October 2002

Upper Kananaskis Lake - Click to Learn More

 

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The Western Naturalist
Ward Cameron Enterprises' Online Newsletter
November 2002 - (Volume 1 - Issue 1)
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In this issue:

Welcome
In the News
Nature Forecast
Wildlife Safari
Questions & Answers
Marketing Magic
Special Promotion

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Welcome
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Welcome to The Western Naturalist, Ward Cameron Enterprises'  online newsletter. This newsletter is brought to you by MountainNature.com, the Field Guide for the Next Millennium. It is intended to keep you up to date This newsletter is in addition to the Rocky Mountain Nature Forecast for which you are already subscribed. Each issue has a unique promotion that we encourage you to take advantage of. We welcome all feedback and suggestions. While the Nature Forecast will come to you monthly, this enlarged publication will be sent on a quarterly basis with occasional updates in between.

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In the News
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MountainNature.com wins Back-to-Back Awards

On October 24, Interpretation Canada (www.interpcan.ca), the national association of park, museum and private sector interpreters, presented its 2001 Awards for Excellence in Interpretation. MountainNature.com won the Gold Award in the web site category. The Silver Award was presented to Jasper National Park (www.worldweb.com/parkscanada-jasper) for its Online Virtual Tour and the Canadian Museum of Civilization (www.civilizations.ca) takes bronze for Resonance, an Interpretive Planner.

The following evening, MountainNature.com was again honoured, this time at the Banff National Park Heritage Tourism Awards. This annual event celebrates those local companies that best represent the goals of the Heritage Tourism Strategy. The award was in the "Best Heritage Advertisement" category. Beth Russell-Towe presented the award. Here is what she said: "Ward Cameron combined a personal legacy as guide, author and designer into an outstanding virtual web-site which combined quality interpretation and international reach."

Learn more at http://www.MountainNature.com/news

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Nature Forecast
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This month mixes romance with long naps. Bighorn sheep, mule deer, white-tail deer, and several fish species wait until late autumn to reproduce. While all of this is taking place around them, black and grizzly bears seem oblivious as they head into their dens. The clear night skies make for great stargazing and aurora watching.

Time to Bang Heads

In November, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep feel the pull of the ages and the pressure to reproduce. The crashing sound as the horns of two different rams collide carries on the airwaves for great distances. As two rams prepare for battle, they size each other up, threaten, pretend to attack, or raise their heads high to look eye to eye with their challenger. The bluff and bluster leads to the main event, the crashing of horns. Prior to contact, each ram rears up on his hind legs, drops his head, and attacks, putting their entire weight behind their horns.

While it would seem that such impacts would cause lasting damage, sheep have a skull design that includes large sinuses (cavities) within their skull to help take some of the impact and cushion the force. These cavities have flexible bone connections as well, allowing for sufficient movement to absorb the shock.

Bed Time For Bruin

Now that November has arrived, the last black and grizzly bears are heading into their winter dens. Some bears are still active though and are attracted into townsites by easily available food sources like pet food and bird feeders. Be sure to wait until at least mid-November to put out your feeders and keep all pet food indoors.

The denning behaviour of bears seems to have evolved as a response to a food shortages, rather than as protection against the weather. Once they enter the den and fall into a deep sleep, their pulse rate drops to 8 to 10 per minute and their body temperature drops slightly (32-35ļC). While in the den, they don't eat, urinate or defecate. Grizzly dens are usually excavated in hillsides at higher elevations, while black bears often excavate their den under the roots of trees.

Fish Spawning

During November, brown and brook trout spawn, and at the same time mountain whitefish will spawn until early December. Both brook trout and brown trout have been introduced to the Rockies. In many creeks, they have been out competing native trout like the endangered bull trout. Numerous conservation efforts are attempting to help bull trout populations rebound. For anglers, there is a zero possession limit. Anglers can be heard to quote the mantra "no black, put it back". Bull trout have no black lines or spots on their bodies and dorsal fins. While bull trout spawn between late-August and mid-October, brook and brown trout spawn somewhat later.

Mountain whitefish are bottom feeders that can be found in a variety of Rocky Mountain lakes including Lake Louise, Bow Lake, Pyramid Lake and Lake Minnewanka.

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Join Us On A Wildlife Safari
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Join an expert naturalist in an exploration of the secret world of wildlife. In addition to searching for wildlife, our presentation shows you trees that have been climbed by bears (leaving permanent scars), active nests of eagles and ospreys, and fields frequented by elk and wolves. Our portable museum combines field observation with fossils, artifacts, guide books, and telescopes to provide a truly unique learning experience.

The magic of this workshop is its compelling mix of possibility mixed with tangible experiences. Expert guides take you behind the scenes, highlghting current trends in research. Through the work of researchers and biologists, we are finding better ways to coexist with the local wildlife?

This is no ordinary tour! While we cannot guarantee you'll see wildlife, you WILL see more than just fabulous views. This tour can be customized to meet your needs. Why not combine a half-day wildlife safari with a guided nature hike? Ward Cameron Enterprises is dedicated to bringing the wildlife to you. Learn more at http://www.WardCameron.com/guiding

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Questions and Answers
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Q:      Can a web site help preserve a resource?

A:      As more and more real estate developers cast longing glances at the Rockies, more pressure falls upon scientists. Unfortunately, these same scientists are drowning under shrinking budgets and an ever-present lack of resources (financial and otherwise). At the same time, we have millions of people passing through the mountains every year. If we can record even a few of these visitorís experiences, and then make this information available to scientists, than perhaps we can help bridge the money gap. MountainNature.com allows you to record your sightings into a searchable database. These records can later be made available to researchers studying and working to protect our wild places.

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Marketing Magic ― Building Bridges
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Tourism operators need to see the value of building  bridges within our industry. While so much of our life is focused on competition, cooperation opens far more doors. Initiatives like the 2002 United Nations International Year of Mountains and the 2003 International Year of Fresh Water have brought more than 100 public and private sector partners together to help celebrate these key initiatives. While many of these companies are stiff competitors outside of these initiatives, they have been brought together by the common goal of raising awareness and aiding conservation. The members of these panels also have the opportunity to network and build long-lasting relationships. Think of initiatives like these as an ability to give a little back while also providing networking opportunities.

Look for other opportunities to combine your efforts with those of your competitors. The world is shrinking and your clients and visitors have far more options available to them than just a few years ago. First, you must convince potential visitors to select your geographic location. Then you can sell them on your particular offering. Why not put together a marketing cooperative with other local operators? Can you co-brand a new product that you develop jointly?

If you still can't see yourself working with your competitors, why not look to companies that offer complementary services? Are there ways that you can combine your resources to create something new and exciting? Perhaps you can collaborate with operators that do not compete within your local market. In fact, you may be able to share clients and recommend each others products. The possibilities are endless.

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SPECIAL PROMOTION
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Discover New Ways To Take Your Message To A Much Wider Audience

Ward Cameron is the author of three books on western Canada and the cybernaturalist behind MountainNature.com. Let him show you new and innovative ways to take your interpretive message and bring it to a wider audience. By thinking big and getting creative, you can find new markets and outlets for your interpretive messages. Ward will give you ingenious ways to have your message explode through park boundaries (or museum walls) to visit your message on the world. After all, itís all about sharing the stories. Book your presentation today at http://www.WardCameron.com/speaking

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All material copyright Ward Cameron 2002