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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Last week, tears. Today, the sun.

Image: NASA The sun. The earth revolves around it.  It is the source of life on this planet. Everything that exists on earth is here because of the sun. It is literally the most important thing in our universe. Last week we elected a president who believes he is the sun. And we apparently agreed with him. Whether we cheered him, mocked him, vilified him, or taunted him on Twitter, we made him the center of…

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Published! Illusuak makes Labrador Life

It’s not often a magazine publisher comes to a writer to request a piece, but in this case that’s exactly what happened. I received an email from Bert Pomeroy, publisher of Labrador Life, wondering if I would write a piece on Illusuak. Apparently Dave Lough, Deputy Minister Culture, Recreation and Tourism for the Nunatsiavut Government had sent Bert a copy of my blog post on Illusuak and suggested he contact me to write an article. Labrador…

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Sweetfern Fieldnotes: Slippery, scaly summer creatures

As promised last time, here’s the second half of my summer field notes.  Today I’d like to introduce you to the rest of the reptiles and amphibians we’ve met here at Sweetfern. We’ll start with the smallest. I found these little amphibians under rocks and logs while we were clearing paths at the beginning of summer. This first one is called, unsurprisingly, a yellow-spotted salamander or just a spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum).     These little…

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