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íTil the Last Tree duo going the extra mile for B.C.ís old growth forest

Birdwatching their way across Canada

The Dryden Observer - Chris Marchand, September 7, 2011

íTil the Last Tree duo going the extra mile for B.C.ís old growth forest
Nigel Jackett (left) and Jaime Hall are hoping to catalogue as many as 400 bird species as they cycle across Canada, raising funds to support the Ancient Forest Alliance.
Photo by Chris Marchand

While most cross-Canada cyclists are wrapping up their journeys right about now, the curious duo of a musician and a wildlife biologist find themselves smack in the centre of the country, shivering in an uncharacteristically chilly early September evening.

If simple distance were the aim of Nigel Jackett and Jaime Hall, the 8,000 kilometres they’ve already travelled since April would have already have delivered them to the coast of British Columbia. On a mission to sight as many bird species as possible in their travels as way to raise money and awareness for The Ancient Forest Alliance, they expect to travel 11,000 kilometres before they’re finished.

Jackett, a wildlife biologist from Western Australia and his partner Hall, originally from B.C. are young, fit and passionate advocates of preserving B.C.’s remaining old growth rainforest habitat and advocating for sustainable logging practices in those areas.

“We’re the first people to ever ride across Canada bird-watching,” said Jackett. “Most people are finished in three months or less. We’ve already been going for four months.”

“You have to get into all sorts of habitat in order to get your bird list,” adds Hall.

So far the list consists of 239 species, the most recent of which, a black-billed magpie, was spotted near Wabigoon. They say they hope to reach 400 species before finishing their journey.

“We still can if we get to B.C. before a lot of the birds that summer over there head south in the fall migration,” said Jackett. “Manitoba holds a lot of different birds, so it’s conceivable that we can get to 400.”

While in northern Ontario, Jackett says they are ever on the lookout for a Great Grey Owl and the American Three-Toed Woodpecker.

A singer-songwriter, music has been helpful in helping Hall communicate their mission to others.

“We did a living room concert in Thunder Bay, which was really cool,” said Hall. “We got to talk to people about what we’re doing. They played a bit of one of my tunes on CBC (radio). There’s sprinklings of it here and there, but my music is definitely not the focus of the ride.”

Hall has put some of her songs on the duo’s website, offering downloads for donations.

Check out Nigell Jackett and Jaime Hall’s website, or donate to their cause at www.tilthelasttree.com.

Link to original article: http://thedrydenobserver.ca/2011/09/7308/


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