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Rare Bear: Jack Miner and the Canada Goose

Photo by Christopher Rodgers on Unsplash

I was too young to remember Jack Miner, but I heard a lot about him during the l940’s when I was a schoolboy.

In April of l947, by a special act of Parliament, the week of April l0th was proclaimed Wild Life Week in Canada because of this man’s career. Both the Senate and the House of Commons were unanimously in favor.

It was the climax of a life well-lived. Jack Miner was raised in Kingsville Ontario, where he lived until November 3, 1944. During his life, he was a conservator and naturalist who left a legacy unlike any other. Among the laurels he created was the mapping of flyways of birds – particularly the Canada Goose.

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I learned the story of Jack Miner while I lived a mile distant from the big home of then Manley Miner and his brother Jasper. My children attended Jack Miner School, on the third concession of Gosfield South Township, and each fall they took part in the banding of Geese. The bands were simple. I had heard about them over my school years. A verse of Scripture and the date on one side, and Jack Miner’s address on the other. The same bands I had heard about years before, were the same bands my children used to band the geese years later. In fact, from 1909 when the process began, they never really changed.

They were not only a means of tracking the fly-ways of the birds, but they were also the means of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Jack Miner was a Christian, and this was his way of witnessing. Can you imagine over the years how many were acquainted with the Gospel just from reading the bands on the birds?

As I said, I learned the story of Jack Miner from his sons, Manley and Jasper. Jasper’s sons and my children went to school and Sunday School together while we lived in Kingsviille, and I spent a lot of time with Manley.

In l904, Jack founded the Bird Sanctuary that bore his name, and from 1910 until 1940, he campaigned and lectured all over North America in efforts to support not only his sanctuary but also the cause of conservation. From that April Day in l947 until today, the week of April l0th is still known as Wild Life Week in Canada.


Done it Again

I watch the wake
Ripple the lake
And it causes a lump
In my throat
For I know
In that moment
I’ve done it again
I have utterly missed
The boat.

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