The Museum of Vancouver has a new exhibit on display – Rewilding Vancouver: Remember

Rewilding: Can we bring nature back?

Urban wildlife has changed enormously over the years.

I could tell spring had arrived as soon as I awoke on Thursday morning because the birds were singing.

Even though patches of snow remained and huge cedar branches lay fallen from last week’s storm, the birds knew best. The varied thrush was singing a drawn out, haunting whistle, the quintessential sound of west coast forests. Each note lingered on the air for seconds, before being followed by another at a different pitch.

Its call blended with the trill of a junco, the snowbird that flocks silently in winter, finding its voice as the days lengthen.

A chickadee joined in with a cheerful “fee-beee,” a territorial spring song, and a flicker called from the treetops.

The birds were feeling the vibe: springtime and nesting season, and for the thrush, time to move back to the mountains, back to the wild.

Rachel Carson wrote movingly of the dreaded prospect of a silent spring, the effect of pesticides on North America’s songbirds. What would the world be like without bird song, or without trees or animals or flowers?

We learn daily of some new assault on nature: the loss of monarch butterflies that migrate from Canada to Mexico, shellfish dying in local waters, and insect-eating birds declining across the Americas.

Anne MurrayNature around us has changed. Sandhill cranes, nighthawks, ruffed grouse and band-tailed pigeons were all abundant in our grandparents’ lifetimes.

In the nineteenth century, elk, black bear, cougar and wolves flourished in local forests. Beavers worked the valleys, slowing rivers and creating quiet pools where frogs spawned. Salmon filled the myriad streams.

There were no coyotes or raccoons in earlier days, and gulls spent their days out among the islands, not at the local landfill.

Nature around us has changed enormously, and much has gone forever.

Is it possible to bring nature back, to rewild the landscape? A growing movement believes we can. They point to the success of wolf restorations in Yellowstone Park, which caused a cascade of beneficial results to other species.

Whales are recovering after decades of hunting, trumpeter swans rebounded from near-extinction, and the California condor is flying freely once more.

Dedication and legislation are key, but we also need to restore memories of what “wild” means. The Museum of Vancouver hopes to do just that with its new exhibit: Rewilding Vancouver: Remember, Reconnect, Rewild. Guest curator and writer J.B.MacKinnon’s book, The once and future world, was the inspiration for this thought-provoking show.

For more information, visit http://bit.ly/1c1zEXT

Anne Murray is an independent writer, naturalist and author of two books on the natural history of Boundary Bay: A Nature Guide to Boundary Bay and Tracing Our Past – A Heritage Guide to Boundary Bay (www.natureguidesbc.com). She blogs at www.natureguidesbc.wordpress.com

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society doing ‘better than we were expecting’ amid COVID-19

At one point, the board thought it might have a donation shortfall of $250,000

Delta artist John Horton named to Order of British Columbia

Honour for significant contributions made to the appreciation and safety of B.C.’s coastal history

Man arrested in ‘after-hours club crackdown’ in Whalley, Surrey RCMP say

Police say they received information about clubs, parties ‘springing up’ at commercial properties

Former White Rock mayor, MP shares community connections via YouTube

Gordie Hogg aims to highlight those who’ve impacted South Surrey, White Rock

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Fraser Valley Bandits advance to CEBL Championship Game

Bandits post comeback 76-75 win over Hamilton Honey Badgers in Saturday’s semifinal

IHIT on scene of suspicious early-morning fire on rural Mission property

Entrance to Gunn Avenue property cordoned off while investigation takes place, updates coming

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

FURTHER UPDATE: Body removed from Maple Ridge hotel after large police presence

A large contingent of Mounties were at the Art Infiniti Hotel Friday afternoon and evening

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Most Read