Wild mushroom raffle for Lee Maracle’s family fundraiser

Lee Maracle, the great Stó:lō word artist, academic, mentor and thought leader, died on 11 November 2021, aged 71, at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

Donate to support Lee’s family fundraiser as they finalize Lee’s memorial, affairs and archive.

I’m giving away 5 delicious, nutritious wild-crafted mushroom prize packs for those who support! Donate between Dec 20-25 and forward me your confirmation email to enter. Details below.

Competition is open for residents of Metro Vancouver, the Lower Sunshine Coast, and Nanaimo-Parksville-Qualicum. Those living outside these areas in Canada can still qualify to enter by donating $50 or more, to be eligible for Canada-wide shipping.

One entry granted per $10 increment donated (ex. $30 = 3 entries). See full terms and conditions below.

UPDATE: Raffle is now closed, but the family fundraiser is still open for donations:


Ancient Wonders of the Dakota Bear Sanctuary

Explore an ancient mountaintop forest in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) territories on the Sunshine Coast, British Columbia, Canada.

This undisturbed forest in the Dakota Community Watershed boasts thousand-year-old cedars and 77 registered Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw archaeological sites where yellow cedars were stripped for their fine inner bark, and continued on living.


Registered professional bear biologist Wayne McCrory notes its unusual density of active black bear dens. Coastal black bears rely on old growth trees for winter denning, and McCrory speculates that loss of suitable denning habitat in the surrounding Mount Elphinstone area is leading to unusual accumulations of den sites in higher elevations.

The Dakota Bear Sanctuary was twice proposed for logging by BC Government agency BC Timber Sales. It received a one-year deferral by the NDP government in October 2020, days before the provincial election.

Elphinstone Logging Focus, The Living Forest Institute, and The Only Animal are calling on supporters to speak out for BC’s last ancient and natural forests with their The Citizen Action Toolkit.


How to hack a biological database

Dr. Nina Hewitt cores a tree
Dr. Nina Hewitt of UBC Vancouver Department of Geography cores a yellow cedar (Photo by Trent Maynard)

How to age a tree with a coring device

An increment borer – basically a corkscrew for trees – is the classic non-lethal, non-invasive solution for aging trees.

The device removes a tiny strip of the tree’s cross section to reveal the annual growth rings hidden inside the trunk.  

Coring a tree “is about the equivalent for the tree of losing a small branch,” says Dr. Nina Hewitt of UBC Vancouver Department of Geography.

“The tree will immediately put some sap in there and then it’ll very quickly seal over that.”

A tree’s cross section also reveals information about local environmental history, including climate conditions, extreme weather events, pest epidemics, indigenous harvesting and the health of salmon runs over its lifetime. For the oldest trees, this biological database can stretch back into the thousands of years. 

Cross-dating neighbouring trees can improve accuracy and reveal missing or double rings, which happen in years of extreme seasons or drought.

Watch below as Dr. Nina Hewitt tours an ancient yellow cedar forest known as the Dakota Bear Sanctuary in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) territory on Mount Elphinstone (Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada).

Dr. Hewitt explains the basic principles of dendrochronology, the science of dating trees according to annual rings.


From my Forests of the Future blog