Over a twelve-month period spanning 1976?77, Soren Bondrup-Nielsen conducted bird surveys in the territory that would become Pukaskwa National Park (pronounced Puck-a-saw), a tract of wilderness on the northern shore of Lake Superior. As plans to establish the new park were taking shape, Bondrup-Nielsen?together with his wife, both graduate students in the zoology department at the University of Toronto?won a contract to study its avian life. Fuelled by youthful idealism and eager for adventure, the pair elected to live in the park for the full year, camping at various inland and coastal sites and travelling to the park’s remote corners by ski, snowshoe, Ski-Doo, powerboat, canoe, helicopter and bush plane.
Comprised of an edited selection of Bondrup-Nielsen’s journal entries, Pukaskwa offers a look into the daily life of a biologist in the field: from walking transects and recording observations to whimsical projects and side excursions; from the rudimentary essentials of warmth, food and shelter to the joys of companionship and the simple comforts of camp life. As well as recounting his experiences, Bondrup-Nielsen comments on the general ecology of the park, wrestling with the potential impact of human activity and the incursion of park infrastructure on the preservation of wilderness.
Soren Bondrup-Nielsen was a professor of biology at Acadia University where he taught ecology and conservation biology. He is also the author of three previous books, Winter On Diamond, A Sound Like Water Dripping: In Search of the Boreal Owl and Merging: Contemplations on Farming & Ecology from Horseback. He lives near Canning, Nova Scotia.
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