Exploration Archives | West Wind Hardwood

Fall Photos and Some Family History

Thanks for all the wonderful photos we received for the contest last month!

Of particular interest from one of our photo submitters in Whitehorse, Yukon is his bit of family history:

Sure would like those seeds as I am a bit of a gardener.  For your information, I have a great great  Uncle Drummond, a naturalist, who was returning from Yellow Head Pass [BC/ Alberta], in 1827 and met up with David Douglas [the botanical collector who was bring back the seeds of the Douglas fir tree] on their return trip UK. The two of them just about drowned in a small boat swept out 70 miles into Hudson Bay.

My uncle left the main group and entered the Jasper area via the Hudson Bay Co. fur brigade’s trade canoes, collecting his specimens on route of bird, insect and four legged animals as a naturalist would. He preserved them in duplicate for his return trip to England just in case he had a mishap on route. And he had plenty of both, specimens and mishaps while spending two and half years of adventure in Canada.

Incidentally, my uncle, a civilian, was invited on the 2nd land exploration to the Polar Sea [Arctic] led by British naval officer [Sir] John Franklin. He is in the news lately as they found his two ships in the Arctic from his 1845 expedition.    My uncle was on a successful and well planned trip, whereas Franklin’s 1st exploration expedition [fortunately for my uncle] half the members died of starvation and the survivors only managed with the help of local natives.

Get Lost in a Forest

Get Lost in a Forest

Sometimes you just don’t know how important something is until it’s gone, or until you go somewhere that doesn’t have it.  Travel is that way.   Much can be learned by watching the land from the window of an airplane, train, or car. It opens the eyes; gives one pause to say, ‘Wow, I had no idea’.  Forests can be that way too.

But what is a forest?  The food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines forest land as an area where the tree canopy covers more than 10% of the total area and the trees, when mature, can grow to a height of more than 15 feet.  It does not include land that is predominantly urban or used for agricultural purposes.  And land that temporarily has no trees can still be considered forest when the disturbance is known to be temporary and trees are expected to grow back soon (i.e., after harvesting). Naturally caused additions/removals of tree cover (i.e., fire or pests) are included.

Stats…well, they can be manipulated any which way but here I go.  Forested area: (as of 2010) Denmark has 12.8%, the UK has 11.9%, Australia has 19.4%, Germany has 31.8% and Canada has a whopping 42%.

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Photos by Jan Nielsen – December 2011 – Denmark
Notice the farmer has tilled around the mound of trees; I am told most of these mounds reflect Viking burials (Left)
Beech Tree Forest with Jan’s Cousin/Wife and Me (Shelley) (Right)

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Australia: My Country

Australia: My Country

“I love a sunburnt country,

A land of sweeping plains,

Of ragged mountain ranges,

Of droughts and flooding plains”


by Dorothea Mackellar Originally titled “Core of my Heart”

 

Australia may not be ‘my’ country but my youngest daughter lives there, and her heart is in Australia.  Nor was Australia on my ‘bucket list’ prior to her relocation but having just spent 4-weeks enjoying Western Australia, I know I’ve left something behind and I’ll be back, no question!

Jan read Bill Bryson’s book “In a Sunburned Country”; I’ve just finished it.  It’s apparent we are in awe of this country.  So little is known; so much yet to explore; so many wondrous things to experience.  Absolutely loved the dry heat!  Let me say unequivocally, “moss doesn’t grow there” and I’m a Vancouver girl – born and bred.

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From There And Back

A Journey by John and Phyllis Wrobel

On December 3, we embarked on our journey to South America aboard the Golden Princess leaving from Los Angeles (temp 64F).

Cabo San Lucas, Puntarenas and Peru all shared desert dunes, high humidity and throngs of people selling everything on the streets.  Alpaca clothing was popular in South America.  Four stops in Chile gave us time to enjoy the lush regions, historic sites, local markets and the Casablanca Valley wine region. Read more