2018 was a whirlwind. Meetings. Pitches. Travel. Learning to do audio on YouTube. Turning our apartment into a wall-to-wall Post-it note storyboard. You see, we’re trying to create the first prototype of Nature Labs by fall 2019 and, as a result, we had fewer days in the field than ever before. Yet 2018 was good to us. We made our time in the Rocky Mountains count like never before, narrowing our search to specific individuals and landscapes we’ve come to know well while working to create the stories that will underpin Nature Labs.
In order of date, please enjoy a behind the scenes look at the making of Nature Labs and what became our top wildlife encounters from 2018.
Fox kits first day out of den
Spoiler alert: the red fox is one of our three featured animal stories that will help students navigate their way through the Nature Labs platform. We have been fortunate to document remarkable fox stories from coast to coast in Canada, but we’ve always been missing one key part of the fox life cycle: a kit’s first day out of the den.
This year, we put almost a month of work into monitoring fox dens, including families we have documented over the years. Finally, one afternoon in early May, we were rewarded with the sight of kits emerging from the den for the first time. Their size? Smaller than a human forearm.
When the red fox is born, they actually have grey fur and blue eyes, but these features only last for a few weeks. To be able to show the growth of a kit in a very short period of time is absolutely critical to the stories we’re building. And from a citizen science point of view, it was also incredible to watch as the kits quickly acclimatized to their new environment after only few nudges from the vixen, their mother.
Indeed, watching a new life emerge into the world was not only a highlight of 2018, but one of our all time highlights in the field.
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