A glimpse of field work in the "Land of the Living Skies"

Picture1Article requested by the Center for Forest Research/Centre d’étude de la fôret.

Published on 06 August 2013, the following piece details some of the highlights of bison research in Prince Albert National Park.

The original publication does not have a unique URL, but can be viewed on the CFR/CEF website as part of a running list of invited articles authored by CEF members.

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A glimpse of field work in the “Land of the Living Skies”

Text and photos by Bethann & Jerod Merkle

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Pocket Guide: Sketching and Field Journal Basics

Bethann Garramon Merkle sketching in Grand Teton National Park

Now more than ever, you may want a sense of calm and rootedness.

Of small, simple moments of joy.

Of deep connection to place.

And, a parallel quietness of mind.

Go for it! Suspend time. Pause the do list in your head. Instead, focus closely on details in the natural world around you.

Sketching is a powerful way to direct your attention and create this sense of focus. If you’re not quite sure how to get started, this little pocket guide is for you!

This advance copy of the Pocket Guide to Sketching and Field Journal Basics gets you started with the fun, whacky techniques that professional artists use to warm up, move past the blank page, and channel observation into discovery and delight.

With your copy of the pocket guide as your companion, you can pursue your curiosity while calming your mind. If you sketch your observations regularly, you will begin to build a sense of place, whether you observe snails in a window flower box, weeds growing through cracks in the sidewalk, or migratory birds in a wilderness area.

While the materials in this pocket guide focus on science and nature, the sketching exercises and basic principles are equally useful if you want to sketch your garden, coffee cup, or next trip (when we can travel again!).

pay_what_you_canPay what you can!

With whatever amount* you are able to contribute, you can take yourself on a journey that will enhance your sense of place and help you find small delights close to home.

*Just adjust the quantity in the PayPal link to adjust the amount you contribute! 🙂 Shipping will be calculated automatically.

Now, keep reading to learn a bit more about how science and art have teamed up throughout the ages!


Continue reading “Pocket Guide: Sketching and Field Journal Basics”

On the bison trail – Prince Albert National Park bison research

Prince Albert National Park, PANP, 2013

The Sturgeon River plains bison, located in Saskatchewan’s Prince Albert National Park (PANP), belong to one of three fully wild (i.e. free-ranging) bison herds in Canada.  It is said to be the only such Canadian herd found within historic bison range.  This herd, and the on-going research focused on them, has been a significant focus for us for the past three years.  The following links lead to field notes, published articles, and photography galleries related to the project.  This archive will be updated as new material is published.

HINT: Check out the field notes (last section) for personal anecdotes about what it’s like to follow bison through the woods for months.

Articles (popular & peer-reviewed)

Photo galleries*

*Photos are available for licensing (commercial, non-profit, and educational use) and art prints.  Contact us for details.

Research 

Field notes

Year ’round gardener series

I am probably not alone in this, but one of my first loves is food.

That, and knowing where it comes from.  After years studying exactly that question, and spending summer after summer grinding dirt into my knees, I had the happy opportunity to share some of what I’ve learned from numerous online, print and “walking” sources.  Think of this series as a ‘pay it forward’ for other enthusiastic gardeners looking for a  bit more information about what it’s like to garden where the earth is under several feet of snow half the year.  If you have tips or tricks to share, let us know in the comments.

Taste of Heritage

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The food my mama made, and the stories she told, flavor the recipes I make today.  So do the flavors of dishes made by friends from China, Goa (India), France and the American Southwest.  

A lot of factors contribute to my curiosity about why food traditions matter to people around the world: where I grew up, the fact that my parents don’t like wild game but my sister and I started hunting in college, and all the quirks of locally produced food, including ecological and sustainability-related considerations.  Since I’ve spent much of the past two years in a different country with a different language and lots of multi-cultural immigrants, I’ve had even more opportunities to pursue my curiosity.

Taste of Heritage investigates how special recipes and cooking traditions are a key part of family and cultural heritage.  If you have a recipe, meal or food-related tradition that you would like to share, please contact me. Multi-cultural themes, immigrant experiences, and “pûre laine” memories are welcome.

Click the links below to savor a Taste of Heritage: