Friday, March 26, 2010

Champion of Slugs Bugs & Worms: The Road to Saviour


In today's blog I try to understand why I am always trying to help people and save things my entire life?

Seen lots of early wildlife on my hikes and walks on the Sunshine Coast lately. Lots of song birds, garter snakes suntanning, and a squirrel fest! Not to be confused with this old photo I found of me playing the White Rabbit in the Trial of Alice in Wonderland during our Delta Secondary Genesis Studio production back in 1980 I thinks!

Lot of slugs too... which I have noticed trying to make this epic journey across a path that must seem to them like a trip across Canada. Poor things get all gummed up with cedars needles which seems to start sucking all the moisture out of them. So my solution is to safely escort the slugs to the other side of the path and leave them on some greenery where the night air will dampen the leaves.

I think to myself, "I am not to interfere," feeling the guilt of the Star Trek prime directive. Then I imagine for every slug I am saving in the forest, some lady has chopped three in half with a pair of scissors in her garden.

So I am walking down the path with these thoughts in my head and feeling good I helped a slug out today and I have flashbacks about worms! Seems I have been rescuing worms too! Saving them from drowning on the roads after a rain, you won't believe this, since I was a kid growing up in Ladner, BC, and I still do it to this day.

Same with spiders, bees, bugs and moths caught in the house. I gently catch and release. ha ha. If I squash a bug, I say a little sorry and blessing for its Spirit.

I even figured out this way to save those annoying fruit flies that like to invade in the summer. Get a jar, put a piece of banana in it, pull some saran wrap over the the top as a lid, poke some holes in the saran wrap. The fruit flies go in, and can't figure out how to get out. Then I take it outside and release! Sure to be a snack for the birds and spiders!

I wonder if anyone else does these things or am I going mad? LOL

Why is Life as we know it about eating each other and dying? That's another blog subject altogether I think!

I guess I have a long history of savings things. Saving wetlands and farmlands, saving animals from leg hold traps, like the ducks that would be maimed accidentally stepping in one set up in the slough where we lived in Delta. That lead to a huge campaign I lead in the local Ladner Pioneer May Day Parade to ban leg-hold traps, an educational campaign at Delta Secondary High School and volunteer work for The Fur Bearers Ban the Leg Hold Trap Society also known as the Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing Animals. One year I mounted several huge Christmas trees on the office of their old Vancouver office, on Victoria Street, where they raised donations for each Christmas light turned on.

I even spent a lot of time saving Burns Bog! Every so often I google myself and found a link on the Western Canada Wilderness Committee website to a newspaper I helped write "Burns Bog Mega Project" with them which they printed 50,000 copies and distributed by mail in Delta. According to the web link, we did this newspaper back in 1988! Year's later, the Burns Bog Society has helped to raise terrific awareness about how vital this area is to the Fraser delta ecosystem and was spearheaded by Eliza Olsen and many volunteers. \

Another "saving" I remember was the "Don't Dump On Delta" campaign to stop the landfill from being expanded on Burns Bog to take Vancouver's trash! Arguments being that the bog leaches into the estuary so anything you put on top of the bog makes it's way to globally vital estuarine habits and through the food chain. At least that was my reason!

I didn't stop at the environment either, I remember my friend Jan Stewart and I doing fund raising for the Variety Club Telethon for several years. We started with door to door collections, then a big Tips for Variety Club campaign with restaurants in North Delta, Ladner and Tsawwassen and eventually we made it on to answering the phones on stage. Of course no annual telethon was complete without us spending the entire night cheering that total higher at the Queen Elizabeth theatre.

Another project dear to my heart was protecting the remaining farmlands and wetlands in the Fraser delta, including Richmond. The Friends of Boundary Bay and Fraser for Life society I co-founded became an award winning wetlands educational success! We secured funds from major national and international corporations, foundations and regional governments to put several awesome projects together, including a mobile water quality testing unit trailer which toured the Pacific North West schools and festivals. The trailer had microscopes that hooked up to a huge big screen tv so the kids could see larvae in the water samples larger then life. We also did tons of interpretive nature events in Boundary Bay itself.

I also seem to remember that we helped to secure the funding and build the Greater Vancouver Regional (GVRD) trails at Centennial Beach in Tsawwassen. There was also a wetlands and water quality kit for teachers that was adopted into the British Columbia school system. I did a colouring book to raise funds and lots of concerts and events like the Boundary Bay Bik-Walk-Run A-thon. We had some great bands perform for us like Bob's Your Uncle, the late Amanda Hughes, and many others. I of course made sure to have Delta Cable TV there too do a show!

You can see some excerpts and clips from some of these shows on my youtube channel. This was back in the 1990's it looks like.

Duane Burnett TV Show Out Takes.

So I just Google'd looking for links and references to the old Friends of Boundary Bay and discover my dear friend and co-founder Martin Keeley is in the Cayman Islands and the Educational Director for the Mangrove Action Project doing what he has always done so well! I lost touch with Martin when my depression and undiagnosed chronic illness wiped out a decade or two of my life, so I have sent him an email to say hello!

Martin brings 12 years of experience as a teacher and over 18 years in environmental education to his work developing and implementing MAP's Mangrove Curriculum with teachers, NGOs, and Education Ministries worldwide. Before joining MAP, Martin was the founder and Executive Director of a wetland education project called the Friends of Boundary Bay/Fraser River for Life Communications Society for 8 years. With more than 40 years of experience in communications and education, he has developed extensive and award-winning environmental education programs on wetlands. Martin lives in the Cayman Islands.

Well I think that is enough writing for tonight. Thanks anyone who reads this! I find that blogging is helping me and helping a lot of other people too, even though some of what I say is deeply personal and putting it out there.

Yours for the planet! Duane Burnett

photos (C) Duane Burnett
All rights reserved


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Adventures of Bog Boy! Saving Ladner, Tsawwassen & Delta, BC farmlands and wetlands

Rumour has it they found me floating down the slough in a wicker basket but that's a different story!

In today's blog I reminisce about farms, bogs, wetlands, parades and growing up in Ladner, Tsawwassen and Delta, BC.


The South Fraser Perimeter Highway wasn’t the first controversial highway over Crescent Slough, in Ladner and Delta, BC. Nor was the ongoing Southlands (formely known as Spetifore lands) property development proposal/debate/protests in Tsawassen, BC along Boundary Bay the first urban sprawl gone mad. I recall fighting and working to protect farmlands, wetlands, estuaries and wildlife ever since I was a kid. Little did I know that growing up as a Ladner Bog Boy would impact the way I see the world for the rest of my life.

Back in the 1959 not long after the construction of George Massey Tunnel, Highway 17 cut Crescent Island farmland in half to service the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal which began service in 1960 and widened from two to four lanes in 1973.

My mom Jackie Burnett would later spearhead a group of parents to have a pedestrian walkway built over Highway 17 for kids to get across the dangerous intersection. They first built a wooden staircase over-pass which was next to impossible to take your bike over, and as the traffic volume magnified, and parents protested more, they eventually built the cement pedestrian overpass you still see connecting Ladner and East Ladner.

While I was oblivious to the controversy around so called "progress" of build more and build some more, my memory as a child that I remember was the Highway 17 construction created this huge pond near the intersection with Trunk Road that froze over in the winter offering a spectacular and huge outdoor skating rink.

When my family moved from Gibsons Landing, BC to Ladner I was only a couple years old. We first rented a home near the Sacred Heart Church on Arthur Drive abutting the slough while waiting for our new house to be built. Five months later we moved to Crescent Drive in East Ladner which ran parallel to Crescent Slough. Back then there were only six houses in East Ladner and plenty of open fields and farmlands for kids and wildlife.

We lived about three houses in from Highway 17, and while the constant drone of vehicles and progress encroached on our lives I was more fascinated with the muddy waters and wildlife of Crescent Slough. Yes some would call it a big ditch but growing up as a young boy it was anything but!

My parents moved into a bungalow at 6021 Crescent Drive in East Ladner on May 1st, 1968. Back then there were 6 houses between Highway 17 and 64th Street. Highway 17 was really just a two lane road to the new Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal which opened in 1964. When the highway was enlarged to four lanes it cut off direct access between the subdivision on each side of the highway. The only means to get from Crescent Drive on one side of the highway to the other was to double back and detour to Trunk Road or take the boat through the tunnel under the highway on Crescent Slough.

It often turned out to be a nightmare for emergency vehicles who often showed up on the wrong side of the highway.

As I think back to sleepy Ladner and Tsawwassen in the 1960’s and 1970’s I remember the old Paterson Park Race Horse Track which slowly fell into disrepair. but didn’t stop us from exploring its decrepit grand stands where I remember finding a 20 dollar bill and spending it all on candy with my visiting cousins at the convenience store across from Delta Manor Elementary school.

For me the slough was a source of creativity which inspired me to build a “Jaws” ride to scare the neighbourhood kids at only five cents a ride. I also held lots of puppet shows, magic shows, variety shows, haunted houses and even started producing my own special effects films including Earthquake and my own version of the Hindenburg that nearly burnt the house down. Please don’t tell my Mom!

My love for movies and film and special effects would later lead to me producing around 15 shows about the environment and AIDS with Delta Cable Community Television which were broadcast throughout the Lower Mainland, and today I continue to host shows, auctions and telethons on the Sunshine Coast, BC with Coast TV.

Mom tells me that the crop dusters flew so low across the Burr family’s farmland that it singed her laundry out on the close lines one day. Later we would notice a steady decline in wildlife contaminated by the pesticides including the complete loss of the giant bull frogs as big as a side plate. One time a crop duster got too close to the underbelly of a giant jet heading to the Vancouver International Airport, and got sucked up in the vortex, smashing the tiny crop duster into the huge plane and causing the duster to plunge straight down into the slough! I heard the tip of the plane's tail wings were 12 feet in the mud. Urban legend?

I remember all the muskrat, ducks, geese, carp and swans that lived in the slough year round that often got caught in the leg hold traps and snares set out along the slough by trappers. In later years when I moved on past University life the Delta Optimist covered a story about my mom Jackie’s cat being nearly choked to death by two snares around its neck. I even remember swimming in the slough and getting covered in the thick black smelly muck. It was the time of our lives!

One of my childhood friends David Van Rheenan and I loved to test the limits of the ice that use to turn the slough into a skating rink each year but I understand that it doesn’t freeze much anymore.

We would often walk across the farm fields and laugh at the giant mud slippers that sucked us into the earth on our way back and forth from exploring the bog and garbage dump. Later my parents would get an aluminum boat which we would row out to Burns Bog when the water level was low and we could get through all the tunnels installed under the farm roads and highways.

I remember this one time finding a robins nest amongst the hundreds of spider webs lining the inside of the tunnel and taking an egg home to incubate against the squawking protests of the mother. Unfortunately I cooked the egg with a heat lamp and have felt terrible about it every since. Lesson learned!

The garbage dump and bog was always a great adventure. We would see deer and all kinds of strange plants and birds. The dump itself, was like finding a hidden treasure chest full of wonderful junk and giant pumpkins. One time at the dump there was a seagull with its leg hopelessly caught in some fishing line. We finally managed to set it free but not after a few nasty bites from its beak.

We had a beaver move into the neighbourhood and it chopped down the birch tree I had so proudly planted as young boy.

My stepfather Ed use to buy feed from the old Co-op store in Ladner for the ducks and squirrels who became so friendly and welcome in our back yard that they often came into the house for treats. The hunters would shoot the ducks along the slough and right from the side of the Highway which really upset me.

Mom worked at the Gillnetter Café in the Ladner Hotel (way back when.. who remembeers that coffee shop? It had a long coffee counter and this clock with advertising that flipped over and over again) and the police station was in what is now the Delta Museum and Archives. I was always fascinated with this clock at the 50’s style café.

The crop dusting and continued growth of housing in East Ladner eventually led to the demise of many muskrats, carp and and most tragically for me the giant bull frogs which have since become of mythic proportion in my inner child’s minds eye.

My mom later worked at the Cassiar Cannery in Richmond on Rice Mill Road. She would come home wreaking to high heaven of dead fish smell.

I remember this colouring book some friends and I created year's later, after going to the University of British Columbia to get a B.A. in Political Science, called The Adventures of Fraser about Fraser the duck who returns to find his home is now a golf course. Saddened he finds solace in Crystal the fish who’s underwater home is polluted. The pair are befriended by a couple of kids who clean up their back yard and declare it a protected habitat for wildlife.

When I think back on it, I realized that cartoon colouring book mirrored my own life. Funny my studies in politics, environmental science and the fraser delta estuaries would be succinctly summed up by a children's colouring book. I would love to see it re-published. It really is a gem.

I was very active in high school volunteering and doing theatre and stuff where I honed my skills on trying to ban leg hold traps showing films and having discussions about humane trapping methods. I would also get involved in the Don’t Dump on Delta committee, and started my career in the media writing a story about the campaign for a local publication, it was the "South Delta Now" or "Sunshiner" I think.

I also took my environmental message to the Ladner Pioneer May Day parades where I would build floats about banning the leg hold traps and protecting wildlife. I won many awards for best Novelty float and volunteered year after year to help put the event together. One year a reporter from the Delta Optimist took my photo with a local business person while judging the best decorated store window contest and another year a photo of me pulling a float of a pioneer wagon scene loaded with real dirt! Man was that heavy to pull through the entire parade route! I held on to the float in front of me quite alot! LOL

One of the strangest things, is the chronic dreams and nightmares I still have to this day about the slough and Ladner, and BC Ferries where I was hired as an Expo 86 kid at Tsawwassen Terminal. The severe sleep apnea probably doesn't help much and no doubt the real fear of loosing such a critically vital area for global populations of waterfowl. Estuaries are the most unique and productive ecozones on earth and it saddens me greatly to see them chipped at and destroyed by pollution and urban sprawl.

I do still have many memories of growing up in Delta to share! Like the award winning international wetlands education society the Friends of Boundary Bay and Fraser for Life society I co-founded with Martin Keeley, where I went after major corporation sponsorship, knowing that business must lead the way to saving the planet, but they wil have to wait for another day. (teaser)

I must say I probably wouldn't recognize Ladner anymore, or Tsawwassen. Where childhood fields and wetlands once supported child hood fun but now are drowning in concrete, asphalt, urbanization and kids bored out of their skull with X-Boxes and Guitar Hero.

Many thanks to the Delta Museum and Archives for kindly helping me with some back ground details and jogging my memory banks!

I am now living on the Sunshine Coast, BC Canada and I continue to help be of service to the community and do whatever I can to help the Earth.

Photos (C) Duane Burnett
All rights reserved

Duane Burnett Blogspot


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Prizes, Prizes Prizes oh my!!! Enter to WIN!

Today's blog.. More great NEW prizes I am giving away on my facebook profile with the help of my community partners. THANKS!

Hey Class of 2010... Come on in to Boardwalk Men's Wear!
Boardwalk and Duane Burnett are offering you a chance to Win yourself a NEW Suit with a $200. gift card PLUS 2 additional random $50 gift cards (just for posting!) see contest rules, easy, quick & simple. Contest ends April 23rd, 2010. Open to EVERYONE!

WIN 4 Tickets to Little Shop of Horrors! Shows April 2-17th
Driftwood Players and Duane Burnett are giving away 2 sets of TWO Tickets to see the smash hit musical sensation Little Shop of Horrors!!! Please see contest rules & dates. Contest DRAW DATES April 1st & 14th.

WIN 2 FREE Movie Tickets to the Gibsons Cinema!
Duane Burnett and Gibsons Cinema are giving away 2 FREE Movie Tickets EVERY MONTH! Click here for contest details and how to enter.

WIN $200 in AWESOME designer fight apparel from Darkhorse Athletics and Duane Burnett.
Post the facebook Contest to your profile to win an additional $50**
DRAW every Friday. ENDS April 16th! Read da Rules! They are easy!

WIN 10 Tickets to Vancouver Fashion Week! April 7-11th, 2010
Be a part of the excitement! Vancouver Fashion Week and Duane Burnett are giving away 10 tickets. Five sets for TWO (2) to the VFW Opening Gala "After-Party" on April 7th AND the "Runway Fashion" show April 9th! Please see rules below! Contest Ends Sun, April 4th, 7pm. ENTER HERE

New MOON DVD Winners! Team Werewolf or Team Vampire?
Congratulations Jill-Marie Wilson and Stacey Seabrook who have won a double disc new release of Twilight New Moon from Sid's Vids in Wilson Creek, BC!!!! Previous Winners Terra Daniels + Kate Hergott + Tara Duffy + Megan Fraser. Thanks everyone! Hope you enjoyed the facebook contest. Sid's Vids & Duane Burnett

I love giving stuff away and my facebook friends LOVE it even more! It is tremendous and excellent social networking marketing, branding and exposure for you!

Thanks to these wonderful local businesses who have made our little piece of Sunshine Coast facebook heaven even more fun by offering prize contests with me:

Past prize participants include Kera McHugh and Ian Backs owners of the Wild Bistro in Gibsons, April Qureshi owner of the Sweet Chef Bakery, Nicole Josh owner of Pack Ratt Louie's now known as Benjamin's, Deb Proby at the Raven's Cry Theatre, Kimm Belisle owner of Gel-Ous Hair & Nails Salon, Daphne's Greek Restaurant in Sechelt, Lynette LeGault owner of Loumidees Consignment Clothing store in Gibsons, Melina Cassidy owner of Sundance Massage, and last but not least, Break Water Bakery!

I was given this virtual Better Basket Blog Hop for Charity by the lovely Heather in Beautiful BC, a social net worker extraordinaire.

Need help at your next conference? Heather is wonderful assistant, liason, hostess or ‘go-fer’, and she love's to be useful help wherever needed! I have seen events Heather has been involved with to help our local community and she puts the bells and whistles that makes it soar from an average hum ho event to awesome!

* Copy and paste these rules to your blog post.
* Create a blog post of giving a virtual Easter Basket to another blogger – you can give as many Virtual Baskets as you want.
* Link back to person who gave you an Easter Basket.
* Let each person you are giving a Virtual Easter Basket know you have given them a Basket.
* Leave your link at where you can also find the official rules of this #betterbasket blog hop and more information about Better Basket with Hershey’s.
* Hershey’s is donating $10 per each blog participating to the Better Basket Blog Hop to Children’s Miracle Network (up to total of $5,000 by blog posts written by April 4th, 2010).
* Please note that only one blog post by each blog url will count towards the donation.

Thanks everyone!

Good Luck! It's always a great day on the Sunshine Coast! Duane

You Can Follow my BlogSpot here >>


Friday, March 19, 2010

My Chronic Life, Business Champion Award Nominations & Living Life in Public

In today's blog...
Chronic Illness Health Blog Spotlights Duane Burnett, Small Business Champion Nomination, and Putting your life story out there?

Many thanks to Connie Roberts who wrote a story about my issues with chronic illness and all I do to help the community.

Connie's popular website "My Chronic Life: A Health Blog By Someone Who Knows" spotlights the issues I have with getting out of bed each day and keep on keeping on despite chronic fatigue, pain and depression.

She really turned my gritty life into a nicer more empowering story and also gave a shout out to her online fans on facebook, twitter and her website to visit the Sunshine Coast, BC.

Connie grew up in the Bronx and now lives in Florida. Her popular blog is a way for her to help others. She says "In 2003 I was diagnosed with a major chronic illness that has changed my life. Now I can say it’s for the better. At first I was miserable, but not any more. I still have my bad days but I hope to help others from what I’ve learned."

She calls herself the Autoimmune Queen saying "My chronic illnesses are: Ulcerative Colitis, Myasthenia Gravis, Fibromyalgia, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Anemia, Mitral Valve Prolapse and Rhuematoid Arthritis. Most are autoimmune diseases that run in my family. I’m known as the Autoimmune Queen."

What an inspiration she is. I am so blessed that my online friend from Egmont, "Heather in Beautiful BC" put us in touch with each other. The two of them seem to be mad crazy facebooker and twitter fiends like myself, and social networking has brought us together from all corners of the Earth. You can find us all on facebook or twitter!

I was just nominated for a BC Small Business CHAMPION of the Year Award for all the work I do on the Sunshine Coast! WOW thank you so much! This is a HUGE honour!!! The award goes to a small business that has demonstrated a commitment to promoting small business in their community and/or B.C., including volunteering time and services to small business interests and groups, and advocating the cause of small business!

Several people have nominated me, and if you would like to as well, it only takes about one minute to do so... here is the link Submissions Deadline: 12noon, March 31, 2010.

This is a province wide award for British Columbia different from the "Community Spirit" Award I received from the Sunshine Coast Business Awards of Distinction last year in 2009. I also have received an award of recognition from the Town of Gibsons "The World's Most Liveable Town" 2009 and just recently an award of recognition from the District of Sechelt and the "Faces of Sechelt." I try to remember and remind myself that I am grateful for the awards and recognition, but more then any award, it is most important to be an instrument of love, peace, kindness, generosity and forgiveness and to be steadfast in being these and not rocked back and forth like a roller coaster by awards and praise on one hand, then criticism and dislike on the other. Growing up bullied kinda made me a huge people please'er so I am glad I am understanding this more and more.

PUTTING IT OUT THERE? Living Life in Public
I was kinda wondering whether it was a good thing to blog about my health and life issues online, it turned up my anxiety a little higher to say the least. What I have found though, is amazing and empowering itself. It is bringing me together with other people struggling with similar issues, helping me to learn and understand more, and giving hope I think for others who often may feel as isolated and alone as I do. I find that I am liking the idea that I am helping people and they in turn help me. Curious to know what others feel about this?

I know that my dog Tundra passing away has really brought a lot of people together as almost every day someone shares their stories, sometimes tears, and their praise for Tundra's Accessible Dog & People Friendly Drinking Fountain Fund As I mentioned in my last blog, the fund received a $500 donation from volunteers who work at the Gibsons Wildlife Rehab centre.

It's Always a Good Day on the Sunshine Coast! Thanks so much for reading my blog, and being facebook friends, following my twitter tweets, and all the LOVE! Back at ya!!! HUGS Duane

Photos Copyright (C) Duane Burnett. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Dig Dead Babies! HUH?

In Today's Blog: Dreams, facebook milestones, I Aspire, and a $500 donation!

It's a good day for the Sunshine Coast. I was thrilled to top over 2,010 friends on my facebook profile "Duane Burnett" where I am hubbing and blogging all things Sunshine Coast. I truly think this is a great day for our community as it gives us all a one stop social network to share news, events, photos, group/fan pages and more. If you have something you want the world or the Sunshine Coast to know this is a great place to start.

I am of course giving away tons of prizes on my facebook profile (and looking for more prize ideas) including:

WIN $300 at Boardwalk Men's Wear in Sechelt.
WIN 4 Tickets to Little Shop of Horrors! Shows April 2-17th
WIN 1 of 6 Twilight NEW Moon DVD's from Sid's Vids in Wilson Creek!
WIN 2 FREE Movie Tickets to the Gibsons Cinema!

I have to admit, I have been grieving hard about my dear Siberian husky Tundra passing on. Too scared to even go check out how his living drinking fountain memorial fundraiser campaign account is doing. What a nice surprise today to get an email from the fabulous Gibsons Wildlife Rehab centre that they did a collection and raise $500 for the drinking fountain fund. This is extra extraordinary as I know they struggle daily to keep up with the increasing numbers of wild life alienated, injured and displace by poor urbanization planning that is eating up our natural spaces.

HUGE Thanks to Irene & Clint Davies - Lola Delukas - Kris Kalmakoff - Barbara Lee Fraser - Lorraine Jones - Ian Finlayson - Anna Wright - Laurie Brownrigg - Cornelia & Don - Margaret Boyd - Julie Wilkie - Nicole Fortier - Sue Beer - Anna Miller - Normal Mercer... WAGS! Duane & Tundra (RIP)

Check out the youtube video tribute "Everything Reminds Me Of My Dog" I made for Tundra in (HD) 4 1/2 min long.

I probably learned to sensationalize headlines working in the media, to draw your attention, but last night I really did dream about burying and digging dead babies. I will let your imagination fill in the gory sensations. Mortified me. I think its part of the sleep apnea, when I do fall asleep, for decades now, I have night mares, terrors, lucid, vivid dreams with running, flying and all sorts that just wipe me out, including visiting the same places over and over again. Last night was no exception. I finally managed to drag my aching head and weary weighted body out of bed for yet another day (it's like this every morning) and Google dead babies to hopefully be empowered by a bit of knowledge. What I found is similar to what I said last blog about getting past hump day and that all that I think has gone wrong is part of a transformation process.

According to "seeing a dead baby in a dream may indicate the end of something in your life. It may be something quite precious such as a career or a relationship. It is important to remember that despite the pain that comes when something we love ends, new life will follow."

Well there certainly has been plenty of that for sure! From loss of job, friendships and my dog Tundra.

Met with Claudia and Niv at the Aspire Self Employment office in Sechelt, BC. You can see some examples of head shots I did on the main page of their website. These ladies are both fabulous and are helping me with a business plan to move forward with creating a sustainable income that works with my health issues and my media/acting/photo journalism/social networking.

The Aspire Self Employment Program helps you make a transition from unemployment to business ownership. We've helped over 140 new entrepreneurs launch businesses on the Sunshine Coast over the last 5 years.

The program offers 48 weeks of income support for men and women 19 or older who are receiving general Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, or whose benefits have been exhausted within the past three years (5 years for Employment Insurance (EI) maternal/parental benefits).

Here's hoping I get accepted to the program and develop a successful business that is a leading social enterprise on the Sunshine Coast!

Peace, Love and Joy
in every moment of your being!

All photos (C) Copyright Duane Burnett. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Over The Hump Day: Grief and Ilness

Well the enormous crushing pressure on my psyche seems to have come and gone. Now its just a dull dullness. Tough when you have told the Doctors and Disability Insurance companies that you just want to kill yourself but don't want to leave your dog, so you just can't do it, then your dog dies, on top of your chronic illness, depression, and loosing your job and a friendship at the same time. Talk about clearing house and transformation. I'm trying to understand that it is all a good thing, that it's in divine order, and if it doesn't make sense now, it will some day if I can last that long. I am actually really just sick and tired of living life feeling like shit all the time, and of course, loosing the media photographer job which gave me at least a below poverty level income and doing one of the only things that worked well with my health issues, gave me a sense of helping the community, and being on purpose and of purpose with no clue what to do now. Just got to keep reminding myself it's all good, it's always a good day on the Sunshine Coast. I sure wish that WCB, Great West Life, and BC Ferries hadn't abandoned me saying there is nothing wrong with me. I have lost over a decade of my life or more because these corporations were more interested in proving I didn't need help. Again, thanks to all of them for the blessing they have given me. Cheers Duane

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Showing Us Our Lives.

I am always amazed when I look back through my photo archives at how many beautiful people live on the Sunshine Coast, how many gorgeous places there are, and the incredible amazing array of events throughout the year. You can get a sense of the volunteer work I do to be on purpose and of service to the community by taking a peek at a small sampling of my flickr photo site which currently has over 40,000 photos! It often brings me to tears of pure joy and gratitude when I look back, as I attend so many events, and see so many people and process so many photos I am often off to the next event before getting a chance to enjoy where I was just at.

It is so great to know that these photos and the videos on my youtube channel bring joys and smiles, sometimes tears, and their moments in time are shared around the world, and bring visitors and tourist to our community. This helps everyone from Realtors to tourism operators to the single mom slinging hash browns and coffee trying to support her family on minimum wages.

One of our local arts and entertainment magazines did a story about what I do for the Sunshine Coast and I was super flattered at the headline they gave it... "Showing Us Our Lives" You can click the title to go read the article itself. I had never thought of what I did that way or saw how people see me. One thing that has stood out for me is the many faces of the Sunshine Coast I have had the deep privilege and honour of both meeting and capturing as a keepsake for future generations.

I remember the Sunshine Coast Museum telling me I am the modern day Helen McCall who's photographs documented the rural areas and left a social history of the Sunshine Coast during the 1920's, 30's, and 40's. I am extremely honoured by this and as my collection of photography is just too huge for our little local museum I have contacted the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, BC to see if they would take on the archive for future generations.

I have kinda unfortunately come to the conclusion that I have to stop doing all this specialty photography as I can't sustain it financially. Or I need to get help to find a way to make it pay the bills. A sad closing to something that gave me extreme joy as well as the community, but here I am at a standstill without a clue what to do next, unless I somehow magically get my own TV show or movie. I had hoped an inspirational book deal might have come along by now too but as I mentioned in an earlier blog, our local book publisher just didn't think it was a worthwhile venture for them economically. But we still have faces, thousand of faces and places!

Not too long ago, I was recognized as one of the Faces of Sechelt for a short story I wrote about what I loved about Sechelt, BC and what a great inclusive community it is. Its extremely impressive not only for its multi-culturalism but the incredible amount of Gay, Lesbian, Bi, & Transgendered leaders, in such a small rural area away from the city. This was a story I wanted to have written and published a year later but could not convince my editor or publisher to do. I guess as it turns out the timing was better this time around.

Faces of Sechelt PHOTOS

Duane Burnett receives award of recognition from District of Sechelt and Province of British Columbia at the Faces of Sechelt Community Dialogue workshop in Sechelt at the Seaside Centre on Saturday, February 6th, 2010.

Sechelt Mayor Darren Inkster presented Duane Burnett an award of recognition along with four other local residents including Xiang Li, Delmo Lebo, Shelley Jankola and Helga Kraus. Winners were selected from a story contest about good or bad experiences of inclusiveness in Sechelt.

The Faces of Sechelt task force aims to make the community a more welcoming and inclusive place to live. It was organized by the District of Sechelt, Alof!i Consultancy, and Dialogue Programs Continuing Studies at Simon Fraser Unversity. The event was sponsored by the Government of Canada, Welcome BC, Embrace BC, and the Province of British Columbia.


Faces of Sechelt
Community Dialogue
Task Force

Duane's Winning
Faces of Sechelt STORY

In many parts of the world gay, lesbian, bi and transgendered people are shunned, tortured, killed and used as scapegoats for political or religious gain.

On the Sunshine Coast, and in Sechelt, gay, lesbian, bi and transgendered residents are embraced as some of the communities most outstanding citizens spearheading a better community with their tireless efforts in arts, business, sports, culture, media, religion, community services, events, politics and more. The District of Sechelt even officially declared a weekend in honour and celebration of them each year on the second weekend of August. For me, this is by far, one of the number one examples of what makes Sechelt a welcoming and inclusive community, leading us towards a kind, loving, peaceful, and accepting third millennium where we embrace each other and work together for our beautiful gorgeous stunning Earth.

Hubbing & blogging the Sunshine Coast on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, My Space and Flickr!

ALL PHOTOS (C) Duane Burnett.
All Rights Reserved.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Where is my life going to?

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I kinda figure, based on all the clues I think I am getting from the Universe, that photography, especially the type of photography I do, is the right passion but just not sustainable economically. I kinda figure it is something that will be of value when I am long gone from here. Something has to happen though, it's been four months since I lost my job at The Local newspaper, and either I get disability, or figure out a job that will work with the chronic fatigue, depression, sleep deprivation, and pain. I can't hope for the tourism, business, or real estate community to suddenly start supporting the photos I have archived over the years so the Sunshine Coast had beautiful shots of the people, events, and places during the 2010 Winter Olympics wave....

I figure it's time to give up photography altogether but what do I do now? Would be nice to have my own television show or movie, but that just doesn't seem to be happening either. Nor is a coffee table book of my inspirational photos and putting some greeting cards together to sell at local shops was a enormous task for me. Right now I have completely stopped attending or photography community events altogether.

My career tests results say:

1.Acting Instructor 2. Director 3. Actor 4. Comedian 5.Casting Director 6. Tour Guide 7. Clergy 8. Critic 9. Motivational Speaker 10. Community Worker

And my life path says:
Life Path 3; strong sense of creativity, wonderful communication skills. engaging ingenious expression. possesses exceptional innovative skills, in verbal realm, writing, speaking, acting. Entertainers of the world, bright, effervescent, sparkling people very optimistic path stresses harmony, beauty pleasures; sharing inventive talents with the world. Creative self-expression highest level of attainment.

I spoke with a business councilor who teaches a self employment workshops which I have been approved in theory for funding to take what apparently is an awesome program. Problem is I am not sure what to do anymore.

We talked about moving forward with making a career out of what I do in the media and going with an Ellen or Oprah like personality who helps the community, showcases its amazing talents, and gives away prizes.

One suggestion was to sell prize contest packages on my facebook as a way of helping business, helping facebook be fun for my facebook peeps and friends, and to sustain an income for me while I figure out what to do with this broken heart of mine.

The big plan is to sell package deals, although I did explain I no longer have my heart in photography when there is so little support for it, but here are some concepts, and I have been asked to sell ten of them to have a better chance of being accepted to the course.

Package One – Gold
Three week campaign

Develop and organize contest and prize
Distribute coupons / contest entry forms
Promote contest on Facebook
Take photos of contest participants and winner
Post photos on social media

Package Two – Silver
Two week campaign
Promote contest on Facebook
Take photos of contest participants and winner
Post photos on social media

Package Three - Bronze
Take photos of contest participants and winner
Post photos on social media

Does anyone have some thoughts or feedback? I really don't want to take photos, but the contests are really popular and I am approaching 2,000 friends on facebook, a really valuable resource for anyone wanting to get a message out to people on the Sunshine Coast. I understand that each friend has an average of 500 friends so that's like 200,000 people in my larger social network which is a huge cross section of tweens, teens, business people, artists, musicians, housewives, and more. Thanks...

Its been quite a kick off to an early spring. Last week I was walking through Smugglers Cove Provincial Park and spotted two garter snakes suntanning on the rocks. A walk through Kinnikinnick park in Sechelt was a squirrel fest, and everywhere bright sun, flowers, blossoms, bird's singing and eagles crying. Oh and my eyes and nose itching. LOL

It's always a good day on the Sunshine Coast. All the best, Peace, Duane

All photos (C) Duane Burnett
All Rights Reserved

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Everything Reminds Me of My Dog

I officially launched a new youtube video I have been working on this week of my proud pooch Tundra to honour his memory and to raise awareness about the accessible dog and people drinking fountain campaign fund.

Hugs and thanks to the amazing Canadian singer Jane Siberry for giving me permission to use here song "Everything Reminds Me of My Dog," which totally makes the video work, with its fun whimsical lyrics and melody.... well, and of course, that AND Tundra's gorgeous face and glacial ice eyes and stunning Spirit and personality.

Looking through the thousands of photos I have taken of Tundra and our journey together over the years reminds me of just how special the Sunshine Coast, BC is for dog lovers, with its abundant supply of provincial, regional and municipal parks filled with trails, creeks, beaches and doggy bag dispensers. One thing missing is drinking fountains for not just dogs but people too, which is why I thought this would be a wonderful living memorial tribute to Tundra.

Also a special thanks to Zoom, a specialty magazine showcasing life on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, for their photo tribute and write up "Remembering Tundra," in the March-April 2010 issue. Much appreciated and I am extremely grateful. Looks beautiful. Thank you! Duane & Tundra

"Everything Reminds Me of My Dog" Youtube Video Tribute to Tundra

Tundra's Accessible Dog and People Friendly Drinking Fountain Facebook Page

Jane Siberry Facebook FAN Page

Duane Burnett's BlogSpot Page

PHOTOS (C) Duane Burnett
All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hospital Emergency Visit Ok

I have never been one to try to attain the lofty goal of "normal" whatever that is or isn't but I did check myself into Emergency today at St. Mary's Hospital with severe chest pains and piercing throbbing spasms in my arms and shoulders. Been like this for months and months, maybe 6 months or more, then off and on through the years. So they do heart tests and blood tests which all come back normal. Should make me feel relieved but it doesn't. Well I guess I can breath easier with my difficulty breathing. That's a good thing. Seems my super sensitivity and intuition feeling side can cause quite a cause and effect to my body. And this is with meditation.

Makes me even crazier that I get normal when my life is anything but at times. Its mostly just a daily struggle from severe sleep apnea and fibromyalgia and recently severe chest pains and difficulty breathing. Seems the kind Doctor at the hospital figures its stress and anxiety.

Perhaps from loosing my job, the slow decline of my dog Tundra's health from old age, then his death, or having a nasty break up of sorts with a long time friend and their number one fan, which was a dysfunctional relationship, and hard to get over. Or it might be not being out taking pictures and being involved in the community which kept my mind off my chronic pain and life threatening depression. Now no job has made it wide open.

Might have been that I feel sad I couldn't even get a coffee table book together for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Or is it the 4th month anniversary of being unemployed and complete lack of desire or idea what I should do with my life.

These things are meant to bring me more deeper into Spirit, to be more peaceful and loving, giving, compassionate, grateful, helpful and divine.

Breath....... Everything is right by the Universe. This too shall pass. Yes.

It's always a good day on the Sunshine Coast.... Duane

photos (C) Duane Burnett All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 1, 2010

That's Where Everyone Was

I logged into my facebook profile today to see a comment from Terri Bissett-Page a dear long time friend from my high school days growing up in Ladner, BC

She said
"I cut out a pic of you from the Province my friend....great to see your face in the paper!!" I wasn't sure what Terri was referring to so I Googled myself and saw that I was in the Province newspaper's Sunday Winter Olympic blow out coverage and their online site. Sandy owner of the wonderful Daily Roast coffee shop in Sechelt managed to snag me a copy. Thank you Terri and Sandy!

E-STREET. The Vancouver Province.
What is your favourite memory of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games?

"My favourite memory of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games is the sea to shining sea of red maple leaf Canadian pride and the amazing historic gold medal firsts for Canada." -- Duane Burnett, Sechelt

Yesterday I blogged that the streets were deserted of almost any sign of life in Sechelt and I bet rural towns across Canada. Downtown Vancouver apparently attracted over 100,000 people to the Olympic party zone. So many people that they had to close down bridges and bus transportation in and out of the downtown core of the city as people made their way to the celebrations. Vancouver Police reported 21,000 pour outs of liquor during the 17 day festivities.

I guessed in my blog that half of Canada was watching the Gold medal hockey game with the USA team. I was close! The numbers are in, and 16 to 22 million Canadians watched the Hockey Game, and 80% tuned in making it into the history books. According to Stats Canada, as of today the population of Canada is 34,018,977. The Canadian television audience for the Closing Ceremonies was 14 million and billions of people around the world tuned in to watch the 2010 Vancouver games.

Even the USA got into it, with Business Week reporting
Olympic Hockey Gold Medal Game Viewed by Most in U.S. Since ’80
By Curtis Eichelberger
March 1 (Bloomberg) -- NBC’s broadcast of the Olympic gold medal hockey game between the U.S. and Canada yesterday was watched by 27.6 million people in the U.S., the most in 30 years, according to the network.

Ok... I am going to try to wean myself off of Olympic Mania talk and start to return you to your regular scheduled blogging.

All the best, Peace, Love & Joy in every moment. Duane
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...