"In the bogs of Hecate Island, British Columbia, a writer and novice naturalist joins researchers for a glimpse of a multiyear biodiversity mission—and gets acquainted with some odd organisms."
"Our boat noses into the craggy, primordial shore of Hecate Island. The first two off the deck have their hand lenses out before the rest of us touch land. They are Randal Mindell and Dan Tucker, both experts in mosses and liverworts, called in for their deep knowledge of these underappreciated oddball plants.
The beach is bounded on one side by a granite outcrop shining silver in the morning sun. Mindell and Tucker are peering at the green tufts that sprout from dripping cracks in the rock. The moss’s minute architecture snaps into focus through their lenses, which are palm-sized magnifying glasses sans handles—jeweler’s lenses for field biologists. Every so often, one of them swings a camera off their shoulder to snap a photo.
Right behind them, hopping single file off the aluminum-hulled cabin boat onto a shoreline boulder, are four apprentices. They’ve all landed on one of the best summer jobs out there for budding biologists: traveling through British Columbia’s provincial parks to document as many living things as they can find, from great horned owls to long-toed salamanders."