Meet The North: The Gift that Keeps Giving!

Meet The North: The Gift that Keeps Giving!

Meet The North: The Gift that Keeps Giving!

Each of the last 2 years we have had the immense pleasure of connecting with northerners passionate about promoting local, connecting people and place and supporting the Yukon Wildlife Preserve and Yukon’s wildlife.  The team is back again this year with new, special and very limited edition Yukon-inspired and Yukon-made wool wear.  

Only 3 hats available!

Birds Eye View small batch dye by Crux Fibres with pattern, Autumn Weaves beanie by Lindsay Faciane; hand knitted especially for the Yukon Wildlife Preserve by Liz Sutton adorned with indigenous Yukon-run trapline, sustainably trapped lynx fur pom.

SOLD!

The one-of-a-kind Borealis Hat and Mitt pattern by Liz Sutton can be found on Ravelry if you wish to do your own pattern yourself but the particular Aurora and Blue Lagoon hand-dye from Crux Fibre is one of a kind, especially for the Preserve adorned with sustainably and ethically Yukon trapped coyote fur pom!

The partnerships of these unique businesses and people have continued to grow and we’re really excited to release a limited edition toque and special toque and mitt combo for this holiday season – gift giving that keeps giving! These beautiful wool items were made exclusively in the north, inspired by the north and are entwined with passions and care throughout the entire process. The Yukon is home to incredible people who love to celebrate and honour the uniqueness of this land. These knitting wonders directly support the diverse community that makes this place and its people so unique!

These limited edition hats go on sale at the Preserve only on Saturday November 13.

Hand-knitted in Whitehorse

For the 3rd year in a row we are working with the ever-expanding knitting talent, Liz Sutton of Treeline Knits located right here in Whitehorse. Liz has been the cornerstone of this annual project. Year after year, despite a full time job, dog-momming, life duties and personal outdoor passion and pursuits, Liz is eager to weave through it all and dedicate time and energy into lovingly producing one-of-a-kind hand knitted and fashioned wool products, especially for the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.

Northern Inspiration in Hand Dyed 100% Merino Wool

Crux Fibres is a truly northern inspired product of born and raised Yukoner, Brittany Vogt. Her knitting hobby and desire to create her own spectrum of colours inspired by Yukon places close to her heart quickly turned into a business for Brittany. 

“The art of dyeing yarn has become a great avenue to continue my creative expression” and this particular small-batch dye was influenced by a place that holds an extra special connection for Brittany. The “Birds Eye View” she called this small-batch dye, in which Liz used to make the 3 toques, was inspired by place and time. Atop Caribou Mountain overlooking Bennett Lake, on the traditional territory of the Carcross Tagish First Nation,  Brittany realized she was going crazy for John, her now husband. Indeed, intertwined in love, years later a few pictures would further inspire the beauty and colour of this yarn. 

Brittany’s inspiration supported through Bennett Lake art from
Left: Edna Bardell Right: Ben Nelms

Every small-batch dye of 100% merino wool yarn originates from South America. Brittany worked hard to source yarn ethically and extend her values of supporting small and mindful businesses like her own.  The one-of-a-kind Aurora Borealis Hat and Mitts used a special blue lagoon dye Brittany did. The very nature of hand-dying in small batches creates variations from skein to skein (even those dyed in the same dye bath) adding even greater uniquesness to each finished product. 

Trapping – In Love & Tradition 

The finishing touches of such a divine piece of art involves a trapline, and a commitment to love, learning, and educating. It may be just a fur pom that adorns these hats but for Vanessa of Yukon Wild Furs it’s an opportunity; it’s the decision to embark on a role as an educator; fulfilling a responsibility while generating a (somewhat unexpected) life from the bounty of the land. Vanessa, along with owning and operating a small store where she sells her art, tirelessly works towards educating and connecting people to a lifestyle rooted in tradition whenever she has the opportunity. This opportunity and responsibility is shared along-side her now husband, George Bahm who is Teslin Tlingit and harvests from the land on his trappline in southern Yukon.

Photo Credit: Alistair Maitland

I have merely glimpsed a fraction of the beauty and teachings that await on the trapline. But I know that this traditional practice, with its skill, stories and lessons, will be lost if the wild fur industry continues as it is. My hope is to protect the importance of what is out on the trail, in the quiet of a fresh snowfall, so that future generations of fur harvesters can reconnect with their ancestors and the teachings that have endured for thousands of years. Trapping is so much more than just harvesting fur.

Photo Credit: Erik Pinkerton

When the opportunity came to adorn these hats (for a second year in a row) with sustainable, locally and indegenous trapped wild fur, Vanessa did not hesitate to support. She’s only a single human in this world but one with a strong, deeply rooted goal of using this polarizing issue as a springboard into meaningful conversations wherever they can occur from her store to our Little Gift Shop where these hats will be sold.

To learn more about Vanessa, George and their shared goals check out Truth About Fur

A Community That’s Wild at Heart

The Yukon Wildlife Preserve is a non-profit charitable organization. In the 1970’s Danny Nowlan started accepting and caring for injured and orphaned wildlife at the Yukon Game Farm. Nearly 50 years later the Preserve continues to care for Yukon’s most vulnerable animals. Today we are a living centre of Yukon’s species that connects tens of thousands of people, from our backyard to across the world, to the natural world, each year.

Find out more about what the  donation with the purchase of the hat means for the Preserve at donate.yukonwildlife.ca 

 These toques represent so much more than just a (stunning) fashion accessory to keep your head warm! It embodies your choice to value the connections with the people and places of this territory; to support local; to share a love of something on a deeper level; to support Yukon’s wildlife. By purchasing this hat, you are supporting the people, their businesses and the land and animals of the north – Liz Sutton of Treeline Knits, Yukon Wild Fur and local trappers, Brittany Vogt of Crux Fibres, Yukon Wildlife Preserve – Wildlife Rehabilitation and a community that is wild at heart!

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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Love for the Lynx

Love for the Lynx

Love for the Lynx

This story was originally published February 13, 2021 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.

While the ungulates have already gone through their languages of love the carnivores are just getting started!

It’s a great time to hear the courtship calls from the lynx, arctic fox and red foxes. While the two species of foxes are the same gender (red foxes – males, arctic foxes – females), our lynx group consists of a male and two females and all three lynx will remain in the habitat together this season.

In past years we have separated the male to eliminate breeding potential – an important practice to manage our animal collection and animal numbers. This year however the lynx will be left together to let nature take its course!

Our 3-legged male has never bred before nor has our younger female, who turns 7 this spring, so we do not have any history to give indication of sexual success. Our other female, who is now 13 years old, has successfully reared offspring in her younger days – most recently in 2014. If breeding is successful we could expect kittens in mid – late May. YWP collection growth and stability is a consideration for breeding given the age of our male, also 13 years. Further to that, BC Wildlife Park in Kamloops, a CAZA accredited facility, will also look to add to their population by accepting a litter of siblings. This potential breeding will be an important contribution to lynx genetics and the Species Survival Plan given how unique (completely unrepresented actually), his genetics are among captive populations.

It’s all up to the animals and only time will tell if these individuals are successful.

Lynx at Yukon Wildlife Preserve L to R:  3-legged male circa 2018 and kitten circa 2014.

All Photos credit:  Jake Paleczny

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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Rehabilitation – A Wild Success

Rehabilitation – A Wild Success

Rehabilitation – A Wild Success

1 min video – 

This juvenile bald eagle came to the Wildlife Rehabilitation and Research Centre in early July after it was found near Icy Waters on Fish Lake road, seemingly flightless. 

An X-ray revealed an infection.  Dr. Maria Hallock started the eagle on a course of antibiotics

The eagle was X-rayed upon arrival and it was noted that the eagle was suffering from an infection in the right wing. Dr. Maria Hallock started a round of antibiotics hidden in food.  The eagle was very reluctant to consume the medication – finding the pill in the food and spitting it out, making its recovery challenging, to say the least. 

Performed after initial healing time and antibiotics bring down the infection that obscured the initial observation, this second X-ray showed a fracture to the ulna.

With more creative hiding of the medication, a week passed and a second x-ray was performed where the Animal Care team was able to see a clear fracture to the ulna, within a perfect setting and healing process.

After a  couple more weeks of antibiotics and rest – the eagle was moved to our outdoor flight pen where the individual could be seen by public.

Over the next few weeks the eagle built its flight muscles and strength with the goal of being released back in to the wild.

On August 21, the Animal Care team released the eagle successfully to the wild, in the MacIntyre marsh area, near the same location it was found.  It’s always incredibly rewarding to give wildlife a second chance at life in the wild.

Jake Paleczny

Jake Paleczny

Executive Director

Jake Paleczny is passionate about interpretation and education. He gained his interpretative expertise from a decade of work in Ontario’s provincial parks in addition to a Masters in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto. His interests also extend into the artistic realm, with a Bachelor of Music from the University of Western Ontario and extensive experience in galleries and museums.

867-456-7313
jake@yukonwildlife.ca

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Moose on the Move

Moose on the Move

Moose on the Move

3:47 video
Our young orphaned moose has outgrown his room in the Preserve’s Research and Rehabilitation Centre. Today he’s on the move to a new – much larger – outdoor enclosure.  He will spend the next few months in this larger space, with food to browse as he continues to grow .  But first, we have to get him to his new home.

Learn how the Animal Care team at Yukon Wildlife Preserve safely and successfully moves this moose calf.

 

Jake Paleczny

Jake Paleczny

Executive Director

Jake Paleczny is passionate about interpretation and education. He gained his interpretative expertise from a decade of work in Ontario’s provincial parks in addition to a Masters in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto. His interests also extend into the artistic realm, with a Bachelor of Music from the University of Western Ontario and extensive experience in galleries and museums.

867-456-7313
jake@yukonwildlife.ca

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