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.

Reindeer - an Enduring Holiday Icon - Face Increasing Threats

Reindeer - an Enduring Holiday Icon - Face Increasing Threats
(December 16, 2014)   -   Reindeer are an enduring and beloved Christmas icon. Although Dasher and Dancer only slightly resemble their wild cousins, caribou are strong and graceful. Letting our imagination run wild, we might be forgiven for thinking that reindeer – or caribou as they’re called in North America –seem to “fly” as they run across frozen lakes.

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Field Journal

Field Journal
(December 01, 2014) I was always a curious child, interested in new places and new adventures. I didn't travel much as a child but instead went outside and explored ─ in the nearby pond, under logs, up a tree.  The natural world didn't scare me; in fact, unexpected observations and encounters were the most exciting parts of exploring. The more I looked around, the more questions I had: why does moss grow only on the north side of those trees, what do those tiny frogs eat, who make...

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A picture paints a thousand words, but a map paints a million!

A picture paints a thousand words, but a map paints a million!
(November 19, 2014)   -   Today is International GIS Day!  A day to celebrate geography and geographic information systems (GIS) around the world by show casing real-world GIS applications to students and the general public. You can find more details on events occurring around the world (displayed, fittingly, on a map).

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Lessons learned in not being "such a scientist"

Lessons learned in not being "such a scientist"
(October 30, 2014)   -   Some months ago, in a meeting with First Nations leaders, I was asked what the difference between a reindeer and caribou was. Pleased at this invitation to share my knowledge, I naturally launched into a concise speech about their genetics being the same even though behaviourally they were quite different.  When I was politely told it was because reindeer could fly, I knew I'd been caught talking like a scientist in public again.  

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Is Ontario’s Live Bait Industry Worth the Risk to our Lakes and Rivers?

Is Ontario’s Live Bait Industry Worth the Risk to our Lakes and Rivers?
(October 09, 2014)   -   About a year ago, I read something on a fisheries blog that piqued my curiosity: Ontario anglers were being fined on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River for fishing with live bait. I was surprised to learn that it wasn't just Quebec that placed restrictions on the use of live bait – most provinces and all territories prohibit or restrict its use. Ontario and Nova Scotia are the exceptions.

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Sachs Harbour Diary: August 2014

Sachs Harbour Diary: August 2014
(September 18, 2014) ~ Contributed by Steve Insley, Sachs Harbour, NWTIt’s mid-August and I’m flying in to Sachs Harbour in the ISR (the Inuvialuit Settlement Region), a small hamlet in the western Canadian arctic. As the twin-engine turbo-prop’s drone finally changes pitch with our descent, I’m jumping from window to window scanning the ocean for any sign of my buoy. What I’m really after is the several-thousand dollar instrument attached to it. Not a thing. Two weeks earlier I had hea...

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How does a scientific society stay relevant in Canadian conservation?

How does a scientific society stay relevant in Canadian conservation?
(August 20, 2014)   -   No mud, no boots. Yet just like a field expedition, I’m primed for discovery, and I know my eyes will be opened by what I observe. But this time I’m approaching the conference as I would a trip to my study sites – with a research question in mind. Or rather, a series of related questions I’ve never thought to ask, but questions I think need asking. 

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Getting it Right in the Ring of Fire

Getting it Right in the Ring of Fire
(June 19, 2014)   -   How does Ontario "get it right" in the Ring of Fire?  How does Ontario hope to meet its responsibilities for the environment and to First Nations?  How does it plan to balance the initial high costs of development, particularly at remote mine sites, with the boom and bust economies anticipated and the long-term protection of the natural environment in this remote region?

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Finding F8

Finding F8
(May 23, 2014)   -   We were fully aware of our intrusion into the still winter forest as we traipsed along with the loud clatter of our snowshoes. Branches breaking and grouse flushing, she would surely hear us coming, but we needed to keep pushing ahead to find F8 and her den before sunset. It was already 6:00 pm when we came to a forest clearing. The sun was beginning to fade from us behind the dense spruce forests, the resulting shadows an unwelcome change from the pleasant March sun. I raise...

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Morning Reflections on the Pelly River Floodplain

Morning Reflections on the Pelly River Floodplain
(March 17, 2014)   -   The Pelly River follows the Tintina Trench northwest on its path to join the Yukon River. Extending from the Liard River basin in southeast Yukon through Dawson City in the west, the fault line started forming ~190 million years ago. Moving tectonic plates forced fragments of the Earth’s oceanic crust beneath the western margin of the continental shelf, and then 450 km northwest. Today the Trench ranges in width from 2 to 12 km. It is an important migratory flyway for ducks, geese, raptors...

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