A duck washing during the pandemic anthropause. (Cim MacDonald photo)

A duck washing during the pandemic anthropause. (Cim MacDonald photo)

New display at Duncan museum looks at wildlife during the pandemic

In the summer of 2020, scientists coined the term “anthropause”

By Kathryn Gagnon

The Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives presents a new temporary display, “Paused: Wildlife during the Pandemic”.

In the summer of 2020, scientists coined the term “anthropause” to describe the effects of stilled human activity on the behaviour of wildlife during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

Around the world, people have observed changes in wildlife behaviour. Local artist Cim MacDonald visits Chemainus Beach nearly every day and has documented her observations with her camera throughout the pandemic. MacDonald’s extraordinary images of local wildlife are featured in the display.

MacDonald describes her experiences of photographing wildlife during the pandemic: “Walking on the beach at low tide has given me an intimate glimpse of the everyday life of birds and sea life. My photography has improved during COVID-19. Since travel was out of the question, I spent hours on the beach, virtually alone with the birds. I became much more aware of background distractions; sometimes it took a different angle or an awareness of the direction of the light to make an ordinary shot into something special.”

Watch a video posted to YouTube created by Shawn Wagar, Cedar Road Studios, for Paused: Wildlife during the Pandemic at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kW6a9yYKTyc.

The display will be on view until Oct. 15.

The Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives is located on the traditional and unceded lands of the Quw’utsun Tribes. The museum explores the diverse history of the region and presents stories from the many communities with which they collaborate. They work to create awareness of the tangible and intangible history and heritage of the Cowichan region for all who live and visit here. The Museum and Archives are owned and operated by the non-profit Cowichan Historical Society.

The museum is located in the heritage-designated Duncan Train Station on Canada Avenue. Summer hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is by donation. The archives is open by appointment only; please visit www.cowichanvalleymuseum.bc.ca to schedule an appointment. For more information, contact curator Kathryn Gagnon at 250-746-6612 or email cvmuseum.archives@shaw.ca.

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A crow watches possible prey during the pandemic. (Cim MacDonald photo)

A crow watches possible prey during the pandemic. (Cim MacDonald photo)