Au Naturel

Roy Jantzen is an environmental educator, natural history professor,adventure and eco-tourism specialist living in Whitehorse. Any comment or thoughts contact [email protected]

Chinook Salmon Earn their Name

Known as spring, king, or Tyee (which means chief), Chinook salmon have started arriving in Whitehorse after leaving the Bering Sea earlier this summer. Swimming upstream in the Yukon River, these salmon ultimately travel 3200 kilometres, returning to within 100 metres of the location they were born, years earlier. Of the five species of salmon (can …

Chinook Salmon Earn their Name Read More »

Set the Summer Calendar, as Fireweed Begins to Bloom

What can one tell a Yukoner about fireweed? Isn’t it like talking to an Inuvialuit person about ice? Fireweed’s colours, height and flowering times are fairly familiar in the body of literature known as ‘northern knowledge’. Here is my attempt at expanding on this: When I think of a species of plant or animal I …

Set the Summer Calendar, as Fireweed Begins to Bloom Read More »

Set the Summer Calendar, as Fireweed Begins to Bloom

What can one tell a Yukoner about fireweed? Isn’t it like talking to an Inuvialuit person about ice? Fireweed’s colours, height and flowering times are fairly familiar in the body of literature known as ‘northern knowledge’. Here is my attempt at expanding on this: When I think of a species of plant or animal I …

Set the Summer Calendar, as Fireweed Begins to Bloom Read More »

Let the Floral Show Begin

Yesterday I was amputating their little arms; Into a bag they went. If I worked fast, I could fill the bag in the hour. Delicate soft green nubs at the end of each branch were quickly added up in my Ziploc baggie. This micro-pruning of sorts was my first foray into spruce tip harvesting, among …

Let the Floral Show Begin Read More »

The World’s Greatest Migrator: the Arctic tern flies over 45,000 kilometres each year

The last Au Naturel column looked at the sudden appearance of birds during spring migration. Today, when you walk along the Millennium Trail, look out for a white bird with pointed wings and a forked tail. It should be flying buoyantly over the river. At first glance you may think it’s a gull, but look closer …

The World’s Greatest Migrator: the Arctic tern flies over 45,000 kilometres each year Read More »

Delicate, but Determined

How does a plant know when it’s time to break the surface, to move from its protected subterranean world and reach skyward? If it gets the timing wrong, it could freeze, or encounter snow too deep to break through. Timing is especially important for early risers like the prairie crocus, currently gracing the south-facing slopes …

Delicate, but Determined Read More »

The Arrival of the Swans Means Spring is Near

If you spend time at Marsh Lake’s M’Clintock Bay this week, you may see new visitors. At up to four-and-a-half feet tall, 35 pounds, with 8-foot wingspans, these visitors are hard to miss. Majestic swans: trumpeters arriving first, tundras shortly after. Both species are now in a holding pattern in this shallow bay as they …

The Arrival of the Swans Means Spring is Near Read More »

Scroll to Top