Nature is complex and its best stories are often hidden, but if you have the willingness to explore and the patience to observe, the tales that you will learn are amongst the best you can tell.
Join us for a one-of-a-kind, upbeat and fun, private excursion with two of Canada’s leading storytellers into the heart of Canada’s Rocky Mountains. Intimate and tailored field trips are built around your experience, interests and time, and will provide you with an unparalleled opportunity to observe and document elusive wildlife making a living in one of the most specular landscapes in the world.
At Ghost Bear, we’ve witnessed first hand the difference one image or one photo essay can make in helping rally the world to give a voice to an issue that does not have one. For this reason, storytelling is central to all that we do, for we believe it is the single most powerful tool available to inspire, provoke and propel critical thinking and thoughtful conversations – the foundation of fostering a better balance for all life.
We want to instil in you a love for storytelling and fortify your knowledge of both how to better document what you see and how to expertly weave your journey together to share with the world. Indeed, storytelling is more than just photography or filmmaking – it’s about taking the time to really understand the context of a scene and making that one moment live forever as a source of inspiration and provocation. It’s this act that, when done responsibly and with purpose, makes photography such a powerful lens through which to reconnect with nature.
During every hike and drive, with every encounter and vista view, we will also learn about the ecology of the region, the stories of its inhabitants and the issues that impact their future. Our goal? Leave you with lasting memories and impactful tales that can inform inspiring stories to motivate your social network to better appreciate and understand the importance of nature in our world.
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A great introduction to wildlife ecology through the photographic storytelling lens, a half-day session is perfect for someone on a tight timeline while visiting the Rockies. Together, we’ll cover core techniques used to learn from and document wildlife behaviour, while we search two or three hotspots that will give you the best odds of coming away with a great story to share. By the end of our trip, the goal will be to equip you with a better understanding of the Rocky Mountain ecosystem, how to respectfully observe the animals that call it home and what role you can play in telling the region’s stories.
From dawn to dusk, we’ll extensively cover the Rocky Mountain landscape – focusing learning around a specific species or taking a more general approach, based on your interests. And with our local knowledge, we’ll work to provide you with the best odds of having unique, quality experiences in nature and with wildlife during our limited time together. In addition to exploring different eco-regions on foot and by car, we will leave you with new techniques to find, learn from and document wildlife in this wilderness and a sense of what personal stewardship means. We will work hard to grow your knowledge base with the stories of the animals that call this region home and the issues that affect them so to enable you to do more than capture nice photographs, but to also become a stronger, relevant and authentic storyteller.
With each added day that we spend together, your experience in the Canadian Rockies will become more profound, giving us the chance to give you fully immersive experience in the landscape and with the animals that call it home. We will focus learning around for multiple, hard-to-find species and work to showcase their unique behaviour and stories. And by covering multiple eco-regions, numerous back roads and rarely used trails, you’ll have a strong sense of the relationship between people, animals and their environment. We will also provide you with a detailed understanding of the ecology, behaviour and movements of the wildlife we see on the landscape, ensuring that your images become stories and that your stories have meaning. While in the field, we’ll also spend time discussing techniques to better enable you to share your story – from image post-processing to social media strategies to effective advocacy.
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Ghost Bear field trips do not include travel, meals and accommodation. However, we would be more than happy to provide you with recommendations.
Educators receive 25% off!
Spring (late April – early June): The birth of a new season brings renewal to the Rockies. Spring is best for grizzlies, as snow at higher elevations brings the bears down into the lower valleys and offers the chance to witness unique behaviour. It’s also a time when many animals are giving birth, providing a rare glimpse into predators and prey at work.
Summer (late June – August): The warmth of summer brings out wildflowers, cloudscapes and magic light that make it an ideal time to understand wildlife within the context of their landscape. During berry season, bears are omnipresent and throughout the summer, ungulates frequently linger near water.
Fall (September – early November): As the colours of fall take hold of the Rockies, ungulates take centre stage. Moose and deer are common sights and the elk rut transports you, seemingly, into a land before time. Dramatic behaviour, beautiful coats and large antlers make this one of the best seasons of the year.
Winter (December – mid March): With few people and no bugs, it’s hard to beat winter – even with the potential for arctic-like temperatures. The snowy season transforms the mountains and brings wildlife into the lower valleys in search of food, offering the best chance at finding the more elusive creatures: wolves, martens and otters.
Simon has worked with, and on behalf of, wildlife for more than 25 years. Jill was a high school teacher for a decade and has led acclaimed field trips around the world. Together, they have spent nearly ten years immersed in the Canadian wilderness, documenting the stories of animals that call this landscape home and working to inspire a new generation to find a better balance between people and nature.
Bridging their skills as naturalists, advocates, educators and photographers, Simon and Jill offer storytelling and education-focused field excursions into the place of their hearts and aim to create experiences that inspire curiosity and instill a deeper appreciation for nature.
Learn more about Simon and Jill and the work you’re supporting.
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1. Wildlife is unpredictable. There are no guarantees. That said, based on your interests, we will work as hard as we can to help you learn about and find unique animals, drawing on our knowledge of the region, our understanding of wildlife behaviour and our analysis of all information available.
2. We will not be able to provide you with a specific itinerary for our time together in the field, beyond when you wish to start and finish and what you hope to cover. Weather, animal movements and other factors that influence wildlife patterns will determine where we go on a given day.
3. In order to best experience the Rockies, we recommend pre-dawn start times that will vary based on the distance of your accommodation to the wildlife hotspots. Depending on your interest, our trips might include extensive driving or prolonged waiting and though you will always have the ability to make the final decision, we do ask that you trust our knowledge of the region.
4. Given the size of the landscape and the unpredictable nature of wildlife, we promise to clearly communicate our thinking and give you multiple choices about how and where we can spend our time at various junctures while in the field together. We hope this gives you the chance to choose your own adventure, informed by our expert recommendations.
5. We will never take any risks that might endanger you. Changing mountain weather might limit some driving or walking options in the field and if we are out of the car, we will carry bear spray at all times. If you wish to go for a walk on your own, we will provide you with bear spray and an understanding of how to use it. Declining bear spay is not an option.
6. The majority of wildlife encounters in the Canadian Rockies will be from the vehicle as animals are frequently closer than 100 metres to the road. This means respectfully observing wildlife from the window with the doors closed (even if others are out of their cars). Vehicles are often the best wildlife blinds and help prevent scaring the animal away, bettering the odds of witnessing unique behaviour.
7. We will always endeavour to help you capture the best story from our time in the field, but equally we will always follow rules and regulations. If an official tells us to move on, we will move on; if a no-stopping zone is in place, we won’t stop for an animal within it. Rules are put in place to keep both visitors and animals safe.
8. We will not endanger wildlife at any time, for any reason. We have been mentored by wildlife behavioural specialists and will use this knowledge to assess the subtle signs an animal offers to understand its comfort with the encounter. If we feel an animal is stressed or is failing to act naturally, we will move on. Animal safety comes first; viewing animals comes second.
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