Pacific Wild
Protecting the Great Bear Rainforest

The Great Bear Rainforest is the world’s largest remaining intact temperate rainforest, a fabled region of towering trees and rare mammals that stretches up the rugged Pacific coast from the top of Vancouver Island to southern Alaska. At 6.4 million hectares, it represents a quarter of the remaining coastal temperate rainforest worldwide.

Pacific Wild is a non-profit committed to defending wildlife and their habitat on Canada’s Pacific coast, and supports innovative research, public education, community outreach and awareness to achieve the goal of lasting environmental protection in the lands and waters of the Great Bear Rainforest.

In 2015, we worked with Pacific Wild to build an online presence for their unique network of remote wilderness cameras and hydrophones, called Great Bear LIVE. This extraordinary satellite network of video cameras and hydrophones offers an unprecedented (and non-invasive) insight into wildlife behaviour on a threatened coastline.

The Goal

By sharing the hidden world of the Great Bear Rainforest through Great Bear LIVE, Pacific Wild's goal was to connect people with the Great Bear Rainforest and educate the world about the many threats this pristine ecosystem faces.

Our objective was to design and develop a new standalone website for the Great Bear LIVE project that:

  • Promotes awareness of the Great Bear Rainforest — the world’s largest remaining intact temperate rainforest — and educates users on what's at stake.
  • Creates an immersive experience to foster a sense of place and connection with the Great Bear Rainforest.
  • Features Pacific Wild's unique live video and hydrophone feeds, and highlights clips from periods of high activity
  • Crafts a solution that would still provide an engaging user experience when cameras and hydrophone feeds are temporarily offline, or taken offline for the season.
  • Empowers Pacific Wild with digital advocacy tools so users could engage more deeply with the issues facing the Great Bear Rainforest and do more than just watch their video feeds.


Design Highlights


We crafted a bespoke homepage designed to create an immersive experience, and create a sense of place and connection with the Great Bear Rainforest from anywhere in the world. We did this through the use of video footage from the Great Bear LIVE video feeds, which were used as a looped HTML5 video background for the top section of the homepage. This section was designed to take up the full height and width of the visitor's browser, and include minimal text or other features so the audience would feel the full impact of the video clip.

To make each visit to the website unique, we set up the background video to randomly select and display one video from a series of different videos highlighting different environments — from coastal oceanscapes, to protected estuaries, to underwater kelp beds — all from within the Great Bear Rainforest. Audio tracks from these environments were also paired with the video to create a fully immersive experience right out of the gate when the user first visits the website.


The homepage design also featured an interactive educational map highlighting different points of interest and habitats throughout the Great Bear Rainforest. The interactive map was powered using MapBox, and each map element included an interactive pop-up feature that offered additional information.

The homepage was also designed to highlight multiple calls-to-action, including links to advocacy tools, the ability for users to sign up to get updates, and donate to help protect the Great Bear Rainforest. These calls-to-action were highlighted throughout other areas of the site as well, making it easy for users to learn more about and engage with the issues threatening the Great Bear Rainforest.

Custom landing pages for Video Feeds & Hydrophone Network

We designed a custom landing page template that could be used to highlight each of their live video feeds from the Great Bear Rainforest.

One of the challenges with operating a remote wilderness satellite camera and hydrophone network is that due to inclement weather and other logistical issues, the camera and hydrophone network often had outages. So, we designed these landing pages to still offer an engaging experience to the user even during outages. We did this by crafting the landing pages to automatically feature related content and highlight clips from their video library, provide additional contextual and education information about the habitats in which the cameras and hydrophones were placed, and highlight related calls to action to drive users to learn more about and engage with the issues impacting the Great Bear Rainforest.

We also designed a landing page specifically to explore their network of underwater hydrophones where users could listen to whale songs live from the Great Bear Rainforest. We incorporated a second interactive map into the design so users could explore the locations around each hydrophone in greater detail.


Action pages

Each landing page on the site was designed specifically to be paired with an action page, so that as visitors engaged with the content, they would be driven to learn more about the issues affecting the Great Bear Rainforest and take action to protect it. We designed bespoke versions of all of NationBuilder's "out of the box" advocacy and action tools including petition pages, pledge pages, signup pages, donate pages, & volunteer pages, as well as designing a custom page template that made it easy to use other third-party advocacy tools that would allow supporters to send messages directly to their elected officials.



Pacific Wild and the Great Bear Live project are part of an ongoing effort to protect the Great Bear Rainforest. Their work touches on a wide range of marine and forest planning and conservation issues that affect and threaten the Great Bear Rainforest, including marine tanker traffic, herring, wild salmon, wolf culling, grizzly bear trophy hunting, forest conservation, and more.

Thanks to the ongoing conservation and education efforts of organizations like Pacific Wild and the Great Bear LIVE project, the following victories have been achieved:

A formal agreement was reached between government, environmentalists, forest companies and First Nations to protect and preserve the Great Bear Rainforest.

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Petition calling for the end of trophy hunting of Grizzly Bears in BC grew to 39,458 signatures. As a result the BC provincial government implemented a ban on trophy hunting on grizzly bears.

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The Government of Canada announced a $1.5 billion national Oceans Protection Plan that improves marine safety and responsible shipping, protects Canada’s marine environment, and offers new possibilities for Indigenous and coastal communities.

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The Government of Canada passed a formal oil tanker ban for BC's North Coast, protecting the Great Bear Rainforest from the threat of oil tanker traffic. 

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Petition calling on the Government of British Columbia to stop the wolf cull grew to 219,521 signatures. The fight to save BC wolves is still ongoing. 


In February, Van City Studios was honoured to receive an award for Best Canadian Website at the 2017 Reed Awards for our work with Pacific Wild on the Great Bear LIVE project. 

Update: Unfortunately due to ongoing logistical issues with their remote wilderness satellite camera and hydrophone network, Pacific Wild's Great Bear Live website is being shut down and is no longer accessible.

Ryan Vandecasteyen
About Ryan Vandecasteyen
Ryan is Van City Studios' chief strategist and design expert.
Protecting the Great Bear Rainforest
Protecting the Great Bear Rainforest
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