Time to share a good book

Time to share a good book

Pretty much my favourite present to give the kids in my life is a good book. So, when I heard that the clever folks behind Rain City Chronicles were holding a book drive to benefit an East Vancouver children’s library? Yes.

Who I think of on Food Bank Day

Who I think of on Food Bank Day

Today CBC is raising money for food banks in B.C., for the 25th year in a row. Every year, I’m reminded of a day in November 2004, when I was asked to go report on a family, with children, who were struggling.

How my science degree helps me in journalism

How my science degree helps me in journalism

Tomorrow I get to return to my alma mater, to talk to first-year Science students. This is pretty exciting for me because I really enjoy teaching, and visiting campus brings some nostalgic joy too. They invited me because I use my degree in science in a non-traditional way. Here’s a sneak peek at the Prezi I made for the talk. It’s not that rare to be a reporter with a background in science; we have a few in our local newsroom. But it’s still uncommon enough that when people I encounter on the job learn I studied biology, they’re surprised. Many ask whether it was my plan all along to learn about science, then report on it. (Not at all —I really thought I was going to be a biologist). And, I often hear, “Oh that must really help you on scientific stories.” (Absolutely! But not in the way you might think.) Bring on the data! The fact is, the facts I learned don’t help me much. Even if I remembered every nephron and neuron I scribbled down in a final exam, my information is more than a decade out of date. What’s important about what I learned is it gives me the faith that even complex things can be understood, and it’s my job to make sense of them, and use that information to critically evaluate what people tell me. That helps on science stories, but not just on science stories. Being unafraid of numbers and spreadsheets is good too. I learned Excel spending many hours volunteering in a lab measuring millimetres of stickleback tails. Now on the...
Stories from the Sea: Listen here

Stories from the Sea: Listen here

My radio reports from the International Marine Conservation Congress on sharks, ocean acidification and eco-branding. A scientist recounts her under-cover foray into a black-market fin shop. And, why — cute as they are — otters aren’t for everyone.

Stories about the sea: I’ll be reporting from IMCC

So, killer whales form a pod, fish school, and sharks are said to travel in shivers*. But what do you call 1000+ marine conservation types gathered at once? A “congress,” apparently. The second International Marine Conservation Congress starts in Victoria today. Scientists, policy makers, resource managers, and NGOs are here to share science on our changing oceans, and ideas on how to save them. It’s only been held once before, 2 years ago in Washington, D.C. What I find so interesting is the goal is not just moving the conversation forward by publishing papers in the scientific literature — but also by crafting recommendations that let science inform public policy. I’m here to report for CBC Radio — you’ll hear me talking to Stephen Quinn, host of On the Coast, and Grant Lawrence, guest-hosting All Points West. I’ll be on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at about 5:40 or so in the Vancouver area and 4:50-ish in the rest of B.C. Changing oceans It’s not easy to decide what to cover. The program is huge, covering invasive species, overfishing, aquaculture, planning, and many more issues. I’ll be looking for stories that mean something to a B.C. audience. One piece will be on climate change and ocean acidification — there is a lot on it at this conference, and a topic I find really interesting. We know the pH of the ocean is changing as it absorbs excess CO2 we’re dumping into the atmosphere. It seems to already be causing problems for the shellfish industry in some coastal areas. But it’s not clear just how the complex systems of the sea...