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wildlife Tag

Thank you to all the Toad People on Indiegogo!

TP_Indiegogo_screenshot_finalWhat a wild ride!


The crowdfunding campaign for our new documentary, Toad People, has now come to an end.


With the help of the 248 contributors who supported our project, we raised a whopping $17,451 to complete the film and take it on tour across British Columbia!


We are thrilled with the result – thank you to everyone who participated and helped us spread the word!

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.

Our collective dilemma

Q + A with John Vaillant, author of The Golden Spruce


John Vaillant is an award-winning author – and a Toad Person! (Photo: John Sinal)

John Vaillant is an award-winning author – and a Toad Person! (Photo: John Sinal)

The environmental activist inside critically acclaimed author John Vaillant was awakened through his journey of writing The Golden Spruce. The book tells the story of a spiritually significant tree and a troubled, misguided individual named Grant Hadwin, who cut it down in 1997.


Visiting Haida Gwaii on assignment in 2000, Vaillant heard the story of the felling of this special tree and felt compelled to write a book. He crafted the story into a must-read for the environmentally-minded, weaving in Haida legend as well as the actualities of the BC logging industry, past and present.


When he was later inspired to write a book based on the film Conflict Tiger, he sent a copy of The Golden Spruce to British filmmaker Sasha Snow in 2006 to prove that he was “a real writer.” Two weeks later, Snow called him back and said that he wanted to make a film inspired by The Golden Spruce, too. What a beautifully symmetrical exchange of ideas.


The resulting film, Hadwin’s Judgement, was released in 2015 in Canada and the UK.


Our co-director, Isabelle Groc, interviewed John Vaillant before a special screening of the film this month at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (VIMFF), where the Toad People trailer was shown before the feature presentation. We were very happy to share the evening with John, who graciously contributed the proceeds from his book sales at the event to our Toad People crowdfunding campaign.

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.

Turtle power

By Chloe Speakman, Wilderness Committee Campaign Assistant 


Andrea Gielens releasing turtles

Become a Toad Person to join Andrea Gielens for a 1-on-1 field trip to see painted turtles in their habitat! (Photo: Wildlife Preservation Canada)

Andrea Gielens grew up in Aldergrove, BC, next door to a prime habitat area for Oregon spotted frogs. She’s always been interested in animals – from hatching frogs in buckets in her backyard to saving birds and shrews from the neighbourhood cats.


“Like most kids, I thought I was going to be a vet or a marine biologist,” Andrea recalls. “It wasn’t until my last semester of university that I got to be involved in direct conservation work with a local conservation centre.”

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.

Are you a Toad Person?

Toad People are people like you, in communities across British Columbia and beyond, who are stepping up to protect the wildlife in their backyards.


You can become a Toad Person by supporting our new documentary film project to help bring inspiring wildlife stories to the big screen.


Check out this short video to see why this project is so important to us – and to the many at-risk species that call BC home.


Are you a Toad Person? from The Wilderness Committee on Vimeo.


Contribute to the Toad People crowdfunding campaign at:


What does it take to save a species? A people-powered movement, and an endangered species law

By Jennifer Deol, BC Species at Risk Project Assistant


Community members in Ryder Lake, BC have taken amphibian health into their own hands.

Community members in Ryder Lake, BC have taken amphibian health into their own hands. Photo: Isabelle Groc.

There is no debate anymore – wild species around the globe are drastically declining. And caring citizens across the globe are tired of being bystanders to the sixth mass extinction, while decision-makers dither on policies and politics.


With British Columbia’s own provincial government failing to pull its weight in this biodiversity crisis, a local community in Ryder Lake, Chilliwack BC has stepped up to the plate to protect BC’s only resident toad – the western toad.

Launching from the lily pad

Toad People Indiegogo

Become a Toad Person! Check out our campaign on Indiegogo.

We are very excited to announce the launch of our Toad People crowdfunding campaign, along with the release of the trailer!


Crowdfunding is a way to contribute money online for a specific project you support. Your contribution can range from just $1 to $5,000 or more, and if you choose, it can come with a perk.


We are aiming to raise $20,000 for Toad People to cover filming, sound editing, music composition, post-production editing, community outreach and screenings.