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Monthly Archives: September 2014

William Dampier: Pirate Botanist

Piracy and botany are two words that do not usually occur together in a sentence. But in the golden days of exploration, seafaring men were not always vicious rogues intent on thievery. Well alright a lot of them probably were. But one man among them combined piracy with a love of plants and that man was Captain William Dampier (1651-1715). Captain Dampier was an orphan who left home at an…

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A New Old Look for the Urban Gallery

What’s old is new again!  The Urban Gallery at The Manitoba Museum has just received a bit of a face lift. Many of our visitors enjoy the immersive experience of this gallery, where they can explore the nooks and crannies of different buildings, stroll along the streets or watch a silent film in the theatre. As curators, we’re always looking for ways to improve that experience. The Urban Gallery represents…

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Where have all the pollinators gone?

After a summer filled with ticks, mosquitoes and biting flies, I was ready for a pest-free pollinator survey at the Nature Conservancy preserves near Riding Mountain National Park this September. Autumn field work can be quite lovely with the beautiful fall colours, comfortable temperatures and migratory birds moving through. But you can’t always get what you want. The vicious thunderstorm that pelted my car with hazelnut-sized hail and forced me…

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300 Years Later

Recently my friends over at the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives (HBCA) showed me an amazing piece of HBC history, the first post journal for York Factory.  They had selected it for their latest Spotlight feature on their website as the journal was celebrating its 300th anniversary on September 11.  You can check out this interesting feature here to learn more about James Knight’s first year at York Factory, and be sure to…

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UPDATED: Watch for northern lights!

Update -Friday, Sep 12, 2014: Some minor aurora was visible last night over Manitoba in between patchy clouds, and dim glows were seen as far south as Arizona (but only from dark skies away from city lights). Tonight is likely to be the better view, though. The second and larger  of two blobs of stuff from the sun (called coronal mass ejections, or CMEs) is arriving today, which can cause a…

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Pollinators (and People Predators) Galore

After the relative calm of my June field work on Nature Conservancy land near Riding Mountain National Park, I was kept very busy observing insects in July and August.  In total I saw approximately 64 insect species making over 1200 flower visits during my 24 hours of observation over an eight-day period.  So far it seems that in the fescue prairie the bees (particularly the bumblebees) are doing most of the work. This is in…

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