Private Event

Family sponsored celebration with reading and book signing in the home of Helen Stewart.

Private Event
Helen Stewart's Private Event

Royal BC Museum Nov. 18th - Making more room!

Although seats are now officially sold out, the Royal BC Museum is going to accommodate anyone that turns up on the night and will get extra seats. So please come even if you come up against the SOLD OUT message on their registration page. Great news because they cut it off at 150. THis sends a big message that there is lots of interest in the long tradition of our institutions and their continued good health. So please come, don't be put off by the SOLD OUT and we'll have coffee and cookies for everyone if the weather is a bit blustery.

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Victoria Natural History Society and the Ruby Lake Lagoon Society

Super fun events in Victoria and Sechelt with the naturalist groups who have always been a key part of keeping the knowledge of BC's biodiversity alive and transferring to next generations. Members/naturalists from both these socieities had great stories to share and who knew Cowan. It was great to have David Anderson our once Minister of Environment share his recollections of the role played in the first moratorium on tankers on the coast. Thanks to the volunteer members: the Copley's and James Miskelly in Victoria and Michael and Dale Jackson, Leanne, Anne, the two Johns and other staff at Ruby Lagoon for organizing and making such warm welcomes at each venue. It was also great to see young students and the older keepers of the knowledge mingling over tea and coffee as another generation takes up the challenges!

Beaty Biodiversity Museum Launch, Nov. 7th

Another great turnout November 7th at the Beaty Biodiversity Launch with Bristol Foster, Geoff Scudder and Fred Bunnell sharing their stories of conservation, science and museums. It was a great afternoon under the (now dusted) blue whale. Members of the Beaty family came and it was a great opportunity to share in one room the collective efforts of the naturalist/scientists/museum supporters past and present who have been promoting biodiversity and its importance to human health for nearly a century in BC.

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Successful Saltspring Launch

Wonderful turnout from Saltspring community for the first launch of the book. Over 110 people came and Saltspring Books sold out with lots more ordered. Many thanks to Bristol Foster, Bob Weeden and Ann Schau who all shared the limelight with the pygmy shrew and blue whale. Also thanks to volunteers Diana Thompson, Daphne Taylor, Cate McEwan and Josi Fletcher. Saltspring connections include many past students and colleagues many of whom came and shared stories.


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WildBC Conference

Really enjoyed meeting the 60+ teachers and WildBC facilitators up at Mission for their 20th anniversary of WildBC. Beautiful day at Stave Lake. Congratulations, especially Kerrie Mortin for all her great work over the years. Kerrie shared a story of Ian and Bert Brink demonstrating the prey predator game during a board meeting. Do I have that correct? Todd Hebert was there, son of Darryl Hebert, (featured in the book) who is running the Blue Lake Centre in the Purcells that has been going for 35 years

Two Field Guides to Cowan

There are two recent works on Cowan's life published this year: The Real Thing and  Ian McTaggart-Cowan: The Legacy of a Pioneering Biologist, Educator and Conservationist,  written by Ronald D. Jacimchuk, Wayne Campbell and Dennis A. Demarchi, published by Harbour House (Spring, 2015). The latter book has "over three-hundred photographs, testimonials from those he mentored and descriptions of those who galvanized him in his pursuits, along with explanations both of his major works and the theses of his students. "Originally intended as a centenary birthday gift," this book is an excellent companion volume to The Real Thing for "anyone interested in Ian McTaggart- Cowan’s life and teachings" especially on the latter half of his life.

Note: The accepted library citation for Ian McTaggart Cowan is without a hyphen as the bulk of his publishing career was carried out as an unhyphenated McTaggart Cowan.

Focus Magazine Review

the real thing By Amy Reiswig, Focus Magazine, October 2015

Briony Penn’s new biography of beloved BC conservation hero Ian McTaggart Cowan.

A friendly, knowledgeable voice, perhaps somewhat mysterious, encourages you to explore deep secrets in hidden places. For a child, it’s the stuff of dreams and adventure—an invitation to Wonderland. Such was the young Briony Penn’s first meeting, in words, with BC biologist-naturalist Ian McTaggart Cowan (1910-2010) who, in his influential 1956 handbook The Mammals of British Columbia, invited us to join him in “unraveling the innermost secrets of the lives of mammals.” 

It was an offer that entranced Penn and perhaps played a role in showing the future geographer and environmental journalist how important things like language, story and even love can be in science. Now, in an almost 600-page authorized biography called The Real Thing: The Natural History of Ian McTaggart Cowan (Rocky Mountain Books), Penn follows Cowan’s lead, inviting us to unravel the secret life of an under-celebrated Canadian legend...

With thoughtful, graceful storytelling, sombre at losses but ultimately hopeful, she  invites us to explore another kind of Wonderland, another set of intimate, secret lives. It’s an opportunity to be, as Penn was as a child, amazed at where science can take your mind and heart... more

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Funding Partners

We gratefully acknowledge the support of our Funding partners and local bookstores.