Thursday, September 4, 2014

Upcoming (more) northern visit

I think I have a thing for apex predators.

Living and working in northern British Columbia in prime black and grizzly bear habitat, I regularly see these beauties cruising the powerlines, cutblocks, roadsides looking for a feed.  In all the sightings and interactions on foot, none have given me any grief or cause to worry.

Two previous stints took me to volunteer at the Sharklab on beautiful Bimini in the Bahamas with a variety of shark species.

On Sunday, I will be arriving in Churchill, Manitoba to volunteer for six weeks at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre.  Situated on the aurora oval and adjacent to Wapusk National Park which protects the inland denning area of the polar bear, I'm looking forward to the opportunities to view northern lights and migrating polar bears.

As at the Sharklab, it's the spectacle of these apex predators that lures in most visitors and volunteers. While I fall into that category, I have to remind myself that these places are SO much more than the critters they're known for.

Bimini has endemic snakes, migrating birds, massive turtles and tiny seahorses while Churchill is also a birding haven, botanist's wet dream as three biomes converge, an active archaeological dig and there's even seasonal beluga whales!  And then there's the people I met and have yet to meet.

Yeah, I had a great time longlining, observing and acoustically tracking juvenile lemon sharks, swimming with reef sharks and pen building at the Sharklab, but it is the relationships I developed and continue to nurture that were the greatest prize from my time spent in Bimini.  So again, I'm looking forward to a new place and new faces to share this great next adventure.   

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