Bill Merilees – “Madagascar”

Bill Merilees – “Madagascar”
by Andrew Bryant, 22 Jan 2015. 

Bill Merilees of Nanaimo is a prominent British Columbian naturalist, educator, activist, conservationist and author of books such as Attracting Backyard Wildlife and (with co-author C.P. Lyons) the updated version of Trees, Shrubs and Flowers to Know in Washington and British Columbia.

He recently visited Powell River to share some of his many unusual experiences — in this case his globe-trotting adventures in Madagascar!

Bill visited that island twice, in 1998 and 2003,  and his talk focussed primarily upon the rich and largely endemic flora and fauna to be found there.   Illustrated with his beautiful 35 mm slides, Bill also presented a very human story of history, agriculture, and the huge economic and conservation challenges facing people inhabiting that part of the world.

There were more than a few laughs, and some great teaching moments for me (“imagine Vancouver Island…only 20 times as long…and with 22 million people”).   Small wonder that Bill is known for his narrative abilities…there were stories of seriously prickly plants, leapin lemurs, finicky frogs, and fascinating life histories of all shapes and variety.

Come to think of it, Bill…your life-history is pretty fascinating too!