I’m her husband…forgive me if I’m proud of her…
Barbara Mary Victoria Scott MSc. I will introduce this lady as a fully-credentialed, Master’s degreed wildlife biologist whose fieldwork was remarked upon at the time as “demanding not only technical competence and analytical skills but an unusual degree of woods wisdom and physical courage.” This from Professor Ian McTaggart Cowan who died a few days ago after 99 years on the planet. “Remarkable accomplishment…unusual insight,” he also said of her work, documented in “Food Habits and Social Organization of Two Wolf Packs in the Adam and Eve Watershed on Vancouver Island.”
Thirty-some years ago Barbara trapped, tranquilized and radio-collared wolves when few people knew how to do these things. She tracked them, howled with them, followed them on foot and from the air, collected scat—was truly a woman who ran with the wolves.
But that’s not why I’m nominating her for the Robert Michener Conservation Award. That was 30 years ago and Barbara is herself writing about it now, for it’s taken her this long to come to terms with the fact that ALL of her study wolves were killed in the last months of her work. Currently she is petitioning against just this same sort of benighted behavior on the part of a new generation of wildlife bureaucrats—killers.
In between these endeavors on behalf of the wolves Barbara founded Aurora Farm, raised two sons to adulthood, initiated and grew a garden seed business and still is teaching dozens of young people about Biodynamic gardening and seedwork.
The work on behalf of seeds is perhaps Barbara’s longest-lasting contribution. Today seeds are under assault by corporate interests as never before. As seed sowing humans for the past 10,000 years we have cherished seeds, granting sacred status to these capsules of memory and consciousness, these enfoldments of life. Along with much of Great Nature, seeds speak to Barbara and in 1990 at Aurora Farm, Creston, B.C., she was encouraged by them to carry on work on their behalf. Since, tens of thousands of packets of herb, flower and vegetable seeds have gone out from Barbara to many, many gardens throughout Turtle Island.
The work is modest in the extreme. The threats, in the form of “Terminator” seeds, “Roundup Ready,” seeds, Biotechnologically Manipulated seeds, Hybrids to keep the grower coming back year after year for seeds, unscrupulously advertised seeds, seeds as leverage against populations—these threats are formidable and backed up by the amoral power of multi-national corporations. But the solution is modest: Grow the seeds out, free the seeds to seek their caretakers, distribute them widely as Nature does.
The Manifesto for Seeds that has informed Barbara’s work reads in part:
What we would pass on to the seventh generation as bridegift they seize as strategy. They would put a price on the priceless and sell it back to us. Do not let them delude you about their sophisticated seed bank in the high arctic. Seeds are not preserved by freezing them and locking them away from growers; they are not saved inside mountains and behind bank-vault doors. Hide your weapons of mass destruction there, or your bullion, if you will, but our seeds hold life which does not thrive in such places. If you would keep a seed forever and increase it—grow it out. Surrender it to soil and warmth and moisture; wait for the miracle of a plant; hold the hope of fruition and one seed becomes many—even millions. Then give them away.
This, season after season, has been Aurora Farm’s understanding of the agriculturalist’s role in the culture of seeds. Against the zeitgeist, against the dictates of business sense, the seed grower’s role affirms life and continuity.
Barbara’s steadfastness in this affirmation, with all of its implications for teaching, for the future, for human and planetary health, is the basis for this nomination.