Jump to content

Maleea Acker

Writers
  • Content Count

    74
  • Joined

  • Last visited

 Content Type 

Profiles

Focus Magazine Nov/Dec 2016

Sept/Oct 2016.2

Past Editions in PDF format

Advertorials

Focus Magazine July/August 2016

Focus Magazine Jan/Feb 2017

Focus Magazine March/April 2017

Passages

Local Lens

Focus Magazine May/June 2017

Focus Magazine July/August2017

Focus Magazine Sept/Oct 2017

Focus Magazine Nov/Dec 2017

Focus Magazine Jan/Feb 2018

Focus Magazine March/April 2018

Focus Magazine May/June 2018

Focus Magazine July/August 2018

Focus Magazine Sept/Oct 2018

Focus Magazine Nov/Dec 2018

Focus Magazine Jan/Feb 2019

Focus Magazine March/April 2019

Focus Magazine May/June 2019

Focus Magazine July/August 2019

Focus Magazine Sept/Oct 2019

Focus Magazine Nov/Dec 2019

Focus Magazine Jan/Feb 2020

Focus Magazine March-April 2020

COVID-19 Pandemic

Navigating through pandemonium

Informed Comment

Palette

Earthrise

Investigations

Reporting

Analysis

Commentary

Letters

Development and architecture

Books

Forests

Controversial developments

Gallery

Store

Forums

Downloads

Blogs

Calendar

Everything posted by Maleea Acker

  1. A plea for action on this column’s fourth anniversary. I TEACH A GEOGRAPHY COURSE at the University of Victoria called Landscapes of the Heart. In it, I take my students out into local landscapes—Mount Tolmie, Mary Lake, Tod Inlet—with the goal of opening their eyes and hearts to this region’s species and ecosystems. We paint and draw in the field. We look at how poets, visual artists, philosophers and geographers are trying to connect us to place. Students spend the fall immersed in landscape, producing some of the most thoughtful, emotionally engaged work I’ve had the pleasure of
  2. Saving forests and removing invasives in Saanich FROM HIS HOME IN EAST SAANICH, Harry Drage tells me “It’s fun to say that you worked your entire career in the forests of BC.” A member of the Saanich Environmental Advisory Committee for over ten years, Drage, a forester, has been an ardent volunteer in both Haro Woods and Konukson Park (in East Saanich) since his retirement. This summer, Drage received Saanich’s Individual Environmental Achievement Award for 15 years of leadership in stewarding invasive species removal in Haro Woods and Konukson, a testament to his dedication to lo
  3. A deep and abiding love for ȽÁU,WELNEW/John Dean Park is evident in the stewardship work of volunteer Jarrett Teague. IN OLD GROWTH STANDS of Douglas fir and cedar, interspersed with sunlit, mossy meadows of Garry oak and arbutus, Jarrett Teague is surveying a landscape that he’s helped restore into an archetype of Southern Vancouver Island. Free of mature Scotch broom and other invasives, it looks largely as it did before colonization. In winter, rains blanket the park’s forests and trails; in spring, calypso orchids dot the mountain’s slopes. This past May, the W̱SÁNEĆ name for J
  4. The Bateman Foundation’s new vision comes into focus. THROUGH ART, we can connect to the natural world. That’s the vision Robert Bateman has been creating his entire life. The 89-year-old artist, famous for his hyper-realistic portraits of wolves, bears, birds and iconic nature scenes, has been an outlier in the Canadian art world for decades. His work has always promoted the importance of nature more than it sought to further a specific style or school of art—he eschewed impressionist or modernist technique for exacting portraits that stay true to the plumage of a red-winged black
  5. A molting elephant seal on Gonzales Beach offered lessons in nature and an occasion for friendship. FOR OAK BAY RESIDENTS Kerri Ward, Gina Lemieux and Stephanie Weinstein, April 2018 was an exhausting month that changed their lives. A female elephant seal arrived on Gonzales Bay beach to complete its annual spring molt. The three met on the beach, while trying to protect the seal. “I don’t think it was an accident,” Ward tells me, of the three women’s introduction to one another. I meet them in Ward’s kitchen, her character house surrounded by red-winged blackbirds, Garry oaks
  6. Combining creative work with research, Estraven Lupino-Smith collaborates with HAT to monitor and celebrate bats. A few years ago, when Estraven Lupino-Smith was living in Philadelphia, they threw their back out. (Lupino-Smith is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns.) Miserable, between contracts and home-bound in winter, instead of succumbing to depression, they fell back on their long history as an artist. “I’m going to make something,” they decided, “I’m going to do a series of prints on nocturnal animals.” Many are vilified, they explained, considered dangerous, part of the u
  7. Julian Anderson and Cuthbert Holmes Park AN IMPORTANT FACET OF ANY SUSTAINABLE CITY is its green spaces—providing opportunity for residents to step off a city bus and walk into wild areas to enjoy the ecosystems that make a region what it is. On Southern Vancouver Island, that includes salmon-bearing streams, Douglas-fir forests, wetlands, and habitat for a variety of bird and mammal species. Saanich’s Cuthbert Holmes Park, though sandwiched between a suburban mall, a residential neighbourhood and the Island Highway, satisfies all of these needs. But throughout its lifespan it has
  8. In the face of ecological disasters, art and science together can lead to hope and resilience. “I CAUGHT THE DREAM OF THE ORCA,” Robin June Hood tells me in Demitasse Café during Fall’s first rainy period, “and it was so full in meaning that I knew something had been transmitted. I had to do something about it.” Coming from a cultural geographer, a consultant for community-based research and development projects who holds a PhD in global education, this might sound like an odd thing to say. But Hood is anything but ordinary. She focuses her attention on protecting the natural
  9. One woman’s commitment to de-colonization. SOME PEOPLE IN THE WORLD serve as profound role models. They embody our species’ best qualities—care, patience, empathy, tenaciousness, optimism—and they focus on doing “right work” that acknowledges the importance of all beings, that tries to decolonize settler relationships to the land, and that seeks justice and fairness for all. This column gives me the opportunity to meet a lot of these kinds of people. Marion Cumming, however, is one who comes frequently to mind, not least because I spent two years working as her gardener on her
  10. Digging, planting and watering together produces food, strengthens community and helps the bees help us. THERE'S NOTHING QUITE LIKE planting a garden in an urban area to garner attention. It raises interest, creates detractors and supporters, and gets people talking—to one another and to those doing the transforming. And when that garden gets built in a municipal park, over top of a former lawn, there’s a sense of revolution—taking back the history of lawns as European pleasure grounds, as demonstrations of wealth or conformity. We can do so much more with a patch of earth than gro
  11. Colleen O’Brien is restoring Playfair Park’s Garry oak meadows—allowing the rest of us a walk back in time. COLLEEN O'BRIEN AND I SIT ON A BENCH tucked into a gap in the split-rail fence that surrounds the two-acre Garry oak meadow expanse in Playfair Park. It’s windy, but when the sun shows, it’s deliciously warm. Around us, the ground is thick with the new green leaves of common camas, great camas, Pacific sanicle, fawn lily and other rarer species she demurs mentioning. It’s beautiful, and by the time this article comes to print, that sea of green will be a sea of blue camas flo
  12. Mary Haig-Brown wants us to see vital connections in the natural world. IN VICTORIA'S RICH WORLD OF CONSERVATION STEWARDS, whether talking with mycologists, fish hatchery volunteers or amphibian counters, one name keeps coming up. Mary Haig-Brown is a bright-eyed optimist who lives in the Prospect Lake region of Saanich. The daughter of renowned writer, naturalist and outdoorsman Roderick Haig-Brown, she grew up in Campbell River alongside its rivers, learning about local ecosystems from an early age. Her optimism about the future of the natural world and the region’s local ecosyst
  13. Photography gives this ardent naturalist an excuse to go to the wild places. AS JANUARY WINDS AND COLD TEMPERATURES hit the region, Mary Sanseverino is counting down the days until the bloom of the region’s first satin flower. The wait will be shorter than readers might think. The earliest appearance she’s seen was on January 24, “in a secret spot I can’t share,” she tells me over coffee in Oak Bay. From there, “the waves of bloom” come and continue all spring. Satin flowers (olsynium douglasii), are at the northern edge of their range on Vancouver Island. Their tiny purple blooms,
  14. Peter McCully and his volunteer team are passionate about their work with the Goldstream Hatchery. WHEN I ARRIVE AT THE FIRST SET OF GATES to the Goldstream Howard English Salmon Hatchery, weekly volunteer Steve Atamanchuk greets me with a wave and sets upon me with a dry sense of humour that pushes away the cobwebs of the morning. “Yup, I’m a volunteer here. Last year they offered me a 20 percent raise. I told them not to give me so much.” Atamanchuk is part of the “Tuesday Crew,” comprised of six retirees from the ranks of over 20,000 volunteers that work province-wide six
  15. A field trip to northern Europe is “offset” by the ripple effect of knowledge gained. THIS PAST JULY, the Larsen C iceshelf calved, leaving a free-floating iceberg in Antarctica twice the volume of Lake Erie. Meanwhile, President Trump signed an order to take the US out of the Paris Climate Accord. Closer to home, BC faced a provincial state of emergency triggered by over 200 wildfires that saw the evacuation of Cache Creek and devastated Chilcotin Nation lands. Heading to press, BC’s wildfire total this season has exceeded 1000, and the heat of another dry summer has broken record
  16. Monterey Middle School’s nature-focused program nurtures a sense of place and a caretaking ethic. AUNALEIGH MACLUCAS AND SIDNEY HURST started taking sketching trips to Bowker Creek last fall with their middle school class. During each of several expeditions, they spent time drawing their surroundings from the point of view of one of the creek’s resident creatures—a dragonfly, a salmon, a raccoon. “It’s quite eye-opening, actually,” MacLucas tells me. “It makes you realize what a salmon might think of this area and what they would see.” These two passionate 13-year-olds, howeve
  17. A century ago, Robert Butchart’s cement works used the inlet as a dump; help is finally on the way. TWO YEARS AGO, Alice Meyers had just arrived in Victoria to complete research for a PhD focusing on revitalization of the Sencoten language. On advice from Judith Arney, ethnoecologist for SeaChange Marine Conservation Society, she went out on a rainy Saturday and got drenched to the bone, working to remove invasive plants from the shores of an emerald inlet in Saanich. She lights up at the memory of sloshing around in the mud and the cold. “It was the best time,” she tells me. “It w
  18. Preserving the flora of the Garry oak meadow ecosystem in the face of development. WHILE COMPLETING A PhD IN WILDLIFE BIOLOGY between 1970 and 1985, Louise Goulet worked in some of British Columbia’s most beautiful and remote areas—including the Stikine, the Kechika and the Liard River valleys. She often travelled by helicopter or even by horse. Pilots would ask her and her female colleague if they were sure they wanted to be dropped in the middle of a remote BC valley, by themselves. “We’re sure!” she would chirp. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, Goulet completed wildlife impact
  19. Dorothy Field explains her passion for Rock Bay Creek, which once flowed from Fernwood to the Inner Harbour. STEPPING INSIDE DOROTHY FIELD'S HOUSE is like taking a voyage through a sunlit, tapestried, foreign country. Every object feels lovingly curated and the enormous kitchen skylights give way to backyard gardens, fir and oak trees. Fernwood has never seemed wilder, and if Field had her way, the whole neighbourhood would fit her aesthetic. “Even if it’s just a moment, anything that reminds people of the underlying land is really important,” she tells me. For Field, that underlyi
  20. Adolf and Oluna Ceska’s fungi and the coastal ecosystems they nurture. IN THE WORLD OF MUSHROOMS, Adolf and Oluna Ceska aren’t just well known; they’re heralded. They’re also incredibly modest. When I first contacted them they demurred. “We are just preparing a talk to the Pacific Northwest Key Council on our (basically Oluna’s) work on Observatory Hill,” Adolf told me by email, and then passed me a dozen links that had more to do with fellow mycologists’ work than with their own achievements. Both Ceskas are members of the Natural History Society and the Southern Va
×
×
  • Create New...