Big Survey: Small World

Written by Thom Lewis
Friday, May 20, 2011

Thom LewisI’ve had the privilege of participating in the May Breeding Waterfowl Population and Habitat Survey for nine years, and I’ve surveyed five crew areas covering portions of the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec, as well as North and South Dakota. That’s a big part of the waterfowl breeding grounds in North America. Six hundred and thirty-seven miles to the North of where I work and grew up in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area, is the small town of Val D’or, Quebec. This year we stayed several nights in Val D’or, and at breakfast on the first morning the hostess asked me if I was the “Guy from Maryland.” I told her yes and come to find out, although she was born in and moved back to Val D’or, she had grown up and gone to school only fifteen minutes from where I grew up. We talked quite a bit about the places and things that we had in common. Indeed, one of her brothers lives just minutes from our house in MD. When we left Val D’or, I asked Martine what she missed most about MD besides her family and got the answer I expected. “Maryland Steamed Crabs!”

Map showing the 637 miles separating Val D'or, Quebec from the home of pilot biologist Thom Lewis in Maryland.

Map showing the 637 miles separating Val D'or, Quebec from the home of pilot biologist Thom Lewis in Maryland. Photo by Thomas Lewis, US FWS, Google Maps