The Aquanaut Among Us —An Interview with Jill Heinerth - theHumm April 2021
The Aquanaut Among Us —An Interview with Jill Heinerth - theHumm April 2021
Carleton Place resident Jill Heinerth is a Canadian cave diver, underwater explorer, writer, photographer and filmmaker. She is a veteran of over thirty years of filming, photography and exploration on projects in submerged caves around the world. Jill is the first Explorer in Residence for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, a Fellow of the Explorers Club and member of the inaugural class of the Women Divers Hall of Fame. She has made TV series, consulted on movies, and written several books, including Into the Planet — My Life as a Cave Diver. Her most recent book, entitled The Aquanaut, is for young readers. Jill recently got some delightful news about The Aquanaut, and was kind enough to share it with theHumm!
theHumm: We saw on your Facebook page that The Aquanaut has been chosen by Dolly Parton to be part of her amazing Imagination Library! What does that mean for the book, and what does it mean to you to have your book chosen?
Jill Heinerth: When I first learned about the selection, I literally cried. I think Dolly Parton is an under-appreciated saint. Her charitable efforts tackle the root of lots of issues. She’s given millions to fight Covid and produce vaccines, and yet, I still feel like her mission to spread children’s literacy is even more consequential. I grew up with lots of books to read and access to a nearby library, but that is not the case for most kids. Thanks to her help, 8,000 kids will get a personally addressed package with a copy of my book. I hope it inspires readers to think big and recognize that they can achieve their wildest dreams.
According to Penguin Random House, The Aquanaut encourages readers to “explore their world, build their self-esteem and imagine what they can do and become when they grow up”. How did your own childhood imagination help set the stage for your amazing career, and why do you think it’s important for society to foster inquisitiveness in young people?
As a small child, I was always thinking outside of the box. I had terrific schoolteachers who stimulated my curiosity and encouraged me to explore many different avenues of investigation. I performed well in school, but I was often unconventional and a multi-disciplinary thinker. Fortunately, they recognized and nurtured that.
Today’s youth are facing a challenging future. Climate change and rapidly evolving technologies make it tough for today’s school curricula to keep up. We need critical thinkers and explorers more than ever. The careers of tomorrow will require multi-disciplinary collaborations, mobility and creativity. If we can hang onto the enthusiasm, optimism and sense of possibility that we had as kids, that will serve us well. Conformity and caution will not solve the big problems that we face as a global population.
For folks who haven’t (yet) read your memoir, can you talk a bit about how you got started in your extraordinary career, and where it has taken you?
My book Into the Planet — My Life as a Cave Diver is a memoir about my life as an explorer. It takes readers diving inside icebergs and underwater caves around the world, but it is far more than just adventure. I wrote the book to address the topic of fear and discovery. In that way, it feels like a book for our current times. I hope it helps people learn about the wonders of a world they might never have imagined, but I also hope it helps people unlock their full potential and find optimism in a dark time.
I am so impressed with the breadth of your writing. You’ve got some fairly technical titles, one other children’s book, and your more recent adventure memoir. But your website also lists some intriguing documentary titles, including We Are Water and Real Sobriety. What are some of the most important messages you would like to share through your work?
Most of my scientific work these days involves communicating about climate change and water literacy, but I am also interested in other social issues. When I met my husband Robert fifteen years ago, he shared that he was in recovery. I knew nothing about addiction and recovery and wanted to help him tell his story in a way that would support the families and friends of an addict or person in recovery. I wanted to know how to support him and others. That led to making a film about modern recovery.
Every time I take on a new writing, photography or filmmaking project, I face a big learning curve to digest as much as I can about the subject. I also act as a test pilot and consultant for many different underwater technologies — from advanced life support devices to underwater AI mapping robots. As an expert working in difficult underwater environments, I must become the hands and eyes of the scientist or engineer that I am working with.
Director James Cameron has said: “More people have been to the moon than to the places that Jill Heinerth has explored deep inside our watery planet. A world-class technical diver and filmmaker, Jill’s extraordinary path from under Antarctic icebergs to tropical blue holes is proof that real life is far more exciting than fiction.” How have all of the Covid restrictions impacted your work and life, and what advice do you have for people once we can get back out and explore our world again?
Like so many others, the Covid crisis sort of cut me off at the knees. I work as an independent contractor and self-employed creative person. Suddenly, all of my work was canceled. That was very stressful. I went from 200 days a year in the field to isolated at home with Robert. That turned out to be an enormous gift. We have concentrated on learning new skills and launching new ideas. We even launched a Canadian-made, eco-friendly line of apparel at MapleProud.com . This gave me a chance to use my artistic work to create colourful clothing and home décor. But I am still in the exploration and science game. I am exploring Canada’s longest underwater cave near Ottawa and working with Dr. André Martel to document some incredible endangered species therein. I am really excited about our work together. He is very generous with his knowledge of malacology and system biology and I can bring him data from a place he cannot reach. Together, I believe our work will contribute to a better understanding of the watershed and our ability to protect it.
Once we have all had a chance to get vaccinated, I look forward to hugging my Mom and Dad more than anything. We will all emerge from the Covid-times with a better understanding of the interconnectedness of our planet and a better appreciation of the importance of our connections with family and friends. I can’t imagine wasting a moment without living and loving fully and completely.
Find out more about Jill, her books and her work at her website intotheplanet.com !
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
When I think of jewellery, I don’t usually think of walrus whiskers or whale baleen, but these natural materials feature prominently and beautifully in Kaajuk Kablalik’s distinctive pieces. Originally from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, Kaajuk (friends call him Kaaj) loves working with the materials “from home” that inspire him to promote and preserve his Inuit culture.
He is used to questions about the unfamiliar components that make his earrings and necklaces so different fr......
Rub the sleep out of your eyes and give a good stretch! Come out of hibernation and welcome spring surrounded by incredible original works by local artists. On Saturday, May 29 and Sunday, May 30, Arts Carleton Place presents their annual Spring Fine Art Show and Sale at the CP Canoe Club at 179 John Street, from 10am–4:30pm each day. Both parking and admission are free.
The arts kept so many of us afloat during the past year: musicians gave online conce......
The 2021 Festival of the Maples will be a virtual experience, due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. People who would normally attend in person are encouraged to connect with the Festival of the Maples through the website festivalofthemaples.com and social media pages to enjoy an online artisan market, fun maple facts, and upcoming contests and games.
On the website, people can also find links to l......
Carleton Place resident Jill Heinerth is a Canadian cave diver, underwater explorer, writer, photographer and filmmaker. She is a veteran of over thirty years of filming, photography and exploration on projects in submerged caves around the world. Jill is the first Explorer in Residence for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, a Fellow of the Explorers Club and member of the inaugural class of the Women Divers Hall of Fame. She has made TV series, consulted on movies, and written severa......
Dickie’s Cause 4 Paws is a non-profit, no-kill, volunteer-run organization in Carleton Place that is dedicated to rescuing and saving the lives of abandoned, lost or feral cats and kittens in Lanark County. In addition to their Trap, Neuter, Release or Re-home Program, they also provide spay/neuter for farmers who are overwhelmed with cats, and for low-income families.
As it is almost “kitten season”, they are planning an online auction to raise money towards vet care for the cats an......
Ready for Hiking Season? - theHumm April 2021
By Vickie Walsh
“I wish I had a…” says a friend while we are hiking. “Oh — I have that, one second,” I reply. She looks at me deadpan and says, “Of course you do”.
It is a well-known fact that I hike with enough kit to earn all the boy scout badges, and yet still keep my day pack light enough that it’s not a burden. Where did this insistence on being “always prepared” come from? Well, mostly from an experience in the military while deployed over twenty years ago. We were about to head out on a vehicle patrol, so......
Spring is the season of creation, and to celebrate, West Carleton Arts Society (WCAS) is launching its first online Spring Fling Art Show and Sale. It will take place from April 5–18 and can be viewed at wcasonlineshows.ca .
This year’s show will feature the works of 33 artists in a range of media. “This is always a fun show,” says organizer Judi Miller. “We have watercolour, oil and acrylic paintings, as well as pho......
It’s Show Time! - theHumm April 2021
By Glenda Jones
Get out your wallet; sit by your computer with your finger poised over the Bid button. The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists Birdhouse Blowout Auction goes LIVE on April 12!
You’ll find the auction site at mvfn.ca/birdhouse-blowout , featuring over 20 birdhouses, veritable works of art created by local crafters who have worked for months to produce these magnificent pieces.
The auction will run from mid......
By Chandler Swain
This month, to celebrate spring after our long Covid-y winter, we are focusing the Climate Network Lanark column on our Nature-Based Climate Solutions Working Group and several of its initiatives.
To begin, let me introduce Jay Young, the coordinator of this working group. Jay lives outside Clayton with his wife Amber, who teaches yoga and is a massage therapist, and their two boys. As a project manager with Carebridge Community Support, Jay leads the development of the Neighbourhood T......
Make Your Business Cycle-Friendly! - theHumm April 2021
Ontario By Bike ontariobybike.ca is offering a Webinar entitled “Destination Bike — Welcoming Cyclists in Lanark County” on Wednesday, April 28 from 10am to 11am.
The Ontario By Bike Network certifies tourism businesses and locations as bicycle-friendly, helping businesses reach the growing number of cycle tourists in Ontario, promoting and further developing cycle tourism in destinations across Ontario.
Now more than ever, cy......
From March 31 to May 7, Sivarulrasa Gallery in Almonte is pleased to present Sarah Anderson: Let’s Be Alone Together, a solo exhibition of new paintings by artist Sarah Anderson. Based in Ottawa, Sarah works with techniques of abstraction. She sees colour as a powerful tool for the expression of emotion. Her paintings are influenced by her observations of people and relationships in everyday life, most commonly by themes of family. She is interested in “where we come from......
Haunted by Books - theHumm April 2021
By John Pigeau
As unpleasant as restrictions and lockdowns may be, most of us have found some healthy ways to cope with them and keep our spirits up during this past year’s once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Baking became a go-to for some folks, as did gardening, both in and outdoors. Cycling made a comeback too, and judging by social media posts, a whole lot of families adopted a whole lot of puppies. And if people weren’t knitting their new puppy a new sweater, it seemed they were pie......
Rain Barrel Fundraiser Almonte Lion’s Club and Home Hospice North Lanark Join Forces - theHumm April 2021
“We Serve” — that is the simple, to-the-point motto of the world’s largest service club, begun in 1917. It is a motto that the Almonte Lion’s Club has been dedicated to locally since 1947. Home Hospice North Lanark, incorporated in 2013, is a relative newcomer. But the organizations find common ground with their commitment to serving their community with passion and compassion. They are also 100% volunteer-driven and funded by donations and targeted fundraising efforts.
Fundraising has been a challenge over the last year for all organizations that depend on it. Both organizations are ......
By Susan Burke
A fashion show? During Covid? We can do it! Zion-Memorial United Church will be presenting a virtual fashion show on Thursday, April 22, at 7pm. There are five shops in Carleton Place who are participating: The Wool Shop, Sinders Bridal House, Graham’s Shoes, The Dress Shop and Aquisti Life. They will be joined by Almonte’s Kentfield Kids. Tickets are $10, and proceeds will go to the Church.
This is a great way to see what’s new at local shops for the spring and summer season in a saf......
By Submitted Smiths Falls Community Theatre
I spy with my little eye… It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s two actors on stage together?? Almost as elusive as Superman! The Station Theatre is so very excited to announce that at the end of April they will be presenting their next play, to an audience, via Zoom. Norm Foster’s Here on the Flight Path is a super-cute comedy about a fellow named John (played by Noel White), who just wants to live a nice, quiet life in his fourth-floor apartment. However, his life continues to be ......
By Sarah Kerr
Winter is now safely behind us and as the famous saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers”. Although the rains are rather unpleasant, we can be certain that they will bring an abundance of beauty to our community. This could be true of the pandemic we’re living in as well. Although the lockdowns are testing our patience as parents, this cloudy season may be giving us an opportunity to dig deep and rethink our idea of back to normal. A time to dream up “back to better”, as Kris Riend......
Just What I Needed - theHumm April 2021
By Glenda Jones
My sister Sue lives on Vancouver Island. I haven’t seen her since forever but we email nearly every day; so far away, but so close I can feel her warmth. She sends me those beautiful Jacquie Larson cards with flowers and bunnies when her daffodils bloom and ours are still hidden under the snow. She’s off to the greenhouse buying pansies, and I’m trying to figure out if I should put the snow shovel away. She’s sipping wine on the deck when I’m still tying laces on snow boots. She’s watching the her......
The Blakeney Project - theHumm April 2021
By David Hinks
Amazing and extremely generous communities! The Lanark County Food Bank (branded as The Hunger Stop) has been overwhelmed by the response of our communities to the needs of our most vulnerable folks as the pandemic has exposed serious cracks in our social support structures. We have received local financial and food donations that continue to astound us.
But generous folk have also enabled us to find new ways to help the community: thanks to very generous land-owners and grant money from ......
Local Libraries Break into Spring - theHumm April 2021
By Your Friendly Neighbourhood Librarians
Now that “April Break” is a thing in Ontario, our local libraries are rising to the challenge of helping keep kids busy and happy during their week off. Here is a round-up of area offerings:
Spring Break Smiles at the Arnprior Library
Is anyone ready for a break? At the Arnprior Public Library we are gearing up for a week of fun activities in April. In addition to offering two readings a day of titles nominated for the Forest of Read......
Poem In Your Pocket Day - theHumm April 2021
By Dagne Forrest
The League of Canadian Poets (LCP) has celebrated “Poem In Your Pocket Day” annually since 2016. As a dedicated non-profit focused on supporting poets and poetry in Canada, LCP believes Poem In Your Pocket Day (April 18) is a beautiful way to deliver poetry and conversations about the arts into homes, offices, community spaces and more. In April, the LCP will mail out postcards featuring the selected winning poems from their annual Poem In Your Pocket Day Contest to all 900+ members of the League, and they encourage everyone in Canada to select a poem, carry it with them, and sh......
As a follow-up to her Winterwords workshop, Susan Gillis is offering a four-session poetry workshop on Tuesdays from 3–4:30pm, beginning on April 27.
Susan writes: “From first thoughts to first lines, from early inklings to full poems: in this workshop, we consider as readers and writers what engages us in a poem and brings it to life. Each week we explore a published poem and discuss participants’ own work written in response to the week’s prompt.
“This workshop is for anyone interested in reading and writing poetry. All levels of experience are welcome; no specialized knowledge ......
Grappling with Grief - theHumm April 2021
In conjunction with SchoolBOX, Dina Bell-Laroche is offering a series of “Grief Cafés” to support people who are suffering through losses. Dina is a certified Integral Master Coach and Grief Companion who is turning her own loss story into a force for good during these difficult times. The cafés take place via Zoom, and participants are welcome to make donations to SchoolBOX — all proceeds are being directed to raise Tracy’s Hope Classroom #3 in Nicaragua.
Dina writes: “My involvement with Sch......
ConnectWell Community Health - theHumm April 2021
ConnectWell Community Health is the new name for Lanark Renfrew Health & Community Services (LRHCS) and all its parts and programs offered through Lanark Community Programs, North Lanark Community Health Centre and Whitewater Bromley Community Health Centre.
With 240 staff and 200 volunteers providing services that range from autism services and mental health supports to primary health care and therapeutic riding, ConnectWell Community Health’s programs and services will remain the same across the large rural geography the organization serves, including Lanark and Renfrew Coun......
The MVFN Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary An Interview with 2018 Recipient Sophie Anderson - theHumm April 2021
The 2021 Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary application period is now open. Students entering first year post-secondary studies in a university or college program related to the natural environment are encouraged to apply! Please go to mvfn.ca/cliff-bennett-nature-bursary for all eligibility criteria and the application form. The application deadline is May 1.
This year the Bursary Fund, a program of the Mississip......
Lake 88.1 — A Voice for the Valley - theHumm April 2021
Back in 2009, theHumm interviewed Brian Perkin about his then two-year-old radio station, Lake 88.1 lake88.ca . Based in downtown Perth, the station has spent the intervening years covering local events, promoting area businesses and initiatives, interviewing interesting folks, and generally providing an independent on-air voice for this part of the Valley. Recently, we discovered that Brian has made the difficult decision to s......
May 12 - Jun 18 Exhibition: Close to Home
- Jennifer Anne Kelly — The Glass is Way More than Half-Full
- Tickets PleaseKeeps on Humming!
- Local Libraries are Flourishing!
- Farmers’ Markets: Open for the Season! Almonte Carleton Place Carp
- “Grow a Row” for Food Banks this Year
- MVTM Wants to Exhibit Your Textile Crafts!
- Close to Home
- Protecting Our Pollinators CNL Youth Group for Climate Action Devises an Inspiring Community Project
- Lockdown Scavenger Hunt:Food Foraging with Kids
- One Magic Summer The Academy for Musical Theatre’s Safe & Interactive Summer Camp Experience