Muddy Boots Blog

Muddy Boots is our internal blog where our staff members share experiences getting their boots muddy with on-the-ground conservation research! You can find our contributions to external blogs and Op Eds here.

Muddy Boots in the Boardroom: WCS Canada's approach to protecting iconic wildlife species and spaces. A board member's perspective.

(January 08, 2018) By: Dr. Sherman Boates, WCS Canada Board of Directors   It is the ‘muddy boots” part of science that first got me and many of my WCS Canada colleagues hooked on wildlife and the environment.  As a child, I was a nature nerd, captivated for hours on summer days, playing in a stream or pond, catching and observing fish, amphibians and invertebrates. I also recall the relentless hooting of barred owls as I sat by a late winter campfire in a back-country sugar maple forest...

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Caribou a key test of federal resolve to protect species at risk

Caribou a key test of federal resolve to protect species at risk
(November 06, 2017) By: Justina Ray Following right on the heels of Halloween, the federal government has released a very scary report on how caribou are faring across Canada.   Five years ago, the federal government finalized a recovery strategy for boreal forest caribou -- work that was triggered by the listing of caribou as threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA).   This recovery strategy broke new ground.  Rather than just designating specific areas as “critical habitat,&rd...

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Flying high for wildlife conservation

Flying high for wildlife conservation
(September 07, 2017) Amazon wants to use them to deliver you packages, but for a wildlife conservation organization, drones (also called Unmanned Aerial Vehicle  - UAVs) are a great new tool for getting a better picture of some pretty remote places. In the past, if we wanted to get a sense of the habitat found over a large area, we might have used satellite imagery.  We still do use such imagery, but satellites have some limitations.  For example, a satellite may only pass over an area once every two ...

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Open Science Opens Doors

Open Science Opens Doors
(August 08, 2017) By Monica Granados Open science is the belief that access to scientific results and data should not be limited by your race, nationality or economic status. Practicing open science involves breaking down paywalls and making scientific results and data openly accessible to anyone, anywhere. But wait, isn’t sharing data and results one of the cornerstones of science?  On the surface, yes. But today many scientific findings are still locked away in tightly controlled academic journals.&n...

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What’s that sound? What underwater listening can teach us about the Arctic

What’s that sound? What underwater listening can teach us about the Arctic
(July 04, 2017)   -   Large whales can communicate over hundreds of kilometers, something unheard of for a land mammal.  Think of being able to send a signal using only your voice to someone on the other side of your city or even town – impossible.  But underwater communication is different: Sound travels more than four times faster underwater than it does in air, which means sound also travels much farther underwater than it does above the surface.  

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Posted in: Muddy Boots


Shipping issues are heating up in Canada's western Arctic

Shipping issues are heating up in Canada's western Arctic
(December 22, 2016) - Submitted by Dr. Stephen Insley, WCS Canada's Associate Conservation Scientist, Arctic Beringia ProgramVenturing through the Northwest Passage has always captured the hearts of explorers, and news of the Crystal Serenity- a massive 1700-passenger cruise ship complete with accompanying icebreaker – making its first voyage through this mysterious area this past summer was no exception. People appear to be scrambling to see the last of the sea ice and glimpse polar bears befo...

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Up Close and Personal: Polar Bear Research in Hudson Bay

Up Close and Personal: Polar Bear Research in Hudson Bay
(April 07, 2015)   -   A bear had been spotted in the distance and we needed to leave the area to avoid disturbing her. As you can imagine, this announcement had anything but the desired effect on the group of eager young ecologists who defiantly clambered for their binoculars to catch a glimpse of this emblematic Canadian species. The bear kept her distance, remaining not much more than a speck on the horizon to the naked eye. Still, I was captivated not only by my own reaction to being in her presence, but the excit...

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Posted in: Muddy Boots


WCS in Nicaragua: Canadian scientist leads endangered turtle conservation project

WCS in Nicaragua: Canadian scientist leads endangered turtle conservation project
(March 12, 2015)   -   My work is dedicated to protecting one of the Caribbean’s most important nesting populations of hawksbills - the world’s most endangered sea turtle.

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Frozen Toes, Wet Sock, and Icy Boots - Studying Bats in the Canadian Winter

Frozen Toes, Wet Sock, and Icy Boots - Studying Bats in the Canadian Winter
(February 26, 2015)   -   As the pouring rain changed almost instantly to snowfall, I wrung out my mitts and watched the water dent the snow.  I was soaked to the bone but had to keep moving to stay warm.  The bats didn't seem to mind the hideous weather.

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Posted in: Muddy Boots


Unexpected Gifts: What the Christmas Bird Count taught me about Science, Conservation, and Community

Unexpected Gifts: What the Christmas Bird Count taught me about Science, Conservation, and Community
(February 12, 2015) ~ Contributed by Hilary Cooke, Associate Conservation Scientist, Whitehorse, YukonCanada 1973 Christmas Dove StampI stayed in my northern home of Whitehorse, Yukon this past holiday season. It was the first of 41 years that I hadn't spent Christmas with family and, with no plans aside from Christmas dinner, I was feeling conflicted about spending it alone. I was, however, participating in the Christmas Bird Count and what I didn’t realize was the sense of community I would experience, and ...

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Posted in: Muddy Boots


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Photo credits: Banner | Lila Tauzer © WCS Canada

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