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


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