April 26, 2008

Louise Towell at Deer Lake Gallery

Louise Towell, the Stream of Dreams Murals Society art director, had one of her works called Pacific Gyre Spring on display at the Deer Lake Art Gallery today.

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Posted by Paul at 06:53 PM

KINA Hosts Burnaby Cleanup

The Kingsway Imperial Neighbourhood Association hosted a successful community cleanup this morning. The politicians were out in force, including Burnaby Mayor Derrek Corrigan, BC MLA Raj Chouhan, and MP Peter Julian. Unfortunately I couldn't stick around for the entire event, but it got off to a great start with Diane Gillis of KINA and many volunteers helping out.

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Posted by Paul at 05:05 PM

April 24, 2008

Two Schools Release Fry

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers were kept hopping today, as two schools released their chum fry from Salmon in the Classroom programs.

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South Slope Elementary released their chum at 9:30 a.m.

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Kenneth Gordon kids released their fish around noon.

Posted by Paul at 06:43 PM

April 23, 2008

BC Ferries Sunset

Coming home from Victoria we had a wonderful sunset on the ferry.

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Posted by Paul at 10:07 PM

BC Achievement Awards

Several Burnabarians (as I like to call citizens of Burnaby :-) were honoured with BC Achievement Awards today.

One was Paul McDonell, a super-volunteer who is a major contributor to the Edmonds Town Centre Business & Community Association, of which I am president.

Another was Jennifer Atchison, chair of the Stoney Creek Environment Committee, a formidable streamkeeper who has done incredible work to protect and enhance that urban watershed.

The ceremony was hosted by Steven L. Point, OBC, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia at Government House, along with BC Premier Gordon Campbell.

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Jennifer with Premier Campbell (right) and MLA Harry Bloy
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Paul McDonell receiving award.

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Government House.

OK, one more shot. My wife Yumi snapped this one of (left to right) me, Zo Ann Morten of the Pacific Streamkeepers Federation, and Maurice Coulter-Boisvert, our DFO Community Advisor.

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Posted by Paul at 09:00 PM

April 22, 2008

Off to Victoria for BC Awards

Yumi and I headed off to Victoria this afternoon. I'll be representing the Edmonds Town Centre Business & Community Association at the BC Achievement Awards ceremony tomorrow, where one of our most active members, Paul McDonell, will be honoured. I know several streamkeepers will be there as well because Jennifer Atchison of the Stoney Creek Environment Committee will also get an award.

I love taking the ferry across...

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Leaving Tsawwassen.

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The carbon stack :-).

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A mess of seals and gulls had a school of fish in a frenzy in Active Pass.

Posted by Paul at 08:35 PM

Byrne Creek Chum Release With Clinton School

Students from Clinton Elementary School in south Burnaby released chum salmon fry into Byrne Creek this morning with the help of DFO and Byrne Creek Streamkeepers. This is one of my favourite annual events because the kids are so excited and happy, and it connects them a bit to nature.

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DFO's Maurice Coulter-Boisvert talks salmon.

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Kids get chum fry to release.

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My wife Yumi assists.

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Kids point and marvel as silver hatchery fry turn brown to blend into the creek.

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Chum schooling in the creek.

Posted by Paul at 08:22 PM

April 21, 2008

Trillium Graces Byrne Creek

A rare trillium has appeared in Byrne Creek Ravine Park. We usually spot only one or two of these flowers in the riparian zone each year. Apparently it is illegal to pick them in British Columbia. I see we spotted one on almost the same day last year and I posted a photo to this blog.

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We also spotted a large bumblebee checking out a dandelion.

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Posted by Paul at 08:43 PM

April 20, 2008

Choices Earth Day BBQ - Byrne Creek Tours

Choices in the Park hosted a salmon BBQ for Earth Day, and once again Byrne Creek Streamkeepers had our booth set up for the event. We also did two tours of the creek for people interested in getting out in nature and learning a bit about what streamkeepers do.

Thanks again to Choices for having donations from the BBQ this weekend and last weekend going to help efforts to keep Byrne Creek clean and habitable for all the fish and wildlife that it supports.

We presented two hand-cut, hand-painted cedar salmon to Choices CEO Mark Vickars and Choices in the Park manager Dominic Uy in appreciation of their efforts.

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Me, Dominic and Mark

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Pointing out park features on creek tour.

Posted by Paul at 05:45 PM

April 19, 2008

Byrne Creek 1 of 10 Best!

According to the Newsleader, Byrne Creek Ravine Park is one of the ten best places in Burnaby for a bag lunch and a walk! The story also mentions the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers and asks walkers to help keep the creek clean and healthy.

Posted by Paul at 06:31 PM

April 18, 2008

Burnaby Parks Volunteer Dinner

The Burnaby Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission put on its annual Volunteer Recognition Night this evening, and Yumi and I attended representing the Edmonds Town Centre Business & Community Association, of which I am president. I have had the pleasure of attending the event in the past representing Byrne Creek Streamkeepers, and the Stream of Dreams Murals Society. Tonight our table was made up of representatives from Byrne Creek, Stream of Dreams, and the City's Parks department. It was an excellent event, as always, and the food provided by the City's Deer Lake Catering was fantastic.

Posted by Paul at 10:24 PM

April 17, 2008

Streamkeepers Push For Ponds At Translink Event

A couple of Byrne Creek Streamkeepers attended a Translink workshop this evening on the BC Parkway bicycle and pedestrian trail that links Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and Surrey. Work is afoot to realign parts of the trail, provide better connections and crossings, add public amenities, etc.

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers are most interested in the parkway course through Burnaby, and in particular the section between Gilley and Griffiths just north of Rumble. We envision the addition of beautiful vegetated biofiltration swales that could intercept and treat stormwater flows before they enter Byrne Creek. The area north of the parkway in this section has a lot of light industrial and automotive businesses that historically have been problematic point sources of pollutants into the storm drain system that connects to the creek.

Our ideas appeared to receive a warm reception! Here's hoping....

Posted by Paul at 10:13 PM

Byrne Creek at Blue Cross Earth Day

A couple of Byrne Creek Streamkeepers put up a small version of our creek display at the Pacific Blue Cross Earth Day event this afternoon. It was a windy, sunny day out on the cafeteria patio and we enjoyed talking to people about the connection between roads, storm drains and creeks. People love our 3D relief map of the watershed.

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Posted by Paul at 03:03 PM

April 15, 2008

Streamkeepers, Stream of Dreams Tame Lions

Joan Carne and I spoke to the Burnaby Host Lions club this evening. I spoke about Byrne Creek Streamkeepers and Joan spoke about the Stream of Dreams Murals Society. We were warmly welcomed to dinner, and our presentations got lots of questions. The Lions generously asked if there was anything they could do for us, and are willing to bring out their rolling BBQ gear and do hot dogs and burgers, or pancake breakfasts, if we do any fund raisers. Thank you! It is community volunteers pulling together within and across organizations that make Burnaby a great place to live!

Posted by Paul at 09:18 PM

Byrne Creek Habitat Looks Like Pea Soup

The spawning channel, sediment pond and overflow pond in the Byrne Creek spawning and rearing habitat in southeast Burnaby looked like pea soup around noon today. Yumi and I had gone down hoping to ID some fry (baby fish); however, visibility was zero. The creek was clean, so the sediment was likely coming down the stormwater pipes along Southridge Dr.

Fortunately, we did not see any dead fish, but we'll watch closely for the next few days. We called the incident in to the City, and an environment officer said the situation would be investigated.

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The overflow pond.

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The sediment pond.

Yumi and I checked several areas up the hill along Southridge Dr. but did not spot any smoking guns. Hope the City has better luck.

Posted by Paul at 01:57 PM

April 12, 2008

Choices - Byrne Creek BBQ Huge Success

The Choices BBQ today was an overwhelming success. I don't know how much money was donated by people today that will go to Byrne Creek Streamkeepers, but I imagine it must be several hundred dollars. We had a constant flow of people all day long. Choices also provided seven gorgeous gift baskets for prize draws along with several gift certificates.

The staff were incredibly responsive and did special orders on the BBQ for vegetarians or people who wanted chicken instead of beef, in addition to the burgers, European wieners, and bacon... Oh yes, there was also an apparently endless river of chocolate cake!

I was blown away. Thank you Choices managers and staff!

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Setting up for the event -- it was a gorgeous day.

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Prize baskets.

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A happy winner receives her basket.

Join us for more fun tomorrow! Pancake breakfast from 9:00-11:00 and another BBQ from 12:00-3:00. Food and drinks by donation, with donations supporting the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers. Come and learn about Byrne Creek and streamkeeper activities. Our bug team will be doing a bug count of samples collected from the creek at the Choices site from around 10:00.

We will be back at Choices for an Earth Day event on April 20 from 12:00-4:00. Streamkeepers will lead tours of the beautiful ravine park and Byrne Creek starting from Choices at 12:30 and at 2:00.

Posted by Paul at 09:52 PM

April 10, 2008

Burnaby Mayor Speaks to Board of Trade

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan delivered an update on the state of the City at a Burnaby Board of Trade luncheon today at Eagle Creek Restaurant at the beautiful Burnaby Mountain Golf Course. The event was sold out and the mayor delivered another of his uplifting speeches on economic, social, and environmental sustainability in the city. I enjoyed speaking with City staff and councilors. The mayor's address is available here.

Posted by Paul at 06:38 PM

April 09, 2008

Choices Weekend Celebration Benefits Streamkeepers

Choices Markets is putting on a breakfast and two BBQs this coming weekend, and Byrne Creek Streamkeepers are thrilled that donations from the events will support their efforts to restore and maintain the watershed. Wow!

The Choices location near Byrne Creek is on the park side of Edmonds Skytrain Station in southeast Burnaby.

BBQ at the Park: Saturday, April 12, 12:00 - 3:00
Breakfast at the Park: Sunday, April 13, 9:00 - 11:00
BBQ at the Park: Sunday, April 13, 12:00 - 3:00

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers will also have their booth set up at Choices in the Park for an Earth Day event on Sunday, April 20 from 12:00 - 4:00. Streamkeers will be offering tours of the creek and ravine park.

Posted by Paul at 08:01 PM

April 05, 2008

We Miss You, Mom

Today is the first anniversary of my Mom's passing. It's hard to believe it's been a year already for she is still everywhere in my life, and will forever be in my heart.

Previous entries:

Initial announcement

Language Lanterns carries on

Obituary

Love of kids and teaching

My Royal Roads MA graduation -- she was a huge supporter

Posthumous UCC Nation Builder's Award

My citation for Mom's UCC award

Thanks for everything, Mom. Love, Paul.

Posted by Paul at 08:32 PM

April 03, 2008

Computer Disintegrating?

Strange things have been happening with my main work computer. The first sign of trouble with the Windows XP machine was when I became suspicious of louder than normal seeking noises from the hard drive and ran a CHKDSK on it a few weeks ago. The scan found a corrupted file which it proceeded to "repair," resulting in all the dates in my Palm calendar disappearing. Fortunately I synch with the Palm fairly often, so I reinstalled the Palm Desktop and synched back 99% of my schedule.

Then a few days ago Eudora froze while going through email and while trying to shut it down, XP crashed completely. When I rebooted, the computer would get to a point in the boot cycle and fail, going into endless rebooting loops. Oh-oh!

I used the XP install disc to boot into the Recovery Console and ran CHKDSK with the /R (repair) parameter. Once it finished, the computer booted OK, but very slowly. It also appears there are problems with the sound driver and that USB 2.0 ports have dropped to USB 1.1 speeds.

I backed up the hard drive and have been using the machine for a couple of days, but am worried about its flaky condition. While the HD is no longer chattering, I get the sense that it is likely going south, and perhaps there are issues with the motherboard as well, so it appears shopping for a new computer may be in order. In the meantime, I'm backing up My Documents and my email daily to a second internal hard drive, and every couple of days to an external drive as well.

Technology is great, but it also sucks when it takes up hours of your time fixing it. I wonder how many hours I've put in over the years replacing defunct hard drives and reinstalling software and restoring data? I've dealt with toasted hard drives at least three or four times for our own machines, and twice for family members.

So remember, it's not IF your hard drive will die some day, it's WHEN it will die. Some people are lucky and go years and years without encountering such problems, but my experience indicates that after three to five years of intensive use, HDs start developing Alzheimer's. Multiply that over four or five computers in our house/office and that's a major meltdown once every year or so.

Backup, backup, backup!

Posted by Paul at 10:41 PM

April 02, 2008

More Fry, Oil, Flicker in Byrne Creek

Yumi and I spotted more fry in Byrne Creek today, along with a flicker in the ravine park, but were dismayed by the amount of oil accumulating in the sediment pond.

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Salmon fry in the sediment pond

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Blue and purple oily sheen on water surface

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I think this is a common flicker of the red-shafted race.

Posted by Paul at 07:15 PM