This spring and into the summer, my son Taliesin and I produced Outdoor Exploration With Emily, a series of videos focusing on exploration of the ecology in our own backyard and the island we live on. We started out filming three times weekly, but cut to twice weekly once we realized the more ambitious plan constituted a full-time job! We initially hoped to get at least a few dozen people interested, but soon had over a hundred subscribers, and the series was used as a resource by various schools and teachers on Bowen Island and the mainland, a community centre program on the Sunshine Coast, and even Children and Nature Network’s Finding Nature resource page.
It’s been a wonderful adventure for us, so far. We’ve been delighted to meet and film some local creatures along the way, from a barred owl to a beaver, an alligator lizard, a rough-skinned newt, many red-legged frogs and a couple of chorus frogs. We found a dragonfly emerging from its larval skin, gastroliths from crayfish that were eaten by otters, all kinds of slugs, bugs, grubs and insects, and teeny tiny freshwater clams.
One of the things we discovered is that people are very, very interested to learn which wild plants are edible, so we try to include something about this in most videos. We will happily continue to produce the series into the autumn, in order to show the passing of the seasons, the many interesting changes in our ecosystem, and our nascent tiny farm, as it progresses into harvest season.
We are so delighted with the enthusiasm of our community and of the Bowen Island Community Foundation, Vancouver Foundation and Bowen Island Municipality; so delighted to be able to inspire people to get out exploring, and so delighted to be able to do work that is meaningful and increases our community’s sense of home and belonging. Our YouTube playlist can be found by searching for “Outdoor Exploration with Emily”.