April 27, 2010

EPA Proposes 90% Onsite Rainwater Retention for Washington, DC

(PHILADELPHIA) April 21, 2010 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced plans to require green roofs, rain barrels and other measures that capture runoff at new and redeveloped buildings in the District of Columbia. This makes Washington a test case for an ambitious effort to stop pollution from flowing into rivers along with the rain.

The proposed permit for the District's storm-sewer system would require developers to trap 90 percent of the water that falls on a property during a rainstorm.

Posted by Paul at 01:02 PM

April 25, 2010

Corona, Birds on Boundary Bay

Spent a lovely Sunday afternoon down in Tsawassen on Boundary Bay.


Driftwood on the beach


An amazing corona around the sun


Yumi examining the wee creatures


Blackbird taking off



A wren of some sort - marsh?


Heron in flight

These birds are so cool. They seem to come from another
era, with their ungainly flight and raucous vocalizations.
But they are very efficient stalkers and killers, as they have
to be to survive.

When I startle a heron, I often feel a "velociraptor" chill down
my spine, and I'm happy that in this stage or our evolutions, I'm
a lot bigger than they are  :-).

Posted by Paul at 08:31 PM

April 23, 2010

Edmonds Clean Sweep May 1, 2010 – Come make a difference!

The Edmonds Business & Community Association will hold its regular spring neighbourhood Clean Sweep from 9:45 to noon on Saturday, May 1.

Everyone is welcome to join in -- families, individuals and community groups! Help make our neighbourhood cleaner, safer, and more attractive.

Equipment provided, along with refreshments.

Meet at the Eastburn Community Centre, 7435 Edmonds Street, Burnaby.

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers will be participating with an alternate signup site at Edmonds Sktytrain Station, and will lead a cleanup of the southwest Edmonds area, including removal of invasive plant species from Byrne Creek Ravine Park.

Edmonds logo


Posted by Paul at 11:44 AM

April 22, 2010

Clinton School Releases ‘Salmon in the Classroom’ Fry in Byrne

Clinton Elementary School kids in SE Burnaby released their "Salmonids in the Classroom" chum fry into Byrne Creek today. My wife Yumi and I accompanied them, representing the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers. It was a gorgeous Earth Day!

Thank you to teacher Elaine Jaltema who had the kids very well organized. She also had a slew of additional science and observation activities lined up, so the kids were testing water temperature, pH, etc.


Getting everyone organized up near Ron McLean Park before
heading down into the ravine


Kids release the chum fry they raised in their classroom


A budding scientist records data

Posted by Paul at 02:43 PM

April 20, 2010

Chum Fry Released in Burnaby South Slope Creeks

Kids from Suncrest Elementary helped Kaymar Creek Streamkeepers, the City of Burnaby, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans release chum fry (babies) in to Kaymar Creek in southwest Burnaby this morning, followed by a release with kids from Nelson Elementary into Byrne Creek in southeast Burnaby.


DFO Community Advisor Maurice Coulter-Boisvert speaks to kids


Kids release fry into Kaymar Creek


Maurice speaks to kids at Byrne Creek. These fry will
help repopulate the creek after someone poured a
cleanser down a street drain on March 4, killing all
aquatic life


Holding a bag of chum fry


DFO, City of Burnaby staff and streamkeepers fill bags of fish


Bon voyage! With luck a few of these chum will survive
their trip down Byrne Creek to the Fraser River, down
the Fraser to the Pacific Ocean, and will return to spawn
in the creek in a few years.

Posted by Paul at 03:16 PM

Spinning Garbage into Gold – Burnaby Board of Trade

An Innovative New Business Model for Managing Waste




The Burnaby Board of Trade is hosting a unique event which will showcase a fundamentally different approach to waste that can actually generate a dividend, if this model is adopted. Integrated Resource Management (IRM) is based on existing and well-proven technologies that require no lifestyle changes in order to achieve local energy generation, increased jobs and significant contributions to meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Chris Corps of Asset Strategies has pioneered the IRM approach and is now advocating amendments to Provincial policy, so change can occur. Chris' recommendations are based on an IRM pilot study his team is now completing on behalf of Metro Vancouver for the Lower Mainland. Chris will talk about the implications of IRM, as well as how businesses and Governments can benefit from both the adoption of the model and related changes to fiscal accountability.

Pricing & Registration:

Don't miss this exclusive opportunity to hear from a thought-leader in environmental innovation. Tickets are $35 (plus GST) for Members and $45 (plus GST) for non-Members.  Cash bar and light appetizers will be provided.

To purchase tickets call 604.412.0100. For more information email admin@bbot.ca

Posted by Paul at 02:44 PM

April 18, 2010

Byrne Creek Bee, Bugs, Turtles

A creek patrol along Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby this afternoon turned into a fotofest of wildlife. Yumi and I were happy to see a small school of chum salmon fry that had been released into the creek by schoolkids a few days earlier. We also saw at least a dozen trout in pools, and a lamprey, so the creek is slowly coming back to life and being repopulated after a toxin poured down a drain wiped out the creek at the beginning of March.

The single red-eared slider turtle that's been hanging around the pond in the habitat for a couple of years now has been joined by another one. While we love wildlife, and have a turtle pet of our own, this species is not native to BC. It appears the second one is also a slider, though it was so covered with baked on mud that it was hard to tell. Please, don't dump your pets into the wild!


A red-eared slider basking near a Byrne Creek pond


Unfortunately, it's now got a buddy! While the red marks are
hard to see in this photo, magnification does reveal some
bronzing under the baked on mud.





A couple of ladybugs with different patterns


The first millipede we've seen this spring

Posted by Paul at 06:33 PM

Fraser Foreshore Wildlife

An amble along the waterfront in Burnaby's Fraser Foreshore Park from the parking lot at the bottom of Byrne Road to Byrne Creek and back produced a few wildlife shots.


An inquisitive chickadee


A statuesque heron


A startled garter snake that slithered into a pond


An enlargement - you can see how it flattens its body to
propel itself in the water at amazing speed

Posted by Paul at 06:11 PM

April 17, 2010

Starting them Young

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers had our booth set up at Choices in the Park for the store's Earth Day celebration this afternoon. There was a by-donation BBQ, with proceeds generously being donated to care for Byrne Creek. Thanks!

We offered a tour of the creek, but the only takers on the cloudy, drizzly day were half-a-dozen 4-6 year olds from a nearby daycare and their parents, so the pace was slow. But  I was amazed by the kids - over the course of 2 - 1/2 hours they trundled through the entire ravine loop with nary a complaint, asking lots of questions along the way, and it seemed that all involved really enjoyed the tour.

The daycare teacher was great -- she encouraged the kids to try climbing a low tree (one at a time with helping hands nearby), get their fingers dirty looking at rocks and plants, etc. She was determined to be raising a bunch of nature-loving future streamkeepers!




Posted by Paul at 07:47 PM

April 16, 2010

Celebrate Earth Day with Streamkeepers at Choices in the Park

Come celebrate Earth Day at Choices in the Park near the Edmonds Skytrain Station tomorrow, Saturday, April 17 from noon to 4pm. Enviro-friendly foods & products on display/sale. Streamkeepers will have a display and will offer tours of Byrne Creek at 12:30pm and at 2:00pm. BBQ by donation, with proceeds to support healthy creeks.

Posted by Paul at 02:27 PM

South Slope Releases Chum in Byrne Creek

A class from South Slope Elementary School in south Burnaby released its "Salmon in the Classroom" chum fry into Byrne Creek this morning. As far as I know, these are the only fry in the system at the moment, everything else having been killed by a toxic spill into a storm drain in early March. Thank you very much to Gary Thompson, his intern Eva, the parents who drove the kids, and of course the kids themselves!


Posted by Paul at 12:59 PM

April 14, 2010

Dew Blesses Morning Blossoms

More cherry blossom photos and a few tulips from our balcony this lovely morning.











Posted by Paul at 09:48 AM

April 12, 2010

Physical Activity Too Far Down the Priority List for Most of Us

The other day there was an article in the newspaper about exercise. Something about women needing to vigorously work out at least an hour a day to stay fit and healthy. It included quotations on the "impossibility" of taking an hour a day to exercise in the modern world.


Our bodies have not changed much in hundreds or thousands of years. Sure, we've grown in stature and especially in weight, but our basic physiology has not developed much. If anything, I would say that the average person has become physically weaker, albeit longer-lived due to medical and sanitary advances.  If you doubt me, try growing and raising all of your food with your own manual labor, building your own shelter, washing your clothes by hand, etc. 

Humans didn't have to work out not too long ago because hard physical labour day in and day out was par for the course for the vast majority of us.

Now people complain because after they've microwaved dinner and dropped the dishes in the dishwasher they have to work out.

I've been slowed by lower back problems for the last couple of weeks, but that hasn't dented my appetite, and in this modern world, my easy access to copious amounts of food. Result? Nearly a five-pound gain per week.  Sure glad I'm starting to walk more again!

Posted by Paul at 10:17 PM

April 11, 2010

Happy to Find Old Friend’s Blog

I was happy to run across Balefire's blog today. Dunno how I'd missed it before. Balefire is a "live life to the fullest" character I knew back in my Japan days. For several years we were a tag team of editor and publisher of the Tokyo PC Users Group's monthly newsletter. I haven't seen Mike, er Balefire, in person in years, but his writing is as lively, perspicacious, and opinionated as ever.  A great read for anyone interested in life in Japan from the view of a gaijin who has lived there for decades.

Running across Balefire's blog also had me checking out the Tokyo PC Users Group website for the first time in years. It appears the club is thriving, which is great to see.

Posted by Paul at 08:26 PM

Aberdeen Mall Fountain

In the afternoon we took the bus to Aberdeen Mall in Richmond - - it's likely the largest Asian mall in the lower mainland of BC, and it's great fun to explore. Yumi also enjoys the Daiso Japanese "dollar store" with loads of cheap stuff from the mother country :-).

As we entered the mall, the fountains were in the midst of a performance, and I caught of few shots backlit by the skylights.


We took the Skytrain home - I can travel with Yumi for free on Sundays on her monthly pass. Thanks, TransLink, it's a great deal!

Posted by Paul at 08:15 PM

Burnaby Mountain – Kamui Mintara

We hadn't been up Burnaby Mountain in months and hoped the cherry trees would be in bloom, but most of the blossoms were gone already. I made up for the loss with a few shots of the "Kamui Mintara" poles carved by Ainu from the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Burnaby has a sister city relationship with Kushiro, Japan.





Posted by Paul at 08:10 PM

April 10, 2010

Thoughts on a Polish Tragedy

My heartfelt sympathies and condolences to Poland and her people.

This tragedy is cruelly ironic, considering the Polish political and military elite was traveling to commemorate the Katyn Massacre - the mass murder of over 20,000 Polish military officers, politicians and intelligentsia in 1940 by the Soviet NKVD (KGB) on the direct orders of Soviet political leaders. It is said that leading Ukrainians, Jews, etc., who were considered Polish citizens were also killed. Russia is just starting to recognize such heinous crimes, and the present Russian government's attempts to rehabilitate Stalin and his ilk stink.

There is no love lost between Ukrainians and Poles. We have a contentious, bloody history going back centuries, but for a time there was a common foe in the horrendous actions of the communist Soviet regime that reinstated the old Russian Empire on a greater and even more murderous scale.

Jeszcze Polska nie zginela


Poland has not perished yet

That's the opening stanza to the Polish national anthem, and I honor it.

It is eerily similar to the Ukrainian national anthem:

?? ?? ?????? ??????a, ?? ?????, ?? ???? (Hm, Cyrillic not working in this blog.)

Ukraine's freedom has not yet perished, nor has her glory

Both anthems born from incredibly tough times and centuries of oppression. . .

Posted by Paul at 08:52 PM

Surrey’s 4th Annual Environmental Film Festival

Green Ideas Network


Surrey's 4th Annual Environmental Film Festival

SFU Surrey Theatre 2600
Thursday, April 29, 2010
1:00 - 9:00pm - Doors open at 12:30pm

As part of Surrey's Environmental Extravaganza, we welcome the general public to view a variety of timely and compelling documentaries on issues that are impacting the health of the planet.

Featuring: Door prizes, Q & A, Raffles, Educational displays, Refreshments

Admission by donation

Visit our website to download the poster and to see the movie trailers.

Green Ideas Network
"Good Ideas for Green Communities"



Posted by Paul at 06:30 PM

April 09, 2010

Cherry Blossoms Arrive on Balcony

Get ready for a barrage of cherry blossom photos as the tree next to our balcony comes into bloom!

Every year it's an adventure in striving for vision and beauty, while reminding me of our transient, impermanent, nature -- blossoms and people alike.










For the technically inclined, all shots taken with a Nikon D300, handheld at ISO 400, with an 18-200mm AF-S Nikkor 3.5~5.6 G ED VR zoom, and an ancient 55mm Micro-Nikkor-PC 3.5 macro lens that I bought some 30+ years ago. I kept the ISO at 400 even on the bright, sunny day, to allow for fast shutter speeds at small apertures for decent depth of field and motion control in the breeze.

Note: These photos are not enhanced in any way besides some judicious cropping. I am slowly coming to terms with digital "manipulation" - in its basic forms of image enhancement, I do not see it as being any different from the burning and dodging of traditional darkroom work - I just haven't had time to learn it yet!

Posted by Paul at 06:41 PM

April 02, 2010

Vancouver Philharmonic, Jubilate Choir do Mozart’s Requiem

It was nice to take a break on this Good Friday holiday afternoon after putting in three or four work hours in the morning (no rest for the freelance : - ). Yumi and I met a couple of friends for a concert by the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra and the Jubilate Chamber Choir.

The "Mozart Alive" concert was at the Canadian Memorial Church on 16th Ave. in Vancouver, and the smaller venue with its wood ceiling resulted in bright acoustics that put a shine on the music.

The orchestra was in fine fettle for Gluck's Overture, Iphigenia in Aulis and Beethoven's Symphony No. 1. The second half was Mozart's Requiem, ably performed by a slightly whittled down orchestra along with the Jubilate Chamber Choir, soprano Katy Garden, alto Barb Towell, tenor Will George, and baritone Willy Miles-Grenzberg. The women soared, the men, not quite as much, but still a pleasing overall performance.

P.S. After I initially uploaded this post I began Googling to see if the singers had their own websites that I could link to, and Google already had a link to this post within a few minutes of it going live! Wow. Anyway, the gals had websites that popped up on the first page or two of a Google search, the guys. . . not. . .

Posted by Paul at 09:07 PM