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What’s happening!

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Hi! I’m a writer and photographer, an outdoor adventurer, a some-time expedition leader, and an elected Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. And a PhD scientist, too. Although I no longer work as a geologist, my sciences background is a huge part of who I am and of nearly everything I do.

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You can sign up for occasional updates about my projects and speaking events on my contacts page (don’t worry, I will never share your info or spam you!)

 

Like most everyone on the planet, my plans for 2020 have been somewhat derailed by COVID-19. So, in the meantime, I have been focussing on my own back yard – my vegetable garden – and also embarked on a new project to share my gardening expertise:

growing quinoa in CanadaThe Food Garden is my new project, and I am super excited about it. I have been a food gardener for decades – since I was a little girl, in fact. I’ve gardened in a range of climates, from the hot summers/cold winters of continental North America, to the sub-tropical climes of Australia, to the moderate maritime climate where I live now, in the Pacific Northwest.

For the last ten years, I have been producing much of the food that Dave and I consume – just from my back yard gardens (I have two) and containers. And not just fresh veggies: I grow carbs and protein too, like quinoa and corn and lots of drying beans for winter. (This is my quinoa!)

 

 

What is The Food Garden project?

 

The Food Garden Volume 1 Book CoverThe Food Garden project is a series of books aimed at regular urban people who want to produce food. Whether because, like me, you have worries about our food security and think this is important knowledge to have – or (also like me) you just appreciate the taste and quality of home-grown tomatoes and strawberries and greens: flavour and freshness that money simply cannot buy.

These books are not intended for people with big properties and series of raised beds and greenhouses – they are for normal town and city folk who want to grow food in whatever space they have, be that a back yard plot or a community garden, or just a few pots on their balcony. If this resonates with you, please check out The Food Garden website, and sign up on my Contacts page (whether here or over there) for updates: I aim to have Volume 1, “the bible” out this June.

 

Here are a few of my projects that are a bit more on the back burner right now (moving forward slowly, or postponed):

 

Maple Leaf Adventures Salish Sea Expedition, April 2020: (Postponed due to COVID-19… stay tuned for more info). I will be the on-board naturalist guide for this adventure, on the waters off the south and east shores of Vancouver Island. This will be a great adventure: we will be looking out for orcas and other marine mammals when on the water, but we will also have lots of time for visits to the southern Gulf Islands, to learn about the wildlife and natural history as well as about Coast Salish people and their history. This itinerary is run in conjunction with the RCGS and Canadian Geographic. Trip details here.

The Secret Coast Expedition project: The Secret Coast Expedition itself may be over… but I still have lots going on (not to mention a book to write!). The expedition, co-sponsored by the RCGS and the Spanish Embassy in Canada, was a one-month wilderness journey down the wild and mostly unpopulated west coast of Vancouver Island. It was not only an exploration of this remote, surf-swept coast, but also of a nearly forgotten period of our history: LDSC_9675the earliest contacts between the indigenous Nuu-chah-nulth people and the earliest explorers to arrive here – the first of whom were the Spanish. My first round of presentations about this project in November were to packed houses! I expect to do another tour in April, and will post dates and venues here once confirmed. In the meantime – I am still sorting through my photos, continuing my interviews with indigenous oral historians, and immersing myself in lots of old writings. More info here: www.secret-coast.com

Snowbirds: This is a totally fun and rewarding project! Anna’s hummingbirds used to live only in the southwest US and northern Mexico. But they have been expanding their range northward, and made it to my house here on central Vancouver Island six years ago! I’m working on a book and a video, documenting the story of their arrival – and how they cope with our Canadian winters. This 3 minute video explains it better than written words – or head over to www.winterhummingbirds.com to follow my progress: