The importance of national apology #150Acts

Yesterday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a formal apology to the Inuit and Innu people of Newfoundland and Labrador. The apology was for the government’s role in removing generations of Inuit and Innu children from their homes during the early and mid 20th Century and sending them to residential schools under the guise of providing education that would better prepare them for life. Instead those children were  physically, mentally, and sexually abused; made to be…

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Interview: Talking exhibit writing with Sci/Why

Yesterday I had the immense pleasure of being interviewed by editor and writer Adrienne Montgomerie for a blog post on Sci/Why: Who Writes for Science Centres and Museums, and How? “There are words everywhere at museums and science centres: on the walls, in the guide books, in their newsletters, blog posts, and marketing materials, in the visitor activities and kids’ clubs, and in the audio guides and press releases. And that’s just the stuff the public…

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Whose voice is it? Indigenous representation in museums #150Acts

As a next step towards the 150 Acts of Reconciliation challenge that I wrote about previously, I went to visit the Arthur Child Heritage Museum in Gananoque, ON. Act 12 — Visit your local museum, particularly its section on Indigenous people. If it does not have one, ask the staff why not. The museum website says — Experience 10,000 years of 1000 Islands history: our permanent, interactive displays invite visitors to explore the 1000 Islands…

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On Citizenship, Decolonizing Museums, Reconciliation and Canada 150

What do those four things have to do with each other?   First, as some of you know, I have applied for my Canadian citizenship. I’ve lived here as permanent resident for more than a decade and decided I have enough commitment to this country to call myself a Canadian. I will keep my US citizenship because, at root, that’s who I am (plus, yes, America really needs me as a voter!). So I’ll be…

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My Crazy Freelance Life: Interpretive writing — making every word tell

  Illusuak Cultural Centre, Nain, Labrador It’s Museum Week — an international social media celebration of museums and culture. Since museums are my bread and butter, I thought I would talk a bit about what I do and then catch you up on the projects I’ve been working on. For those who don’t know me, I work as a freelance interpretive writer, researcher, and occasional interpretive planner and project coordinator for various museum design firms. The…

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The March of the Carpenter Ants

  It began with just an occasional ant. Big ones. One on the kitchen counter. Another in the sink. Two in the bathroom. That was early February. It was another couple weeks before I realized a movement was afoot. By March we had gone from a half dozen ants a day to scores.     A worker ant crossing my kitchen counter in search of food. This is a carpenter ant, probably Camponotus pennsylvanicus, the very…

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Good news for Ontario snappers!

Some good news! Ontario has decided to end the hunting of snapping turtles. This is good news for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it never made sense to allow these animals to be hunted in the first place. As I blogged before, their meat is filled with environmental toxins, so they shouldn’t be consumed. Analysis of fat tissue samples from 12 adult turtles found that 75 percent had polychlorinated biphenol…

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It’s time again! March Mammal Madness! #2017MMM

Yes! It’s that time of year when you get to ignore sportsball and watch mammals battle mammals! And maybe even learn some sciency mammal things along the way. If you’ve never played before, scroll to the bottom of this post for instructions. All you need is this year’s bracket and the hashtag #2017MMM to follow the games live on Twitter. Remember, this is science outreach disguised as the most exciting game on the internet! There will be organizations, scientists, teachers,…

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Published! “And So She Dances” in Earthlines

Today is International Polar Bear Day! So before we get started on my latest piece, there are a few things you should know about polar bears. There are 22,000-31,000 polar bears living in the wild, in 18 sub-populations; 60-80% live in Canada, the rest are in Greenland/Denmark, Norway, Russia and the US. They are classified as a vulnerable species across their range, with variations among sub-species. Due to climate change and significant loss of sea ice, global…

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On trust, truth and a path forward

Well here we are. We have arrived in, what some have been calling the post-truth era.  And I certainly see the temptation to call it that. But no. I reject it.     When I left you last I spoke about focusing on solutions — making sure that we take positive action, even if it only affects a small corner of the universe. I have been thinking a lot about solutions, truth, and this blog — hence…

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