Nature + Environment

Celebrating the wild wonder of our local flora, fauna and environment.

Larch Madness!

CODE YELLOW! It’s that two-week period in September where the larch trees are basically the best things since Birkenstocks.

Plenty of Shroom

Local photographer Martin van den Akker gets up close and sporesonal to photograph our tiniest fungal forest friends — the mushroom.

What’s in a name?

Why is it called Lost Horse Creek? And how did Committee Punch Bowl get its name? Learn more about places in the Rockies and how they got their titles.

Research in the Rockies: The Big, Bad Wolverine

Canmorite Sarah Elmeligi does some research on the big, bad wolverine while working on her PhD.

Wildlife Corridors: Passageways of the Rockies

A look into corridors and what they do for wildlife.

Finding Sacred Shapes

Healer, storyteller and wandering mystic Ari Lazer sees the world in shapes.

Getting to Know the American Dipper

I’ve had a few conversations lately with people who either love or hate a particular species of bird.

Two Biologists and a Boy: I Love the Latex Gloves

Geoff often unpacks his work backpack on the floor by his side of the bed. I don’t go over there unless I’m vacuuming, because what may look like random piles of textbooks, digital cameras, charger cords and, at times, large-gauge syringes is actually a secret system Geoff uses for keeping track of things he needs for the next few work…

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Escape

For the longest time, I couldn’t stand the fall season. To me, fall was the Sunday before the work week. Oh sure, it was a day off, but the day was spent prepping for the long, slow, depressing slog ahead. People would tell me about the colours and the smells and the cool, crisp air but all I would hear…

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Two Biologists and a Boy: Under Alar’s Spell

Dylan lays in front of a lichen-speckled grey rock, his head resting on an old canvas army bag. Spread around him are the contents of the bag: an old tin, a tattered black and white picture of Mount Columbia, a bone-covered jackknife, and a very old black and brass telescope. Behind him, Parkers Ridge is lit by thousands of fuzzy…

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Two Biologists and a Boy: The Long Way Home

A couple of weeks ago, a young male elk ran us off the trail. It was the first time I’’ve been threatened by an animal while hiking with my son Dylan, and the only time I’’ve ever popped the safety off of my bear spray. It happened when Dylan and I were hiking with a friend, Tracy, and her daughter,…

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All About Larches

“And now for something completely different. . . the larch.” So goes the Monty Python skit. And biologists agree: the larch is different. Larches are one of only a few deciduous (seasonally dropping leaves/needles) conifers (pinecone bearing trees). The needles on larch trees change colour from green to yellow and look particularly vibrant against a clear blue sky. September is…

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7 Ways You Can Volunteer in Banff National Park

Does Banff National Park hold a special place in your heart? Looking for a way to contribute to your mountain community? Consider getting your hands dirty by volunteering with the Banff National Park Volunteer Program! 7 Ways You Can Volunteer in Banff National Park Trail Reports –- let Parks Canada staff know about the conditions of your favourite mountain biking…

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Two Biologists and a Boy: Road Swimming

June in the Rockies was beyond rainy, but some people still found fun amidst the floods. Highline columnist, Niki Wilson, captures a particularly unique activity that only a kid, or kid-at-heart could enjoy. -Highline “”My nuts are freezing!”” says Dylan as he strips down beside me. I know I am supposed to say something like “the correct term is testicles,…

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Two Biologists and a Boy: When an Animal Loses Her Young

I haven’’t really seen my husband Geoff for about three days. With the snow low on the mountains animals are forced into the valley bottoms, where they’’re running into people all over the place. These “interactions” are keeping Geoff – wildlife conflict specialist with Parks Canada – pretty busy. During a ten minute cross-over at breakfast this morning he told me…

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Two Biologists and A Boy: Slowness in Spring

Spring. Green shoots of grass jut from beneath their matted, hay-like predecessors. A confused flicker jackhammers the top of a streetlight to entice a mate. From across the cul-de-sac comes Ted Baker, carrying a six-pack en route to meet Jimmy Sutton out on the back green space, three doors down. If that doesn’’t confirm a shift in seasons, the fact…

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Welcoming the Sun

The crocus stays close to the ground on sunny hillsides and slopes, often shrouded in the safety of larger plants. Keeping a warm coat of fur helps the crocus stave off the cold of brisk spring mornings. It is swift to show its spring colours after the snow has melted away. One commonality both crocuses and mountain people share is indicative of…

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A Great Loss for our Mountain Community

January 18th, 2012 – The Bow Valley was rocked by tragic news this morning, as reports trickled in that a local climber had been killed in Patagonia. According to Gripped, Carlyle Norman was climbing with Cian Brinker (uninjured) when the accident occurred.* Highline Magazine and our mountain community have lost a vibrant, energetic and tremendously caring human being. An enthusiastic climber, adventurer, yoga instructor and aspiring writer,…

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Two Biologists and A Boy: Running the Elk

Dylan and his cousin, Drew, watch from the front step as Geoff grabs the “elk stick”  – a hockey stick with multi-coloured plastic strips taped to the blade – and confidently moves toward the ornery bull elk. A member of Parks Canada’s wildlife conflict team, Geoff has a lot of experience with this sort of thing. It’’s the fall rut,…

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Bunny Bliss or Bunny Blitzkreig?

No one wants to send these little guys up to the warren in the sky, yet we’ve all seen the devastation to whole ecosystems when feral rabbits are allowed to reproduce at will. What to do?