Rusty Blackbird: the mysterious decline of a common boreal bird

Rusty Blackbird: the mysterious decline of a common boreal bird

Rusty Blackbird: the mysterious decline of a common boreal bird

This article was made possible thanks to support from the Environmental Awareness Fund. Engage and educate yourself in this 10-part blog series, about Yukon Biodiversity.
Pam Sinclair’s contribution was supported by the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment and Climate Change Canada

15 minute Read – 

One cold grey day in late October, we went looking for American Dippers in a salmon spawning stream in southwestern Yukon. It’s always fascinating to see those strange little songbirds walk right in to the surging water and disappear as they search for food in the rocky stream bed, and then pop back out on shore. Arriving at the creek, we saw a couple of birds right away on a tiny rocky island in the rushing water. But peering through fogging binoculars in the dim grey light, it took a moment for the image to take shape and for us to realize that these were not dippers, but Rusty Blackbirds! Rusty Blackbirds nest in forest wetlands throughout the Yukon but most are well on their way to wintering grounds in the Mississippi River area by late October, and it’s unusual at any time to see them in fast-moving water.

American Dipper Klukshu YT taken March 2018

Sure enough, there were also two dippers working their way along the stream, and it was striking how similar the two species looked and behaved. The blackbirds were plunging only their heads into the water, while the dippers didn’t hesitate to go under entirely; but both appeared to be feasting on salmon eggs. This was typical for dippers but I’d never heard of blackbirds taking advantage of this food source. Being opportunistic is not unknown for Rusty Blackbirds; in winter, they eat pecans but can’t crush the shells on their own. Instead, they either pick up the pecan pieces that larger grackles have dropped or hang around areas where roads or driveways are close enough to pecan trees for vehicles to have crushed some fallen nuts!  They’re also known to gather in large numbers to eat compost and can even been found snacking on the garbage piles at the Whitehorse landfill. It made me wonder: if Rusty Blackbirds can be so opportunistic, why has their population declined so dramatically?

Rusty Blackbird and American Dipper Southern Yukon taken Oct 2020.

A quick overview of what we do know: “Rusty Blackbird” is a title very well suited to these birds. Male Rusty Blackbirds are completely black during the spring breeding season but during the winter, they have “rust” colored plumage blending into the black. The females also have rust-coloured edges on their grey-brown plumage, hence the name! These are migratory birds that are only found in North America. As stated in Audubon website: “Birders might say that this blackbird is rusty because it spends so much time in the water.” And that is due to the fact these birds prefer a damp environment.  These boreal forest residents enjoy forest wetlands including slow moving streams, swamps, marshes, beaver ponds, and the edges of pastures. In the Yukon, you can look for them in these forest wetlands in spring and early summer, and along the edges of rivers and lakes in the fall.

Male Rusty Blackbird first year taken Whitehorse YT Sept 2020.

Until recently, the Rusty Blackbird was simply part of the fabric of the boreal forest landscape, common across the region from Alaska to Labrador. Few bird surveys or studies were conducted within its inaccessible, buggy breeding range. Blackbirds in general have long been considered agricultural pests because they eat grain and corn, and for this reason, when Canada and the U.S. signed a treaty to protect migratory birds more than a century ago, blackbirds were left out of the agreement. Nobody paid much attention to the Rusty Blackbird. Then in 1999, well-known U.S. bird biologists Russ Greenberg and Sam Droege noticed that these birds were disappearing from southern U.S. wintering grounds, and published a paper showing that numbers of Rusty Blackbirds had been declining for decades. The Rusty Blackbird soon gained the dubious distinction of having the steepest population decline of any North American songbird: 85 to 95% of the birds had disappeared in 40 years. Nobody knew why. Nobody knew much about this species at all.

Why was the Rusty Blackbird in trouble? It spends the summer in the vast and relatively undisturbed boreal region. In winter, it resides in “bottomland” habitats like oak forests with puddles and ponds in the southeastern United States. There has been a lot of deforestation in that area, which often leads to complication and declines in animal populations, and probably contributed to the historical decline of Rusty Blackbird. But the slower recent pace of deforestation is not enough to explain the decline in Rusty Blackbird numbers in the last few decades. Bird biologists and conservationists were concerned. If this common boreal bird is declining, something must be seriously amiss in its environment. But what? In order to figure out what was going on, and ultimately to figure out how to stop the decline of this bird, biologists and conservationists from the U.S. and Canada formed the International Rusty Blackbird Working Group and made a research plan.

Over the last two decades, there have been incredible advances in the technologies used to track the movement of birds. This has helped both the small group of scientists studying the decline of Rusty Blackbirds and the study of migratory birds as a whole! In the case of Rusty Blackbirds, we have learned that their annual cycle is more complex than simply migrating back and forth between nesting and wintering grounds. For example, a young Rusty Blackbird which hatches in the Whitehorse area in June, will have left the nest and grown its full set of feathers by July. But unlike many local songbirds that start heading south in early August, the young Rusty Blackbird will then start growing a whole new set of feathers, and settle in to a good feeding area for a month or two, before heading south by late September or early October. From there it will leave to spend around a month in the Canadian Prairies or the Dakotas. From there, it’s on to wintering grounds in the Mississippi valley, heading north in spring but stopping for a month or so in March/April at another good feeding area before returning to the nesting grounds.

Adult male Rusty Blackbird WhitehorseYT Sept 2020.

Instead of following the nesting-migrating-wintering-migrating pattern that many migratory birds follow, the Rusty Blackbird’s year involves major stopovers at two or three additional locations. Does this make it more vulnerable, because it relies on good, safe food sources at about five major locations each year? Or does it make it more adaptable, because if one location does not meet its needs, it can move on to the next?

Typically for any ecological question, the answers are more complicated than expected. When the Rusty Blackbird working group set out to determine what was causing the decline, several possibilities were explored. Rusty Blackbirds are susceptible to high levels of mercury toxicity, especially in eastern North America where pollutants from coal-fired electrical generating stations cause acid deposition in wetlands, which releases naturally-occurring mercury. Rusty Blackbirds are high in the food chain because they consume aquatic insects like dragonfly larvae, which eat smaller invertebrates. This causes bioaccumulation resulting in high levels of mercury in these birds. Bioaccumulation is the accumulation over time of a substance and especially a contaminant (such as a pesticide or heavy metal) in a living organism from all sources including water, air, and diet. Animals higher in the food chain, such as the Rusty Blackbird, can acquire a larger load of contaminants as they will consume other creatures that have also consumed contaminants.

Rusty Blackbird Southern Yukon taken Oct 2020.

But Rusty Blackbirds are also declining in areas with little acid deposition. On the wintering grounds, other blackbird species (Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles, along with starlings and cowbirds) have been legally killed by spraying the birds as they roost in flocks at night, or by putting out poisoned bait to prevent them from feeding on agricultural crops. Rusty Blackbirds sometimes share roost sites with these species and may be inadvertently killed as well. There is little information on the species composition of affected flocks, so it is unknown if this is a major factor in the decline of Rusty Blackbirds. Habitat loss in the boreal region is occurring, from conversion to agriculture, oil sands development, flooding for hydro dams, and forest harvest. This is not occurring at a pace that would fully account for the decline but it is likely a contributing factor. Pesticide runoff, and habitat loss due to agricultural intensification and urbanization, may be affecting Rusty Blackbirds on their stopover sites on the Great Plains. In short, no single factor explains the decline. Possibly, all of these factors are contributing.

Rusty Blackbirds are found throughout the Yukon, and biologists at the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) in Whitehorse were keen to help investigate this declining local species. When research began, some very basic knowledge of the species was lacking, such as how to distinguish first-year birds from adults based on their plumage. This is straightforward for most songbirds, but it turned out to be difficult in this species. When investigating rates of reproduction and survival in order to determine the causes of decline, it is crucial to know the ages of the birds, because survival is usually much lower for inexperienced first-year birds. It was also discovered that Rusty Blackbirds are “neophobic”, or fearful of new things in their environment, compared to other blackbirds such as Red-winged Blackbird. This makes it difficult to capture Rusty Blackbirds for study.

Rusty Blackbird male Whitehorse YT taken June 2019

After trying several techniques, mist nets being particularly successful, CWS biologists were able to capture good numbers of Rusty Blackbirds in Whitehorse. These successful captures provided a unique opportunity to figure out how to distinguish first-year from older birds. In September, when Rusty Blackbirds are common around Whitehorse, birds in the hand can be aged with certainty by examining the growing area of ossification (hardening) of their skull, which appears as white dots which can be viewed through the bird’s thin translucent skin by a skilled observer, with no harm to the bird. Once the birds arrive at the southern bird banding stations in the Canadian prairies and the U.S., the young birds’ skulls have ossified and are identical to those of adults. Taking advantage of this unique opportunity, we were able to compare first-year birds with older birds and determine the subtle differences in colouration. Both male and female Rusty Blackbirds have white around their eyes in their first year of life that isn’t present in adult birds. The amount of this white “eye-liner” varies from bird to bird but if it’s present, it’s a first-year bird. The results were provided to researchers further south, so that they could reliably determine the age of each bird in their studies. While conducting this work in Whitehorse, we were also able to confirm that Rusty Blackbirds grow two complete sets of feathers in their first four months of life, which is unusual among bird species, and that they stay in the boreal region for many weeks in order to grow all of those feathers before heading south.

It can take a lot of effort to chart the life and migratory cycles of even a single bird species. Even after we gain a better understanding of the factors affecting their lives, discovering the cause or causes behind a population decline can be very difficult as is the case of the Rusty Blackbird. However, there are still some conservation actions that would very likely help the Rusty Blackbird, the natural environment in general, and human health: reduced use of harmful pesticides such as neonicotinoids, maintaining natural wetland habitats within intensive farmland, and reducing the use of coal to generate electricity. Migratory birds, even those that stay within North America, make us realize our interdependency with other nations and our shared environment.

For more information on the Rusty Blackbird, go to www.rustyblackbird.org

Written by Pam Sinclair (Canadian Wildlife Service) in conjunction with Joelle Ingram.
Where not otherwise noted photo credit: Pam Sinclair

References:

Edmonds, S. T., Evers, D. C. , Cristol, D. A., Mettke-Hofmann, C. , Powell, L. L., McGann, A. J., Armiger J. W., Lane, O. P., Tessler, D. F., Newell, P., Heyden, K. and O’Driscoll, N. J. (2010). Geographic and seasonal variation in mercury exposure of the declining Rusty Blackbird. Condor, 112(4): 789–799. 

Greenberg, R. and Droege, S. (1999). On the decline of the Rusty Blackbird and the use of ornithological literature to document long-term population trends. Conservation Biology, 13(3): 553–559. 

Greenberg, R., Demarest, D. W., Matsuoka, S. M., Mettke-Hofmann, C., Evers, D., Hamel, P. B., Luscier, J., Powell, L.L., Shaw, D., Avery, M. L., Hobson, K. A., Blancher, P. J. and Niven, D. K. (2011). Understanding Declines in Rusty Blackbirds. Studies in Avian Biology, 41: 107–126. 

Mettke-Hofmann, C., Sinclair, P. H., Hamel, P. B. and Greenberg, R. (2010). Implications of prebasic and a previously undescribed prealternate molt for aging Rusty Blackbirds. Condor, 112(4): 854–861. 

Recording of a presentation on Yukon Rusty Blackbird research:
Sinclair, P. 2020. Molt ecology of Rusty Blackbird in southern Yukon. International Rusty Blackbird Working Group Symposium, The Wildlife Society 27th Annual Conference, October 2020.

Joelle Ingram

Joelle Ingram

Human of Many Talents

Joelle is a former archaeologist, former wildlife interpreter, and a full-time random fact enthusiast. She received her master’s degree in anthropology from McMaster University. One of the four people who read her thesis gave it the glowing review “It’s a paper that would appeal to very specific group of people,” which is probably why only four people have read it. Her favourite land mammal is a muskox, her favourite aquatic mammal is a narwhal. She thinks it’s important that you know that.

867-456-7400
 info@yukonwildlife.ca

Pam Sinclair

Pam Sinclair

Bird Conservation Biologist

Pam Sinclair is a Bird Conservation Biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment and Climate Change Canada, in Whitehorse

pam.sinclair@canada.ca

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Carrots for the Critters

Carrots for the Critters

Carrots for the Critters

This story was originally published December 12, 2020 in the e-blast newsletter to Yukon Wildlife Preserve’s membership.

Are you a member but don’t receive these email Newsletters?  Contact us at info@yukonwildlife.ca to update your email preferences.

Banner photo credit L. Caskenette

This territory is full of incredible people of the north and without a doubt Steve and Bonnie Mackenzie-Grieve are among them!

Steve and Bonnie own and operate the Yukon Grain Farm, not far from the Preserve. They are pillars of the community and work hard to produce and provide local – they also immensely support local.

Every year, the Yukon Grain Farm donates a giant bag of, often brightly coloured but not considered beautiful, vegetables to the Preserve and its critters. This year, 1000lbs or so of carrots came in. While they are bright orange, grown right on the banks of the beautiful Yukon River, the carrots themselves are not deemed beautiful by the human eye. Instead of wasting this bounty the animals will gladly enjoy them, ground into their regular diet, as enrichment over the months to come!

Thank you Yukon Grain Farm for your ongoing support to the north!

Lindsay Caskenette

Lindsay Caskenette

Manager of Visitor Services

Lindsay joined the Wildlife Preserve team March 2014. Originally from Ontario, she came to the Yukon in search of new adventures and new career challenges. Lindsay holds a degree in Environmental Studies with honours from Wilfrid Laurier University and brings with her a strong passion to share what nature, animals and the environment can teach us.

867-456-7400
lindsay@yukonwildlife.ca

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Faces of the Preserve:  Maureen

Faces of the Preserve: Maureen

Faces of the Preserve: Maureen

12 min read –
It takes drive and passion to support a non-profit organization which works to be a living center of Yukon’s wildlife, with informed voices that speak for, and connect others to, the natural world. Who is the team making this happen?

Meet Maureen. She’s a Yukoner with a rich and varied history – just like Yukon Wildlife Preserve. Here she shares what she loves about the Yukon, working as a Wildlife Interpreter, and how that happened in the first place.

“I had always wanted to visit the Yukon. I moved to Whitehorse in 1970 and knew from the start this would be home. In 1973 I moved even further north, to Dawson City, and have spent the next 50 years between the two communities.” As many Yukoners know, successful longevity in the Territory can require versatility; Maureen has this in spades. She joined the team in 2013, drawn to Yukon Wildlife Preserve through a combination of knowledge and understanding of animals, Interpretive experience, and an enjoyment of speaking to people.

Whether in her fox scarf, or her fun moose toque and Covid-19 mask, Maureen helps guests learn about animals.  L to R: Maureen shares knowledge about Wood Bison; Maureen teaches about moose; Guided Bus Tour guest enjoys a close up of Bison while listening to Maureen.

“For 20 years I worked as a commercial fisher(wo)man on Yukon River and Lake Laberge. I spent 30 winters as a trapper, operating from a cabin with no electricity and no running water and 10 years as a placer miner. Finding prehistoric bones while placer mining, that’s very interesting – the most interesting part of placer mining in fact. I have always had an interest in archeology, turns out I had no interest in gold via placer mining! Finding bones:  that’s an immediate link to history and the land. Combined, these are years of experience which had me on the land and water, harvesting, observing and getting in tune with nature, the seasons and animals. I learned a lot, during those years, about animal life cycles and respect for animals. I would say I have more appreciation for wild animals because I understand more about how hard life is for them.

I’ve worked for Parks Canada as an Interpreter for 25 summers at sites such as Dredge #4, Bear Creek, Dawson City walking tours and SS Klondike. I’m a Certified Interpretive Guide with the National Association of Interpretation. All those years talking to people, connecting them with history and the Yukon; I bring that to Yukon Wildlife Preserve. My appreciation for and understanding of wildlife, in addition to my skills of observation learned from my years living and harvesting on the land, really assist me in helping to connect our visitors to Yukon species. Specifically, my tracking skills help me observe wild animals in their natural habitats, as well as to understand the story of what I’m watching them do, in that moment. I enjoy sharing those skills and helping visitors learn how to “see” animals that are excellent at camouflage and how to take that beyond their visit to the Preserve, to their lives at home, wherever that is.

Visitors sometimes wonder how my years trapping, hunting and fishing can mean I have a strong appreciation for wild animals. I try to explain that I think I have a greater appreciation because of my experiences, because when you live in the bush, you live closer to the animals. Not only do I think I understand more about how hard life is for wild animals, but I depended on them for sustenance and my livelihood. This has allowed me to acquire a greater appreciation for wildlife. Living this close to nature, while raising a family, allowed me to pass on to my daughter how to observe animals, their natural behaviours and to listen to what their body language and actions are saying, and to then change my behaviour accordingly. We don’t have to speak the same language as animals to hear, and respect, what they are telling us. Humans, we learn that, and I’m pleased to have been able to pass on those teachings to the next generation.

I remember I once had a curious porcupine sit and talk to me, chattering on with its porcupine noises. It was very engaging, although I didn’t understand a word. I finally had to tell the porcupine that I had to leave to do other things that day, and I was the first to leave the conversation.

Trapping and hunting has taught me to pay attention to the animals themselves, and to the signs they leave behind:  tracks, scat. The only way for me to be successful was to observe all these things within a species, and within the area I was harvesting. You have to know your area and the animals on it. You become part of a system when you’re harvesting off the land. You are a predator, and like wild predators, you don’t take all the prey out of your area. As a trapper and subsistence hunter, I participated in a relationship with the land, the animals and the environment; this allowed me to become in tune with the rhythms of life around me. There’s a balance within nature, if we noticed a shift in that balance, then we shifted to accommodate it. Yes, there were parts of this life that were hard and challenging, but it was also rich and rewarding – and very much a lifestyle choice.
I lived 30 years in a cabin in the bush. I stopped trapping and moved back to Whitehorse in 2009, because I like running water and electricity. While I miss the quiet of that life in the bush, well I LOVE the ease of modern life. After so many years without, I don’t take for granted things like lightswitches, kettles, showers or flush toilets. Living without for so long, that’s a hard life. Hauling water, in the winter, by buckets out of a frozen river means chopping holes in the ice with chainsaws or axes, and then doing it again when that hole inevitably refreezes solid. It really puts you in tune with the harsh realities of life and survival; I think it has helped me gain understanding and insight into some of the challenges wild animals face daily. They can’t just flip a switch or push a button and get food or shelter, they have to work hard, and constantly, to be successful in life at acquiring food, territory, shelter and to be successful at breeding and rearing young.
My favourite animal in the wild is the Lynx. They’re cool and simply the most beautiful animal. In the area I lived in the bush, lynx were rare and sightings were very special. Once, I heard a lynx scream. I’ll never forget that sound, or having to keep my dog under control to avoid him going to investigate. Here at the Preserve, my favourite animal is the Muskox. They are survivors and they are stubborn. I respect both those qualities. I’ve been in the Yukon a long time, but I’ve got nothing on the tens of thousands of years of Muskox. They’ve been stubbornly surviving since the last Ice Age.
Visitors to Yukon Wildlife Preserve, they are often curious about more than the animals at the Preserve. I enjoy the opportunity to connect with people of all ages. Some people want to listen, some ask a lot of questions or share their own experiences with me. No matter how or with whom the connection, I enjoy it most when people are interested and open to learning about respectful interactions with wildlife and the land.

Respect, observation, space, quiet, an understanding of the behavioural norms of the different species we can encounter:  this leads to successful interactions with wild animals – safe for us and safe for them. Animals don’t speak human languages, but they don’t need to. Humans can pay attention to the body language of an animal to hear what that animal is saying to us, and if humans don’t know how to do that, we can learn. I try to relate how to do this to visitors to Yukon Wildlife Preserve, and to teach those who are willing to learn.”

Maureen has had guests on her tours ask if she was a schoolteacher. “I was not a teacher.  To me, education sounds like sitting in a classroom. Instead of offering education, I prefer to think that I am helping people learn about the things I know about:  animals.”

Maureen is one of a strong community at Yukon Wildlife Preserve and part of a thread that weaves us together. The next time you visit, stop at the Reception Cabin and say hello, or share a story:  you might just learn something new from Maureen. “I hope that after I’ve talked to visitors to the Preserve, that they leave with a little more knowledge and understanding of the wildlife they might encounter. Also, a little more respect for those animals.”

Stories by Maureen Peterson.  Compiled and written by Julie Kerr.

Maureen Peterson

Maureen Peterson

Wildlife Interpreter

Maureen is originally from North Vancouver, BC, where she lived for the first 20 years of her  life. In grade 5 she did a project about the Yukon, which is when she decided to go there. It was at age 20, and the day after she was married, that she finally moved North.  The Yukon was everything the 10 year old Maureen thought it would be and she has never had any desire to move anywhere else.

Julie Kerr

Julie Kerr

Visitor Services Coordinator

Julie is a Registered Veterinary Technologist, living and working in Whitehorse since 2012. She joined the team in May 2018. She is passionate about wildlife, nature and living in a conscious manner with both. Her free time is spent outdoors observing wild animals and ecosystems; her connection to the natural world around her brings great joy – joy she loves to share with anyone interested. Honestly? Work and life blend rather seamlessly.

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Strong Supporters – Major Donation

Strong Supporters – Major Donation

Strong Supporters – Major Donation

A small ceremony took place at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve the morning of August 19 just before families took off on the annual Run Wild event. On this sunny day, Steve Smyth and his son Andrew presented to the Preserve’s President, Alexandra Tait and Executive Director, Jake Paleczny a cheque for $25,000, the largest donation by anyone in the history of the Preserve since it was turned over to the Operating Society in 2004.

The Wildlife Preserve was the dream of the original owners, Danny Nowlan, who established what was then called the Yukon Game Farm in 1967. One of the reasons for the Yukon government’s purchase of the Preserve and the establishment of the Operating Society to oversee its management is the extraordinary costs of looking after injured animals that are frequently brought to the Preserve for rehabilitation. This is a very expensive service that the Preserve provides to Yukon, and one that is not supported by the base funding granted to the Operating Society by the Government of Yukon. It is for this reason that the contribution by Steve, his wife Julie and son Andrew is so critical to the work of the Preserve.

President, Alexandra Tait welcomes participants to the 2019 Run Wild event and introduces Steven Smyth, donor and long-time supporter of the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.

We have an incredible group of Yukoners who have embraced the Preserve as a jewel in Yukon, whether for research, education, animal rehabilitation, tourism or recreation. There are many quiet supporters who have donated both time and money to this institution. Steve and his family have stepped up in a big way to generously give to this great cause. Steve is one of those quiet Yukoners who continues to give to our society. He moved to Yukon in 1971 and worked in management positions in government until he retired in 2007, including the Department of Environment around the time that the Preserve was purchased. In those days he was responsible for the Preserve assets as the Operating Society was set up to take this over.

In other ways Steve has given much to this territory. He has been a Justice of the Peace for 38 years and has held appointments on a number of boards: Yukon Legal Education (14 years); the Law Society of Yukon (18 years); Motor Transport Board (7 years); Arctic Institute of North America (lifetime member); Yukon Agriculture Association Board; Yukon Science Institute; Dispute Resolution Board; Yukon JP Association Executive, Family Mediation Canada, Mediation Yukon, and the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (Yukon Regional Group), and; Friends of the Yukon Archives Society.

The foundation for his commitment comes from his family. His father and mother, Ron and Evelyn, worked for many years in the Yukon public service. His brother, Randy, spent years building Yukon infrastructure for General Enterprises and other construction companies and spent time farming outside of Dawson. Driven by his strong interest in the evolution of government in Yukon, Steve is the co-author of Yukon’s Constitutional Foundations. He has published many papers on similar governance topics, and completed a PhD in Northern Studies from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in 2005. He links this interest in Yukon’s constitutional and political evolution with institutions like the Wildlife Preserve. So many issues relating to this evolution, whether Land Claims, Court decisions on topics like the Peel Watershed, and Devolution of land and resources from Canada to Yukon, are all part of a vision for better local management of natural resources and habitat which are central values in the continued operation of the Wildlife Preserve. 

He sees the Preserve as pivotal to the experiential learning curriculum of the Yukon Education system.

Asked about his 30 year vision for the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, Steve feels it can be an internationally recognized research facility in a world where the impact of climate change on habitat and wildlife is central. He sees a future with stronger ties with other academic research institutions such as the Arctic Institute of North America and other southern Universities with northern research programs. He sees the Preserve as pivotal to the experiential learning curriculum of the Yukon Education system.

Steve’s wish is that the Operating Society will find the resources to write a book on the history of the Preserve to capture its interesting and instructive journey.

On a personal note, Steve really enjoys the moose. He would like to see wolverines at the Preserve if the opportunity presents.

Ultimately, Steve and his family bring their core conviction to Yukon and to the Preserve. The Board of the Wildlife Preserve wish to express their deep gratitude for the family’s commitment to the future of the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.

Kirk Cameron

Kirk Cameron

Board of Directors

Kirk Cameron (pictured second from right) has been a long-standing board member and supporter of the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. Kirk was a founding Director in the Preserve’s transition. Born in Yukon, Kirk’s professional path has been predominantly working as a public servant across Canada’s Northwest. This has allowed him to work along side Steve and some
shared visions for the Yukon and the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. Kirk is also a strong silent supporter of our community.

board@yukonwildlife.ca

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