Biology 11: Biology in the Community

For my community event I chose to go to a Burke Mountain Naturalists community meeting.The Burke Mountain Naturalists is a group within the Tri-Cities whose members enjoy experiencing and learning about nature (walks, hikes, guest speakers, etc.) and work towards conserving nature spaces within the community. At this particular community meeting, Sheila Byers (Marine Biologist) gave a presentation about Glass Sponge Reefs. For my visit to a park in the community I chose to walk along the Shoreline Trail in Port Moody.

In her presentation, Sheila Byers covered many important aspects of glass sponges such as basic structures and their functions, types, brief history, surrounding ecosystem and the interactions between the sponges and other animals, conservation efforts, and important reasons to protect these organisms. Throughout the entirety of the presentation I learned a ton, and took a lot of notes and managed to get a few pictures of the slides and samples! (See below) I found it very interesting to learn about the structure of the sponges as I didn’t know how effective they are at filtering water (the glass sponges filter about 10,000 olympic swimming pools per day!). Another thing that I found particularly interesting is that these sponges have been around since before the dinosaurs and prior to the rediscovery of these sponges along the coast in 1987, they were thought to be extinct. One thing that she really stood out to me is how much human activities are harming these organisms. Activities such as chemical pollution, prawn traps, fish trawling, nets, and anchoring boats impact these organisms either directly or by causing too big of an increasing in sediment floating around in the water which ends up clogging the sponges.


Bio 11 community projectBio

Bio 11 community projectBio 11 community project

 Some Slides: (Credit to Shelia Byers)
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Bio 11 community projectBiology 11 Community event pictures

The majority of the presentation tightly correlated to the field of biology as well as the upcoming unit in Biology 11. Sheila explained the structures and functions of some parts of the sponge in great detail and with my previous knowledge from Biology 11 and some pre-reading before hand I was able grasp a good understanding of the organism and its uniqueness. Besides learning about the structure of the sponge, symbiotic relationships and ecosystem interactions between the sponge and the other organisms within the reef emphasized the  importance of the reefs to the organisms that live and reproduce within the reef. Another reason this presentation related to another aspect of the field of biology is that she actually explained how they came to find these reefs and researched them. In order to research these sponges they coupled together cameras and sonar technology to produce a more accurate picture of these reefs as the depth of these organisms was an obstacle of researching them.

The main purpose of the Burke Mountain Naturalists is to provide a group where those who are passionate about nature can experience it, learn about it, and contribute to improve it. On a fairly regular basis the group plans hikes, guided tours, participates with volunteer work, and invites guest speakers to engage its members and the community in different aspects of nature within the community. The purpose of this particular meeting was to educate and provide a learning experience to those who wanted to learn about glass sponge reefs along the coast of British Columbia, as well as to learn about conservation efforts of this particularly vulnerable species. I think that if the group was no longer a prominent group in the community it would limit the involvement and the amount of people experience nature within the community. Since the group provides a wide variety of events/meetings such as hikes, tours, field trips, volunteer opportunities, and guest speakers it really invites members of the community of all ages to participate and learn something new about the lovely place that we live in and get out into nature.

While at the Burke Mountain Naturalists community meeting I didn’t really notice any major issues as the meeting was very well organized and had a lot of participating members who kept the meeting running smoothly. However, when I walked along the Shoreline Park in Port Moody I noticed a few issues. Firstly I noticed that along the trail there was a few places where a few people had dropped garbage. Not only is the garbage on the trail a terrible eyesore, but it also causes damage to the delicate ecosystem and can harm the organisms that live along the trail.


(Don’t worry she’s on leash!)

The second thing I noticed while walking was the trail etiquette of some individuals walking the trail. Before Leadership I probably wouldn’t have recognized this issue, but since reading “Soft Paths” trail etiquette has become a more prominent focus. The main issue I observed was individuals and their pets going off the trail and disturbing the area around the trial and causing more impact to the surrounding area than necessary. Some examples of this are off-leash pets running off the trail into the vegetation, people breaking branches that hang over top of the trail, and too many people walking horizontally across the trail and stepping on vegetation instead of the trail. I don’t think people do this to intentionally harm/disturb the ecosystem, it seems more like they don’t think about how delicate the ecosystem they are distributing is. Because of this, I strongly believe that the community should become more informed of proper trail etiquette in order to preserve the beauty and biodiversity of  our community.

The most positive aspects of my experience at the community meeting was how much I learned! Initially, I didn’t think that the speaker would explain the subject with so much detail but she was able to explain the topic detail in a way that was easily digestible by the audience. One thing that I really enjoyed was that the speaker brought in samples of the sponges so the audience could actually touch and feel hoe delicate these organisms are.I think that my experience and the knowledge learn’t at this meeting will really help me with the next unit as we will be learning about sponges along with other animals. Because of this experience I plan to participate and go to more meetings within the community.

As I was going to a community meeting that I had never gone to before, I was a little bit nervous about going to one. At the start of the event I felt a little uncomfortable in the situation because there was so many people there and all of them were adults! And I almost couldn’t find a seat! (Because of this I would recommend to someone who is interested in going to a meeting to come early as the seats fill up fast). However, after the first couple of minutes it got a lot more comfortable as everyone there was very friendly and welcoming to anyone who wanted to learn anything related to the environment and its organisms. They were especially friendly because they thought it was great that a young person wanted to learn about the environment and actually came out to a meeting. Because the event was mostly a presentation I didn’t get to interact with a ton of people there. However, for about 10 minutes before the presentation I talked with the two ladies at the sign in desk who were very friendly and were surprised that I was interested in a topic like this. Everyone at the meeting seemed very friendly and thoroughly interested and involved within the group.

I think that one of the most eye-opening things about this experience was how much involvement there was. Prior to attending this meeting I didn’t realise just how many people were regularly involved within the community and participation within the clubs. I didn’t expect so many people to show up for a presentation at 7:30 on a Thursday night, but the room was packed with so many people eagerly awaiting the presentation. This experience made me realize that I should get more involved in something like this within my community.

Based on my experience I’m not sure exactly what I would do differently to get ready for the experience. One thing that I did before the meeting to help with my understanding of the topic was a little bit of pre-reading on the subject and I found that having a little bit of background knowledge helped to understand the information and be able to form connections between this topic and my knowledge from the course. So I think if I were to go to another meeting like this I would definitely do the some pre-reading as I found that beneficial to understand the material. However, I wished I had brought my glasses because sometimes it was difficult to see the slides and I couldn’t always get as many notes from them as I wanted to.

One of the main highlights for me at this community event was just seeing how involved and interested so many members of the community were in the environment and ecosystems of the community. I really enjoyed being able to connect the knowledge I’ve learned so far in this course along with the knowledge I gained at Bamfield last year to this topic and be able to more thoroughly understand and add to my knowledge. I hope that in the future I will be able to go to more meetings like this and participate more within the community.

“Sprucing” it up (The Golden Spruce)

It’s been awhile since the last socials post. Soon after my last blog post on the topic of confederation, we moved onto reading a book called The Golden Spruce. The Golden Spruce by  John Vaillant follows the story of a golden spruce that is sacred to the Haida People of the Queen Charlotte Islands.The book focuses a lot on logging and the west coast culture and economic growth developed because of it. From there, the story then shifts to follow Grant Hadwin, a logger (turned sort’ve environmentalist) who cuts down the sacred tree in protest because of the over exploitation of the logging industry. Even from the first page, this novel grabbed my attention.

Because this book interested so much, I felt pulled in many different ways for this mini project. Because the book took place close to home, I wanted to include that aspect, it also mentioned cathedral grove and Macmillan Bloedel’s “pet trees” which I have visited two separate times (once before reading the book and once during), and I also wanted to go deeper into some themes I found while reading the book. So I thought, maybe I should see if I can somehow incorporate all of these together! I found a way to do this by utilizing the learning of my indepth project to show my learning in a unique way that I don’t usually do, so I thought I’d mix it up a bit.

For whatever reason, I somehow chose THE WORST DAY EVER to take photos on, it was raining and the lighting is very harsh. I don’t particularly love the way these all turned out so I should have allowed myself a buffer day in case this situation happened the way it did. Anyways,  since I decided to do three components in this project (which in hindsight, maybe wasn’t the best), I have embedded my pictures and included a short description with what I was trying to potray.

Themes within the Book- Dichotomy within Unity

While reading the book, I kept picking up on all the references of kind’ve a separation of opposite things, the ocean and the forest, light and dark, good and bad, etc. separated but still mixed together in “a boundry between worlds” as John Vaillant perfectly describes. So I decided to take some pictures to show some of these dichotomies I see in the world around me. One passage that really stood out to me while reading the book was “on the West Coast, there is no graceful interval between the ocean and the trees”, and from my experience that stands true, especially on the island. But for this project I wanted to focus on some places where these borders and boundary come together in a less wild place, especially when human actions/development intertwines within the natural boundaries.


Visiting Cathedral Grove 


Yep on the left that’s me, pre-talons (August 2015) at Cathedral grove, thinking “wow this tree is really big and old”. And yes, that is probably the only thing I was thinking about back then. Now on the right, me again, (March 2017) on the way back from the Bamfield spring break trip, with a different take on the situation. Even though we had barely been talking about The Golden Spruce story, we had previously talked about the cathedral grove site in socials class. What really made me interested in the story of Cathedral Grove mostly has to do with the utter irony of the place. If you have ever been to Cathedral Grove, you’ve probably seen the sign at the entrance “Macmillan Provincial Park”, which at first glance seems like no big deal, but here is where the irony comes in. The only highway accessible protected old-growth Douglas-fir forest in British Columbia is owned by a logging company… Just let that one sink in. This is the equivalent of a butcher owning a petting zoo… seriously? In a way I think keeping this little section of “pet” big trees is just a way to distract people into looking at this patch of old growth without noticing all the rest that had/has been destroyed over the years. While I am not against logging I think that with harvesting any natural resource it has to be done responsibly and carefully minimizing as much damage to the rest of the environment as possible. But anyways, just thought I’d share something that made me kinda laugh a bit.


Historical Port Moody

My third and final bit of the project did not totally directly relate to the Golden Spruce, but I did it mostly just because of general interest in the topic.Anyway, the idea for this started when in class we looked at some historical photos of port moody. I was sitting there looking at them when I realized that some of these were taken from less than five minutes away from my house. Which got me thinking about how so much has changed in so little time here. And the fact that at the beginning of this project I knew almost nothing about the beginnings of a city that I had lived my whole my life in! So for this portion of my project I wanted to compare some of the historical sites to what they look like now, to see truly how much the city has changed since the rise of the logging industry.


The Port Moody Station Museum (left )present day, and (right) the same building (only then it actually was THE Port Moody station) Photo Source:

The Ioco Road Church (left) present day, and (right) past. Photo Source

(Top) Present day, the loco town site, and (bottom) past when people actually used to live there Photo Source:

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(Left) a section of rocky point present day, (right) Rocky Point in the past. Photo Source:

It is simply amazing to see just how much the city has chnaged over the years in such a short period of time!

To wrap up this post, the book has taught me a lot about the economic development of natural resource exploitation and has helped me to better understand the competency “interconnections between demography, urbanization, environmental issues, and globalization. Aside from the more technical aspects of the book and the learning outcomes, the book has also brought an awareness of the environmental that we live in, and how truly rugged and brutal it can be. I will make sure to keep Grant Hadwin in mind as we set out in gortex and gaitors onto a maintained trail and “rough it” for 5 days. IMG_1311

In-depth Post #6: Photography

Lately everything has been pretty hectic, so I haven’t been focusing as much time with my camera as I would’ve liked to in the past week or so. I remember this happened to me last year too, probably about the same time when I just felt my in-depth project being shifted to the back burner. Although unlike last year it is more about the fact that I feel like sometimes by the end of the week I’m so tired that I don’t always want to pick up my camera and go take some shots. Though as I’ve found out this week, sometimes setting out some time specifically just to take pictures and do something creative that I enjoy is a nice break from the stress of the week. Victoria Trip/Spring Photos

As you probably know, I was actually writing my last blog post while I was in Victoria, so I will be including the photos I took from that weekend trip in this blog as well! One thing that I found particularly interesting was entering a brand new environment and working with not knowing where the lighting is going to be like in places, or the uncertainty about what’s going to be around the corner, I find that shooting in unfamiliar environments pushes me to look at the area around me with a creative approach  for how I want to capture it. And just last weekend, the hiking adventure trips went on a overnight trip up to Golden Ears. I wanted to take my camera along so badly but a quick look at the weather forecast quickly made me realize that unless I wanted a soggy camera, it was probably best not to bring it along with me. Although I felt like I was missing so many good photo opportunities it was nice to just enjoy the moments with my talons peers! Victoria Trip/Spring Photos

I was watching a video on Monday from one of my favorite photography Youtubers, it talked about how with digital technology it is really easy to snap 100 pictures without really thinking about different ways you can take that picture, what angles will make it unique etc.. I thought this was really neat because it kinda tied into the in-depth essay on how the advancement of technology is affecting photography. This video inspired me to focus on taking a moment and actually thinking about the composition of the photo before I take it. So far I think this has improved my photography a slight bit this week, although as I mentioned before I haven’t gotten to taking too many photos this week, I like the few that I took, which is what really matters, after all 5 good photos is better than 30 okay photos, in my opinion.
Victoria Trip/Spring Photos

I have also been taking my time to learn how to use natural lighting to my advantage because the majority of my photos are taken outside. So far, my favorite time to shoot is golden hour. “Golden hour” is either while the sun is rising or setting and it covers everything in a golden light which provides amazing lighting for subjects. I have also been working on utilizing manual mode more often. While at Bamfield, aside from the occasional photo on manual mode I took the majority of my pictures in automatic for timing sake, so I could get the action shots, not to mention shooting in the pouring rain! Now, I have been beginning to get a little more comfortable with manual mode, that of course leads to better quality photos and more creative control over the affect my photos have.

Victoria Trip/Spring Photos

An Example of “Golden Hour”

This week In DeBono’s how to have a beautiful mind, the chapter was focused on both concepts and alternatives. Since I am still relatively new at photography deriving a main concept from a bunch of information has really helped me to internalize information easier. Whenever I am having conversations with either my main mentor (Ms. Vittie) my cousins (professional photographers), or even just friends who took photo, I always try to clarify with them what I thought the concept was by quickly repeating the information briefly summarized in my own words so that both they and I know what I got out of the conversation. Mainly this has helped with getting a grasp on the more technical aspects of photography, because after that it’s more image composition and creativity. So far this strategy has been very helpful to clarify any misunderstandings and help me to develop questions that I want to ask. The second area of focus this week was alternatives. Personally I think having alternatives is a really important process of learning anything, it provides flexibility, improvements, and simplification. Mainly so far in my project the flexibility that alternatives offer has been crucial. This has played a part in scheduling, what I want to learn about, and probably the biggest one the time between when I started the project and when I actually got my camera. My main mentor, Ms.Vittie proposed that instead of going on with a usual plan we came up with, that since I did not have a camera that I could do some additional research to help my understanding so that when I did actually get my camera I’d be good to go! Victoria Trip/Spring Photos

Well, that’s the end of my blog post for this week! I can’t believe that In-depth is ending so soon, I guess time really does go by fast when you’re having fun. With practice hikes and overnight hikes going on we have officially entered the notorious aprilmayjuuuunnee time of the year, and with so many things going on I can’t even imagine all the wonderful opportunities there will be to take my camera along with me.  


Chemistry 11: Water testing at Noons Creek Fish Hatchery

From the very start of this project, even getting handed the sheet I knew that this project would be super exciting for me. I’m not sure if it is just me but I always jump at the amazing opportunity to learn something of my choosing, in a more hands on way, from someplace in the community. For me this allows me to explore the topics that I am interested in looking into and allows the information to stick better and allow for further application of knowledge in the future. As soon as I started this project I immediately go super excited, there was so many options I could choose! For a few weeks I toyed with many ideas about what I wanted to look into, eventually after much thought I decided to make my exploration project about the water testing at fish hatcheries. This topic interested me because not only did it (sort of) relate to my science ten final from last semester, but it would allow me to explore a potential interest that is very close in my community (about five minutes away from my house!). IMG_1126

Before I get too far into my blog about the amazing morning about the fish hatchery, I also made a Vlog of my experience! Initially I wanted to be able to film me learning at the fish hatchery, and in hindsight it would’ve been nice to bring someone else along with me to get better footage of me actually learning, so unfortunately I don’t have a lot of footage, however I still thought it would be cool to document my adventure to the fish hatchery and a bit in the surrounding area, and perhaps make my method of presenting a little more interesting. In the future I think vlogging my experience would be a cool way of documenting my learning in future projects as well, but include more actual content. Even though I didn’t get a ton of footage it was still fun to try out and I am looking forward to perhaps (with some improvements of course!) trying this out with different projects.

Anyways, now to actually talk about what I learned! Most of what I learned is in my notes, however I will recap the basics of what I learned, and the rest will be in my notes that I will embed in this blog post.

When I got to the fish hatchery, I was introduced to Dave, a fish hatchery volunteer who has been working with the fish hatchery for a while now. The first thing we talked about was what exactly I wanted to learn, after explaining to him that I was wanting to look into water testing for a chemistry project, he immediately grabbed something that looked very IMG_1117similar to the salinity meters we used at bamfield, but what I would soon learn was a D.O meter.  D.O stands for dissolved oxygen, so in short, this meter measures the dissolved oxygen level and temperature simultaneously. Luckily I was able to be there when it was time for the data to be recorded! The volunteers at the fish hatchery record this data once a day and then graph it to monitor any drastic changes in the levels. As mentioned in my notes, this is important to monitor because if the oxygen levels in the water get too low, it can put a serious amount of stress or can even cause death if the levels are at an insufficient amount for too long. Dave mentioned that the hatchery has an automatic emergency backup system in case the levels get too low.

The next thing, which was a little off topic, but Dave let me feed this Coho salmon while I was visiting the hatchery! While talking about the food, we got onto the topic of ammonia in IMG_1120the water. Because of previous science courses, I know that ammonia can be quite harmful to animals, so I asked if there is anything that the hatchery can do to lower the levels of ammonia. Dave replied that no, the hatchery cannot remove the ammonia from the water and that even as small as a 0.08% increase can be very harmful for the fish. He also mentioned that besides some ammonia coming into the water as an excretory product from the fish, the levels usually increase in the spring as ammonia is in fertilizer and it leaches into the creek, which leads into the hatchery.

After talking about a few other factors considered in water testing (the details for those will be in my notes), we headed inside to the lab where the water testers actually do the water IMG_1121testing. The main thing that caught my eye was the pH meters, which was a familiar sight and throwback to my science ten final from last semester. Dave explained that the water in the fish hatchery is supposed to be somewhere between 6.5 – 8.5, and both higher and lower pH levels can be deadly to the salmon. He also said that Chum salmon are more sensitive to change in pH levels than Coho. I think that visiting the lab was my favourite part! It was really interesting to see some of the tools used for water testing that Dave didn’t even had time to explain!

More Notes

I had to re-write my notes because they were really messy, so I thought why not add some additional in-depth research as a bit of an extension of what I’ve learned. Below I will embed pictured of the notes, the additional(secondary)  information is marked with a little note to separate it from the (primary source) information I was able to actually gather from the fish hatchery.

Before I finish up my blog, I wanted to touch upon why this is all important. I guess this isn’t really chemistry related but I thought I’d touch on it anyway.  A lot of the time we are so focused on completing the actually research that we forget to ask ourselves the “so what, who cares?” question. I guess besides learning about the chemistry aspect in water testing, I also learned about how much tiny little factors/ chemicals in the water can have such a large impact on the organisms that live in these water sources, that I had thought about, but never really took the time to understand the impact of all these things put together and the balance that is needed for these organisms. IMG_1125

Another reason why I think that this experience is so neat is because in a way it kinda ties into my science ten final experiment, when I tested how pH levels affected shell building organisms. Now this water testing was a lot more complicated and obviously not about shell building organisms, but it was interesting to see how pH levels could affect different organisms and the correlation between the two because of human and environmental  impact.

Not only has this experience taught me a lot about chemistry application in the environment,   but it has also lead me to a possible volunteering opportunity, which I am looking forward to, which could potentially allow me to apply my chemistry/science knowledge in the water testing lab, among other areas! Dave suggested that since I seemed very interested in water testing and environmental sciences that I should come and volunteer for the hatchery, which could also allow me to continue expanding my knowledge on this topic!

A big thank you to Noons Creek Hatchery for answering my (many) questions, showing me around and teaching me about the water testing that they do!

I found this source really helpful for a tiny bit of additional research

More Pictures


The Last Letter (Confederation Character Blog Post #2)

My dearest Husband,

I miss you dearly, as it has been few years since you have passed I’m not sure why I am still continuing to write you letters. Perhaps it’s because in a way, it almost seems like you could still be here, like I can still hear your footfalls in the hallway. It’s silly, I know but doing this also allows me a place to write down my thoughts as well.

Much has happened since you’ve been gone. Lately word has been bustling all about with news of a united colony as of late. There has been conference after conference and I am hanging onto the edge of my seat to hear word from London. It bothers me terribly to be so far from something so important to an event that has the potential to mold these colonies into something entirely new. Not that it would change much if to be there anyhow. You know how I am, I simply can’t watch things happen from the sidelines, it bothers me terribly. Initially I was a tad concerned that we’d have another war on our hands, although the movement towards confederation has been a comfort, after all I’ve seen enough action for my days. We must realize the value behind unity and the combined strength that we as a nation could posses, combined with Britain. Casualties and losses among us are certainly not worth the little progress that is made in the uncivilized manner of years past. I only hope that these changes are made for the best of the nation and not for individuals agendas. The need for the unified defense for the colonies is ever present, just as it was in 1812. But of course you would understand that, you fought in the war and felt the consequences first hand.

It is odd, so much time has passed and I feel worn down and tired, yet still so captivated by the future of the colonies I will likely never get to see. Perhaps it is because I want to be proud about where I live and because I care so much about the wellbeing of the place I can call home. Well, it is quite late and the aching in the joints of my hands has returned so I must finish up this letter, I hope to write another tomorrow.

With love,

Unity in Diversity // Strength in Unity

Annnnnnnnndddd here we go again with another document of learning blog post. But, before we start I wanted to go over some goals I made for myself from the last blog post. The first goal I want to focus on is choosing a “bite-sized” topic, basically one that I can fully dive deeper into and isn’t too big to handle in one blog post. The second goal that I wanted to focus on was to pick questions/topics that related not only to the events that happened but something that I had looked into while studying the history of that time period, in this case a topic that related to the character i role-played. Anyways, without too much of an intro I’m gonna get straight into the topic this time.

It’s been awhile since our last document of learning this semester, and I can confidently say that for the last little while I have learned a ton about the history of Canada, recurring themes, and much more through the eyes and viewpoints of my character, Laura Secord. So far, just like last year I have really enjoyed considering the events that took place from the view and perspective of someone else, I find that this helps me to dive deeper and sometimes come across thinking about a new situation differently if I have to come up with a response suited to my character.

I’m going to admit, the topic of Canadian history didn’t really seem that exciting to me at the beginning of the semester. Initially there seemed that there was definitely slightly less conflict than for example the United States. However that was before we started diving into Confederation and individual topics and inquiries.

Based on the research and role-play of my character I found that one of the main themes that came up for her was unity. Because of the actions that she took to warn Canada about an upcoming attack from the united states in 1812, she wanted a united front so that the colonies could live in peace unified with Britain. So, because of this, I have decided to focus on the topic of unity, and unity in diversity which I found particularly interesting. Now with that sorted out I had to come up with some questions, so here are some that I came up with to guide me into this mini “inquiry”

  • What is “unity in diversity”? And what does it mean?
  • How does the term “unity in diversity” fit into confederation
  • How does this concept fit into our current times?

Now initially I wasn’t sure if the topic of unity was something that I would want to blog about.  Sure, it was relevant to my character, but how would I fit a theme like that into something that needed to have research as back up and not just an opinion piece? Well, thanks to being able to dive into the depths of google I found my answer in a term I stumbled upon after following many different tangents to do with unity. Thanks to a particularly helpful article (shout out to Wikipedia) that described the concept of unity in diversity. Now initially, the concept seemed relatively easy to understand, as it shows up in our lives quite frequently, however i still wanted to grasp a clear definition before I got too far ahead of myself. One that I found the most helpful to have a fully clear blunt understanding of this term was as follows.

“Unity in diversity is a concept of ‘unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation’ that shifts focus from unity based on a mere tolerance of physical, cultural, linguistic, social, religious, political, ideological and/or psychological differences towards a more complex unity based on an understanding that difference enriches human interactions.” – Roxanne Lalonde, Unity in Diversity:Acceptance and Integration in an Era of Intolerance and Fragmentation.” –source

Basically to sum it up, I interpreted the term as different groups of people working together while still acknowledging what each individual member, culture, person, etc. brings to the table, whether that be traditions, languages, or identities, that together through the diversity we are stronger than we would be without it.

This was the best definition I found, since it was an excerpt from a thesis, I did not use anything besides the definition used to describe the term as it was the clearest I found, and allowed me to produce a more defined idea of what unity in diversity means and how it relates to confederation. I did not want to use anything else from this source because it was someone else’s research into the same term.

The next piece of research I looked into related more directly to Canada and unity in diversity, than the last. It was actually a an article by Adélard Godbout, a Premier of Quebec entitled “Canada: Unity in Diversity” in the Council on Foreign Relations journal. However, I was able to find quotes from it from another article!  The quote that seemed the most interesting to me was when Adélard Godbout asked:

“How does the dual relationship of the French Canadians make them an element of strength and order, and therefore of unity, in our joint civilization, which necessarily includes not only Canada and the British Commonwealth of Nations, but also the United States, the Latin republics of America and liberated France?”-source

I found this section particularly interesting because it relates back to the topics we covered in class about the importance of the joining and collaborations of the French Canadians and the British Colonists, and beyond just Canada into the United States, as well as other places. It is interesting to see a quote from someone who is involved in Canada’s politics and was looking into the similar topic of the importance of unity as I was.

The more I looked into this term, the more I found that it fit the topic of confederation quite nicely. My main reason for this path of thinking is because before confederation was in motion, there was a great divide between the french in Canada and the British colonists in Canada at the time. As a link back toward my precis from earlier in the term, the Quebec act was a way that the Brits allowed concessions which included retaining/protecting most of the political, religious, and social cultures of the French inhabitants  to more easily govern them. While I am not saying that this is an example of Unity in Diversity because the Brits did not really fully except the french inhabitants, however the need to appease and then work together with the french to strengthen the colonies. The main way I see unity in diversity showing through is that some of the Upper and Lower Canadians worked together (strength in unity) even though they are different to achieve the common goal of Confederation.

In conclusion, this “mini inquiry” was very interesting and provided yet another lense to examine the events in Canadian history by. Based on my research and interpretation this endeavor into the topic of unity and diversity it once again solidified the necessity for diversity in our world of physical, cultural, linguistic, social, religious, political, ideological and/or psychological, etc. differences. Which leads me once again to question why diversity and differences between peoples were looked down on, much of an “us vs them” situation yet again, just separated by differences between groups of people. Ultimately the evolution and implementation of unity in diversity has lead to stronger groups and communities in general. After all if you only had a group of people thinking the same, with the same background, ideas and ideologies, or same beliefs we wouldn’t be anywhere close to the advancements we have made so far.

Indepth Post #5: Photography

It must seem like I say this all the time, but this time is for sure, a lot has happened over the break and I am really excited to share it. So first things first, I have actually gotten my camera! Finally, after so long I have actually gotten a chance to take pictures and get familiar with the different settings.  To start off this post I thought I would start from where I left off last post. In early March I was anxiously waiting for my camera to come in the mail, but still trying to learn everything I can about photography so that when I finally got my camera I would be ready to go. One thing that I’ve been mentioning in all my posts while trying to sort out the camera situation was that I’ve been trying to absorb as much information as I can so that I could be ready for when I start taking photos. However, as I have learnt from taking tons and tons (about 500) pictures at Bamfield is that you really can only get comfortable and improve by just continuously practicing shooting. Because of this, I have begun to take my camera literally almost everywhere I go. Not only does this help me to practice taking photos, but also encourages me to look and the world around me in a different way. This means often looking at an ordinary object I come across in my day to day life and thinking about how I would compose my shot. Which camera angle would I use? What would I have to set my ISO to based on the lighting? What effect would I want to produce with this photo? What makes this an interesting subject? In fact, even if I don’t have my camera on me, these thoughts still manage to pop into my head! Which funny enough, actually seems to help a lot while getting comfortable on manual mode.


It looks 100x better in onedrive (promise)

Since it was just recently Spring Break, the time off has allowed me the perfect opportunity to utilize the use of my new camera to the fullest, now that I actually have one! And of course Bamfield!!!!!! Something that I have been waiting for, for what seems like forever, and lucky for me provided an excellent opportunity to take some awesome pictures! Although most of my pictures were hardly artsy, and taken with the intent to just capture everyone while doing different activities, labs, field trips, etc. it was overall a good way to get nice and familiar with taking photos. I did however take a few photos that encompassed some of the different aspects that I talked with my mentor about earlier in the project. For example the picture of the ocean with the rope is focused on the rope that’s close up which shows depth of field. Looking back, another way that I could’ve taken this photo was as a “framed photo” where the loop of rope creates a “frame” for the subject of the photo which would’ve had the focus be on the background, instead of the rope. Before I get too far, I’ll link my onedrive photos from the trip into this post here, so you can take a quick look. I haven’t gone through the photos yet to delete any bad ones, but I’m thinking of keeping them so that I can look back and see what I should improve upon and what didn’t look so good.

Because I just recently got my camera only a few days before spring break started, and as I mentioned in my last post, my mentor suggested it would be best to meet again when I actually have a camera, I have not met with my mentor lately. However, I’m looking to change that in the future, especially since I think having a mentor that can teach you skills face to face is a crucial part in this project, so I am looking forward to meeting every other week, most likely with Racheal as well because we have the same mentor! Due to this, I think it will be more beneficial to go into more depth with how this week’s Debono fits into my project in my next blog post when I can actually record a short section of conversation between me and my mentor to then transcribe and identify the different hats in the conversation. But for the sake of this post, I’ll share some of my thoughts on the De Bono reading and my past conversations with my mentor until the next post when I will relate it with more details and go more indepth based on my next mentor meeting.

The chapter we are focusing on this week has definitely been my favourite we’ve learned about so far from How to Have a Beautiful Mind. As a short summary of the chapter, De Bono describes a system of “six hats” as a way of describing different ways of thinking in a situation. As the title states, there are six coloured hats (white, red, black, yellow, blue, and green) that provide different sets and ways of thinking throughput conversations between people.

The White Hat means information, with both hard facts and soft facts such as personal facts or rumors all of the information is laid out. You can often identify that the white hat is being used in a conversation if questions such as “what do we know?”, “what do we need to know?”, and “what are we missing”, are being asked and answered in the conversation. Personally, based on the conversations I’ve had with my mentor so far, in most of our conversations we are both wearing white hats (parallel thinking!) as we were focusing more on the hard facts and technical aspects and terms used in photography.

The Red Hat also means information but in a different way, while the white hat focuses on checkable information the red hat includes information from feelings, emotions, and intuition, without much reason to back up the information. So far this type of thinking has not come up yet with my mentor as so far we have talked mainly about information that falls mostly under the white hat category. However I do think this will come up more when we start talking more about image composition and how to create different effects/ feelings in photos.

The Black Hat includes judging and critical thinking about information. Black hat thinking can usually be identified if questions such as “does this fit our strategies and objectives?” and “does this fit our resources?”. Black hat thinking came up a lot at the beginning of the first meeting with my mentor when we discussed what this project would look like. In order to structure what it is that the mentor meetings would consist of and the ark of my project we needed to put on our black thinking hats to identify and point out downsides, potential problems, incorrect information or misunderstanding, by using mainly critical thinking.

The Yellow Hat way of thinking is almost like the “positive” hat of the bunch. This way of thinking looks for benefits and values of doing something. At the beginning it seemed odd that for me, the yellow and black hats came hand in hand while developing the project plan with my mentor as we first looked what i wanted to get out of this project and what benefits of learning this skill I was looking forward too. Personally the black and yellow hats help to balance eachother out between optimism and realism, so I found that these two hats are used together often.

The Green Hat is the “productive hat”, this way of thinking is almost like action thinking if that makes sense, as it includes possibilities, designs, and alternatives. Like with the other hats, I found that I used this hat a lot to problem-solve some of the issues during the beginning of my project of not having a camera. Both me and my mentor used this hat when it came to actually creating plans that we would implement throughout the course of the project we thought about using the yellow and black hat thinking to develop the plan, and green while implementing them.

The Blue Hat is essentially a way of thinking that helps to organize all the other hats/ways of thinking mentioned above.  If it is possible to wear two hats at the same time, one of them would definitely always be the blue hat. Reading about this hat made me think that perhaps this is the most important because without it the focus and purpose of the conversation and sequence of thinking would be less organized and effective. Based on our first meeting, my mentor and I set up a list of points/objectives/action items that we wanted to talk about therefore, creating an order and creating a more effective and efficient meeting that led to an overall more structured and clear delivery of information and clearer communication.

Anyways, that includes my post for this week, it’s a little shorter than normal because it was spring break and I spent the majority of the time lately on my in-depth taking pictures for Bamfield instead of meeting with my mentor (oops), and includes sharing pictures instead of sharing my research I learned this week. Oh well, just a reminder that I will touch on more of the De Bono task for this week next blog post when I get to finally have another meeting with my mentor because I found a camera!

In-depth 2017: Photography Post #4

A lot of action has happened with my in-depth post and I’m excited to share the news and new information I’ve learned this week so far. I guess I’ll start from where my last post left off. When I was writing it, I had initially thought that I would be buying my camera on Sunday. I was already to go with my choice picked out when I found out that my cousins from Florida who own a well-known underwater photography company were coming in later that week! This meant that I could have another resource-like mentor to use for guidance throughout the remainder of the project. Along with that, I texted them and asked about what camera they would recommend, as I knew that they would have a greater knowledge of a camera that would suit me based on their experience way more than I could ever learn just starting out. Knowing this, I asked if they had any recommendationsrebel t3i for which camera would be best. They replied back that they actually had a camera in their shop that I could buy! This was a major relief, now I wouldn’t have to worry about going into the situation of buying acamera with the little experience that I have. In fact, the camera is actually travelling from Florida to Vancouver right now! The camera was shipped on Monday morning so it should be here by Wednesday at the latest, and I can FINALLY start taking some pictures myself. The camera that I got in the end, was the Canon rebel T3i, they suggested that this camera would be a good starting off camera and would allow me to invest in some lenses.  

Since my cousins own an underwater camera company, Reef Photo (Link to their Flickr Account), I thought it would be a good idea to ask them a few questions in preparation for Bamfield, as I want my pictures to be the very best they can be to capture this amazing experience. One of my cousins is even going to be shooting some photos of wildlife up on the west coast, so he is familiar with the environment for shooting. The first thing I asked them was if they had any tips/equipment that would be helpful in shooting above water in the ocean environment. The first suggestion they told me was that if I was going to be shooting above water, a polarizing filter that attaches onto the lens would be beneficial for cutting the glare/ reflection on top of the water. The filter also creates a more vibrant and saturated photos, it especially makes blues look amazing which will be important when shooting in such an environment. The next tip that they gave me was that when working in a difficult environment, especially when working around saltwater, protection of the camera is key. That is why they also recommended that I find a special camera bag that will protect my camera from small splashes and allow me to take pictures at the same time. Besides the more technical and more equipment aspects of advice they also just gave me some plain advice that I think will help me at Bamfield for sure, but also with taking pictures in the future.

  1. Take pictures of what YOU think is interesting, not what others do

  2. Sometimes your photographs all look similar, if you want to switch it up and get more creative stop and think before you take the picture. Zoom in, zoom out, lay on the ground, don’t be afraid to try new things and if they don’t work out that’s the beauty of a digital camera , it allows you to take many photos without the fear of a limited number

  3. Challenge yourself to go to new places, where your creativity and point of view changes with the unfamiliarity of the situation

Since this week has been crazy busy I’ve found more ways than ever to relate my in-depth project to  De Bono’s “How to Have a Beautiful Mind” than ever before. Perhaps it’s the fact that I have gained a very valuable resource of knowledge (my cousins) in addition to my mentor, or that I am settling in and trying to absorb as much as I can from re-reading this book throughout and applying it to my project. This week, a quote from De Bono really stood out to me, it said “If you listen carefully and attentively you will get more value from listening than talking” (p. 67).  I think that as an overall this is one of the important lessons I remember learning from my grade 9 in-depth project and reflecting upon it this year. In grade 9, during meetings with my mentor I would try to input as much into the conversation as I could, in a way (hopefully) that showed my understanding and ability to relate back to past experiences. Looking back with the experience I have gained from this year so far, and last year, I can see that most of the time, is that listening carefully to what your mentor is trying to teach you, especially in the beginning is important as it allows you to soak up as much information as possible. Not that I am saying that the conversations should be one sided with just your mentor talking and you listening, after all it is helpful to paraphrase certain pieces of information and ask questions. I think sometimes we forget to just stop, listen, and really think about what knowledge is being given by your mentor before moving onto the next thing.

I have begun to use De Bono’s advice more and more as an effective tool in learning from a mentor. In particular I found that the points he gave about directing the flow of conversation to be particularly helpful when trying to gather specific pieces of information and or topic you want to cover. I have also found that the type and depth of the question can direct the flow of the conversation just as much. The difference between the two can be explained simply as “fishing” vs “shooting” questions. Fishing questions are usually questions that dive deeper into the topic and often lead to other questions, whereas shooting questions usually are more shallow in depth and can be answered with a simple reply or a quick yes or no. After trying to keep these different types/depths of questions in mind, I find that I am more likely to ask a few “shooting” questions, so that’s what I was working on while discussing this project with my cousins. Often times it is difficult for me to come up with deeper “fishing” questions on the spot, so I have found that preparing a few questions that could lead to further conversation has really benefited my project so far. This method has allowed me to reduce my “shooting” questions and increase my “fishing” type questions which overall has lead to more interesting and focused discussions.

So much has happened in the past few days and i am excited for my project to finally start posting some pictures that I took to my blog. Like I mentioned in my proposal,  I am really looking forward to begin exploring how I can put my own creative and unique spin on my photos. Before I finish this blog post, I just want to say a big thank you to my cousins! I learned so much in such a short time, and am excited to be able to have them as an extra resource and can send them some of my photos once I start taking them. Anyway, by the next blog post for sure, I will have some pictures of my own to put on here!

An Unexpected Journey – June 1813

My Dear Husband,

The day is growing long and my legs are growing continuously weary, with each step carrying me farther away from you and closer to where I know I must go. I can only imagine what would happen if I cannot proceed with my journey. The impending threat of the Americans is drawing closer with every passing day, and I am beginning to grow worrisome that the events of the next day will change the small life we have. I will never know fear as I did when I saw you wounded in the Battle of Queenston Heights and brought you home myself, tending your injuries as well as clean up after the vile intruders that had taken over our home. As the evening wore on, the fear grew as I overheard Colonel Boerstler’s plan to surprise Lt. Fitzgibbon at Beaverdams. I could only imagine what chaos and loss of the Niagara peninsula this would lead to if the British soldiers were not warned of this impending invasion.

I know that you would have wanted to go, that you think it is dangerous because I am not as strong nor as fast as your are, that I am alone and unarmed, but have faith, as the weight of the lives lost will be in my hands if I do not succeed. The feeling of helplessness has engulfed me during the past year, that fact that I must stay home safe, while so many others give so much. This task is not something that I should do, but something that must be done for the well-being of many. I cannot help but feel betrayed by the country I once called home. Many believe that it was a justified act, that the British cannot rule over seas yet I formally disagree. How do they, a nation so young feel as if they have the knowledge and experience to govern. Is the violence and destruction caused even worth the shifting of rulers? The idea of power has gotten to many heads, that the decision of who to manage the land is worth the blood split and lives taken. This is what is fueling every footfall, every step, every mile, that I know that the fate of this battle is lain on my shoulders.

I must pause writing now, as I’m uncertain as to the way on from here…



Early Colonization: Canada Under British Rule (1763-1931)

The Quebec Act,1774

At the end of the seven years war, with France having ceded all of it’s remaining territory to the British (except for their fishing rights off Newfoundland), this meant that the existing French colonies were now British citizens and needed to be incorporated into the British North American Empire. In short, the Quebec Act was a way for the British to improve their governance over the new territory of Quebec. The British Empire made several concessions which included retaining/protecting most of the political, religious, and social cultures of the French inhabitants, while also allowing the right to practice Catholic Faith (the British King was protestant). Since this article is the actual Quebec act, it contains accurate information, but is not very precise in the telling, and expresses the information in a sometimes confusing or lengthy way.

The Quebec Act Article 

By the Arrangements made by the said Royal Proclamation a very large Extent of Country, within which there were several Colonies and Settlements of the Subjects of France. who claimed to remain therein under the Faith of the said Treaty, was left, without any Provision being made for the Administration of Civil Government therein; and certain Parts of the Territory of Canada, where sedentary Fisheries had been established and carried on by the Subjects of France, Inhabitants of the said Province of Canada under Grants and Concessions from the Government thereof, were annexed to the Government of Newfoundland, and thereby subjected to Regulations inconsistent with the Nature of such Fisheries:” May it therefore please your most Excellent Majesty that it may be enacted; and be it enacted by the King’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same. That all the Territories, Islands. and Countries in North America. belonging to the Crown of Great Britain, … and also all such Territories, Islands, and Countries, which have, since the tenth of February, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-three, been made Part of the Government of Newfoundland, be. and they are hereby, during his Majesty’s Pleasure, annexed to, and made Part and Parcel of, the Province of Quebec, as created and established by the said Royal Proclamation of the seventh of October, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-three.