Lorna Crozier, a Governor General Award-winning poet, clearly remembers how inspired she felt when she first visited the Great Bear Rainforest, a massive tract of land on the B.C. coast between Vancouver Island and southeast Alaska.
"To stand within spitting distance of the largest mammal in North America, the grizzly bear, and feel safe and just honoured to be in its presence, to stand in the middle of a wet green dripping forest ... I just thought I had died and gone to a heaven on earth," said Crozier, who currently lives in North Saanich.
Crozier teamed up with Ian McAllister — co-founder of conservation organization Pacific Wild — to write The Wild in You.
The book features McAllister's stunning photographs of the wolves, grizzly bears, spirit bears and other creatures that live in the temperate rainforest, accompanied by poems that Crozier has written about the animals.
Crozier and McAllister discussed their book at the Vancouver Writers Fest on Oct. 22nd.
A message of conservation
Crozier met McAllister when she was sent to write a magazine article about the rainforest, which is 74,000 square kilometres in size and was created and named by environmental groups and First Nations groups in the mid-1990s.
McAllister, who lives near the rainforest, said he is impressed with how Crozier has addressed, through her poetry, many of the issues facing the coast.
"I remember one day in particular...there was probably a dozen grizzly bears in the estuary and they were feeding on salmon all around and just the mist coming through the trees and across the granite cliffs, and it was just a spectacular day," he said.
"I had a feeling that if there was a way to inspire a poet such as Lorna, this was the day."
Crozier said the book has a clear message that the rainforest needs to be protected.
If approved, the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project would mean that tankers carrying crude oil would regularly pass through the channels in the Great Bear Rainforest region.
"We need to be out there as eco-warriors again, making sure that the ocean is secure and safe and protected. Stop shooting grizzly bears for their heads and their paws and blackbirds too."
"Stop this crazy murdering of wolves because we're not protecting caribou by doing it," she said.
"I hope all of that is in the book, but I hope people are danced into a sense of mystery and wonder about the natural world and creatures who are valuable as we are."
To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled: 'The Wild In You' poems and photographs of the Great Bear Rainforest