Twenty-third field season begins in Laskeek Bay

  • May. 8, 2012 1:00 p.m.

Submitted by Mariken Van Gurp-One evening around a campfire, back in 1989, an idea was born to create a community-run, grassroots organization that would gather long-term data about threatened seabirds nesting in Laskeek Bay, Haida Gwaii. From this idea, the Laskeek Bay Conservation Society hatched. Now, over 20 years later, LBCS celebrates one of the longest continuous seabird data sets in Canada, and a whole happy flock of former volunteers.And their mission continues: On Friday, May 4, staff biologists and volunteers headed out to Limestone Island to begin the 23rd field season of monitoring seabirds, marine mammals, forest birds, rare plants and a host of other interesting environmental features.The season begins with the Ancient Murrelet monitoring project. Volunteers and staff stay up late into the night to count and weigh these small black and white seabirds. About 50 percent of the global population of Ancient Murrelets nest on Haida Gwaii, which means this data is significant on both a local and a worldwide scale. In June, the focus will shift to boat-based surveys of shorebirds and marine mammals. Participants will travel the waters of Laskeek Bay, searching for Black Oystercatchers, Pigeon Guillemots, and endangered Marbled Murrelets – just to name a few – as well as whales, dolphins, sea lions and other marine mammals.For anyone who has ever thought about volunteering with LBCS, now is the time to do it. There are still spots open throughout the season. As a volunteer, you will be transported to the LBCS field camp on beautiful Limestone Island, just north of Gwaii Hanaas. Volunteers can stay one to two weeks, working alongside two staff biologists on various monitoring projects. It is a chance to learn about the natural history and ecology of island ecosystems, to interact closely with key species, and to immerse oneself in the science as well as the beauty and tranquility of the area. For more information, please see the LBCS website: www.laskeekbay.org or stop by the office in Queen Charlotte, around the corner from the Purple Onion.

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