Vancouver-based young adult author Diane Haynes participated in a training session Dec. 3, 2005, with the Wildlife Rescue Association (WRA) of BC to learn more about oil spills and how they affect birds. An active volunteer at the WRA, she subsequently wrote a teen adventure novel, Flight or Fight (Whitecap, 2005), the first in her projected Jane Ray's Wildlife Rescue Series. It pairs mystery and suspense with an environment- and animal-focused storyline set in Vancouver.

The book and series arose from her experience rescuing an oiled bird from Burrard Inlet in 2000 after a canola oil spill. "I watched a scoter get smashed against the Stanley Park seawall because it couldn't lift its wings out of the water," says Haynes. "When we got it to the shelter, there were volunteers working around the clock to save hundreds of oiled animals. It changed my life. I've been a volunteer ever since."

Flight or Fight's main character Jane Ray is a shy, reluctant heroine who takes an oiled bird to the (fictional) Urban Wildlife Rescue Centre after a 200,000-gallon spill. Thrust into the national media, she pits her will against the oil company at fault. Haynes travelled through Nova Scotia, Ontario and Alberta in October of 2005 speaking to teenagers about her book. "Animals aren't statistics to them," she says. "They're real, live, feeling creatures. Kids love them. They saw Wabamun Lake. They get it."

-- from material supplied by Whitecap Books

[BCBW 2005] "Kidlit" "Environment"