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General News · 12th October 2013
Cortes Museum & Archives
Presentation by George Sirk

Manson's Hall, October 19, 2013
Door open 7:00 pm
Presentation starts 7:30 pm
Admission by donation
Refreshments to follow

Unimaginable cold (-60C), ice and permafrost dictate the rules to survival in this vast desert. Animals and plants, their tales of success, will be the focus of George’s presentation.

The Inuit, their knowledge of wildlife; from Gyrfalcons to Bowhead whales, from berries to muskox, combined with an intuitive ability to adapt and use ice are the human masters of the arctic. Four thousand years ago their ancestors colonized one of very harshest climates and habitats on earth. Their descendants are there today.

Skraeling Island lies frozen in the high Arctic off Ellesmere Is. There, a Thule village 1000 years old is preserved, frozen for 11 months a year. In 2012 the ice had receded far enough to permit visitation by tour ship, the first time in 20 years. George will delve into the fascinating history of the Thule and their contact with the Vikings.

Nanook has surprise and patience, combined with sheer strength and stamina. Earth’s largest land carnivore dominates the Arctic. A fascinating life history - a one-pound baby at birth, a short lifespan, a nose that can catch the wisps of a scent 100 km away and feet the size of tennis rackets. Their personalities vary, from scaredy bears that vanish into the vastness, to ones that wade out to Zodiacs, or swim across vast expanses of 1degree C water. Their complex behaviors are astounding.

George hopes to mesmerize you with his PowerPoint, a “Novaya Zemlya”, an Arctic mirage, and give you a brief peek into the Arctic: “the raw, the bleak, the beautiful”.

George Sirk’s Bio
George Sirk has a refreshing perspective and his enthusiasm and passion for the wonders of nature are contagious. He has been an avid birder since 1964 and his life-long career as a naturalist guide began in 1969 while working for the British Columbia Parks Branch. Specializing in tropical ecology, in places such as Australia, Papua New Guinea and tropical America, it’s surprising to find him now exploring arctic Canada!
His northern experience includes four seasons in Churchill Manitoba leading Polar bear tours and six seasons with Cruise North Expeditions in the high Arctic. Currently he explores the Arctic with Adventure Canada. He has navigated over 20,000 miles of this archipelago including Greenland. George has visited many major habitats and Inuit villages within this enormous area. His expertise, rapport with the Inuit and knowledge of wildlife; from walrus to Ivory Gulls, butterflies to muskox will mesmerize you. ‘On deck’ is where you find the wildlife, and that’s where you’ll find him spinning his yarns and sketching. “You won’t see Polar bears in your bunk!”, exclaims George.
George spent nine years in the political arena representing Cortes Island and during his tenure he relished in the struggle to champion for the creatures and habitats that needed attention and protection. He’s been a host and regular contributor to CBC radio, and had his own radio show for four years, “Nature Boy”, at the University of Victoria. His broad range of interests, from paleoanthropology and astronomy to marine biology and geology are all with a ‘Gaian perspective’. In other words, he believes that our planet is a self-regulating supra-organism and behaves as such.
Plain old fun is what you’re to expect of ’nature boy’. Come join him and experience his interpretation of the Arctic - “The Raw, the Bleak, the Beautiful”.