Toad People | species at risk
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species at risk Tag

Creative conservation

Artist and scientist Jean L Polfus donated this stunning caribou artwork as a perk for the Toad People crowdfunding campaign.

Artist and scientist Jean L Polfus donated this stunning caribou artwork as a perk for the Toad People crowdfunding campaign.

By Chloe Speakman, Wilderness Committee Campaign Assistant


Jean Lieppert Polfus is a scientist and an artist – a somewhat rare combination in academia.


She grew up in northern Wisconsin, skiing, canoeing, camping and hiking in the surrounding hardwood forests. She was raised with the understanding that there are a multitude of unique beings in the world, each perceiving the world in unique ways. Her mom is an artist, so she and her sister were always encouraged to express themselves through drawing and painting.


Jean’s commitment to wildlife, wild places and the people who depend on them comes from a series of experiences she’s had over the course of her life. She’s always found witnessing animals in wild landscapes hugely impactful.


Jean continues to find value in the diversity of life, and she also values the opportunity to make a difference for species at risk in her career.

The Gems of the Swamp: Looking for amphibians with Monica Pearson

By Isabelle Groc, Toad People Co-Director / Wilderness Committee BC Species at Risk Project Coordinator


Join Monica Pearson on a wetland field trip to see Oregon spotted frogs and other amphibians. (Photo: Isabelle Groc)

Join Monica Pearson on an exclusive wetland field trip to see Oregon spotted frogs and other endangered BC amphibians. (Photo: Isabelle Groc)

When she was two years old, Monica Pearson lived close to Camosun Bog in Vancouver’s Pacific Spirit Regional Park. She spent most of her time outside sitting on a trail and playing with plants.


Her fascination for all things wild never faded, and as an adult she became a conservation biologist specializing in at-risk amphibians and wetland habitat restoration in British Columbia. Her favourite part of her work is designing and building habitat – a task she compares to sculpting with an excavator.


For the last eight years, Monica has been studying the secret life of one of the most beautiful and cryptic gems of the wetland, the Oregon spotted frog.

Giving a hoot for BC wildlife

Sofi with barn owl

Sofi Hindmarch is a barn owl researcher in southern BC. Contribute to our crowdfunding campaign to join her on a field trip with baby owls! (Photo: Isabelle Groc)

By Chloe Speakman, Wilderness Committee Campaign Assistant


Sofi Hindmarch has been interested in conservation since her childhood in rural Norway. As she she grew up, she saw new roads and logging change the landscape around her – processes called “development.” These changes upset her, and she has since made a career exposing habitat destruction and working to protect wildlife.


Sofi came to Simon Fraser University 10 years ago, studying how various human activities affect barn owls for her master’s degree. Now she is earning her PhD and doing more fieldwork with baby barn owls in southern British Columbia.


As part of the crowdfunding campaign for our film, Sofi is generously inviting up to 6 people to spend a day in the field with herself and the owlets. You’ll even get a chance to help with her research!

Wet and wild!

By Chloe Speakman, Wilderness Committee Campaign Assistant


Mike Pearson

Become a Toad Person and you could join biologist Mike Pearson for an exciting wetland field trip!

Aquatic ecologist Mike Pearson is passionate about species at risk. He uses his Ph.D not only for research and consultation, but also to collaborate with environmental non-profits like the Wilderness Committee and the Stewardship Centre for British Columbia.


A lot of his work right now focuses on a couple of fish: the Salish sucker and nooksack dace. Both are small (10-25 cm) and have small ranges.They’re unique to the watersheds of BC’s lower mainland and Puget Sound in the US.


Mike also works with frogs, the close cousins of our toad friends. In the springtime, he goes out looking for egg clusters of the Oregon spotted frog, a provincially red-listed species.