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Canada’s West Coast Wonders
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Canada’s West Coast Wonders

From the flowing streams to the old growth forests to the peak of the mighty mountains, Canada has amazing and beautiful nature to experience. One videographer, Florian Nick, travelled 5500 kilometers to explore the landscapes of British Columbia and Alberta and shared with us his experience. This video is a great reminder of how lucky we are to have these various ecosystems in Canada and how it is so important that we protect these lands for future generations. So how you can help protect our lands and waters? Join us in asking our federal government to ensure there is new funding for protected nature in the 2018 budget! If enough of us speak up, we cannot be ignored. Canada committed internationally to protecting 17% of our lands and inland waters by 2020, but we’re currently at only ten percent. Your voice today will help support our wildlife and wildlands! ALIVE | Canada 4K from Flo Nick on Vimeo.

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NatureHood Designation in Victoria, BC
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NatureHood Designation in Victoria, BC

[caption id="attachment_30818" align="alignleft" width="150"]Jill Sturdy Jill Sturdy, NatureHood Program Manager[/caption] Earlier this week, the Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, unveiled a plaque that officially designated the grounds of Government House a Nature Canada NatureHood site. [caption id="attachment_35546" align="alignright" width="316"]Image of Bob Peart, Nature Canada's Board of Directors Chair and the Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Bob Peart, Nature Canada's Board of Directors Chair and the Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia[/caption] As a Nature Canada Honourary Women for Nature member, Her Honour has a strong passion for encouraging children to explore nature. Thanks to her leadership, the NatureHood plaque will help inspire visitors of the Gardens to explore and connect with nature. The Government House gardens are located on the traditional territory of the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations. Open to the public year-round, they are an ideal place to inspire BC residents and visitors to connect with nature to appreciate this remarkable and unique part of Canada's heritage. The NatureHood plaque is located at the trailhead of the Woodlands trail, which features native plants of British Columbia, including unique Garry oak habitat. Government House is located within the Victoria capital region NatureHood, adjacent to Victoria Harbour and Esquimalt Lagoon and Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuaries. [caption id="attachment_35545" align="alignleft" width="303"]Image ofBob Peart, Nature Canada's Board of Directors Chair and Sue Staniforth, President of FOSH Bob Peart, Nature Canada's Board of Directors Chair and Sue Staniforth, President of FOSH[/caption] NatureHood is all about inspiring urban Canadians, especially youth, to explore Nearby Nature and help to foster a new generation of nature lovers. Working closely with grassroots naturalist groups, such as Friends of Shoal Harbour (FOSH), NatureHood promotes nature through celebratory events, educational and stewardship activities and wildlife observation. Friends of Shoal Harbour (FOSH), our local NatureHood partner in Victoria is active in providing nature-based educational activities to the public through events such as All-Buffleheads Day, and leading school groups through the Migratory Bird Sanctuaries in the Victoria capital region. Next time you’re in Victoria, visit the gardens of Government House and explore nature in the capital region!

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Christmas Has Come Early for BC Grizzlies
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Christmas Has Come Early for BC Grizzlies

[caption id="attachment_33197" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Lenore Nadeau Lenore Nadeau, Grants and Sponsorships Officer[/caption] Nature Canada applauds the BC government’s decision to ban the hunting of grizzlies in the province, currently listed under COSEWIC as a species of special concern (western population). The decision was long overdue as the vast majority of British Columbians no longer believe it is socially acceptable to hunt these magnificent, iconic bears. The consultation process with First Nations, stakeholder groups, and the public found that 78% of respondents wanted the hunt stopped entirely – and the government has finally listened. First Nations will still be allowed to hunt grizzlies for food, social or ceremonial reasons, or for treaty rights. There is still much work to be done to address other threats to grizzlies, such as habitat loss. Nature Canada will continue to work with its local partners to ensure that provincial and federal governments protect important grizzly habitat in B.C. and through other parts of their range in Canada. Stay tuned for more on our exciting Protected Places campaign in the New Year!

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Discover Picturesque Howe Sound
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Discover Picturesque Howe Sound

[caption id="attachment_31795" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Amanda Simard Amanda Simard, Writing Intern[/caption] This post was written by writing intern Amanda Simard. This month’s calendar photo features a beautiful mountain landscape taken from Bowen Island in Howe Sound, British Columbia. Here are some facts you might not know about this picturesque region located just outside of Vancouver! About Howe Sound Howe Sound is a fjord located in the Georgia Straight. It image of Howe Soundextends 42 kilometres from West Vancouver to Squamish. Howe Sound is a great location for recreational activities like sailing, diving, camping, hiking, and fishing. An unfortunate history of mismanaged industrial operations in the area led to severely polluted waters which devastated local wildlife. However, Howe Sound has invested a lot of money and effort into cleaning up the beaches and waters as well as upgrading the environmental standards of the local industries. In the last few years, the success of these efforts has started to show through returning marine wildlife. Did you know? A Fjord is a long, narrow inlet of the sea through high cliffs or steep slopes. About Bowen Island Bowen Island is one of the bigger islands in Howe Sound, measuring approximately 6 kilometres wide and 12 kilometres long. It is home to a population of 3,551 permanent residents and receives an additional 1,500 visitors in the summer. Historically, the island was used as summering grounds by the native Squamish Nation. Like the rest of Howe Sound, Bowen Island is a great place for many summer activities like kayaking and swimming. It is also home to many artists, rating as Canada’s fourth-most artistic community per capita. Which Canadian regions do you like spending your summer in? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!

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Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia officially recognizes  Government House Gardens as part of a NatureHood
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Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia officially recognizes Government House Gardens as part of a NatureHood

Victoria, B.C.  (July 12, 2017) — The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia and Nature Canada, Canada’s oldest national nature conservation charity, are officially designating the grounds of Government House a NatureHood site as part of the expansion of the existing Saanich Peninsula NatureHood to include the entire capital region. The official ceremony took place on Wednesday, July 12 at 3:30pm at the Government House residence, 1401 Rockland Avenue, Victoria, B.C. “We are delighted by Her Honour’s passion for nature, and appreciate her support in acknowledging the Government House grounds as a NatureHood site within Victoria’s capital region,” says Bob Peart, National Chair of Nature Canada’s Board of Directors and volunteer with the Friends of Shoal Harbour. “What a wonderful gift to give capital region residents and Canadians on the country's sesquicentennial birthday,” he adds. NatureHood is a Nature Canada initiative that inspires urban residents to connect with nature right where they live and to develop a long lasting relationship with nature. The Government House grounds site is within the capital region NatureHood, adjacent to Victoria Harbour and Esquimalt Lagoon and Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuaries. “Since NatureHood’s inception in 2012, it has expanded to over a dozen Canadian urban centres, further broadening the appeal of nature with all Canadians, especially youth, exposing a new generation of nature lovers and citizen scientists to nature all around them,” says Jill Sturdy, Manager of Nature Canada’s national NatureHood program. “As a Nature Canada Woman for Nature, Her Honour’s leadership and commitment to promoting nature awareness and appreciation at the local level is commendable,” adds Sturdy. “The Friends of Shoal Harbour Sanctuary Society (FOSH) is a proud NatureHood partner and works to highlight the amazing nearby nature of the Saanich Peninsula through public events and school trips,” says Sue Staniforth, President of FOSH. The reception also honours the Urban Sanctuaries Project, initiated by FOSH and now under the leadership of the Robert Bateman Centre. This community initiative aims to inspire youth to become involved in learning more about the natural systems of the region, with a special focus on celebrating the first three Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Pacific Coast. "The Robert Bateman Centre is excited by the prospect of working with the Urban Sanctuaries Project and NatureHood program to deliver on one of Robert Bateman's most important beliefs of getting people engaged with the natural world in their own backyard," says Peter Ord, Managing Director of the Robert Bateman Centre. “These are two great initiatives that celebrate our natural wonder and help build frameworks to keep enhancing it,” Ord adds. The Government House Grounds The Government House grounds contain more than 14 hectares (36 acres) of maintained gardens and Garry oak meadows. The grounds is divided into numerous different zones according to plant life and/or garden style including: the British Columbia native plant garden which contains species unique to the province; a Cottage Garden which is arranged in an informal style with a mixture of ornamental and edible plants; gardens to supply cut flowers, herbs, and an orchard with apple, plum, and quince trees; a rock garden tended by the Heather Society of Victoria; iris, lily, rhododendron; rose gardens (including a formal Victorian rose garden based on the plan of that at Warwick Castle in England); and, water features such as the fountain pond and the duck pond. There is also a unique 8.9 hectares (22 acres) Garry Oak ecosystem. The gardens are open to the public year-round and are enjoyed by many visitors.


For media comment please contact:
Mr. Bob Peart, Chair, Nature Canada Board of Directors 250-655-0295 | bobpeart@shaw.ca   Jill Sturdy, NatureHood Program Manager 613-276-7226 | jsturdy@naturecanada.ca   Cassie Holcomb, Development and Communications Manager Robert Bateman Centre250-940-3626 x303 cassie.holcomb@batemancentre.org 
For media assistance please contact: Janet Weichel McKenzie, Media Specialist for Nature Canada 613-808-4642 | jweichelmckenze@gmail.com About Nature Canada and NatureHood: Over the past 75 years, Nature Canada, a nature conservation charity has helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, Nature Canada represents a network of over 50,000 supporters and more than 350 nature organizations across the country and with affiliates in every province. One of its signatory initiatives is the NatureHood program, that inspires urban residents to connect with Nearby Nature – nature right where they live. Working closely with grassroots naturalist groups, NatureHood promotes nature through celebratory events, educational and stewardship activities and wildlife observation. NatureHood aims to inspire a new generation of nature lovers. For more information visit www.naturecanada.ca About Friends of Shoal Harbour (FOSH): The Friends of Shoal Harbour Sanctuary Society (FOSH), a non-profit society works to build public support for the continued protection of the Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary, which encompasses several of the bays and inlets just north of Sidney, and to promote public awareness and appreciation through celebratory events. The sanctuary is part of the Sidney Channel Important Bird Area. FOSH is a local NatureHood partner. Visit www.shoalharbour.com About the Bateman Foundation and the Robert Bateman Centre: The Bateman Foundation, a national public charity, inspires a lasting relationship with nature through the lens of art, and is currently the one of the only non-profits in Canada primarily using artwork to promote a connection to nature and the environment. One of the Foundation’s main projects is the Robert Bateman Centre, showcasing over 80 works of Robert Bateman spanning his seven decades as one of Canada’s premier artists. Located in Victoria, BC's dynamic inner harbour, the Centre houses a gallery and gift shop, and invites guests to explore their relationship with the environment and pay homage to the majesty of nature. For more information visit www.batemancentre.org

Get to Know “Wild” Woman for Nature Jennifer Haddow
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Get to Know “Wild” Woman for Nature Jennifer Haddow

[caption id="attachment_13592" align="alignleft" width="130"]Picture of Caroline Casselman Caroline Casselman, Women for Nature member[/caption] Featuring Women for Nature member Jennifer Haddow. Written by fellow Women for Nature member Caroline Casselman.  [caption id="attachment_33430" align="alignright" width="150"]Jennifer Haddow tree Jennifer Haddow, Women for Nature member.[/caption] Jennifer Haddow is the owner of Wild Women Expeditions, an outdoor adventure travel company for women. She has led public engagement programs for a variety of environmental and social justice non-profit organizations, including Oxfam Canada and the Canadian Environmental Network. Jennifer is a passionate advocate for protection of wild spaces and promoting the value of women's leadership in the outdoors. She is based in Quadra Island, British Columbia. As part of the Women for Nature blog series, I asked Jennifer how her environmental activism has changed over the course of her career. Growing up in Newfoundland, what influenced your decision to become a global citizen and environmental activist? At 18, I had the opportunity to join the Canada World Youth exchange program. I lived for four months in Egypt, which opened my eyes to global issues around poverty, social justice, race relations, community development and the environment. The experience changed my perspective on what I wanted to accomplish in my life and my career. I studied international development at university and began my journey to becoming a global citizen. I worked for 15 years in the not-for-profit world, as well as in government on the International Campaign to End Landmines. That is a major life change. Was there anything in particular that influenced your decision? [caption id="attachment_33434" align="alignleft" width="300"]Jennifer Haddow Jennifer Haddow, in nature.[/caption] Like a lot of conservationists, I was extremely passionate about protecting the environment – almost becoming a martyr to the cause. Eventually, though, I became frustrated by some of the armchair activism we see in the movement. Lots of statistics and talk about saving the environment, but not enough on-the-ground experience or in-depth knowledge about the threatened places we were trying to save. We also talked about having a balanced relationship with the natural world, but we didn’t have much balance in our own lives. I myself was working too much and losing my connection to what we were all fighting for – I call it the unhealthy saviour complex. I became frustrated and burnt out. And then I became sick. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) 10 years ago, a terrifying wakeup call. I decided to re-orient my life toward the natural world. I travelled to the Himalayas and trekked to the base camp of Mount Everest. It was incredible to wake up in a tent in the snow and watch the sun rise over the world’s highest mountain. From then on, the compass of my life tilted toward fresh air, sunshine, being active and healing. I had gone on a few Wild Women expeditions and loved them so much, I bought the company when the owner announced her retirement. Intuitively, I felt I was meant to be the next owner. How does the mission of Wild Women Expeditions align with the Women for Nature campaign? Is this what inspired you to join? Yes, I think it is important for all of us to get out into the wilderness and get dirty! We need to engage in a physical way in order to fall in love with the natural world, otherwise we won’t really fight hard enough to protect it. That’s the premise for Wild Women Expeditions. We want to bring women into this supportive experience so they can fall in love with the natural world and do the necessary work to conserve it. [caption id="attachment_33433" align="alignright" width="300"]Jennifer Haddow, on a kayaking trip. Jennifer Haddow, on a kayaking trip.[/caption] That passion and commitment is what I identify with in the Women for Nature campaign. And while I believe we need to physically engage in these issues, I also believe in the power of storytelling. We always read outdoor adventure stories about men but we need to promote the value of that experience for women. We need to connect the dots between outdoor adventure, protecting wild spaces and promoting women’s leadership in nature. The next issue of our Wild Women Magazine features Jane Goodall – the quintessential wild woman! How is your health now? I’m in the best health I’ve ever been. I consider myself to be in remission. I have a chronic condition but I am not sick; I am afflicted but not affected. I am at my happiest being a mother to my 5-year old son and when we are home on Quadra Island, we spend lot of time taking hikes and communing with nature. But I want him to be a global citizen too. We visit incredible places – from the jungles of Costa Rica to the Egyptian desert and the elephant sanctuaries of Northern Thailand. Any words of wisdom or advice you want to share with future Women for Nature? I believe I had a physical, emotional and spiritual breakdown because – like a lot of women – I had too much stress and not enough space. And we need that space in order to balance our lives, maintain our health and be our authentic selves. So I can’t emphasize it enough. Go outside, get dirty and connect to the natural world. And, share your stories of what it means to be a wild and adventurous woman – for your health, your spirit and for the environment. To learn more about our amazing Women for Nature, please visit www.womenfornature.ca

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Whiffen Spit, one of Sooke’s special treasures
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Whiffen Spit, one of Sooke’s special treasures

This blog is written by guest blogger Tiffany Huggins.  Whiffen Spit is a quiet waterfront community in Sooke, British Columbia . It is noted for its coastal tranquility, picturesque scenery, and bird watching activities. Lengthwise, Whiffen Spit extends almost one mile and reaches into Sooke Harbor and the Pacific Ocean. Since one of its points is bridged to the larger landmass, it is not considered an island. However, it is flanked on both sides by Sooke Basin and Juan de Fuca Strait, respectively. [caption id="attachment_29716" align="alignright" width="300"]Image of Whiffen Spit Flickr Photo by Tracy O (CC BY-SA 2.0)[/caption] You can walk to the tip in about 30 minutes, and explore the nature and wildlife habitat. Traversing on foot, you will notice a track leading into the beaches. On the trail there are residents who come to walk their dogs and visitors discovering this side of the coast off-the-beaten-path. Along the route, you will see the ocean and Olympic Mountain in Washington state. Along with these amazing mountain views, the region is also appreciated for it spectacular sunsets. A number of family owned cottages and guesthouses cater to travelers and hosts are usually eager to share information about the native flora and fauna in the area. An estimated 500 birds flocked to Whiffen Spit shore; some resides here throughout the year while others stop over during their annual migration period in spring and fall. Among them are the Bald Eagles, a variety of ducks, herons, swan, quail, the South American Owl and the Canada Goose. Other wildlife here includes Sea Lions and seals which you can commonly to see basking on tree branches close to shore and on the warm rocks. Whiffen Spit is one of those places that doesn’t seem to garner a lot of noises with regards to its setting and attributes but when you see it you are pleased to have come. Not to say that residents aren’t proud of the spit. Blasé perhaps since the beautiful landscape abounds in British Columbia. In an article by Elida Peers, she did however described the Whiffen Spit as 'one of Sooke’s special treasures' and I couldn’t agree more. Below is a map of where this fantastic trail can be found!

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British Columbia’s Top 5 Wilderness Adventures
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British Columbia’s Top 5 Wilderness Adventures

[caption id="attachment_26167" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Andrea Inness Andrea Inness
Guest Blogger[/caption] Between the province’s long coastline, vast forests, rivers and rugged mountains, British Columbia is bursting with things to do this time of year. If you find yourself needing some adventure this summer, or just want to connect with nature, check out one (or all!) of these quintessential outdoor activities. 1) Kayaking in Johnstone Strait If you’re keen to get up close and personal with the best of B.C.’s marine wildlife this summer, Johnstone Strait is a great place to go. Located along Vancouver Island’s east coast, Johnstone Strait is a critical habitat for many of the region’s most iconic marine species, including Humpback, Minke and Grey Whales, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Porpoises, Harbor Seals, Sea Lions and, of course, Killer Whales. With over 200 Northern Resident Orcas entering the narrow passage each summer, and with its generally calm, sheltered waters, Johnstone Strait is the ideal place to grab a kayak and see Orcas up close. Companies based in Campbell River, Quadra Island, Port McNeill and Telegraph Cove offer multiple options for paddlers of all abilities, including guided expeditions ranging two to seven days and kayak rentals for more experienced paddlers. [caption id="attachment_28647" align="alignright" width="271"]Image of Hermit Trail in Glacier National Park Hermit Trail in Glacier National Park by Andrea Inness[/caption] 2) Grizzly Bear Tours With the arrival of thousands of salmon into B.C.’s coastal waterways, August through October is the perfect time of year to spot Grizzly Bears as they gorge themselves on fish in preparation for hibernation. The best (and safest) way to experience grizzlies in the wild is to join one of many Grizzly Bear watching tours along the mainland coast. A short floatplane or ferry ride from Vancouver Island can take visitors to a number of remote lodges within the Great Bear Rainforest - many which offer single and multi-day bear watching tours. Apart from grizzlies, sightseers may also see Bald Eagles, Mule Deer, Sea Wolves and the elusive Kermode Bear, or spirit bear. 3) Hiking in Glacier National Park About two hours from the Alberta border, Glacier National Park is one of the more accessible and scenic parks in the B.C. Rocky Mountains. Surrounded by the Selkirk Mountains, Glacier National Park features stunning alpine scenery, deep valleys, lush forests, glaciers and mountain streams. With plenty of hikes to choose from, ranging from family-friendly self-guided trails, gruelling day hikes with more than 1,000 m elevation gain and the remote, four day Bald Mountain Wilderness Hiking Route, there’s something for everyone. The Illecillewaet Campground is perfectly positioned at the base of the Illecillewaet and Asulkan valleys, where most of the trails start.  4) Sea to Sky Gondola [caption id="attachment_28648" align="alignleft" width="300"]Image of the Sea to Sky Gondola Sea to Sky Gondola by Andrea Inness[/caption] If the idea of huge reward for minimal effort appeals to you, check out the impressive Sea to Sky Gondola, located less than an hour’s drive north of Vancouver along the Sea to Sky highway. In only 10 minutes, the gondola carries you 885m above sea level along massive granite cliffs, while offering incredible views of Howe Sound and Stawamus Chief Mountain through its floor-to-ceiling windows. On arriving at the Summit Lodge, you’re treated with spectacular views of the fjord below and Tantalus Mountain range on one side and the magnificent, snow-capped peaks of Sky Pilot, Ledge and Co-Pilot Mountains on the other. Complete with multiple viewing platforms, a 100m-long suspension bridge and plenty of hiking, back country and rock climbing options, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the views.  5) White Water Rafting If it’s an adrenaline rush you’re after, try heading inland and hitting the rapids on the Thompson, Nahatlatch, Stein or Fraser Rivers. There are several rafting companies to choose from along the Trans Canada Highway between Hope and Lytton, about a three hour drive from Vancouver. Each offers a range of options from half day to multi-day rafting adventures that cater to beginners through to experienced paddlers. Depending on which river you choose, you’ll tackle some powerful rapids while cruising through lush forest, deep quiet canyons or desert-like badlands, complete with Ponderosa pines, sagebrush and prickly pear cactus.

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From Starfish to Orca Whales, Marine Life at East Point, Saturna Island
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From Starfish to Orca Whales, Marine Life at East Point, Saturna Island

[caption id="attachment_28395" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Sofia Osborne Sofia Osborne, Guest Blogger[/caption]

This blog was written by guest blogger Sofia Osborne.

On an island of only about 350 people, Canada Parks Day on July 16 at East Point was downright crowded. But it makes sense. What better place to celebrate the beauty of nature than a hub for sea lions, seals, harbour porpoises, and whales?

About half of Saturna Island, the most eastern of the Gulf Islands off the coast of British Columbia, is protected as parks. East Point, part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, is a gentle slope covered in golden grass. It’s one of the best land based points for whale watching, particularly Orcas. The Southern Resident Orcas are regular visitors, as well are their mammal eating counterparts the Biggs, or Transient, Orcas. They often pass by incredibly close to the rocks, fishing and breaching.

Extending off the point is Boiling Reef, where currents criss-cross and Harbour Seals swim lazily, sometimes scrambling up onto the rocks when Transient Orcas are near. At the end of the point is a gull-covered rock monopolized by roaring Steller and California Sea Lions in the winter. If that’s not enough sea life for you, you might see the small dorsal fin of a Harbour Porpoise cutting through the water.

[caption id="attachment_28399" align="alignright" width="225"]Image of ocean creatures brought from the ocean floor Photo of sea creatures on display on Shell Beach. By Sofia Osborne[/caption]

In this marine mammal paradise it’s easy to overlook what lies beneath the waves. But on Canada Parks Day, the Saturna Island Marine Research and Education Society (SIMRES) brought a team of divers out for their annual Intertidal Safari, focusing on the animals that don’t get as much recognition. The ocean floor divers had carefully plucked crabs, sea cucumbers, starfish, and more, bringing them to tanks on Shell Beach. Kids and adults alike were encouraged to connect with the invertebrates, touching the tooth-pick spikes of a sea urchin or the mysterious orange dots on a sea cucumber. Interpreters were there to explain more about the creatures, integral parts of East Point’s ecosystem that are often overlooked. They made certain that the animals were handled with respect and returned to the ocean.

Of course, not to be forgotten a male and a female Transient Orcas swam by, followed closely by whale watching boats. The crowd congregated to watch the small show, brought together by nature’s seemingly perfect timing.

How much do you know about your ecosystem, from the smallest invertebrates to the top predators, to our own human impact? From the old fog alarm building on East Point I watch every day as commercial ships move, larger than life, down Boundary Pass. I see whale watching boats chase playful Orcas just to get the perfect picture.

From this point at the heart of the Salish Sea, contemplating the life teeming around me, it became even more apparent to me that this marine world, beautiful and fragile, deserves our protection.

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Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area
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Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area

[caption id="attachment_28359" align="alignleft" width="90"]Daniel Daniel Patterson, Guest Blogger.[/caption] This blog was written by guest blogger Daniel Patterson. The Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area is an astounding piece of Canadian wetland, nestled between the mountains in the southwest corner of British Columbia. Saddling the south end of Kootenay Lake and continuing to the United States border, spanning 17,000 acres, this wetland protected area was established by the province in 1968 and is now home to more than 392 different species of wildlife. The area plays host to more than 100,000 birds at a time during migration, including the Greater White-fronted Geese and Tundra Swans, as well as a great many other migrating waterfowl. The diverse landscape and well-populated areas around the site include the only known breeding ground in British Columbia for Forster’s Terns, and, similarly, are home to one of two known breeding populations of the Northern Leopard Frog in British Columbia. In the summer months, it’s also possible to find the American White Pelican - a species rarely found beyond the prairies - in the area. The wetland is home to a great many ospreys, but as well to Western Grebes who are a provincially at-risk species (in May of 2010, approximately 1,000 - 1,500 were seen on Duck Lake during the migration period, likely the largest amount recorded at the wetland.) [caption id="attachment_28360" align="alignright" width="300"]Image of Bridge and reflections at Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area Bridge and reflections at Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, Creston, British Columbia. Flickr Photo by Arthur Chapman (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)[/caption] Plant life is also abundant in and important to the wetland. Pondweeds, duckweed, arrowheads and watershield (dollar bonnet) are just some of the species of plants which thrive in the shallow and warm waters of the Creston Valley Wetland. Similarly, the exceptionally large density of aquatic plant life helps to provide many animals the necessities of life, including shelter, food and a healthy habitat, keeping land erosion at bay. This, however, is not all the wetland provides - the wetland also is a great place for creatures of the human variety to spend the day exploring, with activities and guided tours provided by the park staff. Similarly, the Dewdney Trail has given the public and researchers access to the area. Before the designation of this area, the Ktunaxa nation - a population whose history in the Creston Valley can be traced back to over 10,000 years - was the only human population who inhabited the land. The biodiversity of this wetland is amazing and plays a tremendous role in the fruitful existence and regeneration of species and animal life in the southern part of British Columbia. Protected by the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area staff and volunteers, the wetland is preserved and treated with respect and care, fostering life for all living entities that inhabit the land.

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