Everything Shuswap featured in popular online magazine

The Tyee is an independent online magazine that has won many journalism awards for its lively, informative news and views. In mid-December, it published a feature about my book Everything Shuswap, with an interview and excerpts from chapter four. Tyee editor, Barry Link, prefaced the interview by noting, “It is colourful and accessible and reveals the Shuswap has much of what Tyee readers adore: clean lakes, green forests, farmers markets and folk music.” Below are some excerpts from the interview.

[Read the entire feature here: A Love Letter to the Shuswap]
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The close-knit community of Cherryville

Cherryville Community Hall

Nestled beneath the foothills of the Monashee Mountains in the southeast corner of the Shuswap is the close-knit, rural community of Cherryville, a hub for adventure tourism. With a population of just 1,010 residents and only two stores, the community relies upon its strength of cooperation and sharing, given its isolation and distance from major population centres.

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The benefits of outdoor learning

The initiative to re-open the South Canoe School as an outdoor learning school is attracting significant support from parents and the local community, with over 110 “intent to register” forms completed. It is an opportune time, as Salmon Arm schools are bursting at the seams with students due to increased enrollment and the court decision mandating smaller class sizes. Interest in outdoor learning is skyrocketing, due in part to technological and social changes that have resulted in a growing disconnect between young people and the natural world.

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Lumby – where small is beautiful

 Lumby Days Mural, photo by Dale Eurich

E.F. Schumacher’s book, “Small is beautiful – A Study of Economics as if People Mattered” certainly applies to the Village of Lumby. With 1,833 residents, Lumby is indeed the smallest municipality in the Shuswap, but it may also be one of the friendliest. It is a close knit, outdoors oriented community that has many of the services available in larger centres, including an impressive parks and recreation program.
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Habitat loss is biggest threat for grizzly bears

 Grizzly at the B.C. Wildlife Park in Kamloops
British Columbia grizzly bears are making the news these days, but the news is mixed. While conservationists are applauding the recent decision by the BC Government to end the grizzly trophy hunt, a new audit by the Auditor General takes aim at the lack of adequate planning, inventory efforts, and monitoring by government ministries. Here in the Shuswap, an initiative is gaining momentum to ban recreational vehicles from the Joss Mountain region that is prime grizzly habitat.
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Back to the land in the 21st century

There is a slowly growing movement back to the land, as more twenty and thirty year-olds move to the country and take up farming. I recently visited Spotted Moose Farm in the hills above Celista, where youthful energies are achieving success using alternative permaculture techniques instead of the traditional tillage system. The owners, Chris Pisesky and Sandy Whitstone, envision far more than just growing food, as they hope to create a school and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.
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New parks for the Shuswap?

 Anstey Hunakwa Provincial Park, photo by Myron Kozak

There is a good possibility that the new government in Victoria will revive land use planning and perhaps support the creation of new provincial parks. It was in 2001 that the Okanagan Shuswap Land and Resource Management Plan was approved and implemented.
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Where farming is a way of life

The cozy, unincorporated communities of Mara and Grindrod are nestled into the picturesque lower Shuswap River Valley, where the meandering placid river, green pastures and fields of corn and alfalfa dominate the landscape. Although most of the agricultural income in the valley comes from dairy farming, the diversity is increasing yearly as new crops are being grown in the rich soil, including organic vegetables, blueberries and grapes.

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Studying the Shuswap now possible

 The view from Bastion Mountain, photo by Wendy Clay

Secondary school students returning to Shuswap schools this fall have a new resource to use that will improve their knowledge about their home place. Everything Shuswap will form part of their social studies curriculum and will be used in other classes as well. Although it is the most comprehensive source of information about our region to date, there is much more to be learned about the Shuswap and the book can be used as a source of ideas for more study and research.

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The music infused Shuswap

 

Thanks to so many dedicated people, the 25th Roots and Blues Festival was a big success. Shooting footage for my annual festival video review kept me busy visiting many stages and interviewing attendees, artists, vendors and volunteers. My filming primarily focuses on my favourite music genres, and there was no shortage of great bands and artists this year. The diversity of music was in sync with the diversity of the festival attendees who were of all ages and from all corners of the globe, as our festival has now become one of the best in Canada.
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