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.
The Alaska Encounter
Bow Lake is one of Canada’s most iconic landscapes, found in the heart of Banff National Park, Alberta, in the Rocky Mountains. It’s also a critical wildlife corridor for grizzly bears – a link that helps maintain healthy populations of bears south to Montana and northward to the Yukon.
This five-year-old female grizzly, we call ‘Alaska’, is the first sow to reclaim this landscape after a multi-year absence of breeding females and offers hope for the future. More importantly, she’s an example of the resilience of nature, having overcome a genetic fur-loss disease that could have been fatal.
It’s stories like this one that will be central to our non-profit’s new Nature Labs program. We want to showcase how nature can be a real-world example of high school lessons, making it relevant to a new generation as they tackle our shared challenge of balancing people and the environment.
So, to be able to illustrate a biodiversity lesson through one image – with this backdrop – as the sun rose on another Rocky Mountain day? It makes this image one of our favourites from 2018. After all, it’s not every day you get to use a 16mm wide-angle lens and ND filter while photographing a grizzly bear (safely from our car and without disturbing our subject as she foraged).
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