Category Archives: Nature

Why does logging trump tourism in the Discovery Islands

… and Desolation Sound?

by Carrie Saxifrage via Vancouver Observer

B.C. Timber Sales built a new log dump and road across from the Octopus Islands/Waiatt Bay Marine Park in one of the only three channels from which no active or recent logging can be seen from the water.
B.C. Timber Sales built a new log dump and road across from the Octopus Islands/Waiatt Bay Marine Park in one of the only three channels from which no active or recent logging can be seen from the water.

Hole in the Wall, Okisollo Channel, Prideaux Haven, Pendrell Sound, Sonora Island…. for thousands of people, these names evoke some of the best fun summer can offer: kayaking world famous tidal rapids; sport fishing at legendary lodges; watching orcas and grizzly bears in the wild; following trails through salal thickets to hidden lakes; anchoring in coves full of brilliant sea life and swimming in the warmest ocean water north of Mexico while gazing at snow covered peaks.

Sixteen provincial marine parks invite exploration of the waters between central Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland. And those who explore them drive the local economies of the Discovery Islands and Desolation Sound. Fishermen, water taxi operators, airport shuttles, kayak rentals, craftspeople, fishing guides, charter boat operators, B&Bs, farmers, restaurants, camping supply stores, museums, marinas, yacht clubs – they all await the heydays of July and August.

According to the Discovery Islands Marine Tourism Group, tourists generate over $45 million each year and employ 1,200 people in the Discovery Islands alone. Add to this the business brought in by up to 250 yachts that anchor each night in Prideaux Haven, and all the other yachts anchored in other bays, and you get the economic activity that enables hundreds of rural families to live where they do.

Those families count their blessings to live in place abundant with the wonders of nature yet well within reach of major population centers like Vancouver and Seattle. In fact, the economic benefits of tourism in the area might far outpace the economic benefits of forestry, the historic economic mainstay. But there’s a lot of logging on public lands at highly visible locations in this magnetic summer playground, and more planned for the fall.

Clients at the premium sport fishing lodges at Big Bay and Dent Island view this new cut block on Stuart Island on their trip north.
Clients at the premium sport fishing lodges at Big Bay and Dent Island view this new cut block on Stuart Island on their trip north.

Jack Springer of Campbell River Whale Watching has a primarily European clientele who can’t understand why so many trees are being cut.

“It’s very difficult to explain to them what is going on here,” he said. “They love our wildlife and scenery, but shake their heads at the way our forests are being harvested.” Springer is among the tourism operators and associated businesses that are asking, why does logging still trump tourism in the Discovery Islands and Desolation Sound?

Read full article here.

Robert Bateman, a living legend, strides the world of art and nature.

Earlier this year, the Robert Bateman Centre has opened its doors with the largest exhibit of original works by the world’s greatest wildlife artist.

This exhibition unleashes the full scope of his work from the largest original painting to the smallest drawing. Crossing the years and continents, visitors will explore the life of this iconic artist from his childhood to his latest masterpiece. This collection of over 160 works is the largest ever assembled for public view.
The exhibit begins with a section of The Loretta Anne Rogers Gallery dedicated to British Columbia subjects. Bateman moved to Saltspring Island in the ’80’s prompting an outpouring of new work some of which appears here.
Yet another place that figures deeply in his affections is Africa. The Suzanne and Walter Scott Galleries show some of the best work inspired by that continent.
A total of ten galleries cover different aspects of Bateman’s work, and two of these galleries are of special interest to youth and children. The Family Gallery includes a hands-on nature play area for children under 10, and the Kathryn Iredale Gallery focuses on Bateman’s work about birds. Here, children of all ages can explore the collection kinesthetically by orchestrating multiple bird calls through a multi-channel sound system and sensors on the paintings.
Visitors can also pause in the Diane and David Reesor Theatre and hear Bateman talk about his vision while he works in his studio. (

A definite must see if in Victoria, BC.

We feel honored to announce that this unparalleled artist will be teaching at Hollyhock October 18-23. Learn more about his Hollyhock Master Artists Seminar here.


Transformation is a Real Outcome

by Suzanne Northcott

An invitation…

Hollyhock 2013, The Maker and the Muse with Suzanne Northcott, September 22 – 27, 2013.

“Transformation is a Real Outcome”



This is a place I want to spend time, to teach and to learn. Hollyhock has been on my radar for 30 years as a magical possibility for creative outcomes. Now, with my understanding of the way the whole being contributes to creative work, the call is even clearer. So, come with me at last and we will work and explore, eat beautifully, let the spectacular setting nourish our spirits and walk into “what wants to happen”.


We will come from both sides of the story and the brain – laying out fundamental skills you can count on and illuminating ways to to connect with your inspiration and imagination. We will find our way to the middle – the place where the idea becomes manifest, where what you see or imagine turns to your own work, the evidence of your exploration.

Lets go!!


Suzanne-NorthcottSuzanne Northcott is an interdisciplinary artist working with installation, video, painting, drawing and fashion. She is interested in the shifting place where one thing becomes another, studying dreams and meditation and themes of transformation, decay, metamorphosis and migration. Suzanne’s work is held in numerous collections including the Surrey Art Gallery’s public collection. She is a sought after lecturer, painting, drawing and creative process instructor. White Album, a book of her paintings and Rishma Dunlop’s poetry was published in 2009. Suzanne leads groups on cultural excursions combining painting, journaling and yoga instruction and conducts workshops throughout Canada and the U.S. as well as Mexico, Italy, Spain and Morocco.

More info about The Maker & The Muse at Hollyhock on Cortes Island here.

Sail, Paddle, Barbeque and Stargaze

Bottomless Oyster Bar sound good after a day on the water?  On Hollyhock’s Adventure Program, Bill Ophoff and Rex Weyler will guide you on an adventure-cational trip as rich as the diverse marine life you will be in.  Discover First Nations shellfish harvesting, the rhythym of the ocean and other natural magic like bioiluminescence.  Have a peak at how to shuck an oyster with Bill:

Join Bill and Rex for the Hollyhock Adventure Program, August 25 – 30, 2013, at Hollyhock on Cortes and Desolation Sound.

Trust Us…You Want to Go to Hollyhock

by Dr. Kathy Murphy via

For the next year we will travel across the US and Canada, visiting spiritual retreats, holistic learning centers, our national parks and other earthly delights…

Some people take a water taxi or a sea plane to Hollyhock, but it’s a real adventure to drive here. For us, the trip from Vancouver (with a quick visit to Victoria and Butchart Gardens), on to Campbell River, on to Quadra Island, over to Cortes Island, and on to Hollyhock was long ~ but like Oz, it was magical. It took us five hours and three ferries to finally arrive. However, the minute you drive on the first ferry, the journey begins and you begin to shift ~ to island time. If you want to slow down and re-center, this is the place to do it.

Whether you’re here for personal and professional growth or for a nature-filled, technology-free holiday, the mission of Hollyhock is to re-nourish. This is where social activists, artists, seekers, and creatives come to be inspired. Hollyhock is dedicated to building a community of life-long learners for building a better future.

Kathy-Murphy-blog-2Hollyhock is famous for it’s garden. And it’s food. It’s farm to table ~ from the garden right outside the dining hall doors. You actually have to walk through the gardens to get to the table. Travel & Food Magazine says it’s the kind of garden that stops you in your tracks. (My promise to myself is to never walk through that garden without stopping and taking it all in! It will take your breath away.)

The meals are served family style in the lodge that overlooks the ocean. Around the dining hall tables you will find conversations, connections, and creativity. There’s also daily meditation, yoga, bodywork, guided nature hikes and sailing, and programs that offer all of the tools necessary for living a fully engaged life.

Who knew that there was a world-class learning center, a thriving oasis called Hollyhock, on Cortes Island in British Columbia? Now you do. You will want to watch the video about this wonderful opportunity.

From My Point of View
Kathy-Murphy-blog-3I’m sitting here on the deck at Hollyhock looking out at the sound over to snow-capped mountains on the other shore. Next I turn and take in the show of color from the magnificent flower and vegetable garden ~ with 200-year-old Douglas fir trees as a backdrop. This is yet another place filled with nature that brings one closer to peace, joy, and that overwhelming feeling of love for life. This is an island paradise that has been carefully nurtured and protected for all of us…and for many generations to come.

Kathy-Murphy-blog-4We are doing a month-long volunteer service program. We are living in a house with six other people, working 30 hours a week. We’re washing dishes, setting up program rooms, hosting guests, trimming bushes and trees, and washing some more dishes.

The high points of our trip so far have been the places where we have joined the community and helped. This opportunity to be of service and to help this sacred place ~ a place dedicated to nurturing one’s soul all the while creating a better world ~ feels good. I like the physical effort it takes to clean, clear, or fix something. There is an immediate sense of accomplishment. It actually feels good to be physically tired. You get a bit soft driving around in a car all the time. I hope we last 4 weeks.

I have a renewed respect for all the people that do this kind of physical labor on a daily basis. I don’t think we appreciate other’s efforts enough. Let’s not take them for granted. Thank a worker today. They deserve it and it will feel good when you have recognized a fellow human being and their value.

The Inner Journey
This morning I cried ~ all morning long.

Kathy-Murphy-blog-5When I woke up in my comfy, warm bed with the fresh air of the nearby ocean, next to my best friend, I cried tears of deep gratitude. And I thought ~ this must be what grace feels like.

When I walked through the woods in the early morning to my yoga class, I cried tears for the sheer beauty of it all. After the gentle practice, I cried from relief for the deep, healing connection with my body. When served the beautiful, nourishing breakfast prepared for me, I cried with deep appreciation. And, after a stroll through the majestic garden right outside the dining hall at Hollyhock, I cried from wonder and awe. You would have cried too!

I am so grateful for this experience. Thank you God and Universe.