Tag Archives: Radio

#1 – New Initiatives from the Old Schoolhouse Art Gallery

The Old Schoolhouse Art Gallery is trying out some new initiatives this year. Their season is starting earlier, there are more classes and special events than ever, and some of them will be in new locations. The gallery has reversed the order of its exhibitions, expanded its social media reach and now has a website at schoolhouseertgallery.ca

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#2 – Cortes and Quadra Islands to receive more paramedics

On April 1, BC Emergency Health Services improved the staffing models for 60 rural and remote ambulance stations. Cortes and Quadra Islands are among the 6 communities within the Strathcona Regional District that will benefit. 

“We recognize that one staffing model doesn’t work for all parts of the province, and these three models will help us improve our services to better meet the needs of the community and patients and enable more of our paramedics to live and work in their home communities,” explained Leanne Heppell, BCEHS’ Chief Ambulance Officer, in a press release.

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Origins of the Cortes Community Wolf Project

There was an increasing number of wolf sightings and encounters on Cortes Island during the closing months of 2008. A number of posts in the Tideline over the course of the next two years mention ‘an awful lot of them on the island, in an awfully short time.’ There were mixed reactions. A Squirrel Cove resident wrote that 15 ran through one of their neighbours yards at 4 AM. Someone had a ‘magical encounter’ with a large black wolf, standing on the foot bridge over the channel connecting Gunflint and Hague Lakes, as she paddled through with her canoe. Another resident reported that three wolves killed her dog, only 70 feet from her house.

More than 150 people gathered in the Linnaea School, on January 17, 2009, when Sabina Leader Mense brought in two experts to share their experiences with wolves.  Conservation Officer Ben York thanked the audience for bringing him in to discuss the situation, rather than put an animal down. He also stated that some of the wolves on Cortes ‘are very habituated’ and ‘˜there is a level of tolerance for these animals that is endangering them.’

The other expert was Bob Hansen, a wildlife/human conflict specialist in the Pacific Rim National Reserve.

Hansen was also one of the principle speakers at the recent Wildlife Coexistence Gathering on Cortes Island.  He explained that prior to receiving Sabina’s invitation, his attention was primarily focused on the Pacific Rim community.

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Connecting the Dots: Forestry Management And Some Implications For Wildlife

In the first of a series of articles from Cortes Islands recent Wildlife Coexistence Gathering, Cortes Currents looked at Vancouver Island’s first wildlife coexistence program in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The problem at that time was human/bear conflicts. By the time Sabina Leader Mense reached out from Cortes Island, in 2009, Bear Aware (later renamed WildSafeBC) had been dealing with wolves and cougars for more than a decade. 

Bob Hansen, Pacific Rim Coordinator for WildSafeBC, described the wolves’ sudden appearance. 

“Up until this point in time, it was bears and nothing but bears.  In 1998/99, the wolves showed up after being missing from our area for  decades.  Their presence was very dramatically felt.  I remember getting a phone call from the local paper in January of 1999,  ‘have you been getting wolf reports?’ I checked our database, and we’d had  six wolf reports since 1972.  I said, ‘nope.’ Within two weeks it started, the wolves were back.” 

Hansen suspects that modern forestry methods may be at least partially responsible for the influx of wolves and cougars into his area. 

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The First Wildlife Coexistence program on Vancouver Island

Around 40 people turned out for the Wildlife Coexistence Gathering on Cortes Island. This was an opportunity for Cortesians to meet some of the extended community of advisors  to the local program and learn more about our three top predators: grey wolf, black bear and cougar. The gathering was organized and hosted by Sabina Leader Mense and Georgina Silby from the Cortes Community Wolf Project. It began with a welcoming ceremony in the Klahoose All Purpose Building on Friday, April 5. There was an all day teaching series in the Linnaea Education Centre the following day. The gathering ended with a walk through the wildlife travel corridor in Hank’s Beach Forest Conservation Park on Sunday, April 7.  

Sabina Leader Mense emailed, “We celebrated our cultural relationships to our wild kin with the Klahoose First Nations singers & drummers and our guests Grace SoftDeer from the Chickasaw First Nation and Dennis Hetu from the Toquaht First Nation. We then explored our social and ecological relationships with our wild kin in formal and informal presentations by our invited guests, Bob Hansen, Pacific Rim Coordinator for WildSafeBC and Todd Windle, Coordinator for the Wild About Wolves Project.

Cortes Currents recorded most of the sessions at Linnaea and has arranged the material in a series of articles. This is an abridged version of the segment in which Bob Hansen talked about the origins of Vancouver Island’s first wildlife coexistence program. Years later it became the model for Cortes Island’s program, and Hansen was one of Sabina Leader Mense’s mentors.

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