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The Story of A River

The basis of this article was originally posted April 10, 2007 in our now archived original discussion forum.


The Hancock Wildlife Foundation (HWF) emerged to utilize the power of live WEB and TV communications to highlight the story of the earth’s plight. The Story of a River is the story of human survival, of wilderness survival, the story of what humankind is doing to our sacred land. 
The uniqueness of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation arises from the incredible popularity and web presence surrounding the Live CAM presentations. This world-wide penetration was overwhelmingly supported by individuals at local levels volunteering to help.  What the HWF's biggest role will be is coordinating this expansion of stewardship. Bringing together not just those already working at various local stewardship projects but enabling them to interface through the WEB and discussion forums with an expanded constituency that “wants to know”.

The HWF will focus on one of North America’s greatest rivers, The Mighty Fraser, but the story is universal as all ebb and flow of life starts at the mountain tops and flows to the sea.  Our story is about that journey to the ocean.  We will meet young fragile mountain tops emerging from beneath glaciers, the paths cut across plains, through forests or across farmland as the waters flow seaward. 
We will tell our story though the exciting and dramatic lives of the top avian, land and water predators: the eagles, the bears and the orcas, supported by other creatures of the watershed. 
The purpose of our story is to build an understanding of the intricate web of life that binds us together.  We will present our story, not just with Live CAMS, but with varying supportive tools, CD’s, books, teacher manuals and reference files, a web of discussion forums for both the general public and the schools.  It is this integration of multimedia that will support and encourage teachers and students.  It is this integration, this involvement of individuals and existing grass root organizations at local levels that is stewardship. 
Our goal is to work with other like-minded conservation and stewardship organizations to both focus their members' interest and energies on habitat awareness and to also energize new individuals to become stewards.  It is the expanding web of volunteers, the inspired individuals and school teachers, the retired biologists that drive these forums and give the local perspective.
The marketing will be through the WEB, TV and supported by the appropriate multimedia. We will particularly utilize the media’s hunger for exciting “good” content, a counterpoint to war and disaster that predominate. 
The relationship with the land will also feature First Nations' values. For example we already initiated two working relationships. First, with the Hartley Bay Band in the preservation of the White Spirit Bear habitat - and a creature to be featured via LIVE CAMS in its wild habitat, and second, with projects such as The Elder Speaks that enables elders like Grand Chief Dr. Rose Charlie of the Chehalis Band and her protégées to travel to schools and bands for discussions and dialog on their cultural values as they historically relate to rights being balanced by responsibility. These projects will also link to the CAM projects. 
The story of the river is the story of the food chain. The magnificent Colorado River starts in the pristine Rockies, traverses the most spectacular canyons of the world to be totally used.  Not a drop of that river’s water reaches the Gulf of Mexico. The polluted and industrialized Thames River of Britain is again supporting a salmon run!  The Mighty Fraser River, one of North America’s most pristine great rivers, drains most of southern British Columbia.  It runs over 1000 miles, or 1600 km, from the barren rocky slopes of the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean.  Whatever we do on and to the land ends up in our oceans.  We will enable a live and immediate understanding of our river’s life and breath. 
Bringing the live White Spirit Bear, the new emblem of British Columbia, to the world’s attention I predict will make this magical spiritual creature the “icon of wilderness",  just as the Panda has become the “icon of cute and cuddly”. 
We will have cameras in the rivers, on the rivers, on the forested slopes and at the river mouths and oceans. We will have a supportive crew of interpreters to tell this story of habitat and human interaction. 
The Story of a River has evolved: 
The Hancock Wildlife Foundation did a pilot project last summer bringing the life of the Hornby Island and Sidney bald eagles, via Live Web CAMs, to many millions of people and school children. The overwhelming consensus of the participants, both individuals and the schools, was “give us more”.  “Assist the teacher with integrating these projects into specific lessons.”  This project is to again capture the immediacy and excitement of “real reality” live videos supplemented with noted wildlife biologists, ecologists and behaviorists discussing the issues live from the field or studio. This in turn will be supported by production of meaningful reference material provided as books, streaming video or reference files. We also plan to be a coalescing agent, bringing together a working relationship between other cams in other areas to give a more unified program for schools. 
The eagle, bear and orca are more than spectacular animals that catch attention and demand respect, they are the key indicator species on how healthy is the food chain that supports them and us.  It’s the "them and us".  It’s the "rights vs responsibilities".  It’s our understanding of the intricacies of the "web of life" that will determine the ultimate success of our relationship with the planet earth.  The Story of a River will help bring that relationship into focus. 
David Hancock, Director 
Hancock Wildlife Foundation 
“A Not-for-Profit Society” 

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