Rank #1: Conversation in a Bottle: The Coke/DUC Connection
If you were looking for one word to describe Ducks Unlimited Canada’s approach to conservation you wouldn’t go far afield by picking the word, pragmatic. We’re looking for solutions that help everything, and everybody. How can we tackle projects that increase and make cleaner and safer the habit of important and endangered species? How can we improve the health and happiness of urban communities? How can we work with governments and corporations so their core values and missions are addressed by particpating with us on projects that resonsate with our own values and purpose? We ask those questions every day. And the answer sometimes comes in the shape of a bottle. A Coke bottle in the case of this episode. I had the chance to speak with a fascinating hydrogeologist named John Radtke. John leads the water sustainability programs for Coca-Cola North America. He’s also an avid fly fisherman and backpacker. He’s lived in the outdoors since tramping around Southern Illonois as a kid. But, in 2005, after going through college as a geologist John became a consulting geologist. One of his clients, Coca-Cola brought John on board fulltime. Coke is a multinational company that used billions of litres of water to make it dizzying array of beverages. Coke hired John on at a troubled time for the company. Its water use in parts of India turned into a public relations disaster for the company .
But, it was also a sobering wake up call for the company. It learned important lessions about its responsibilty for managing, stewarding a replacing the water it uses.
With John’s help, Coke weathered those troubled waters. Now, via the Coca Cola Foundation, it works worldwide with groups like Ducks Unlimited Canada to balance the water it uses with the water it replenishes. How? You’ll find out soon, but I began the interview with that watershed moment for Coke, and John, in India.
Rank #2: Episode One - We Take Flight
This is the inaugural episode of the Ducks Unlimited Canada Podcast. Welcome. Let's dive right into the content pond.
In this episode you'll meet carp in a marsh and a researcher in the field.
First, the carp.
In it's heyday , the 1930s, the Delta Marsh, near Lake Manitoba, was home to a huge numbers of waterfowl. It was one of the great duck hunting destinations in North America. And, it attracted royalty, celebrities and hunters from all over the world. That was, before the carp. The invasive species muddied the marshes water, stirred up the bottom and generally made life miserable for the aquatic plants that called the marsh home. No plants, no ducks. Then scientists perfected the carp barrier and the marsh is bouncing back. You'll hear the story of a remarkable recovery.
Next we pay a short visit to Matt Dyson a University of Waterloo field researcher. He tells us what it's really like in the woods, bogs and muck of the north as he does the real, on the ground work of a deep woods scientist.
You'll find the bios of all the scientists we interviewed in this episode below.
Making ContactLike to learn more about these topics and other aspects of wetlands restoration? You can at ducks.ca.
And, you can email your questions and feedback to email@example.com.
Dale Wrubleski, PhD
Dale is Ducks Unlimited Canada’s lead research scientist at Delta Marsh. Trained as an entomologist, Wrubleski has more recently become an expert on native fish species and on the invasive carp that threaten the famed Manitoba wetland.
Glen Suggett Glen grew up near the shores of Delta Marsh in the 1970s. Over the years, he’s seen the health of the iconic wetland deteriorate, as well as unsuccessful attempts to improve conditions. Rather than become discouraged, Suggett’s a part of the team working to restore Delta Marsh for the next generation. Together with Gordon Goldsborough, PhD, and members of the Delta History Group, Suggett authored Delta: A Prairie Marsh and its People, a book that introduces readers to the people who have relied on and enjoyed the marsh over the years. Few people know the history of Manitoba’s Delta Marsh as intimately as Gordon Goldsborough, PhD. A Winnipeg-born research scientist and natural storyteller, Goldsborough’s connection to Delta dates back to his days as a student at the University of Manitoba. As a water quality specialist, and professor at his alma mater, Goldsborough enjoys sharing the many reasons why Delta Marsh is so important for people and wildlife. Matt Dyson’s Twitter feed, much like his life, is anything but boring. The University of Waterloo student’s tweets alternate with images of cougars and ravens eating duck eggs. The photos of ravenous predators—captured by trail cameras—are part of Dyson’s ongoing doctoral research that takes him to northern Alberta each spring. While battling the landscape’s rugged elements, he’s studying the impact a changing boreal forest is having on predators—and in turn, on duck populations.
Rank #3: Episode Four - Bling for Birds and Name That Duck!
This episode is all about getting intel on birds: what they look like, where they hang out and where they go when they migrate.
We start with the fine art of bird banding. Researchers find a bird they want to track and, as Beyoncé might say, “put a ring on it.” We’ll discover the history, purpose and process of avian bling.
Then, we travel to Cape May, New Jersey where we chat with a birding expert and author who wants to help us identify birds in their habitats. Richard Crossley has created a series of books, including one on ducks, to help us do just that.
Pat Kehoe, DUC Director of International PartnershipsLike the waterfowl populations he helps to protect, Pat Kehoe knows no boundaries. As DUC’s director of international partnerships, he travels throughout North America helping build and develop conservation relationships.
Richard Crossley, Author of The Crossley ID Guide: WaterfowlRichard Crossley is an internationally acclaimed birder, photographer and award winning author of The Crossley ID Guide series. Crazy, wildly passionate, driven and single-minded are just a few of the words used to describe his love of birding and the outdoors.
Rank #4: Episode Nine: World Wetlands Day and the Curious Courtships of Drakes
In this episode we’ll be celebrating, in our small way, World Wetlands Day, which is on February 2th. This year that event is highlighting wetlands for a sustainable urban future. We’ll learn how those moist, mushy and fecund habitats do just that.
Next up, twelve days after World Wetlands Day comes Valentine’s Day - which is mushy in its own right. And, it’s an event that’s a tad bittersweet for the lovelorn. It turns out that drakes (those are male ducks) have tons of techniques for a attracting a mate, and female ducks know just how to clue into the sometimes curious courtship rituals.
Lisette Ross is a wetlands biologist for Ducks Unlimited Canada. For her urban wetlands are some of the most valuable real estate in growing, sprawling cities worldwide. Without them, the millions of people flooding into to cities would miss out on the diversity, cleansing powers and spiritual uplift of these vital habits. Here’s my conversation with her about World Wetlands Day and the diversity of solutions urban centres have discovered for preserving and nurturing the healing habits at their very hearts.
Drake courtship are a curious combo of burbling, burping, dancing and and rushing headlong into love. Lauren Rae a National Conservation Biologist for Ducks Unlimited Canada explains it all to us.
Rank #5: David Archibald - Ecology Education, One Tune at a Time
How did Canadian musician David Archibald spend his summer vacation? He did a musical tour of 31 Ontario provincial parks (and worked in an eight-day voyager canoe trip for R and R).
His campground concerts were aimed at kids and families and celebrated the history of the parks. But, with his often playful songs, he also educated his audience about the ecology and fragile nature of the habitats within park boundaries.
Ducks Unlimited Canada does its own educational outreach through our Wetlands Centres of Excellence and Wetland Heroes programs.
But this episode, we’re focussing on Archibald’s education through music.
Archibald has been interpreting natural spaces with his music for 29 years when Bon Echo Provincial Park hired him to celebrate the petroglyph-famous campground in song.
He has written for and performed on Sesame Street in New York and CBC's Mr. Dressup.
But he’s also a music producer (he gave Avril Lavigne her first shot at a studio microphone) and is currently the musical director for a show about Stompin’ Tom Connors.
That’s where we caught up with him for this episode.
You can find out more about David Archibald and his music at http://www.davidarchibald.com.
Rank #6: Dave Phillips: Canada's King of Climate talks Weird Weather and Wetlands
Dave Phillips, the chief climatologist for Environment Canada this country's homespun, homegrown weather guru. The Don Cherry of weather in terms of fame on the CBC anyway. For decades now he’s been the avuncluar go-to guy for journalists from coast-to-coast who want a folksy, informed dose of weather history, retrospective or prognostication. Why was it so hot in Calgary last August? Ask Dave. What’s with all the rain in Halifax. Ask Dave.
But these days Dave Phillips, now 72, is answering a different, deeper question. Why has the weather been so aggressive, so persistent and, well, just plain weird lately?
I caught up with Dave as he was about half way through a Canada wide tour answering those questions in a talk he calls: Weather and Climate: Not What Our Grandparents Knew”
The exhausting tour is Environment Canada’s way of celebrating Dave’s 50 years as this countries most famous civil servant. And, as you’ll hear, its also a chance for an older, wiser Dave Phillips to share his concerns and hopes for a country and and world facing what he considered to be the most important issue of the day - extreme weather and climate change.
We talked about that with a special emphasis the role natural habitats, and especially wetlands, play as buffers against the increasing hard blows of amplified weather. As Dave says, it used to be that we worried about what falls from the sky. Now we need to worry about the surfaces it falls on. What happens with urban landscape replace and ignore the natural? Find out as I chat with Dave Phillips.
Rank #7: Episode Six: The Hunter Conservationist and the Radar Birds
In this episode we explore the intertwingled intersection of conservation and hunting. Can you both care about wildlife and its habitat and take an animal’s life?
Next, rain, snow and sleet show up on meterologists’ radar screen. But sometimes weather boffins spot something else on their glowing monitors. Something else that has nothing to do with clouds, forecasts or humidex reports.
Learn more about Aldo Leopold.
Learn more about the Boone and Crocket Club.
And, of course, you can learn more about Ducks Unlimited Canada too.
Winifred Kessler has been a wildlife ecologist for more than four decades.
She has a PhD in zoology. She spearheaded the University of Northern British Columbia’s Forestry program and was a professor and chair of that program for seven years.
She’s now retired but sits on the board of directors of the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund and DUC. And, most recently, she won the coveted Aldo Leopold Memorial Award. That’s the highest honour the Wildlife Society gives out.
John Sauder is a CBC meteorologist and pilot who lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Rank #8: Episode Three - Duck Feathers and Drones
Eider feathers, or down, aren't just for duvets. In fact, a hormone in those feathers called corticosterone, can indicate the stress eider ducks have been under as they molt. Yukon-based eider researcher Jane Harms explains that stress can be due to nearby predators or sometimes changes in their environment. So, not only can the stress hormone indicate eiders' health and their ability to reproduce, it may also be an indicator of climate change. Get under cover and tune into the tale.
Wetlands are delicate ecosystems. So the last thing researchers really want to do is churn up those wetland waters just to sample them. But what if a flying robot could do that for them? How? We do a flyby visit with a young inventor, Nathan Hoyt, who worked with a small team of high school students to figure it out. Plus, they're making a business out of it. Listen in. We promise we won't drone on.
ContactLike to learn more about these topics and other aspects of wetlands conservation? You can at ducks.ca.
And, you can email your questions and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane Harms is the program veterinarian with the Department of the Environment in Yukon.
Nathan Hoyt is a student at the Fredericton High School and is now a co-owner of Eco Drone Water Collection. If you’d like to learn more about his fledgling company visit ecodronewatercollection.com
Rank #9: Episode Two - Of Fish Ladders and Duck Eggs
The RundownWhy do maritime fish fight currents, waterfalls and man-made barriers to get to inland ponds and lakes to spawn? What barriers do they face? How does that odd behaviour help the ecology of wetlands? And, how can we make their job easier? We talk with Nic McLellan, the Atlantic Science Coordinator for Ducks Unlimited Canada to find out. Plus, we discover what tracking road race runners has to do with counting fish.
Did you know ducklings have their own social network? No spoilers, but you'll be amazed by how those little ducks make sure they all share the same birthday, thanks to a quick chat we had with Dave Howerter. He's the Director of National Conservation Operations at Ducks Unlimited Canada. Dave's up on the equivalent of bird Twitter.
Making ContactLike to learn more about these topics and other aspects of wetlands conservation? You can at ducks.ca.
And, you can email your questions and feedback to email@example.com.
Nic McLellanConservation Programs Specialist, Atlantic Canada
Nic McLellan grew up in Sackville, NB where he developed a keen interest in biology and the outdoors.
Prior to his current job at Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), Nic worked on several research projects with the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. These projects involved a variety of bird species including shorebirds, songbirds, seabirds, and waterfowl.
David Howerter, PhDDirector, National Conservation Operations
Dave Howerter is an accomplished scientist with a track record of successfully managing a complex scientific program, demonstrated ability to build teams, build consensus, and develop partnerships. Dave is responsible for all programs national in scope related to engineering, education, international partnerships, government relations, research and conservation planning.
Rank #10: Episode Eight - The Zen of Wildlife Photography
In this first podcast of 2018 we talk with Brendan Kelly, a conservationist and avid photographer from Paradise, Newfoundland. Kelly explains how taking the time to wait for his natural subjects allows him to tune into their habitats and appreciate them as remarkable, intelligent animals.
You can see samples of his work on instagram at brendankelly