Sierra McLane and Sally Aitken in The Walrus

Aitken-ites in The Walrus talking whitebark pine and assisted migration.

[N]ear the end of McLane’s whitebark planting trip in BC, it started to snow. Parked in whiteout conditions on a mountaintop, with no views to admire, McLane pulled a fourth layer over her down coat, grabbed her fingerless gloves, and braced herself for the whipping wind. Each day, as the temperature dropped, her unplanted seedlings became less likely to make it through the winter, leaving them in as much danger as ever and us no wiser for it. Crawling through ankle-deep snow, McLane spent her days scraping out holes with a tent peg and pushing the sprouts into the frozen dirt with her bare, numb fingers. Then, as now, the experiments had to go on. “We’re in a race against time,” she said.

3 thoughts on “Sierra McLane and Sally Aitken in The Walrus

  1. Dear Dr. Aitken,

    The French-language current affairs show Couleurs locales (Unis/TV5) will be talking, on next week’s episode, about the assisted migration of pine trees undertaken by Sierra McLane and yourself.

    To help our viewers better visualize the experiment, I was wondering if you could please provide us with a few hi-res images (min. 1980x) of the project (ex: tree planters; Sierra McLane collecting pine cones, etc.), before Wednesday if at all possible.

    We would of course credit the appropriate source in the show’s final credits.

    Thanking you in advance for your help with this, and looking forward to your reply,


  2. Thanks for your interest in our work, Paul. We’ve sent some photos along – please let us know if they will work for you, and when the show will be broadcast.

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