Hakai Magazine

Coastal science and societies

happy birthday painted on stones at the beach
Photo by yournameonstones/Shutterstock

Hakai Magazine Turns Five

Just a little bit of fun for our fifth birthday.

Authored by

by Mark Garrison

Article body copy

Five years ago today, the Hakai Magazine staff breathed a sigh of relief as the magazine successfully went live with an ambitious 35 articles. We were exhausted but proud, and a little bit frazzled. On top of the mad dash to launch a new magazine, we’d suffered an office break-in just a week earlier. The thieves got away with a number of monitors, cameras, a TV, a computer, and our publisher’s shoes. In a way, the timing was lucky, though. Our staff was frantically trying to get things ready for launch, so all but one staff member had taken their computers home to work into the evening—I’ll admit it, I was the slacker who didn’t take his computer home that night—so the losses weren’t as great as they could have been. Despite the setback, we managed to launch on time and the only time we look back is to see how far we’ve come.

I hope you’ll forgive a little bragging on our birthday because here is just some of what we have to show for the past five years of publishing:

  • more than 1,400 feature stories, news stories, quick reads, videos, photo essays, comics, infographics, and podcast episodes
  • a whole bunch of awards
  • an unwavering focus on quality
  • stories and readers from around the world
  • an annual fellowship and internship
  • a high ratio of female writers, editors, and sources
  • recognition as a trusted outlet among our peers and the scientific community
  • clear writing that doesn’t resort to bullet point listicles, except when our art director writes a birthday post 🙂

Five Things We’d Like to Set Straight on Our Fifth Birthday

It’s pronounced “HACK-eye.” The name Hakai is inspired by Hakai Pass which is within the Hakai Lúxvbálís Conservancy, one of the largest protected marine areas on the west coast of Canada, located about 400 kilometers north of Vancouver. The magazine’s sister organization, the Hakai Institute, has an off-grid research station within the conservancy.

We’re proudly Canadian, but we use American spelling. American spelling has become common globally. While Canadian spelling would be true to our place, we chose to use American spelling as it is fairly standard in publishing for an international audience.

We use the metric system. The metric system is the de facto standard for science and, with only three countries not using it (looking at you, United States, Myanmar, and Liberia), the world.

We are most certainly not a blog. From a web technology standpoint, there is little difference between an online magazine and a blog, but from a content standpoint the difference is enormous.

We have a healthy relationship with our sister organization. Hakai Magazine and the Hakai Institute are both part of the Tula Foundation. We have staff parties together, share jokes and office treats, and sometimes we write about some of the amazing work they’re doing. We have the support of the whole Tula family and the freedom to write about what we choose, which allows us both scientific rigor and journalistic integrity.

Five Stories about Wood for Our Wood Anniversary

The Trees That Sail to Sea by Brian Payton
In one of nature’s remarkable second acts, dead trees become driftwood and embark on transformative journeys.
3,500 words, about 18 minutes

Searching the Forest for the Trees by Katrina Pyne and Grant Callegari
Indigenous communities rush to find the few remaining monumental cedars for totem poles, house posts, and canoes.
7 min 30 sec video

Coastal Oakscapes by Shanna Baker
Photos of a lesser-known ecosystem, from British Columbia’s outer coast.
950 words, 21 photos

How British Columbia’s Coastal People Fertilized the Forest by Jessa Gamble
Indigenous people’s castoff clamshells made the forest grow bigger.
600 words, about 3 minutes

The Clam That Sank a Thousand Ships by Sarah Gilman
These infamous clams are invading new areas, buoyed by climate change and the 2011 tsunami in Japan.
3,500 words, about 18 minutes