By Loren Clark-Moe
My name is Loren and I first met Ian and Karen McAllister, the founders of Pacific Wild, in September and absolutely fell in love with the Great Bear Rainforest and the work Pacific Wild is doing to protect it. But one visit up here is never long enough, and in a bizarre turn of events, I’ve gotten the chance to come back to the Great Bear Rainforest.
I’m a federal employee of the U.S. government, which means, I am not allowed to work until our Congress passes a budget. As I sat at home on the first day of the U.S. government shutdown I realized that I’d go crazy without something to do, so I sent a note to the Pacific Wild team asking if I could come work with them for a bit and they said yes!
Now… let’s be clear: I have no experience in the field when it comes to conservation work, so I’ve been crossing my fingers and hoping that I can add some value of my own while also doing whatever heavy lifting, errand running, or being the extra set of hands the team needs! I’ll be keeping a running blog while I’m here with Pacific Wild, working on whatever needs work! I hope you enjoy it!
Day 1: I arrived at Bella Bella around 10am after spending the night in the Vancouver airport. It was exactly the weather I was told to expect: 45 degrees and raining! I think most would consider this bad weather, but I was just so excited to see an non-tourist perspective of this area and Pacific Wild, that I thought the weather was perfect! It was wonderful to hug everyone again that I had met only 4 weeks ago and we wasted no time jumping into a discussion of some projects I could work on while I was here. I started learning all about Pacific Wild’s non-invasive camera network and some of their plans to expand the initiative for all of our viewing pleasures! Securing funding for the advanced equipment is essential and I started working on a draft video fundraising pitch that will be published onto Indiegogo! More on that in a bit…
Day 2: After finding a cup of coffee, I linked back up with the Pacific Wild team at Diana, Rob and Max’s house to finish the script for the fundraising video. After we finalized the script, it was time for some fieldwork. One of the hydrophones that you can listen to on Pacific Wild’s website wasn’t functioning correctly, so Diana, Max, Rob and I all loaded up the boat and took off to try to fix the problem. I had two goals for the day: 1) don’t make their jobs harder (ie: don’t get in their way or break any of the equipment) and 2) try not to fall into the very chilly water.
My goals became quite relevant almost immediately as we couldn’t actually pull the boat up to the shore because the shoreline was all jagged rocks! This meant we had to quickly pass equipment off the boat on to the rock and then jump out of the boat ourselves. Though I played a very limited role, I am pleased to say that the team was able to get the hydrophone system back up and running! It took a bit of doing, as the radio receiver was out of position to line up with the signal on the neighboring mountain, so we had to reposition it on a higher point of the island. In addition, the solar panel also had to be disassembled and remounted higher up the island, as it kept getting hit by waves.
In a moment of instant gratification, as we docked back at Pacific Wild’s floating lab, the computers started playing live killer whale vocalizations from the hydrophone that we had just repaired! That, I’ll have you know, made my day! Well, that, and the fact that they let me drive the boat all the way back to Pacific Wild!
That’s it for now, I’ll check in again soon!