Natural history & science

#480 Witness to wolves and wilderness

Return of the Wolf: Conflict and Coexistence by Paula Wild Madeira Park: Douglas and McIntyre, 2018 $32.95 / 9781771622066 Reviewed by Loys Maingon First published Feb. 7, 2019 * As mankind changes the planet’s ecosystems, imperceptibly it also changes the distribution of animals and their genetics. Evolution never stops. So it is with members of…
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#471 The bard and the bees

Listening to the Bees by Mark L. Winston and Renée Sarojini Saklikar Gibsons: Nightwood Editions, 2018 $24.95 / 9780889713468 Reviewed by Michael Picard First published January 24, 2019 * This is a book about bees, so the title does not disappoint. But it is also a personal memoir of a life in science by an eminent…
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#459 Skylark: old friend in a new land

ESSAY: Old Friend in a New Land: English Songbirds in British Columbia by Richard Mackie * Because the road is rough and long Shall we despise the skylark’s song? — Charlotte Bronte[1] * Introduced from England in 1903 and 1913, Eurasian skylarks took hold in Vancouver Island’s older agricultural districts, to which they were well…
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#450 Classifying British Columbia

The Collectors: A History of the Royal British Columbia Museum and Archives by Patricia E. Roy Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum, 2018. $39.95 / 9780772672001 Reviewed by Chad Reimer First published Dec. 18, 2018 * In The Collectors: A History of the Royal British Columbia Museum and Archives, Patricia Roy sets herself a daunting task:…
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#401 Legacy of Vitus Bering

First published October 16, 2018 Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on Bering’s Great Voyage to Alaska by Stephen R. Bown Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2017 $34.95 / 9781771621618 Reviewed by Robin Inglis * The Great Northern Expedition of 1733-1743, initiated by Emperor Peter the Great, extended Russian influence to the Aleutian Islands…
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#376 Gulf Islands parks and predators

First published Sept. 17, 2018. Fat Cats by George Mercer North Saanich: George Mercer, 2018 $19.99 / 9780987975461 Reviewed by Ron Dart * Born in Gander, Newfoundland, George Mercer worked for 35 years as a park warden, starting in 1979 at Newfoundland’s Terra Nova National Park and ending in 2012 as monitoring ecologist at the…
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#373 Olav’s love of landscape

Landscapes and Landforms of Western Canada by Olav Slaymaker (editor) Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2017 $149 (U.S.) / 9783319445953 Reviewed by Syd Cannings First published September 13th, 2018 * Thirty-four leading specialists contribute to Landscapes and Landforms of Western Canada, a collection of essays edited by Olav Slaymaker, professor emeritus of geography at UBC. “Wherever you are in western…
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#338 Julia, graphically yours

Julia by Michael Kluckner Vancouver: Midtown Press, 2018 $19.95  /  9781988242200 Reviewed by Yvonne Van Ruskenveld * Julia Henshaw is possibly the first woman in B.C. to have published a novel. She remains almost entirely unknown, although she was accorded an extensive entry in Alan Twigg’s Vancouver and Its Writers (Harbour: 1986), focussing on her…
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#324 We all bleed the same

First published June 18, 2018. Orca: How We Came to Know and Love the Ocean’s Greatest Predator by Jason M. Colby Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2018. $32.95  /  9780190673093 Reviewed by Anna Hall * According to reviewer Anna Hall, a zoologist, Orca: How We Came to Know and Love the Ocean’s Greatest Predator by UVic’s…
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#305 Finding the Erebus and Terror

Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedition by Paul Watson Toronto: Penguin Random House (McClelland & Stewart), 2017 $34.95  /  9780771096525 Reviewed by Walter O. Volovsek First published May 17, 2018 * Based in Coquitlam, B.C., the remarkable Paul Watson–not to confused with that Sea Shepherd captain also named Paul Watson who…
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#284 Field Guide to Insects

First published April 7, 2018. A Field Guide to Insects of the Pacific Northwest by Robert Cannings Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2018. $7.95  /  9781550178340 Reviewed by Norma Kerby * One of the major gaps for the enthusiastic amateur naturalist has been an approachable guide to insects. Robert Cannings’ new field guide goes some distance…
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#282 Sea creatures as teachers

Pacific Reef and Shore: A Photo Guide to Northwest Marine Life from Alaska to Northern California (Revised Second Edition) (First published by Harbour in 2003 as Pacific Reef and Shore: A Photo Guide to Northwest Marine Life) by Rick Harbo Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2017 $12.95  /  9781550177862 Reviewed by Cathy Carolsfeld First published April…
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#271 Birding hotspots of B.C.

First published Mar. 23, 2018. Best Places to Bird in British Columbia by Russell Cannings and Richard Cannings Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2017. $22.95  /  9781771641661 Reviewed by Briony Penn Naturalist and geographer Briony Penn reviews Best Places to Bird which highlights 275 B.C. bird species, viewable from thirty locations–more than half of B.C.’s species. –…
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#268 How rivers can remember

Where The River Flows: Scientific Reflections on Earth’s Waterways by Sean W. Fleming Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2017 $26.95 (U.S.).  /  9781400885022 Reviewed by Colin Levings First published March 19, 2018 * Sean Fleming, who received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. from UBC in 1994 and 2004 and is now a member of UBC’s Department…
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#266 Pioneering stargazer J.S. Plaskett

Northern Star: J.S. Plaskett by R. Peter Broughton, with a foreword by James E. Hesser Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2018. $67.50  / 9781442630178 Reviewed by John Hutchings First published Mar. 17, 2018 * John Stanley Plaskett (1865-1941) was the founder and first director of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria. This biography is well-timed, published…
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