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Malcolm Squires: Canada Is a Forest Nation

Book Cover Dynamic Forest

The boreal forest is constantly changing, often dramatically. We like to picture it as a stable, balanced system. Really, it is anything but stable. The boreal forest is dynamic.

For over sixty years, forester Malcolm F. Squires has seen mature forests within protected areas devastated by insects, moose, wind, and wildfire. While the forests often return from this destruction, they are never quite the same. A naturally balanced boreal forest is a human notion that does not match the reality of nature. If we don’t soon recognize and accept that reality and stop making irrational demands that a forest be “protected” from change or human management, we may be dooming them to disaster.

Read the introduction to his new book, Dynamic Forest: Man Versus Nature in the Boreal Forest

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Canada is a forest nation. Our forests benefit each and every one of us, regardless of whether we live in Whitecourt, Millertown, Gull Bay, or Toronto. Some of those benefits are obvious, but many are less obvious, especially if we live in larger cities far from the boreal forest. Those benefits are often thought of as separate and independent, but, like in the forest itself, every benefit is part of an interdependent whole.

The forest industry can’t be easily separated from the tra …

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Stuck in the Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg

Book Cover Stuck in the Middle

Winnipeg's gorgeous wildness is powerfully apparent in the photography book Stuck in the Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg by Bryan Scott and Bartley Kives. We're pleased to bring a few examples of the book's remarkable images, which celebrate and explore one of Canada's best cities. 

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Desired and reviled, adulated and condemned, Winnipeg inspires intense and contradictory emotions from residents, visitors and people who have never even ventured within wading distance of the Manitoba capital. The city at the centre of North America inspires a profound sense of ambivalence, stuck as it is between a colourful and triumphant early history, a long period of 20th-Century decline and an uncertain if optimistic future. Stuck in the Middle finds photographer Bryan Scott and journalist Bartley Kives exploring the geography, design and reputation of the only city they have ever truly known, loved and hated. With vicious honesty and intense affection, Scott and Kives expose Winnipeg's beautiful and conflicted soul for the rest of the world to admire and detest and ultimately ignore.

Wolseley Winter

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Notes From a Children's Librarian: Wild Summer Fun

Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.

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Sky and earth, large scale to small, these books cover the gamut of wild summer fun.

The Kids Book of the Night Sky, by Ann Love and Jane Drake, is a DIY resource for getting to know the summer sky. This one’s packed with stories from around the world (not just Greek legends) explaining the origins of the Milky Way, the waxing/waning moons, and the zodiac. Activities such as using stars to tell time, constellation flash cards, and heavenly word games are accented with four seasonal star maps, a glossary, astronomical riddles, and an interview with a star revealing his life story, from gas cloud to white dwarf.

Book Cover Canadian Wild Flowers and Emblems

For more down-to-earth readers, there’s Canadian Wild Flowers and Emblems, by Colleayn O. Mastin. Each page contains a painting of a flower, illustrated by Jan Sovak, and a two-stanza poem outlining the origin of each flower’s name, its distinctive characteristics, and whether it’s edible or poisonous. All provincial flowers are noted, …

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The Story of Lucy, Canada's Last Northern Elephant

5 Elephants Cover

Elephants are truly remarkable, unmistakable animals. Their huge size, giant ears, amazing trunk and incredible intelligence make them unique in the natural world. They are highly active, complex, wide-ranging animals who play a key role in the ecosystems they inhabit. 

Continuing in our tour of all things wild this month, we're pleased to bring you an excerpt from the new book 5 Elephants by Rob Laidlaw, an award-winning children's writer, Chartered Biologist and founder of Zoocheck Canada, a wildlife protection organization. In 5 Elephants, Laidlaw shares the stories of five famous elephants, including Lucy, Canada's last northern elephant at Edmonton's Valley Zoo.

Lucy's story is a sombre one, but Laidlaw hopes that raising awareness of it will protect other elephants from meeting similar fates. 

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Lucy was born in the tropical wilderness of Sri Lanka. At 39 years old, she isn’t considered elderly yet, but she is closing in on her early 40s, a time when many elephants in zoos die.

If Lucy were still part of a wild elephant family, she might already be a respected elder, helping to guide, teach and protect her younger family members. She would travel, forage, socialize and grow old with her family.

But Lucy is far from Sri Lanka. She lives alone at the Valley …

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