrential, side slanting rain that drenches all in its wake. And yet, just over 400 pre-schooler, elementary, and secondary students, educators, parents, volunteers, Park Rangers, Wild About Vancouver Steering Committee members, outdoors enthusiasts and our Powwow dancer team donned their rain gear and headed out for the Tidal WAV 2022 event.

Chris Penton, the LEAD Ranger at Vancouver Parks and Recreation, and WAV Steering Committee member was early and Ceperley Park was ready to welcome all to what Stanley Park has to offer. Chris has been a steadfast ally in wanting to educate people in how to interact with wildlife and open eyes to the tremendous outdoor opportunities available in our celebrated urban park. SPES (Stanley Park Ecology Society) has also been united in this aim. A huge addition was keeping the Park Ranger Station open to answer questions and provide valuable teaching opportunities.

The tent and tables organized by our trusty Park Ranger were also invaluable. Thanks to volunteers, Brad (Team WAV) and David (Team Wild Moccasin Dancers), the sound system was set up under the easy up tent, wrapped in garbage bags, and we had ourselves a party.

About 60 students from the TREK Outdoor Education Program at Prince of Wales Secondary School were the first young people to arrive along with teacher extraordinaire, Kate Inch.  They brought with them good rain gear, great attitudes, and a number of outdoor skills activities to teach to Tidal WAV participants.  They were also ready to participate in activities and had no difficulty marveling and laughing at the “wildness” of the rain.

VSB TREK Students embrace the rain

BC Literacy (BCLCILA) and Frontier College tents had a steady stream of people coming to do scavenger hunts and collect their free books, many from Elsie Roy Elementary and the Home Learners Program in the VSB.  Check out some of the titles given away and the list of distributers and publishers willing to support this initiative on this link.  The biggest challenge was keeping up with quantity of people wanting to participate and trying to keep the books dry.

The Singing with Sandy tent was a fun place to be.   Three boys in particular kept reappearing to play instruments and sing.  So did some of the older students to sing favourites like Raffi’s, Baby Beluga.  

Shyama Priya of The Wild Moccasin Dancers, worked her magic and had small groups and large groups doing Pow Wow dancing in the rain.  Her flexibility was admirable, and I appreciated how she was clearly enjoying herself and her team.  I was happy to have her daughter there to help give out draw prizes and David to help my husband with the weight and mysteries of the sound system.

Forest Schools and outdoor programs, including Fresh Air Learning, iGeneration Education, Muddy Boot Prints, and Saplings Outdoor Program, showed up with outdoor learning activities to engage students. We also had some other outdoor programs for preschoolers that regularly show up to do forest school in Stanley Park. Great activities. Great sense of community.

Ocean Wise, Friends of False Creek, Sea Smart, and the Year of the Salish Sea all showed up with activities for focus attention on our oceans.  The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development has been declared from 2021 – 2030.  The implementation of Sustainable Goal 14 for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources is a perfect way to engage students and other community members in transformative work that is imperative to our future.  These groups have so much to teach and do it in such an accessible way.  

Dr. Banack and Muddy Boot Prints Outdoor School

We are very appreciative of the support from the people and groups encouraging physical activity.  We received a generous donation from ParticipACTION and are happy to be part of the Community Better Challenge from June 1 -30th to put Vancouver on the map as Canada’s most active community and winner of the $100,000.00 prize.  Community members are encouraged to download the free ParticipACTION app and track their personal activity until the end of June.  This counts to our WAV Team total and qualifies you to win awesome prizes.  

Special thanks to Cathy Acuna for the support from HUB Cycling.  HUB not only supports advocacy to make cycling safer and better for all ages and abilities but also provides an incentive to bike to work and school.  I first started biking to work as part of a HUB Bike to Work Challenge and have supported many fun bike/ walk to school initiatives since.  Cathy Acuna personally delivered a box of t-shirts, bike lights, and water bottles to my house for our TIDAL WAV 2022 event.  And as you know, Stanley Park has supported biking in the park in a number of ways, including bike rental spots in the park.  Rerouting the bike route through the park during the height of COVID was instrumental to many of us for physical activity and sanity.  

Although ParticipACTION and HUB did not have the capacity to run a booth at TIDAL WAV, they did sent materials for our volunteers to get the word out there.  Thanks to Marlee and Annie from SFU for familiarizing Tidal WAV participants in these ways to #getOUTdoors and #getINvolved.  

Carrie Serwetnyk, former member of the women’s national team and the first woman conducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame, showed up to lend her support.  We decided to put the soccer skill stations on hold for next year but were glad to have her at TidalWAV22 letting our girls know it is not only okay to compete, it’s a life changing opportunity.

Larkyn and Carrie know how to compete

The Poetry Writing station was set up and Ben Dewar, a Surrey Educator, and WAV Steering Committee member was ready to facilitate writers, young and old, in writing Haiku.  However, the covered picnic area was far more desirable as a shelter from the rain rather than a place to write about the beauty of nature.  Next year, Ben.

The same was true of the Bird Watcher’s Station.  Some stalwart souls were given some information about the Pacific Blue Heron Rookery and wanted to check it out.  Stanley Park has one of North American’s largest urban colonies.  Soggy people were given directions to find it between the tennis courts and the Parks Board Office and went to try to get a glimpse of the baby herons. Apparently even the baby herons were also hiding from the torrential rain.  Fortunately, the heron cam can help you to learn more and get a better view than from down below.  Follow this link.

Dr. Hart Banack, flew down from the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George for Tidal WAV 22.  Wild About Vancouver was his brainchild back in 2014.  He has collected steering committee members and has been a steady source of inspiration.  He arrived ready to teach orienteering and participate in the conversation about how Wild About Vancouver will move forward as a group to further the work in providing opportunities for people to get outdoors for physical health, wellness, environment learning and community building.  We are also exploring the research potential of WAV work.

Wild About Vancouver is affiliated with the Institute of Environmental Learning (IEL) at Simon Fraser University and grateful for their financial support.  Conversations have also been going on with Dr. David Zandvliet, co-chair of IEL at Simon Fraser University and UNESCO  (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Chair in Bio-Cultural Diversity and Education.  We have been discussing how WAV can involve our community in the UN Decade of Ocean Science.  In the coming year we are exploring hosting an event on Howe Sound and some possible research opportunities.  

Students participated in activities and received free outdoor learning books.  Teachers, parents, and volunteers went into the draw.  Like-minded people came together in community.  Ultimately our goals for Tidal WAV 22 were fulfilled.  I am thrilled by the people reaching out and wanting to be a part of Tidal WAV 2023.  The Vancouver chapter of the BCTF Environment al Learning Provincial Specialist Association will be a great addition.  Please go to www.wildaboutvancouver.com to find out more, request information, or volunteer to work with WAV.  More information is below if you would like to support Wild About Vancouver financially. 

There are so many people to thank for making this event possible:

Thanks to the Wild About Vancouver Steering Committee for their efforts in the midst of an exceptionally taxing COVID year.  Congratulations to all of you for keeping this boat afloat.  All efforts are celebrated:  Dr. Hart Banack, UNBC; Chris Penton, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation; Kate Inch, VSB – TREK Program; Ben Dewar, Surrey Schools, Skateboard Enthusiast; Lulu Wang, CEO iGen Ed and Sparks Academy; John Patrick, photographer; Jason Camp – Assistant Head Madrona School; Annie Montague, Frontier College; Craig McCullough, Reporter and Producer; Dr. David Zandvliet, SFU, IEL, UNESCO Chair in Bio-Cultural Diversity and Education

It is a pleasure and a much appreciated learning opportunity working with all of you. 

WAV Chair / TidalWAV22 Coordinator – Carrie Froese, Inquire2Empower Consulting

Special thanks to the following people for promoting out event:  Janet Fraser, Vancouver School Board Trustee;  Chas Desjarlais, District Principal of Indigenous Education at the Vancouver School Board;  Larkyn Froese, PDP student, chair BC Lit Council Tidal WAV 22 Committee 

Thanks so much to our donors for their generosity:

Hub Biking (t-shirts, water bottles, bike lights), John Patrick (framed bird photo), Kidsbooks ($200.00 worth of gift certificates), Stephen Hui (3 copies of his great, new hiking book for kids), The Outdoor Learning Store ($200.00 worth of gift certificates), The Green Teacher – Ian Shanahan (educational online session) and Take Me Outside.

Thanks to Meg Zeni for her online session about Learning in the Rain.  The content was so helpful to the participants and all proceeds were donated to WAV.

Thanks to Karen Addie for donating the proceeds of her session focused on supporting outdoor learning with books with parents of iGeneration Education and St. Georges School.  

The work of Wild About Vancouver has been made possible through the support of ParticipACTION and the donations of our supporters.

We are always appreciative of donations.

Follow this link to donate via the WAV website.

Simon Fraser provides tax receipts through our affiliation with 

The Institute of Environmental Learning at SFU.

Yellow Cedar Donors:  not yet 

Pacific Dogwood Donors:  iGeneration Education; Intercap Financial 

Liquorice Fern Donors:  Glee Devereaux; Institute of Environmental Learning

Salmonberry Donors:  Megan Zeni; Michael Schipper; Carrie Froese

Yarrow Donors: Chris Penton; Linda Klassen, Tom Mooney, Assistems Consulting;  Inquire2Empower Consulting;  KLA EdLearn Consulting 

Thanks also for in kind donations from SILT (Southern Interior Land Trust) and activities provided by the many organizations in the park during the Tidal WAV Event.  

You time, energy and money has helped to support the work of Wild About Vancouver

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