Bee Population Alert Brings Awareness To Urban Beekeeping

UN has issued an official report warning the dangers of pollinator loss.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services issued a new report last month, warning about the catastrophic implications of the death of pollinators world-wide.

 

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Professional Beekeeper – Steve Gourley tends to his hives outside of Lillooet BC.  Photo courtesy : Annalise deBoer

In a release by IPBES Vice Chairman, Robert Watson commented”wild pollinators in certain regions, especially bees and butterflies, are being threatened by a variety of factors. Their decline is primarily due to changes in land use, intensive agricultural practices and pesticide use, alien invasive species, diseases and pests, and climate change.”

The report that the IPBES released also suggests that the best ways to support the current bee population is to decrease the use of pesticides, increase the number of hives worldwide and to educate farmers, scientists and the general public about pesticides and mites.

The Dying Bee Population 

The Canadian Association Of Professional Apiculturists ( CAPA ) reported that in 2013 and 2014, Canadian beekeepers lost between 15 to 29% of their bees. Many beekeeper collectives, including the Ontario Beekeepers Association blame the use of neonicotinoids as the reason behind the large loss of bees. Neonicotinoida is a class of insecticides that are mainly used for corn and soya production.

Since 2014, Health Canada has implemented new measures to reduce the exposure of this chemical to pollinators, however organic farming remains the safest avenue in terms of environmental protection.

Local Organic Bee Farmers & Apiaries 

Steve Gourley is the owner and operator of local organic honey company Gold Strike Honey. Steve made the decision in 2012 to move his bee’s from the Fraser Valley to Lillooet BC. “The health of my bees was so bad, I had to do something.”Steve said, after he watched the health of his bees deteriorating due to the over usage of pesticides on crops in the area, he then decided to move his bees to an area that had mainly organic crops.

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Goldstrike Honey is farmed in Lillooet BC, where crops are mainly organic and have strict rules around pesticide usage. Photo courtesy : Steve Gourley

“When I had my bees in Chilliwack, I was loosing up to 50 percent of my bee’s every year… now in Lillooet I usually only loose around 9 or 10 percent.” said Steve. ” It was totally the pesticides that were causing the problems, 100% that’s what it was” he said, when asked why he was loosing such a large percentage of his bees.

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” It was totally the pesticides that were causing the problems, 100% that’s what it was”- Steve Gourley, BC Beekeeper

Urban Beekeeping 

Many people are wondering what they can do on a local / personal level, to help build up the failing bee population, besides buying organic produce.  What better way to help the bee population, than to become an urban keeper. Urban bee keeping not only saves you money at the grocery store, but ultimately helps to increase and assist the local bee population.

Steve Gourley had some some words of encouragement for the  rookie beekeepers out there. “We need all the help we can get, to get the bee population back in check.”

Steps To Urban Beekeeping 

If you are interested in keeping bees in your yard, there are two steps you need to follow:

  1. Review the City’s beekeeping guidelines.
  2. Register your beehive with the Province of BC

To learn more, visit the City Of Vancouver’s website for more details.

Written By : Annalise deBoer

High Risk Avalanche Season Cause For Concern For BC Backcountry Enthusiasts

Avalanche Canada has had to post an alarming amount of warnings for dangerous snow conditions this winter. The fatal conditions across BC have already triggered large avalanches that have claimed several lives and injured dozens. With months left to go before the season is over, there is still cause for concern.

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Avalanche hazard signs are very important. Backcountry enthusiast should study signs and follow safety measures accordingly. (Photo courtesy of The Globe & Mail)

Avalanche Canada and the BC Coroners Service are urging backcountry users to be proactive and prepare themselves for avalanche danger through education, noting that these were contributing factors in the slide near McBride that killed five snowmobilers.

I spoke with professional snowmobiler, backcountry guide and avalanche safety certified –Nadine Overwater about her advise for fellow backcountry enthusiasts this season.

“its powder, lets go get it!” – Nadine Overwater

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Nadine Overwater is a professional sledder living in Revelstoke BC and an advocate for avalanche safety- (Photo courtesy of @nadineoverwater)

Sending her warning to fellow snowmobilers that the attitude of “its powder, lets go get it!” is causing people to have clouded judgement when it comes to avalanche safety, Nadine Overwater encourages everyone to be as prepared as they possible can and to follow these five guidelines around personal avalanche safety.

NADINE OVERWATER –  5 TIPS FOR AVALANCHE SAFETY 

#1 – TAKE A COURSE! 

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Nadine Overwater educates other on the importance of avalanche safety in Revelstoke BC. (Photo courtesy of Nadine Overwater & Lanina Sled Camp.)

“You need those basics, before you go out there!”. Learning from a professional is ideal and Avalanche Canada and many other associations provide Avalanche training courses at a cost that in relevance to your personal safety, feels extremely reasonable.

#2 – HAVE PROPER GEAR! 

” Don’t just have the gear, but know how to use it.”

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Professional snowmobiler Brodie Evans studies the snow conditions during an advanced avalanche course. (Photo courtesy of Nadine Overwater.)

Basic avalanche gear includes a shovel, a probe and a transceiver. It is very important to know how to use your gear, as well as your fellow sledders gear. Avalanche transceivers are all very different and any avid backcountry adventurer should know how to operate their fellow riders gear. “Practice, read your manual and really know your gear” says Nadine.

“You need those basics, before you go out there!” – Nadine Overwater

#3 – AVALANCHE CANADA 

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Avalanche Canada’s daily forecast publication is a great refrence for current conditions. (Courtesy of Avalanche Canada’s website – http://www.avalanche.ca)

Keep up to date with the current conditions and news regarding your local backcountry locations. Its important to know what you are dealing with, before you head out on your journey.  “Look at it every morning and every night.” says Nadine.

#4 – KNOW YOUR GROUP! 

“You don’t just head out into the backcountry with someone you just met in the parking lot!” Knowing your groups weakness and strengths is one of the most important tools out there. Everyone has something to offer the group and being situationally aware of who is around you is key when going out into the backcountry.

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Nadine and her fellow rider discuss their route before dropping into a high risk avalanche area. (Photo courtesy of @Nadineoverwater.) 

“You don’t just head out into the backcountry with someone you just met in the parking lot!”

#5 – RESPECT THE SIGNS  

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Abiding avalanche danger sign warnings could save your life while adventuring in the backcountry. (Photo courtesy of the CBC.)  

“Be able to adjust your mindset for those conditions.” Instinct can go a long way and smart decisions can go an even longer way when it comes to being prepared for an avalanche. The bottom line is that when you are dealing with avalanches,  you need to take  your own safety and the safety of your fellow riders into your own hands and being prepared and being knowledgable could mean the difference between life and death.

As the season continues, Nadine and myself encourage all backcountry enthusiasts to have an epic season and to stay safe out there.

  • Annalise deBoer.

Local Vancouver Hunter Avoids High Grocery Prices

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Organic meat is one of the largest grocery prices hikes of 2016. (Courtesy Annalise deBoer)

We have all been there, standing at the check out isle and staring blankly at the totals adding up on the till registers screen. Gawking at your receipt as you walk out of the grocery store, in shock that you spent $80 on a head of lettuce, package of ground beef and a bag of almonds. Canadians are really starting to feel the pain of high grocery prices.

Meat, Fish, Fruit And Vegetables Are The Big Ticket Items 

The University of Guelph’s latest forecast estimates that food inflation could be between 2% and 4% in 2016, compared with 4.1% this year.The school’s Food Institute estimates food inflation in 2015 cost the average Canadian household an extra $325 this year.

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The largest grocery price increases will be seen in the meat and fish and fruit and vegetable costs. ( University Of Guelph  – Food Institute )

What Is The Cause Of The Rise 

According to The University Of Guelph’s Food Institute, the largest catalyst in the rise of grocery prices is the drop in the Canadian dollar, as well as its continued devaluing against the US dollar.

Alternative Routes To Traditional Grocery Shopping 

The bad news is that the rise in grocery prices are not set to slow down anytime soon. The good news, is that there are some money savvy tips out there to help the average joe beat their extremely high grocery bills.

Proteins seem to be one of the most expensive items that Canadians are consuming and with more and more health conscious Canadians purchasing organic, free range and ethical proteins, these items seem to be the ones breaking the bank.

Meet the Urban Hunter Gatherer 

For those consumers in the market for organic, free range and ethical meat, sourcing your own meat is a great and economic alternative. Meet Carl deBoer, a 32 year old North Vancouver family man with 2 young girls and a wife to provide for.

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Carl and his wife Danielle are dedicated to feeding their family wit healthy whole foods and organic meats. Raising a family in the lower mainland is very expensive and with the average household spending nearly $9000 a year of food, this family needed a healthy and cost effective alternative.

Hunting

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Local Vancouver Hunter – Carl deBoer with his first White Tail Deer in September 2015 . ( Carl deBoer )

” I took a moment to say thank you for giving your life to feed my family” said Mr. DeBoer. Spending approx. $240 annually hunting in Northern Alberta this past fall, he was able to process 110 LBS of meat from the male deer.

” I took a moment to say thank you for giving your life to feed my family”

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Hunting locally will provide healthy protein for this Canadian mans family. ( photo courtesy – Carl deBoer )  

” This is natural foods on a shoe string” said Mr.deBoer, ” With the way our economy is going, you either have wealth or you have to get ambitious and knowledgable”. His cost, averaging approx. $2.18 per pound, in comparison to the average $10.25 per LB that you would pay for grass fed and organic beef in the average grocery store in Vancouver.

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This healthy deer meat is both lean, ethically sourced and hunted legally. (Courtesy of Carl deBoer)

” You have to revert back to hundreds of years ago, when if you couldn’t hunt, fish and gather you just wouldn’t survive”.

Fishing 

If you aren’t a meat eater, fishing is also a great way to save significant amounts on your grocery bill. Lake fishing for entire years supply of fish, would cost the average person approx. $535 annually including license, gear and tackle.

Gathering

Not everyone is a hunter or fisher and not everyone eats meat and fish. Planting a hearty back yard garden, vertical garden or community garden plot, could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars this year in fruit and vegetables.

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Patio gardens are a great way to make use of urban condo balconies in the summer. (Courtesy of @anniemdeboer)

With the Canadian economic landscape shifting, the blue collared Canadian will need to shift with it and find new ways to save money.  Hunting, fishing and gathering are great ways to stay ahead of the curve.

Annalise deBoer

 

 

 

Stranded Sea Turtle and Fur Seal Saved

The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre made two amazing rescues over the last two weeks.

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Rare fur seal receiving treatment at the Vancouver Aquarium. @vanaqua

Seal Rescue From Ucluelet 

First, a very rare Guadalupe fur seal who appeared to be in was saved by officers of the Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Parks Canada. The animal was first sighted off the coast of Ucluelet BC and after it was determined that animal was in distress, rescue crews were dispatched.

After a recent epidemic of fur seals washing up sick and dead along the California coast line, scientists are suggesting the warmer waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean could likely be the cause of these stranded creatures.

“Parks Canada protects the habitats, wildlife and ecosystems diversity within each national park on behalf of all Canadians.”Mark Young, resource conservation manager – Pacific Rim National Park Reserve 

 

Turtle Rescue 

Within days of the rescue in Ucluelet, Parks Canada retrieved a tropical green turtle  from Combers Beach.

Green turtles are normally found in tropical waters of Hawaii and Mexico but turtles tend to follow warm currents and sometimes end up in northern locations such as BC and Alaska.

“Reptiles are cold blooded and they completely depend on their external environment to control their body temperature.” Dr. Martin Haulena

With a body temperature of 11.2 degrees Celsius, the turtle is slowly warming up a few degrees every day.

The turtle has been transported from Nanaimo to the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre for immediate treatment.

 Rescue Location – Fur Seal & Sea Turtle 

 

 

Much Work To Be Done

When I created this blog for a social media marketing class, I had a few precomposed ideas of what a “blog” should be.

Part of me thought that blogging was just a new platform for amateur or up and coming writers to post their rants or theories or stories or scientific facts… or whatever it was that these writers wanted to write about.

The other part of me thought it was a marketing gimmick, something created by business as a more incognito way of keeping the public engaged in the content they create… which in turn always drives traffic back to the business.

What I know realize… is that it is neither of those things.

A blog is not about the writer or the business… it is about the reader!

Sort of like the question of ” If a tree falls in the forrest and there is nobody there to hear it… does it make a sound ?” . I now feel the same about blogs… If you write a blog and nobody reads it, does it even exist ?

My point, is that I believe successful blogs are focused on the reader not the writer. What does your reader want, what does your reader feel ? Doesn’t matter if you are blogging just because you have something important to say, or if you are blogging because a company is paying you to write a blog… what does the READER want ?

I read this amazing blog post today about a man who was severely burned and his face subsequently disfigured while he was on duty with the fire department and now many years later he was given a full face transplant.

I cried and cried and cried. But I read and I read and I read. Because it wasn’t about the blogger or about some company trying to sneakily sell me something I don’t need. It was a genuine story about suffering. This story truly thought about what the READER wants, not what they or the business they work for want.

Here would be my three recommendations to anyone in ANY industry that is thinking of creating a blog.

  • In a world of over stimulation and media pollution, people are not going to take time out of their packed schedule to read something that is narcissistic, self fulfilling or camouflaged advertisement! So make it worth their while. Know your reader!
  • Make it engaging! If your blog is funny, sad or data related, who cares! Make it engaging.
  • Before you start your blog, read this – http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/11/patrick-hardison-face-transplant.html?Src=longreads

Thank you,

Annalise Blogging Image .jpg

Diversity Of North Vancouver For Filming

The North Shore is a gold mine! 

I may be a bit biased… because I live in North Vancouver and have ever since I moved here from Alberta in 2008.

But the North Shore is a pure gold mine for diverse shoot locations for photo and film.

Home to many feature films and famous tv serious such as Supernatural, Once Upon a Time, The Flash and iZombie, North Vancouver is a beautiful medley of rainforest, vast canyons, mountains, rivers, creeks and ocean views.

To test this theory, I walked exactly 325 meters from my house and found this.

 

As mentioned in this North Shore News article, the easy access and diversity of North Vancouver is helping to drive the film industry in BC.

http://www.nsnews.com/news/north-shore-film-industry-booming-in-2014-2015-1.1759478