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Bookstore owner illustrates book about bogs

Pitt Meadows Nicole Skutelnik helps kids understand the effects of climate change on a unique ecosystem
Nicole Skutelnik

Maple Ridge resident and Pitt Meadow’s bookstore owner Nicole Skutelnik illustrated the Burns Bog Conservation Society’s latest publication.

Karla Olson wrote For Peat’s Sake: A Complete Classroom Study on Burns Bog and other Peatlands for teachers as an educational series about climate change.

It uses Burns Bog as an example to explore the science of Canada’s ecosystems.

“It was a good experience working with Karla,” said Skutelnik. “It’s always nice to do things like this for a nonprofit. I’ll always continue working with them.”

Skutelnik co-wrote and illustrated two children’s storybooks, Boglin Gets Lost and Boglin and the Birthday Party, with Pamela Finding while completing a practicum for the society in 2007. The books were edited by Olson.

Olson remembered Skutelnik’s enthusiasm for children’s literature and her engaging illustrations when looking for someone to illustrate For Peat’s Sake.

“Nicole’s passion for children’s books really motivated me,” said Olson. “So when I began this book, I wanted to make this science-based information interesting and enjoyable for all students to help them love learning.”

The publication - divided into two books - follows the B.C. Ministry’s lesson guidelines to give educators photocopiable reading materials and cross-curriculum activities.

Skutelnik opened Tomes and Tales as part of her lifetime devotion and love for books at the age of 21 last year. The Douglas College graduate writes children’s books and articles for a children’s website during the quiet hours at the bookstore. She is also working on a young adult novel.

“I fell in love with children’s literature ever since reading the first Harry Potter when I was 11,” said Skutelnik. “I guess I never really grew out of it. It affected many of my future decisions from the book reviews I write to the practicum I did.”

The book launched as part of the International Bog Day activities on July 24 at Planet Ice in Delta. The day included a Jog for the Bog, live performances, children’s activities and tours through Burns Bog.