Zack Metcalfe

Zack Metcalfe is a freelance journalist, columnist and author based in the Maritimes.

Author Articles

A Basque harpoon on display at the Red Bay National Historic & World Heritage Site.

I cannot account for my fascination with whaling. For at least eight years I have studied these historic slaughters with morbid curiosity, sometimes for work, often for pleasure, committing to...
Eastern old growth hemlocks

Stepping into old growth has always felt like coming up for air. The vast majority of Maritime forests are young, defined by stifling, low-hanging branches and congested regrowth. White spruce...
Lichens

Lichens are under no obligation to make sense to us. They number perhaps a million species globally, and while they occur absolutely everywhere – trees, rocks, dirt, dunes, ditches, swamps,...
Weeping Willow

All I ever wanted was a place to plant trees. Since adolescence, the romanticism of shoving seedlings into the ground, then enjoying their shade 30 years later, always appealed to...
Atlantic Whitefish

It was the spring of 2016 when I saw my first Atlantic whitefish, an infant, squirming and spasming in the holding tank of a rotary screw trap. It was such...
Humpback Breaching

I’m not sure what woke me – the cold penetrating my sleeping bag, the first impressions of dawn, the internal alarm of the wildlife photographer – but I remember very...
The Last of the Atlantic Caribou

I found her on my third day, a speck of honey and cream lost in the shimmering savannas atop Mont Albert, Quebec. Through my camera lens I saw a robust...

I was raised on the Teeswater River in southwestern Ontario, minor when compared to the neighbouring Saugeen but to me, it might as well have been the Mississippi. We owned...

It would be difficult to recount all the broken promises which led us here. Two independent forestry reviews, adopted in spirit then ignored in reality; a public push for the...

It was a mild day in the fall of 2017 when I, true to form, attended a conference on Maritime biodiversity in Caledonia, Nova Scotia. In various working groups we...

Authors Blog

(Photo: a cougar stands on a riverbank)
The eastern cougar is the only 7 foot long, 200 pound wildcat that may or may not be living in your backyard. The eastern cougar is the only 7 foot...
(Photo: a Canadian lynx walks through the snow)
Feast or famine, as the old saying goes. We either have too much or too little, never just what we need. This is doubly true of the Canadian lynx. Feast...
The pine marten is an adorable creature, with fur softer than any pillow and a personality not unlike that of an inquisitive cat. I know this because I had the...
Puffins by Brian Gratwicke via Flickr
There’s perhaps no seabird more iconic to the Maritimes than the Atlantic puffin, a bird as modest and beautiful as the region itself. There’s perhaps no seabird more iconic to...
Basking Shark | Chris Gotschalk photo
Do you know how many people were killed by sharks in 2014? Six. Do you know how many sharks were killed by people that same year? Around 100 million.To say...
A North Atlantic Right Whale mother with her calf
In the race against extinction, there’s no greater nail-biter than the case of the North Atlantic right whale. In the race against extinction, there’s no greater nail-biter than the case...
Piping Plover | ShutterGlow Photo
It’s been a rough decade for the piping plover, an adorable little shorebird found only on North American beaches. Of the two distinct subspecies born and raised in Canada, one...
NOAA Fisheries Photo
Did you know the very first blue whale research organization in the world was founded in Atlantic Canada? They opened their doors in 1979 on the north shore of the...
Great Auks
I would like to introduce you to three species you will never meet, each of them living out their final days sometime in the last 150 years, run to extinction...
Shorebirds in southern Nova Scotia at Port Joli
Did you know there used to be giant sloths? I’m not kidding. We’re talking six metres long and occupying much of the globe, including North America. You might imagine something...