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.

Birds, birds, and more birds: A migration moment like no other

Birds, birds, and more birds: A migration moment like no other
(May 11, 2018) By: Hilary Cooke It’s our fourth week monitoring spring migration in Yukon’s Tintina Trench. Since mid-April we’ve been travelling between Watson Lake in southeast Yukon to Faro in the heart of the Trench, tracking the migration of swans, geese, ducks, and cranes.  Sandhill cranes and the smaller snow geese migrating through Yukon’s Tintina Trench in spring. Credit Hilary CookeIt’s been a slow spring – by early May the lakes were still frozen, t...

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A serendipitous stumble: My journey to becoming a wildlife conservation biologist

A serendipitous stumble: My journey to becoming a wildlife conservation biologist
(March 05, 2018) By: Rosana SoaresMy journey to becoming a wildlife conservation biologist did not follow a long-planned career path – it was really something I stumbled into.  But that “stumble” is what led me to the Amazon, and to where I am today.   Ever since I was young I have been fascinated by all things animal. And while I always imagined I’d have a career dedicated to helping animals, I thought my only career option was to become a veterinarian, which for me w...

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Watching, listening, and learning: Community-based monitoring and Indigenous Knowledge in a Changing World

Watching, listening, and learning: Community-based monitoring and Indigenous Knowledge in a Changing World
(February 21, 2018) By: Cheryl Chetkiewicz Between 1962 and 1970, the Reed International pulp mill company dumped 10 tonnes of mercury into the English-Wabigoon River watershed at the mill site in Dryden. Downstream from Dryden, people in the community of Asubpeeschoseewagong—known to settlers as Grassy Narrows First Nation—have been living with, and dying from, the impacts of this potent neurotoxin.   In addition to mercury accumulating in the freshwater fish that are a vital part of the cult...

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Why we need to quickly close the gap between words and actions in Canada’s new Impact Assessment Act

Why we need to quickly close the gap between words and actions in Canada’s new Impact Assessment Act
(February 16, 2018) By: Justina Ray and Cheryl Chetkiewicz   The federal government tabled a much anticipated new bill called the Impact Assessment Act last week. This act replaces the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA 2012) as part of a process the government announced 18 months ago with the stated goals of restoring public trust, making decisions based on evidence, advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and simultaneously ensuring good projects get built. A particula...

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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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Photo credits: Banner | Lila Tauzer © WCS Canada

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