Cubs fans

By Reid Eccles A computer monitor flips between different angles on what might be a forest floor, if it weren't surrounded by cement blocks. There are logs, a pool of water, a wooden den. The screen flips again and a groggy black bear stands up, its motion having tripped the camera’s sensors. This video feed is the only interaction humans are allowed with these bears at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington, BC. Even when workers do have to enter the bear enclosures, no … [Read more...]

The Hidden Waterfalls of Nanaimo

Story and photos by Spenser Smith I moved to Nanaimo, British Columbia, a city full of winding streams and rivers, in 2013. It was a big change from my home province, Saskatchewan, which has its own beauty, but not generally of the wet kind. In fact, all of Vancouver Island was a revelation. One of my first ventures was to Little Qualicum Falls, 58 km. north of Nanaimo, and for the first time I witnessed the strange phenomenon of water flowing over a vertical drop. (Vertical drops are also … [Read more...]

Searching for Staqeya

 By Shanon Fenske The 25-foot Amanda Anne plows through the frigid February waters of the Juan De Fuca Strait. Somewhere in the darkness ahead of us are islands inhabited by a wolf many in the Songhees First Nation believe is sacred. Campers were the first to report a lone wolf on Discovery Island, five km. east of Victoria, in 2012. Conservation officers dismissed the sightings as mistaken identity. Perhaps a dog had been abandoned on the island? While coastal wolves have been known to … [Read more...]

Watchguards in the Walbran

By Rob Wilson “RESCIND 4424!” reads a hand-painted banner adorning the plywood wall of the camp's kitchen and main shelter. It's a crudely constructed building made of 2x4s, tarps, and ropes, standing a few metres from the Walbran River bridge. Inside are cluttered tables and counters piled with power tools, a 3,000 Watt power inverter, pots and pans, and, near the stove top, a bouquet of dandelions in a mason jar. Covering nearly everything: mouse droppings. A few meters back up the … [Read more...]

Living Small, Thinking Big

By Jessie Zhang In 1999, Jay Shafer, an American house designer, and owner of a 96 sq. foot home, published his first article on the merits of simple, compact living. Since then, the tiny home movement has spread throughout North America. Kate Beddows and Nico Rhodes are two of its Vancouver Island proponents. Video produced by Jessie Zhang and Reid Eccles The couple have contracted Nanaimo's Rewild Homes to build their tiny house. Rewild specializes in custom-made, portable … [Read more...]

Powerful, and Stigmatized, Breeds

By Sheena Gnos Imagine walking in a park on a beautiful day. The sun is shining and you're basking in the summer heat, minding your own business. Suddenly, from around a corner, comes a Rottweiler. He’s bounding across the grass in great leaping strides, ears back, mouth gaping wide. What do you do? Is your heart in your throat? Do you step back and look around frantically for the owner? Now imagine that same scene -- park, sun--  but this time from around the corner comes a golden … [Read more...]

Moving day for VIU’s sturgeon

 By Alexandria Stuart  It’s a warm, sunny day and I’m taking a refreshing swim in Cameron Lake,  just outside of Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, when something grazes my leg. It’s smooth but not scaly. Its texture is more like rows of firm, bony plates. I flash back to every horror movie I’ve ever seen that is set at the beach, and remember why I usually avoid swimming in deep water. It could be a giant eel or just a tree root. Or it could be a mammoth and prehistoric member of the … [Read more...]