On guard for thee: Artists for an oil-free coast

Notes from the Field - A conservation update from the Great Bear Rainforest
 A Conservation Update from Raincoast

AuthorOn guard for thee: Artists for an oil-free coast

by Dorset Norwich-Young, AFCA

After the passage up to Bella Bella was complete, three more artists joined me on board Achiever and a whole new chapter began. Rather than the science based conversations I’d been enjoying with the Raincoast crew on the first leg of Achiever’s journey, we moved into the artist’s world of words and colours splashed with emotion.

Artists Linda Heslop, Dan Gray, Ian Reid and I each viewed our surroundings with respect and awe; each with our own perspective on what needs to be said. Ian Reid is a Heiltsuk carver, painter and dancer who is very connected to his culture.  He and I sat together on the bow often working side by side with his wood chips flying all over my sketch book. Linda Heslop, a delicate watercolourist with great attention to fine detail. Dan Gray, a passionate pastel artist with a quickly moving hand painting when and wherever he could. And me, normally a large format colourful acrylic studio painter, now outdoors with a small sketchbook.

And here we are….all from different backgrounds, all bound with the same passion of hope. Determined that with every ounce of talent and stroke of hand that our artwork will show the world what we have at stake and why the inevitable oil spill from these huge tankers is more than we will tolerate.  Inspired by this amazing territory we hope to portray the humbling beauty, to show the fragility and the vital force exuding from the sea and land. May those sea otters, grizzly bears, wolves, humpbacks that we saw forgive us if we let disaster fall upon the BC coast.

For the coast,


PS -The next leg of the journey is to show case our donated art works across BC, Alberta and the rest of Canada. Your support is invaluable to making this happen.



50 artists -including some of Canada’s most celebrated -have arrived on BC’s northern coast to paint, sketch, carve and bring attention to this remarkable place threatened by Northern Gateway.



Artist Dan Grey paints from the bow of Achiever near Camano Sound; a place where whales, their critical habitat and the proposed tanker route, all collide.

Raincoast PO Box 2429 Sidney, BC, Canada Photo Credits: Ben Fox http://www.benfox.ca
Tofino artist and project organizer Mark Hobson with painter Robert Bateman.Linda Heslop on a west coast bay that lies along Enbridge’s proposed tanker route.Michael Svob at work on a calm June day in Hecate Strait.

You can help

Raincoast’s in-house scientists, collaborating graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors make us unique among conservation groups. We work with First Nations, academic institutions, government, and other NGOs to build support and inform decisions that protect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and the wildlife that depend on them. We conduct ethically applied, process-oriented, and hypothesis-driven research that has immediate and relevant utility for conservation deliberations and the collective body of scientific knowledge.

We investigate to understand coastal species and processes. We inform by bringing science to decision-makers and communities. We inspire action to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats.

Coastal wolf with a salmon in its month.
Photo by Dene Rossouw.