The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,
And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before.
The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,
Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.
You could not tell, and yet it looked as if
The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff,
The cliff in being backed by continent;
It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
There would be more than ocean-water broken
Before God's last Put out the Light was spoken.
Yeow. My first post in three years. So much has happened...
Hana and I are now into our fourth year of west-coast life here in Bamfield. It's quirky and beautiful and wild and remote.
And we love it.
At the mouth of Bamfield Inlet, looking northwest towards the Deer Group
and Broken Group Islands
When we first arrived, we spent a few weeks living in a cabin at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre before moving into a house next to the water on the east side of the inlet. We bought a car (!) and soon acquired a cat (Marley—a 15-year-old Maine Coon tom). After a couple of months of adjustment, we found our groove and soon learned to migrate to warmer (or dryer, at least) climes during our winter down time:
Cholla, Joshua Tree National Park, California
We began documenting our experiences in a new blog, and although our busy work lives make regular updates a challenge, it still sees a little love every once in a while.
After a couple of years as manager of the research department at BMSC, I switched roles to join Hana as a marine science educator in the Public Education Program. We spend most of our time teaching and working with grade school students, undergraduates, and families from BC and Alberta (primarily, although we sometimes welcome groups from further afield: we just said goodbye to a wonderful group of college students from Arkansas). I also help coordinate the BMSC Live program connecting schools with our internet-broadcast live labs and dives here at the Marine Sciences Centre.
The work is challenging and immensely rewarding, with lots of opportunities to learn (and teach) new things with the breathtaking Pacific Northwest as our classroom. I also get to reference HP Lovecraft on a fairly regular basis too, so that's good.
This summer, Hana and I will be developing and teaching our first course together: Science and the Sea, a non-majors course for undergraduates in the arts and humanities who need science credit to complete their degree.
The course will run for six weeks in the final block of the summer alongside other BMSC courses such as Paleo-ecology of Marine Environments, Coastal Field Archaeology, and Coastal Biodiversity and Conservation. We're hoping for an eclectic mix of students and opportunities to bring students together from the different courses.
Outside of our work with the Public Education Program and our summer course, Hana teaches Directed Studies as part of BMSC's undergraduate Fall Program, manages the east-side community garden, and assists with the operations of Canadian Kelp Resources. She has also recently launched her own business: Sitka Careers.
Both of us sit as Directors on the board of our local community school association; I also teach at the school when time permits.
Bamfield Community School
I've found the time to get back into photography—this time with better equipment—as well as cultivate an enormous beard. I've also been writing and recording my own tunes after a long hiatus. Here's a recent number:
With many musicians in town there are lots of opportunities to get together and play. After a few jams, Chumbucket was formed, initially to play for an open-air party on Canada Day, but we stuck around for a couple of years and filled the hole left by The Broken Group after their members relocated to the mainland or elsewhere on the island.
Here's our cover of "Thang" by The Modeens:
While current federal government policies are making life difficult for Canadian scientists and science institutions, I remain cautiously optimistic about our future in Bamfield and that of BMSC, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year.
We have something truly special here which deserves to flourish: students, researchers, and visitors often refer to their experiences in our unique coastal town, without hyperbole, as "life-changing".
It's a place, and life, worth celebrating.
The time is fast approaching for me to leave New Brunswick and take up my new position as Research Coordinator at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. This is likely my last post on this website, which I will maintain as an archive of my experiences in the Maritimes over the last 7 years. A heartfelt thank you to everyone I met along the way. I've had so many rewarding experiences here I feel as if I've lived a lifetime already. Hope to see you on the west coast!
I'm a little late in getting to this post. The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of activity as we prepare to move across the country to our new home on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. More on that a little later…
Grand Manan Island is one of our favourite spots in New Brunswick; Hana and I have visited it together every year and we wanted to make sure we made one last trip before we left the province. It's a rugged, beautiful, and moody place with wonderful light—a photographer's dream. Lots of fine trails to explore, too.
Red Point Trail is a short hike through part of Anchorage Provincial Park near Seal Cove. Views across the bay toward Wood Island can be seen early on the trail as it winds through low alder bushes. Continuing through mixed woods, one can catch occasional glimpses of the island's two main geological formations—red sedimentary rock and younger, gray volcanic rock—before dropping down to Long Pond Beach.
Our second day on the island saw us tackle something a little longer—a hike out towards Eel Lake, thought to be the crater of an old volcano. Our 20-year-old hiking guide described the trail as an "old woods road", but we soon discovered a lot of more recent logging activity in the mixed woods. Parts of the trail are quite overgrown with many offshoots, making the use of a compass necessary. Negotiating ruts and slippery snowmelt mud, we finally stumbled on a cabin at the end of the trail, where we paused for lunch.
Our final day took us by ferry to White Head Island, named for its white quartz headland. We followed the Battle Beach trail towards the lighthouse and beach at Sandy Cove, stopping along the way to explore the edge of a bog and "sunken forest" ecosystem, and trying—unsuccessfully—to locate a local geocache, although we found lots of other treasure, as you can see from the shots.
Yesterday saw us at Hays Falls, near Meductic, New Brunswick. It's been a year-and-a-half since we last visited, and yesterday was our first winter trip.
Still lots of snowpack in the forest—more than knee deep in places—but well compacted on the main trail to make for an easy hike, with eyes peeled in the more open areas for icy sections.
The trail to the falls is an obscure fork off the main Indian Trail, an old Maliseet portage and national historic site. It's a short hike—about an hour, return—and very rewarding. The trail ascends a beautiful hardwood ridge, then gifts you with the creek and falls at the end. Spectacular, even more so in winter.
After dabbling with EveryTrail.com yesterday, I decided to check out a few alternative websites that also offered display of geotagged photos: Panoramio, Picasa (both operated by Google), Flickr, and Locr.
Of the four, Picasa, Flickr, and Locr read the geo-metadata of the images and displayed them without a hitch, whereas Panoramio failed to display my images at all. I liked the minimalist displays offered by Picasa and Flickr but, for me, Flickr had the aesthetic edge; the photo thumbnails on the Picasa map are a nice touch, but result in a cluttered view at standard zoom levels. Locr is capable of generating a slideshow display, complete with auto-generated location-specific facts at the top of the page. Very nice!
Each of these sites has an upload limit (monthly, total, or both), but each also offers additional hosting space and relaxed uploading limits if upgrading to a paid account. As far as I could tell, none of these services offered embedding of generated maps into a webpage, at least not directly. Also, each focuses solely on photos, compared with EveryTrail — admittedly, designed for a different audience — which is capable of displaying photos, video, and GPS track, waypoint, and altitude info in an embedded map.
Depending on your needs, and where you already host your photos, any of these sites are quite capable of displaying your geotagged shots (I'll revisit Panaramio — I suspect user error!).
For me, EveryTrail comes out on top. The site is well designed and intuitive, with an active user base, and the ability to host and map both photos and video is a treat. What really sets it apart from the other sites is its inclusion of GPS data on the map. Track and waypoint information provide much more context to geotagged images than simple location information as images can be associated with a particular trip and browsed in sequence. Move your cursor over an embedded map and you're presented with the option to display trip statistics: speed and altitude changes over time during the trip. Best of all, the site is free, has great support (that metadata problem I had yesterday? — fixed, thanks to the forums), and Chris McCarty wrote to say that they have no upload limits. Excellent! And if you own an iPhone, there's even more to love.
Armed with a camera and GPS, we spent an hour walking around the neighbourhood this afternoon. I'm enjoying photography more and more of late, and I wanted an easy way to geotag my shots and display them on a map. There are a few options out there; I thought I'd give EveryTrail a try first.
EveryTrail is very intuitive to set up and use, and produces very nice Flash maps (above). However, it seemed to have problems reading the GPS metadata correctly in my photos, requiring me to manually locate each shot on the map — not a deal-breaker with 8 pictures, but this would prove tedious with a longer trip. If you have used EveryTrail yourself and have any tips, please do share them.
I hope to try some of the alternatives over the next few days; I'll post my experiences here when I do.
Do you geotag your photos? What online services do you use to display your trips?
On Tuesday, New Brunswick Environment Minister Rick Miles was in the village of Cambridge-Narrows to present Robena Weatherley and the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association (CWWA) with Environmental Leadership Awards.
Robena's Lifetime Achievement award reflects both her work as a founding member of CWWA as well as her commitment to environmental advocacy throughout her life. As a member of CWWA, Robena has been instrumental in contributing to environmental education in the watershed and beyond through print and audio-visual publications, volunteering with schools, and other community activities.
CWWA received recognition in the Communities, Groups and Organizations category for their continuing work in monitoring water quality, fish populations, forest diversity, and stream ecology in the watershed.
Award recipients were presented with a framed pewter medal and a certificate for a tree to be planted to commemorate their achievements.
Back in Fredericton, two of our summer projects reached significant milestones.
At Devon Middle School, the interpretive sign for the outdoor classroom has been installed at the constructed wetland. Educators from both the school and the Fredericton Chapter of Ducks Unlimited have been teaching students with the wetland resource throughout the fall, and vegetables from the organic garden were recently harvested and enjoyed throughout the school. It's immensely satisfying to see these resources being used, and we hope that they will continue to develop and provide benefit to the school and local community for years to come.
Finally, Thursday saw the official opening of the nature trail at Garden Creek School. Attended by representatives from the School District and funding agencies, trail volunteers, educators, parents, and school staff and students, the day's events were an opportunity thank all those involved in the project and to celebrate what we had achieved together.
The next step in the trail project will be to develop cross-curricular lessons and activities that utilize the trail and the habitats through which it passes (forest, creek, grassland, and wetland) to teach a number of New Brunswick Elementary School outcomes. This we hope to complete in early 2010.
Jane Hart maintains a Top Ten Tools List contributed to by learning professionals from all over the world. These are my essential utilities:
1. Twitter: While I much prefer the functionality of the open source Identica, Twitter remains a vital point of contact for me with those in the science and education communities. Given Twitter's 140 character limit, I often make use of a tool such as LinkBunch to enable sharing of a number of related links in one short URL. [Online, free]
2. Google Reader: I recently made the shift from NetNewsWire to Google Reader as my RSS feed reader of choice and am very impressed with its stability and options for connectivity with other Google applications and users. Active script communities help contribute further functionality to Google Reader's web interface. [Online, free]
3. Socialite (née EventBox): There is so much to be learned from our social networks and RSS feeds that I need an effective tool to filter and categorize all of this information while also enabling me to contribute easily to it. I use Socialite for this purpose, combined with OmniGrowl for on-screen notifications of replies and new posts featuring keywords of interest. [Socialite: Mac, commercial; OmniGrowl: Mac, commercial]
4. Keynote: For presentations that look great and are a joy to design. Al Gore uses it. [Mac, commercial]
5. Tags: While I still maintain a folder structure on my laptop, Tags enables me to add an additional layer of information to files, folders, and, wonderfully, email messages. I think of it as an off-line Delicious (see below) for all the data on my hard drive. [Mac, commercial]
6. Weebly: The free website builder that I use to create and maintain this site. Easy to use, stable, downloadable archives, and excellent support and development. The Weebly team has just announced support for educators and classrooms. [Online, free/commercial]
7. Delicious: The venerable online bookmark sharing service. Browsing the network is a wonderful experience of serendipitous learning and can become quite addictive. [Online, free]
8. Adium: An instant messaging client that supports a multitude of services, including Twitter and Facebook chat. Stable and infinitely customizable, with an active developer community. [Mac, free]
9. iGTD (discontinued but still available for download): Essential for keeping track of all my projects and related activities, iGTD applies David Allen's (not Daevid Allen's) Getting Things Done approach to task management and connects with my PDA and calendar and email software. Bartek Bargiel, the software's creator, has since moved on to work on Things, a similar GTD application. [iGTD: Mac, donation; Things: Mac, commercial]
10. iTunes: My tool of choice for subscribing to podcasts and for maintaining daily sanity. [Mac/Windows, free]
Some thoughts on teaching, learning, and the process of communication. Posts on these pages are collected under the following categories:
Ambience: a grab-bag of words, sounds, and pictures.
Projects: completed works and works-in-progress.
School: items of educational interest.