Posted by: Bob Fisher | May 13, 2009

The Grasslands Challenge of British Columbia

… with Bruno Delesalle of the Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia

Re-assessing and reviewing “the land”

Sometimes I think that all travel is a quest of some kind; and that as a species we are inveterate nomads because part of us remains in an enduring hunter and gatherer stage. I suspect that grasslands environments especially resuscitate and sustain this part of our psyche.

Although grasslands ecosystems that I have seen have mostly tended to be johnny-come-lately agrarian “moments in time,” there still is inherent these remarkable open spaces an element of our migratory spirit. Grasslands seem to liberate our vision and our perspective — from horizon unto horizon — and have a feel about them of perpetual promise.

When I first met Bruno Delasalle at Stake Lake, just outside Kamloops, British Columbia, he was walking up the hill having just finishing a marathon cross-country ski race. He showed no signs of being the slightest bit fatigued nor out of breath; it was as if he had been for the proverbial walk around the park. I, on the other hand, had just finished a relatively short trek on snowshoes over a frozen lake that was covered with about two metres of snow. My legs felt like rubber and my breathing was rather irregular, somewhere between a gasp and a wheeze. However I had arranged to meet Bruno and record a podcast. It occurred to me that Bruno might have to do all the talking; I just wanted to lie down.

However the show must go on; so along with two of Bruno’s colleagues we huddled in the First Aid room of the Stake Lake Lodge and I turned on my recorder, while above our heads and outside the room members of the Overlander Ski Club clumped around energetically.

However, as Bruno began to explain the significance of grasslands ecosystems everywhere on the planet, including in the Kamloops area and British Columbia, my energy level rose a notch or two and I realized that I had met another Kamloopsian who has the kind of vision, wisdom, and determination that I had come to recognize as being bred in the bone of the people of Thompson Country.

Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia

Bruno is the Executive Director of the Council. He completed his Masters of Science from the University of British Columbia, School of Community and Regional Planning, specializing in environmental planning and natural resource management. Since 1994, he has devoted his career to wetland and grassland conservation. He has worked for Ducks Unlimited Canada for five years on the federal Interior Wetlands Program, focusing on communications and agricultural extension. Since May 1999, Bruno has worked with a core group of grassland enthusiasts, conservation organizations and ranching interests to establish and develop the Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia. He has a wide range of experience in managing conservation and extension programs, as well as in ecology, policy, research, consultation and communications work. Bruno actively participates on various boards and committees and has published one book — Understanding Wetlands: A Wetland Handbook for BC (1998) — and has produced over 20 educational publications. When not engaged in conservation work, Bruno enjoys the outdoors with his family, hiking, canoeing, ski touring, cross country skiing, climbing and gardening.

Resources

Visit the excellent website of the Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia where you will find a great deal of valuable and interesting information.

The Philosophical Traveller also recommends the following specific webpages from the Council’s site:

(a) to learn more about the grasslands of British Columbia, click this link;

(b) to learn more about the grasslands of the world, click this link.

The photographs accompanying this podcast

The superb and evocative photographs that you see on this page are courtesy of Richard Doucette, a very talented photographer and a Conservation Planner with the Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia. In his “limited free time,” he enjoys photographing British Columbia’s wonderful grassland landscapes.

For additional and equally beautiful images of British Columbia’s grasslands, visit Richard’s page on Flickr.

Richard also invites those who wish to know more about the Grasslands Conservation Council, or who wish to make a donation to the GCC, to visit the the Council’s website.

The Philosophical Traveller gratefully acknowledges Richard’s contribution to this story. All photographs are copyright of Richard Doucette.

Richard can be reached at: Richard.Doucette@bcgrasslands.org.

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