Digging it

Really digging it. And no stone left unturned. A little more detail this week to follow up on last week. This one is a bit preachy – that’s a heads up, not an apology…

Digging it

The students I was with were really digging being scientists. From a plankton tow, to measuring sea salinity and water temperatures, to searching for intertidal wildlife, the young ones showed they really, really care about the place they live, even if some of the creatures they were looking for can’t easily be seen with the naked eye.

Sooo cute?! I think so…

Plankton! Phytoplankton! Zooplankton! These little plants and critters are sooo cute (not my words, but I understand the sentiment) and utterly astonishing when viewed under a microscope. We all – quite rightly – get alarmed by the rate at which forests are clear cut, slashed and burned, and generally mistreated in the name of resource extraction, worried that these acts of destruction are steadily ruining the “lungs” of the planet. Last week, students learned from their instructors that forests contribute approximately one third of the Earth’s oxygen. The other two thirds? Yup, you guessed it, from marine plants, and particularly or significantly from phytoplankton. The larger lung of the planet, absorbing carbon and producing oxygen, the all important base of the aquatic food chain, these tiny plants perform a mighty task. Good thing we’re being so kind to the oceans…

On the ocean, in the ocean

Students enjoyed seeing aquatic life through microscopes, in laboratory touch tanks, and even better, out on and in the ocean waters. By exploring, seeing, touching, drawing, identifying and naming a variety of marine life, the students came to care (more) about their local environment, and see how what is local and necessary for them is also local and necessary for everywhere else and everything else.

Think green, go on, dive right in

These young ones, they see the connections, can follow a line from the smallest creatures to the largest, from the bottom of the ocean floor to the high edge of our atmospheric envelope. Lofty stuff, and here’s hoping their caring example is enough to maintain, restore and protect our precious planet. Forget about the childish adults denying a climate crisis and belittling those (young and old) who care to hear the truth of science and dare to suggest solutions. Instead, aim to support the next generation of scientists and activists, the young people inheriting our woeful environmental legacy, and hope for them that they have enough time to act to secure a sustainable future.

Passing through, like we all are…

Plankton! Zooplankton! Phytoplankton! Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

13 thoughts on “Digging it”

  1. Oh how I enjoyed this inspiring post, pc. I have enjoyed hearing about this fantastic adventure and the world that you have opened up to these young people. Loved that photo of the green seaweed. Great lesson about the “larger lung of the planet.” I am especially grateful that you are out there in the world teaching, listening, encouraging, and having patience with this new generation, for we need them so desperately to save our planet. Fantastic post, my friend. Thank you and keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jet! The young ones know what is going on, and it’s to their credit they don’t see the environmental situation as hopeless. My “work” is pretty easy – I open the doors, but it’s up to the youth to step through, and they mostly do. Why wouldn’t they, living where they are, it really is beautiful out here!
      I hope your week is off to a great start!


    1. Thanks, Jane! These young ones care, and they want to do as much as they can to preserve and improve the health of the planet – with a focus on oceans, as this is their immediate environment.
      I hope your week is off to a good start – apart from the snow?!


      1. It never stayed here in Edmonton, just a few ominous flakes. My friends visited lake O’Hara and were hiking the last day in eight inches of snow. Going through Cochrane they witnessed ten inches.


    1. Thanks, Walt. If these young ones remain engaged and active, and their peers also participate, maybe there’s cause for some hope…
      Enjoy your week, and I hope you’re finding time to fish your favourite streams in some fine fall weather!


  2. What a wonderful post to follow-up on the recent climate protests inspired by the youth around the world! Difficult to imagine that all adults were not impressed by the their knowledge and commitment to protecting our planet’s future. I was impressed with all the youngsters being interviewed during the protest and about the enthusiasm of your students “digging being scientists” and connecting with the environment. Climate change issues have been on my rant list lately and the weekly reports about the continuing damage are getting scarier and I appreciated you sharing this valuable science lesson (it’s always good for us old folks to have a refresher). Fantastic post and photos and hope you enjoyed the weekend!


    1. Thank you! It’s a delight learning alongside this current bunch of students, helped by being in a pretty spectacular place. They treasure where they live, and if they and their peers continue to be engaged, maybe there’s some hope in the face of some very frightening environmental reports…
      Everton did as expected – I didn’t watch the game, but accounts seem to say they played better than in recent matches. A couple of wins would be good, as nagging thoughts of a relegation struggle start to emerge – even this early in the season!
      I hope your week is off to a good start.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice! Thanks for being a mentor, Adam. This post put me in mind of Stienbeck’s friend “Doc,” the Marine biologist who gets the literary treatment in Cannery Row. A bit off topic perhaps, but that’s how the old gray matter works.


    1. Thanks, Bob. I’m guilty of not reading any Steinbeck, a situation put right by placing Cannery Row on my library wait list. Thanks for the nudge! Looking forward to it, and a collection of short stories also on hold…
      Have a great week!


    1. Thanks, Jane! My “work” is pretty easy out here, in a beautiful place that encourages all to appreciate the planet. These young ones care, and if enough of them do, then perhaps there’s some hope for their future…
      Have a good week!

      Liked by 1 person

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