|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 332 July 23, firstname.lastname@example.org||Victoria, B.C.|
[BOTANY BC meeting in Atlin turned into a life-saving mission when one group of participants found a disoriented and exhausted gold miner who had been attacked by wolves and became lost in woods of northern British Columbia. - AC]
VANCOUVER - This was one dance with wolves Marcel Pinette wished he could have sat out.
The gold miner was camping in the northwestern B.C. wilderness when a pack of wolves attacked and killed his dog, Buddy, then stalked and chased him through the woods for days. Luckily, he made it back to the safety of his family in Chilliwack last weekend with his terrifying tale.
In late June, Pinette, 34, had been camping at Eva Lake near Atlin, B.C., 60 km south of the Yukon border. He had hiked into town and decided to return to camp by a different route in late June. This trip would prove to be the most unusual in a lifetime of hiking and camping.
A few days into his hike, Pinette found himself surrounded by a wildfire. "Basically in every direction I looked, I could see smoke," said Pinette, speaking from his sister's home in Chilliwack, B.C. He decided to make camp for a few days until the fires died down.
On the last night, Pinette said his dog, Buddy "went snaky" on him, growling, snapping and rolling his eyes. "It was a struggle to hold onto him." Pinette had adopted the 10-month-old Husky-Shepherd puppy he got from an animal shelter.
"He was so smart ... I'd explain my plans verbally to him every morning so he'd know what we're doing," said Pinette, adding that Buddy had turned into a "total bush dog" who would dig his own holes when Pinette went prospecting, follow him along the trails, and curl up with him in a sleeping bag to share body heat during the nights.
But at 3 a.m. that morning at the end of June, Buddy was attacked and killed by a pack of 10 wolves just a few metres from the tent. Pinette managed to scare the wolves away with a can of bear spray, but not in time to save his dog.
"When I turned around, all I could see was two eyes in the bush," he said. For the next two hours, Pinette could hear the alpha male "clacking" his teeth.
A short while later, Pinette saw a wolf's paws digging under the side of his tent. "I started hitting the paws with a hatchet," said Pinette, hoping to drive the animal away. When that didn't work, he cut a hole in the tent and used bear spray to scare them away. "I didn't want to hurt them at first," said Pinette, but eventually he went at them "full force" with the hatchet and spray, managing to hit a few.
When Pinette accidentally knocked down his tent, another four or six were trapped inside, he said. "I was hacking and smashing at those too," said Pinette. "I think I managed to kill all of them."
The wolves stalked him as he moved on for safety. His adrenaline pumping, Pinette took shelter in a tree. "I had my back turned (as I was climbing up the tree) and one came right up behind me and scared me," said Pinette, who dropped his hatchet and fire kit in shock.
A terrified Pinette spent a day-and-a-half up the tree with no food and water, because he could still see three wolves waiting below. "I was almost ready to give up," said Pinette.
The next few days were a blur. He moved towards the sounds of power saws being used by the firefighters, and finally came across a river. "I stood in the O'Donnel (River) for three hours just drinking water," he said.
"Things went weird for the next few days .... I may have lost consciousness a few times," said Pinette, who estimated that he spent 10 days lost in the woods, sleeping under trees and drinking from swamps. "All I ate was one wildflower, and I spit that out because it didn't taste quite right." Pinette said he lost 35 pounds and is still 20 pounds shy of his usual 155 pounds.
On the ninth day, Pinette stumbled on to a gravel road and recognized a creek. He then walked for 12 or 13 hours, and slept in an old school bus that night.
The next morning, he came across a group of botanists, who rushed him to the Red Cross outpost in Atlin.
Alpine vegetation above the forest limit is comprised of dwarf-shrub thickets and tall-herb meadows, which are adapted to cold temperatures. It commonly includes species related to high-latitude vegetation tundra. However, middle- latitude alpine vegetation also contains species that originated in middle latitudes on lower mountains and have adapted to alpine environments. These species sometimes comprise the regional vegetation units.
Most Japanese alpine vegetation is divided into regional associations by local endemic species. However, these associations are based on circumpolar elements spread widely during the glacial age. Such species characterize the levels of alliance, order and class in the phytosociological hierarchy. At lower levels, circumpolar species can be divided into regional elements of lower rank, and they reflect the continentality gradient in boreal zones representing so-called Boreal Continental and Boreal Oceanic elements. Boreal Continental elements originated in Siberian cold and dry continental areas, and Boreal Oceanic elements originated in mild and wet oceanic coastal areas of western North America (east of Rocky Mountains, Aleutian Archipelago) and the easternmost part of Northeast Asia (Kuril and Commander Islands).
Japanese alpine vegetation consists of Carici rupestris-Kobresietea bellardii Ohba 1974 and Cetrario-Loiseleurietea Suz.-Tok. et Umezu 1964 characterized by the circumpolar elements, Dicentro-Stellarietea nipponicae Ohba 1968 characterized by the Boreal Continental elements, and Phyllodoco-Harrimanelletea Knapp 1954 characterized by the Boreal Oceanic elements.
The Kamchatka Peninsula represented an important phytogeographical bridge between Japan and the continents during the glacial age. Kamchatka is a border between the Boreal Continental and Boreal Oceanic elements. The alpine vegetation of three different phytosociological types co- exists there, combining the peculiarities of the adjacent geographical areas.
The Commander Islands and Kuril chain are characterized by relatively young alpine floras established on islands well-distanced from the continent after the late Pleistocene minimum. The juvenile state is continuously supported by severe oceanic climate and frequent volcanic eruptions. This leads to relatively low diversity in vegetation complexes expressed by the lack of Carici rupestris-Kobresietea bellardii, and the pure development of Cetrario- Loiseleurietea communities.
The distribution pattern of actual alpine vegetation provides important information for studying the vegetation history of the Far East. The vegetation units of the area are shown in the following prodromus:
Salici arcticae-Oxytropisietum revolutae
Arnica lessingii-Phyllodoce caerulea community
Primulo cuneifoliae-Caricetum micropodae
Artemisio arcticae-Arnicetum unalascensis
Vaccinio uliginosae-Empetretum nigrae
Pentostemon frutescens community
Polytrichum piliferum community
Artemisia arctica community
Veronica grandiflora community
Betula nana community
Rhododendron camtschaticum community
Salici sphenophyllae-Vaccinietum vulcanidoris
Plantagi macrocarpae-Baeothryetum caespitosum
Earlier this year, the Coast Mountain Field Institute (CMFI) was established in southwestern British Columbia. CMFI is a non-profit organization designed to provide field-based educational opportunities on a wide range of topics, from botany to natural and cultural history, nature-related arts, family-oriented natural history programs, and hands-on wildlife conservation and research. Our courses employ small groups and excellent instructors, and focus on engaging topics and premier destinations. They are designed to be both fun and relevant, with the ulterior motive of inspiring a continuing appreciation for the province's wild landscapes and a desire to foster stewardship for future generations.
This Institute has been modeled after several field institutes in the United States. Our long range vision is provide over 50 courses a year. During our first season, we have designed seven courses, of which three have been successfully completed. We have an upcoming botanical course at Manning Park, The Secret Life of Alpine Wildflowers, which will be running in late July. We will also be exploring the natural history of Cathedral Lakes in early August, with Dick Cannings as our leader. In the fall, we are offering a natural history writing course and a course that studies the mysteries of bird and bat migration. In August, we are providing a family overnight at Skw'une-was bighouse near Brackendale. The programs promise to be interesting, informative, and relevant. For a complete listing of our courses and for more information about our institute, please visit our website at http://www.cmfi.ca/.
As CMFI grows, we will develop many new courses and the breadth of potential topics is immense. We are actively working towards programs for 2005. If you are interested in this year's programs, or have ideas for future programming and may want to help out, please contact Rebecca Porte at email@example.com or by phone at 604-312-8145. Our website is found at: http://www.cmfi.ca/.
This is a long-awaited bilingual (English & German) CD-ROM version of the Map of Natural Vegetation of Europe. The English text is a full translation of the German explanatory text.
Karte der natürlichen Vegetation Europas/Map of the Natural Vegetation of Europe Masstab/Scale 1:2 500 000 Interaktive/Interactive CD-ROM Erläuterungstext, Legende, Karten Explanatory Text, Legend, Maps
Bundesamt für Naturschutz/Federal Agency for Nature Conservation Technische Realisierung der CD-ROM/Technical realisation of the CD-ROM by Stephan Hennekens, Alterra, Wageningen, Netherlands
Price 85.- Euros
Bonn, Gemany 2004
Available from: BfN-Schriftenvertrieb im Landwirtschaftsverlag 48084 Münster, Germany tel (+49)2501/801-300, Fax (+49) 2501/801-351 URL: http://www.lv-h.de/bfn With the interactive CD-ROM of the Map of Natural Vegetation of Europe, the user can get digital access to all the map and textual information published in a hard copy version (Teil 1 to 3). In addition, it contains a full English translation of the explanatory text that was originally published only in German.
Thanks to a special software development, it allows multiple analysis and use of the comprehensive information material.
While these are actually lyrics to a musical piece, they certainly stand alone as an botanical and ecological poem as well. As a former botanist/writer who once worked for Dr. Andy Carey at the Olympia Forestry Science Lab, and who has authored a few pieces of scientific literature (one of which looked at Garry Oak communities on Ft. Lewis--N.W. Science 75: 219-235), I have now moved on to different work and to a different focus. As the attached original piece, Beneath the Garry Oak, demonstrates, my focus has turned to the use of lyrics and poetry to bring attention to, and educate people about, ecological matters.
Beneath the Garry Oak
Copyright 2004 by D. R. Thysell
January 21, 2004
From the Fraser through the Puget Trough and down Columbia way,
up the Willamette, across the Rogue, around San Francisco Bay.
In seas of green were islands, of camas and crimson and gold.
This was the land of the Garry Oak, its story here is told.
Once, it wasn't long ago, a very few hundred years.
Yes, once, up and down the coast, before the hungry pioneers.
In seas of green were islands, where salmon and oak did abound,
and meadows and savannahs and the baffling Mima mounds.
We live our lives the best we can beneath the Garry Oak.
Day after swiftly changing day of questioning and hope.
The woodlands, once so plentiful, now fading into memory,
Living our lives the best we can beneath the Garry Oak.
From Victoria and the San Juan Isles to near Los Angeles.
Up an over the Cascade crest far from the ocean breeze.
In seas of green were islands, where kinsmen gathered, it seems.
Beneath and because of the Garry Oak, and salmon-filled emerald streams.
Not so very long ago the woodlands transformed.
Prairies to pasture, changes now faster than evolutionary norm.
In seas of green are islands invaded, engulfed, and ignored.
Beneath the oaks lies a challenging question: "Can they be restored?"
We'll live our lives the best we can beneath the Garry Oak.
Year after rapidly changing year of struggle and of hope.
The meadows hemmed with ancient oaks now vanishing beneath the sea
of green, yet what of the acorn cache beneath the Garry Oak?
When western shores were settled, about ten thousand years ago.
The Garry Oak abided, where, exactly, we'll probably never know.
In seas of green were islands that fire certainly spawned.
Flames on the prairies combating Doug-fir, oak's long indispensable bond.
The oaks have stood the test of time till not so long ago.
Canopies that for centuries held wonders we'll now never know.
If just one ancient oak could talk, what would it have to say?
Or should, instead, we question who would listen, here, today?
The oaks would surely ask us who would listen here, today.
But we're living our lives the best we can beneath the Garry Oak.
Centuries and centuries of agonizing hope.
Barely free from ice's grip, on gravelly plain and precipice.
Living its life the best it can: the stately Garry Oak.
From the Fraser through the Puget Trough and down Columbia Way.
And if just one ancient oak could talk, what would it have to say?
This is the land of the Garry Oak, its story now is told.