Mccart, Joyce 1936-

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McCART, Joyce 1936-

PERSONAL: Born May 24, 1936, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; daughter of Stan (an electrical contractor) and Gladys (a schoolteacher; maiden name, Walsh; later surname Dunning) Cassidy; married Peter McCart (a scientist and photographer), June 30, 1956; children: Susan, Peter. Ethnicity: "White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant." Education: Simon Fraser University, B.A.; University of Calgary, B.Ed. Politics: Conservative. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, dog training.

ADDRESSES: Office—Aquatic Environments Ltd., Box 7B, Spruce View, Alberta, Canada T0M 1V0. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Aquatic Environments Ltd. (biological consulting firm), Spruce View, Alberta, Canada, cofounder and co-owner, c. 1973—. Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, teacher of technical writing; freelance technical editor and writer. Sheep farmer, 1973-96.

WRITINGS:

The First R: A Basic Course in Reading for Children, Lyndenhall Learning Systems (Spruce View, Alberta, Canada), 1985.

(With husband, Peter McCart) On the Road with David Thompson, Fifth House Publishers (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 2000.

Contributor to periodicals. Founding editor, Sheep Canada, 1975-77.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A book about the travels of the Palliser Expedition, 1857-60, with Peter McCart.

SIDELIGHTS: Joyce McCart told CA: "I was born in Montreal and raised in North Vancouver. My husband Peter was born and raised in Vancouver. We were married while he was still a sophomore at the University of Oregon, and over the next fifteen years we moved from Oregon to Wisconsin to northern British Columbia to Vancouver, working at any jobs we could find to keep us (and our two children) in school. By 1970 Peter had a Ph.D. in marine biology, and I had a B.A. in philosophy and English. (When I started that degree, I was a secretary with a high school diploma; when I finished it, I was a secretary with a B.A.)

"By 1973 we were living on the prairies, where we incorporated a biological consulting firm to assess the effects of industrial development on fish populations. Peter was the scientist and I was secretary, bookkeeper, librarian, and general factotum. With the semi-mutinous help of two teenagers, we raised horses and sheep and a few chickens. Within Canada, the company's projects—and Peter's travels—ranged from Newfoundland to British Columbia to the Northwest Territories, and outside Canada, from Alaska to Siberia.

"In 1975 we founded Canada's first national sheep magazine, which started life in a garage on the farm. I edited the magazine and wrote most of the copy for two-and-a-half years, then sold it for a dollar and went back to school. A B.Ed. in secondary English, coupled with a few sample copies of Sheep Canada, landed me a job teaching technical writing at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Later I picked up two courses in technical writing at schools of engineering in New York and Washington, then freelanced for a while as a technical editor.

"By the early 1980s our children were off on their own. We started dismantling the offices, labs, and field operations of the company, reducing it to a size we could handle ourselves. In 1985, theorizing that 200 sheep would be less trouble than one employee, we decided to get serious about sheep production. We set up a genetic selection program and lambed every four months for eleven years. Peter built corrals, hauled feed, out-muscled recalcitrant rams, and continued consulting to finance our sheep habit. I slept in the lambing barn, computerized the records, and wrote the occasional article for American sheep magazines. We did pretty well—sold breeding stock into Wisconsin and Texas and half the provinces of Canada. In 1996, worn out, we sold the whole flock to a producer in Quebec.

"By the late 1990s we were semi-retired, and we decided our next project had to be a book. Our first notion was a book on fisheries (write what you know, they say) and to that end, we made a trip to visit the scientists stationed at Flathead Lake in Montana. It was there we first ran across ]the path of early nineteenth-century Canadian explorer and fur trader&;sqb; David Thompson, and for the next three years we followed his trail. Peter drove thousands of miles, took hundreds of photographs, and analyzed dozens of forestry maps, county maps, and road maps. The interpretation of all the information we gathered was a joint effort, but I wrote most of the text, making use, of course, of the techniques of technical writing."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

BC Historical News, fall, 2001, R. J. Welwood, review of On the Road with David Thompson, p. 37.

Times-Colonist (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), Dave Obee, review of On the Road with David Thompson.

Toronto Star, February 17, 2001, Michael Hanlon, review of On the Road with David Thompson, p. L26.

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