All posts by Rochelle Baker

Rochelle Baker is a staff reporter with Canada’s National Observer, thanks thanks to a grant from the Local Journalism Initiative of the Government of Canada. She previously worked as a newspaper reporter and photographer in BC’s Lower Mainland for over 7 years.

Citizen science whale observers worry humpbacks being harassed

National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The return of a mother humpback whale and calf to B.C. waters should be cause for celebration, says Saturna Island resident Susie Washington-Smyth, but instead it’s causing dismay and concern for a coastal citizen science group. 

Continue reading Citizen science whale observers worry humpbacks being harassed

Conservationists urge B.C. to protect bear dens ‘before it’s too late’

Click here for ‘The need to protect Black Bear dens on Vancouver Island

National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The photo of a baby black bear scrabbling around the woody debris of its destroyed den is certainly heart-rending, conservation biologist Tony Hamilton says.

The former large carnivore specialist with B.C.’s Environment Ministry recalls being called to attend the incident, despite it occurring more than a decade ago. 

A mother and her cub were displaced from their nest in a huge, old stump that had been destroyed during logging operations in a second-growth forest on Vancouver Island near Campbell River.   

Continue reading Conservationists urge B.C. to protect bear dens ‘before it’s too late’

Mamalilikulla First Nation aims to conserve its spiritual home

National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The sound of singing and drums rang across the ancestral land and waters central to the origins of the Mamalilikulla First Nation for the first time in over a century on Thursday.

More than 100 members and guests made the long boat journey to Gwa̱xdlala/Nala̱xdlala — (Lull Bay/Hoeya Sound) in Knight Inlet on B.C.’s isolated central coast — to mark the Mamalilikulla’s ceremonial return to the ancient village site as the stewards of their territory. 

Continue reading Mamalilikulla First Nation aims to conserve its spiritual home

Haíɫzaqvḷa (Heiltsuk):The joy and pain of language revitalization

National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

 Warning: This story contains details that may provoke distress or trauma in some readers.

Astrid Wilson radiates passion, grief and fierce determination when speaking about her ambition to become a fluent Haíɫzaqvḷa speaker and rekindle the ancestral language of her community of Bella Bella on B.C.’s isolated central coast. 

“It’s beautiful, but it’s a heavy journey,” she said.

“When it comes to language revitalization, there are so many emotions that flow through your mind as you’re relearning your language.” 

Continue reading Haíɫzaqvḷa (Heiltsuk):The joy and pain of language revitalization

Danny Ramadan, the enduring storyteller

National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Danny Ramadan has an intriguing way of answering a question. 

“Let me tell you a story,” the Syrian-Canadian author, public speaker and longtime advocate for queer refugees says.

Ramadan is in every way a storyteller, a hakawati, who builds lyrical narrative around dichotomies; contrasting beauty with ugliness, tenderness with violence, love and loathing, all interwoven with memories bitter and sweet. 

Continue reading Danny Ramadan, the enduring storyteller