On July 17th, the Nature Centre is partnering with the Cowichan Watershed Board to host an evening on Water Conservation in the increasingly drought challenged Koksilah Watershed. Join us for a solutions-focused community conversation from 6 pm to 9 pm at the Hub in Cowichan Station.
Speakers Tom Rutherford, fish biologist and Watershed Board Executive Director, and David Slade, Watershed Board member and former President of the BC Groundwater Association, will be joined by 17-year old Sierra Robinson, permaculture teacher, farmer, film-maker and crew-lead for the Cowichan Valley Earth Guardians. Together they will talk about the severe drought conditions in the watershed, the ongoing challenge of climate change and real, on-the-ground water conservation solutions.
“Water conservation is everybody’s responsibility,” says Rutherford, “While it’s easy to point fingers at the big agricultural users, we all have to step up. We can all be better water stewards.”
A world-café style community conversation will follow the presentations to give residents a chance to share what water conservation efforts are working, what is worth trying and what kind of support is needed to better address the growing water challenges in the Koksilah.
During the evening local gardeners and hobby farmers in the Koksilah Watershed will also have a chance to apply to win one of six free permaculture water conservation garden audits on their property. These will be conducted by local permaculturists Jason Greenwood and Sierra Robinson in August. Those householders participating in garden audits will receive a report with specific water conservation recommendations for their property.
Permaculture is an ecological approach to gardening and food production and one of its most exciting aspects is its approach to water. Permaculture designers use landscape design to conserve and store water while building topsoil. Some permaculture projects have been so successful that they even recharge groundwater supplies.
One of the gardens selected for an audit will also be chosen for a Permaculture Blitz implementing water conservation solutions. This includes both design support from our permaculture experts and a day of hands-on help from a team of young volunteers to work on a water conservation garden transformation this fall. The team will bring tools and willing hands. The property owner will cover the hard costs, such as the purchase of trees or shrubs.
You may remember local teacher and environmentalist Jim Wisnia’s 2012 “Pony Up for the Point” campaign when he raised $7500 to help Sansum Point become a protected Regional Park. He had his ponytail cut off on Earth Day at the grand opening of the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre. Well, Jim has been growing his hair since them and he is ready to have a radical hair-cut on behalf of the Estuary Nature Centre and wildlife habitat, with a special focus on our Pacific Great Blue Herons, the fannini subspecies that nest in the ravine near the Centre. Hear the story straight from Jim:
“I’m now conducting a two-month fundraising campaign for the Nature Centre in support of things I value highly: nature education, wildlife monitoring, habitat restoration, community-building, and programs for the advancement of youth.
The Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre is located on the shore of Cowichan Bay, a designated Important Bird Area where the Cowichan and Koksilah Rivers flow into the ocean. It is a place where nature lovers meet and share stories. Nature Centre staff and volunteers offer children marine and watershed science programs on class visits and day camps. Drop-in visitors can learn from the saltwater touch tank, the juvenile salmon aquarium, the interactive watershed model, the videos of elders’ stories, the bird viewing tower, and the trail-side signs. Immediately uphill from the Nature Centre is the largest Great Blue Heron nesting colony on Vancouver Island, nourished by the abundant life in the estuary.
For a few years I’ve been letting my hair grow long. I’m offering it up on Earth Day (April 22, the Nature Centre’s seventh anniversary) in the “Great Blue Heron Hair-off,” and I’m asking for your tax-deductible contribution to my campaign. My goal is to raise $9000. Depending on how much my campaign raises, it will help:
1- Purchase a live-feed video camera for monitoring the heron nesting colony ($1500)
2- Support a Restoration Biologist and a Youth Educator in mentoring and teaching a youth group in waterside habitat restoration in ($900)
3- Bring 15 high-school-age youth to the 2019 Youth Leadership Training: Engagement for Healthy Watersheds ($1500)
4- Support a day-long Whole Watershed Thinking workshop for youth ($1500)
5- Bring five children from low-income families to a nature immersion summer science camp ($1100)
6- Bring five classes from low-income neighbourhoods to the Centre’s nature immersion programming ($1000)
7- Hire an educator to develop French language nature immersion programming ($1500)
Besides helping us learn more about our Great Blue Heron colony, donated funds will also provide youth scholarships, giving the next generation of leaders the big-picture context and the confidence to undertake hands-on restoration activities and to use their stories to connect with others around shared values, thus strengthening this conservation-minded community.
Donations can be made online at Canada Helps <https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/cowichan-community-land-trust-society/campaign/great-blue-hair-off/> or send a cheque (noting Great Blue Hair-off) to: Cowichan Community Land Trust, #6 – 55 Station Street, Duncan, BC V9L 1M3.
We’d like to introduce Donna Zipse and Ken Bendle, our 2018 “Volunteers of the Year”. Donna and Ken moved to Cowichan Bay from the Prairies just over a year ago and immediately fell in love with the estuary and the Cowichan Bay community.
Long-time volunteer Kerrie Talbot recalls their first day volunteering last year: “It was winter and it was snowing – I mean really snowing. I was ready to put up a ‘Closed’ sign at the Nature Centre when Ken and Donna showed up with smiles on. Like the good prairie folk they are, they jumped right in and shoveled the deck and stairs so that we could stay open safely.”
Donna and Ken are now regular volunteer interpreters at the Centre. They have also become godparents and protectors to all the critters and in our aquarium and touch tanks, researching their needs, making sure they are well fed and keeping an eye on the predator-prey balance in our little indoor ecosystem. During the three and a half day power outage in December they were a core part of the team keeping the critters fed and devising ways to keep their waters oxygenated without power! On top of all that, they more than their share of keeping the place clean and tidy. Thank-you Ken and Donna!
Humpback Comeback – Humpback whales in the North Pacific
Come hear a FREE Public talk by retired marine biologist Eric Marshall Wednesday, Nov 21st from 7 to 9 pm at the Nature Centre. (Doors open at 6:30.)
Whaling in BC waters had reduced the humpback whale population by almost 90%.
Now their numbers in the North Pacific are close to the level they were before whaling started! Humpbacks are even being seen regularly in the Salish Sea for the first time for many years.
Come learn about this important species, as well as the science behind the story of how Humpbacks in the North Pacific have recovered.
Donations always gratefully accepted.
Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre, 1845 Cowichan Bay Road (at Hecate Park) , Cowichan Bay
Our popular five-day marine biology science summer day camps introduce children to the birds, animals and plants of the Cowichan Estuary. We’ll explore the clam beds, eelgrass mudflats, and the beaches at Hecate Park. Campers will use scopes on the observation tower, beach seines, plankton tows, shovels and buckets to find out who lives here. They’ll get to know the region’s intertidal and sea creature in our water and up close in our touch tank, and have an opportunity to get acquainted with young Coho salmon in our fresh water aquarium. There will also be other fun age-appropriate hands-on science activities, games, hikes, and crafts, as well as a chance to explore our microscope stations, giant maps, interactive exhibits and ecology library.
All Camps run from 9 am to 3:00 pm
Schedule for 2018 Marine Biology Summer Camps:
|July 9-13||Children Ages 5 to 7|
|July 16-20||Children Ages 8 to 11|
|July 23-27||Children Ages 5 to 7|
|July 30-Aug 3||Children ages 8 to 11|
|Aug 6-10||Civic Holiday Monday – no camp – Centre open to the public|
|Aug 13-17||Children Ages 8 to 11|
|Aug 20-24||Children ages 5 to 7|
Camp fees are $215 per child for a total of five days. Single Day Attendance: $40 per day per child only if the camp is not fully booked. Please register by phone or in-person for single days.
Some Bursaries are available to eligible children from the Cowichan Valley Naturalists’ Society.
All Camps run from 9 am to 3:00 pm. You may drop off your child between 8:45 am and 9 am.
As our camp leaders are busy setting up for the day, we cannot offer early drop off or late pick up. Parents will be charged late fees for not adhering to drop of and pick up times.
All camp participants must to be able to eat, dress and toilet independently. For children with special needs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss possible accommodations.
How to Register
Registration is a two-step process:
- The Eventbrite link for registrations is COMING SOON!! Then you can select a camp, sign up, and make payment. Payment can be through a credit card on Eventbrite or cash/cheque dropped off at the Cowichan Land Trust office.
Download and complete the required registration information and return by at least 2 weeks prior to camp start:– email to email@example.com,– in person or mail to the Cowichan Land Trust at #5-55 Station Street, Duncan BC, V9L 1M2
IMPORTANT: Your registration is not considered complete until we have received the medical information and waiver forms. Payment and forms must be received at least 2 weeks prior to camp start date or your registration will be forfeited.
Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or phone: CLT: 250 746 0227 or CENC: 250-597-2288
March Break is over, the kids are back in school, and it’s time to think about summer, and all the learning and fun that happens at our Summer Science Day Camps! For more information and registration, go to: http://www.cowichanestuary.ca/programs/camps/
A “Work that Reconnects” Retreat – Feb 10th -11th, 2018 at Providence Farm
Weekend Workshop/Retreat Feb 10-11th, 9–5 pm, Providence Farm (on the traditional and unceded territory of the Quw’utsun People), St. Anne’s Building.
The Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre and Transition Cowichan and are pleased to bring Jackie Larkin and Maggie Ziegler back to the Cowichan Valley to lead a two-day “Work That Reconnects – Reconnecting to Life” Retreat February 10th – 11th. Maggie and Jackie – educators, activists and facilitators who trained with eco-Buddhist philosopher Joanna Macy — have co-facilitated this experiential process for over sixteen years.
Rooted in a pioneering form of group work developed by Joanna Macy, this workshop/retreat will integrate a wide range of ideas and experiential processes, as well as time in nature. Participants will be supported to engage heart, mind and spirit in the task of renewing our connection to ourselves, our community and all life on earth. “The Work that Reconnects” emerges from the historical movements for social justice and for environmental sustainability as well as from spiritual traditions that honour the earth as sacred. It draws on the ideas and processes of deep ecology, systems theory and modern science.
If you’ve been overwhelmed by the unraveling of our world over the past year (..or years) – the climate crisis, environmental destruction, species extinction, violent conflict, increasing inequality – this is a time for connection and renewal. Through experiencing our full range of feelings about our planetary crisis and deepening our understanding about our connection to all life, we can find courage and resilience to support ourselves and each other through these challenging times – and find meaningful and nourishing ways to continue to engage in the work that is needed.
We hope you will join us.
This two-day non-residential retreat on Feb 10th-11th is $140 per person. Some partial bursaries (up to 50%) are available. Space is limited so registration is required. We ask that participants bring their lunches. Coffee, tea and healthy snacks will be provided. For information and registration contact: email@example.com.
If you need a place to stay in the Cowichan Valley, billeting can be arranged.
For more information about Jackie and Maggie and their work see: www.reconnectingtolife.org
Join us on Thursday January 18th at 7pm at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre in Cowichan Bay to watch and discuss this film on climate change and adaptation.
It asks the thought provoking question “Will we have the wisdom to survive?”
The film features breath-taking photography and inspiring activists and thought leaders from science, economics and spirituality, including eco-philosopher Joanna Macy who developed “The Work that Reconnects” – a pioneering form of group work that engages heart, mind and spirit in such questions.
This moving film sets the stage to discuss how we can take action, locally and globally in the face of climate disruption, while also opening ourselves to connecting with each other and the beauty that surrounds us.
Admission by donation to support the work of both the Nature Centre & Transition Cowichan.
On Thursday December 28th, join us for a festive late afternoon/ early evening at the Nature Centre for the documentary ‘Christmas at Yellowstone’, which follows in the snowy footprints of Yellowstone’s red foxes, spies on the predatory warfare of wolves and elk, and climbs into the den of a grizzly bear that gives birth to two cubs while deep in hibernation.
This event is family-friendly and BYOP: Bring Your Own Popcorn!
Admission by donation. Children free! All donations support our ongoing environmental education and stewardship work!