Some days there is so little beaver news that I am left sorting through my ragged thoughts and trying to find something new to say about them. This week has been a beaver explosion, so I can barely keep up. First there is the smart new beaver page out offered by Esther Lev of the Wetlands Conservancy and some graduate students who accepted the beaver challenge. You will have fun browsing the projects. Use the link to visit the site which connects to each project. I’ll let them describe the ‘zine’ themselves.
During the 2017 Winter Term, eight graduate students from the Master of Urban and Regional Planning, Master of Fine Arts, and Master of Environmental Science and Management programs at Portland State University engaged in a study of beavers in the Pacific Northwest. The question was whether better understanding the beaver could help us understand more about the culture, identity, and character of the Pacific Northwest, particularly for those of us engaged in planning and other activities with and for communities in the region.
The project had two components. First, each student identified a topic associated with beavers, and developed a research paper that explored that topic. All of those papers are posted here for your use and enjoyment. During the term we read Frances Backhouse’s Once they were Hats, her very informative and engaging book about beavers in North America. Thanks to Esther Lev, Wetlands Conservancy Executive Director, and Sara Vickerman Gage, we were able to spend a morning discussing the book with Frances Backhouse. We gratefully acknowledge the importance of both Frances’ work and her presence in the class with us. If you are interested in and/or care about beavers, do read her book!
Second, each student used their paper as the point of departure for creating pages for a class “zine” about beavers. A zine is a short, self-published, and mostly hand-crafted magazine. Usually combining words and images, the zine form attempts to both transmit information to and engage the imagination of the reader. Preliminary research in Portland revealed hardly any zines about or featuring beavers. We aimed to fill that void, at least in part.
TWC is who had me talk in Portland last year and is responsible for the art show “Beaver Tales” that is in its second venue. They are doing beaver-work wonders. I am thrilled that they’re on the scene and that all these students will remember beavers in their masters training.
A second exciting development came from our beaver friends in the Czech University of Life Sciences. They recently completed the English translation of their ‘living with beavers’ guidebook. There is a lot of great info on management and history, so I would take some good time to browse. There’s a great discussion of tree protection and flow devices, as well as some pretty creative solutions for preventing bank burrows. Enjoy!