Rethinking the Beaver on the Radio

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking, writing and talking about beavers over the past ten years – ever since I started researching Once They Were Hats. And I’ve been gratified to see so much interest in this species that is so vital to our well-being. As I often say, “Beavers are trending.” But not everyone is happy about the beaver’s rebound. Sharing territory with such a gifted and persistent ecosystem engineer challenges our desire to be in control of landscapes and waterways, and we often forget that things looked very different back when North America had a full complement of beavers. With all this in mind, I decided to do some more writing about beavers, but this time for the ear. To my delight, one of my favourite CBC radio programs, Ideas, embraced my idea.

My radio documentary, Rethinking the Beaver, debuts on November 28, 2018. Tune into CBC Radio One at 9:00 p.m. local time (9:30 p.m. in Newfoundland) to listen to the broadcast. You can also listen online or download the podcast.

Capturing the sounds of a thriving beaver pond in the Alberta foothills. (Photo credit: Pierre Bolduc).



Four centuries of fur-trade trapping nearly wiped beavers off the North American map. Now they’re back, big time, and we’re discovering that sharing the landscape with such tenacious ecosystem engineers isn’t always easy. We’re also learning that there are compelling reasons to try to coexist with this iconic species. Contributor Frances Backhouse explores how two control freaks — humans and beavers — can get along.