Lee’s Stories

Lee’s Stories

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posted on November 6, 2016 | Science and Nature, Podcasts & Videos
Grizzly Lake story


Grizzly Lake, where I studied hummingbirds.
Frames of a video by Clancy Doheny.
Photo by Lee Gass.


and dancer Gail Lotenberg
worked with several behavioural
ecologists to create an evening-length
dance performance based on their work,
Experiments, which celebrated the essence
of scientific discovery. It was performed
November 25 – 27, 2010 at the
Scotiabank Dance Centre
in Vancouver.

Based on
conversations with each
scientist, many emails, and several
meetings with the whole team
together, Gail interviewed
each of us on camera.

This yielded
scenarios and metaphors
for the choreography, and a way
of thinking about the action.
Video of
the interviews was part of the background
of the performance, and production engineers
did incredible things with the sound track.
Grizzly Lake Story is a clip from
Gail’s interview with me.


A Story for Twyla Bella,
I told how this story, which is about
how hummingbirds get warm in the morning,
is connected to many others.
One example is
Kids, Hummingbirds, and the RCMP,
which is about my attempt to
engage the local constabu-
lary in an educational

For a 6 week
period, an entire elementary
school studied nothing but hummingbirds.
Anything related to hummingbirds, which is
everything, really.  Whatever it is, humming-
birds make a good excuse for anyone to
learn about it. 

It could have been
any other excuse, but ours
was hummingbirds.

which is what it’s about,
ourselves.  As observers, as
fellow animals who learn things,
know things, value things, and seem
to understand some kinds of things.
In a way, discovering similar-
ities is like looking in the
mirror and seeing

differences is also like
looking in the mirror, but what
we see there is different.  When kids look
in a hummingbird mirror, a first thing
they notice is how incredibly fast
they fly, especially in relation
to their own running
or bicycle speed.

Unfortunately for
kids, community, and RCMP,
the constable declined my invitation
to clock kids speeding on skate-
boards, bicycles,
and/or foot.

Edited January 2019

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