Poaching in Community Forest Co-op

The article that follows contains the personal experience and opinions of its producer, not necessarily those of the Cortes Radio Society, its board, staff, volunteers or membership. This radio broadcast was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative.  In a small community, this story isn’t the easiest to hear, or to write. Unfortunately, it is the best example of what we’ve been experiencing and witnessing over the years.  While my family was preparing dinner last night, my daughter returned from walking her dog. She saw a white truck driving in to do firewood between 5:30 and 6:30. We weren’t impressed, but hoped it would be a windfall- a log naturally fallen and lying on the ground. Healthy Douglas Fir fallen June 22, 2020 at Larsen’s Meadow CCFC woodlot. Did They Have Permission? When we heard the chainsawing move closer to our property, I jumped up to go see. From a distance, I saw the tree branches swaying and heard the tree drop. I paused, waiting for my husband to catch up. As we approached, we saw injured birds on ground.  I recognized an older red truck.   There was also a white truck and two men.  While I walked closer, a local I knew and another man were throwing stuff down to try to disguise the stump.  The one I recognized does do some work for the Cortes Community Forest Cooperative (CCFC), so I asked if they had permission to be there. He laughed, said ‘no’ and named another individual, “was allowed, and took tons.”  ‘Definitely No Falling’ I disagreed,...
Exploring The Concept of Conservation Planning

Exploring The Concept of Conservation Planning

This program was funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative.  On today’s show, we’re exploring the concept of Conservation Planning.  What is it, what’s involved and why is it important.  . Roy L Hales photo Cortes Currents: Max Thaysen interviews Helen Hall and Liam Baron-Preston about Conservation Planning Who’s Who? We’ll hear from Helen Hall – Helen is the Executive Director of the Friends of Cortes Island Society (FOCI).   Helen has had a long career in nature conservation over the pond, in Britain. She has been with FOCI for five years. FOCI is a charitable society that exists to monitor, preserve and restore the health of local ecosystems and provide educational programs that foster a greater understanding of the natural environment. (FYI: the author, Max, is a member of the Board of Directors) We’ll also hear from Liam Baron-Preston.  Baron grew up on Cortes Island, exploring the wilds and now has returned from University with a pair of degrees to give depth to his passion and credence to his observations.  Helen Hall - courtesy FOCI What Is Conservation Planning? I asked Helen, what is conservation planning? She described how it is a study of land and water and life that exist in an area with the intention of determining which species or habitats might be at risk, underrepresented, or especially valuable so that they may be conserved, restored and connected with one-another.  A conservation plan would incorporate climate projections. Conservation plans guide our efforts to protect the land from threats, and support its flourishing.  And they also form a...
Lessons from the Bees

Lessons from the Bees

The opinions expressed in the program that follows are those of the people expressing them and not necessarily shared by the Cortes Radio Society, its board, staff, volunteers or membership. This radio broadcast was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative.  . Photo credit: Paul Stamets, culturing mushroom mycelium in a lab at Washington State University. Image source: Ken Christensen, EarthFix/KCTS 9 Cortes Currents: Tara Warkentin interviews Tony Clark, Sharon Figueira & plays a clip from Paul Stamets  One in every three bites of food we eat depends on bees. Without bees, our local and global food systems would collapse. Recently, Colony Collapse Disorder has become a buzzword. It refers to the sudden death of honeybee colonies from a myriad of causes, from toxic pesticides to viruses, to disease, and is becoming more and more common in industrial beekeeping operations. But, could the Colony Collapse plague Cortes Island’s own bees? In this episode of Cortes Currents, I set out to learn what threats Cortes Island’s bees face. I speak to Sharon Figueira, an aspiring beekeeper, about the most ethical way of getting bees on Cortes. I seek out the advice of Tony Clark, to hear what he’s learned in his twenty-plus years of beekeeping on the island. We also delve deep into the world of fungi with Paul Stamets and find a surprising source of hope for our bees. Here are the four lessons I’ve learned from the bees, and their keepers:  #1 – Learn Learn as much as you can from books, local beekeepers, and by observing the bees themselves. “There are so many bee species…...
Enter The Humble Cortes Shellfish Farmer

Enter The Humble Cortes Shellfish Farmer

The opinions expressed in this broadcast are those of the people being interviewed and not necessarily shared by the Cortes Radio Society, its board, staff or membership. This radio broadcast was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative. Oysters by Manet via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License) Cortes Currents: Max Thaysen interviews Erik Lyon, of of Rising Tide Shellfish, and Dr Tim Green, of VIU, about Oysters The Cortes community is in various levels of emergency mode: the climate emergency has moved many people to increase their local self-reliance. Community non-profits like the Cortes Community Economic Development Association, the Friends of Cortes Island Society and Climate Hope are organizing to relocalize essential needs like food production. And then the covid-19 pandemic came along with its own challenges to the established modern food systems – bacon is under threat. Enter The Cortes Island Shellfish Farmer The folks of Cortes Island are hearing the call. Many people who previously had gardens are expanding them. People who haven’t had gardens before are starting one up. But what about the other food groups? What about the critical brain-building inflammation fighting fats, and muscle building protein? Perhaps we will be saved by the humble Cortes Island shellfish farmer. Enter: Erik Lyon, owner/operator of Rising Tide Shellfish. He says that Cortes Island is well suited to produce large volumes of high quality food with very little inputs. Oysters Are Good Food Oysters are a good food. They’re full of healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. So the case is easy to make that we should eat them. But...
Jesse Recalma Comes To Cortes Island School

Jesse Recalma Comes To Cortes Island School

This radio broadcast was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative.  Jessie Recalma, Qualicum First Nation, is a self-taught contemporary Coast Salish artist. Cortes Island School Parent Advisory Committee fundraises every year for an Arts/Music program. I offered to help coordinate artist visits, and as an Indigenous person and artist, wanted very much to see this happening. We were grateful to hear Jessie was willing to drive from Qualicum Beach for an artist talk series; meaning he was sharing a 14 hour day with us- leaving at dawn to get to Cortes School to share with 2 classrooms- intermediate and senior. Cortes Currents: Odette Auger reports on Jesse Recalma’s visit to Cortes Island School My Name Is Jessie Reclama He includes his intentions for the demos in his introduction to the classrooms. “My name is Jessie Reclama, I’m from the Qualicum First Nation, and I am a full time artist and a part time language teacher… and so I am here today to share a little bit about my artwork and my art styles and my art form, and sort of looking about how we can engage… between ourselves and Indigenous art” Jessie brought his tools, carvings, and gave an insightful talk and demo; sharing skills and Indigenous ecological knowledge with the youth.One of the interesting things about what Jessie shared…. was ​the manner​ it was shared in. Traditional Ecological Knowledge As an ​Anishinaabe-ikwe​, I have a deep appreciation -​ and I notice right away​- when teaching is done in a holistic, interdisciplinary way. Jessie started with an introduction, and...
Cortes Species At Risk

Cortes Species At Risk

Northern Goshawk - Courtesy FOCI This radio broadcast was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative.  Helen Hall has been the Friends of Cortes Island’s (FOCI) Executive Director for close to five years. Autumn Barret Morgan came to FOCI as a summer student and continues on as the volunteer Conservation Assistant. In this morning’s program they talk about Cortes species at risk.  Not As Developed As Other Areas “We are fortunate to have so many amazing species here. Cortes is not been as developed as some of the other islands. We still have large intact areas of forest and a really good marine ecosystem,” said Hall. Some species still evidenced here are disappearing from other areas because of habitat loss and degradation.  Northern Goshawk Cortes Currents: Roy L Hales interview Helen Hall & Autumn Barret Morgan from the Friends of Cortes Island “We have the Northern Goshawk on the island … and we know they have disappeared from other parts of the province.” According to the FOCI website, “ … It is suspected that the Northern Goshawk’s numbers will continue to decline due to deforestation of mature and old-growth forests. Commercial clearcutting destroys their nesting habitat and reduces prey abundance.” Fourteen Species At Risk Fourteen Species at Risk are featured on the FOCI website. “I think that if no conservation programs are in place, they are all ultimately at risk of either extirpation (disappearance locally) or extinction, but I wouldn’t say right now.” They range from recently returned Humpback Whales to the Great Blue Heron. “We also have species like...