Seasons in the field: Spring 2019

Spring reflects the signs of new beginnings, nature waking from it’s winter rest ready to start afresh for the coming year—daffodils bursting from the ground, bears emerging from their slumber, and juvenile salmon starting their journey into the open ocean. Spring is also the start of field season here at Salmon Coast Field Station. As our water line thaws, we look towards the six months of field projects that await us.

The spring of 2019 welcomes incoming coordinators, Amy Kamarainen and Nico Preston—aquatic scientists who sailed in with their newborn son Ryven, aboard their beloved sailboat, Lumi. Nico and Amy are thrilled with the opportunity to raise their son in the rugged, breathtaking landscape of the Broughton Archipelago. In the spirit of continuity, outgoing coordinators Chris and Heather sailed away last fall and also welcomed a newborn son, Everett, this winter. The Salmon Coast family is growing! 

Before the season can begin, the station needs some tender loving care; dusting away the winter cobwebs before the field crews arrive. Spring cleaning has begun in earnest, with help from the incoming coordinator dogs, Springer spaniels Mobi and Kew. It is still too early to plant the garden terraces, but we’ve been germinating seeds and uncovering the garden beds to ensure an abundance of fruit and vegetables for hungry researchers and volunteers.

The lengthening days present an opportunity for our solar panels to wake the batteries from their winter trickle. As we open up the outbuildings, we’re constantly on the lookout for damaged wires from mischievous overwintering rodents. We strive to be self sustaining with our solar and microhydro energy systems, leaning on our backup generator when necessary. Waking these systems from their winter slumber can elicit a response akin to waking a hibernating bear in the forest behind us.

This season, like many before, is set to be full of variety. Some returning projects such as the Sea Lice monitoring and Juvenile Salmon Programs (JSP) are already underway. Resident scientists Emma Atkinson and Peter Harrington have jump started their summer field campaign, helping to train a new cohort of sea-lice field crews. Concurrently, we’ve had an enjoyable time collaborating on early season sampling with our colleagues from the ‘Namgis and Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw nations.

Katie Davidson and Erin Pippus, the JSP advance party, have also landed at the station. They are busily preparing for the arrival of their field crews: organizing the labs, decanting liquid nitrogen, and other tasks to help hit the ground running. Many more researchers and volunteers will join us in the coming months, as the station awakes alongside the flora and fauna.

Soon enough, Salmon Coast will be abuzz with summer activity, as our community gathers for 2019 field season. Perhaps in the busiest of days we will miss these quiet spring mornings, when the bustle of life was still on the horizon, somehow we doubt that though.

Welcome to Salmon Coast field season 2019!

Written by Storm Simpson