Our evening programs are on the third Thursday of the month, at 7 PM in the lecture theatre at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT), Belshaw Road, Merritt. Field outings are for members only (we can sign up visitors as day-members). Scroll down to see what is coming up from September 2015 through February 2016
Thursday September 17th (7PM at NVIT): Annual General Meeting and Members’ Photo Night.
We keep the business meeting short to leave plenty of time to view excellent photos of local wildlife and nature. See these photos on the big screen at NVIT!
Sunday September 20th (meet at 9AM at Merritt Civic Centre): Grasslands birding
We’ll look for interesting migrants (pelicans, cranes, waterfowl, raptors and more) in the Douglas Lake Plateau grasslands. Bring lunch, binoculars and clothes to match the weather.
Thursday October 15th (7PM at NVIT): Aaron Coelho and Dr. Wendy Gardner –Waning Wetlands: Declines in Semi-arid Grassland Ponds due to Climate Change.
Aaron Coelho is an Environmental Consultant, based in Kamloops and Dr. Wendy Gardner is a professor at Thompson Rivers University specializing in grassland ecology, range management and ecosystem restoration. Together they studied the impacts of climate change on surface water in BC’s semi-arid grasslands. The loss of grassland ponds will impact ranching, wildlife and entire ecosystems. This fascinating research is highly relevant to the future of the Merritt area.
Saturday October 17th (meet 10AM at the Grasslands Interpretation Kiosk, Lundbom Common): Joint outing and hike with the Vermillion Forks Naturalists (Princeton).
An opportunity to meet with naturalists from a neighbouring BC Nature club. We will have options for both an easy hike in the grasslands and forests or a more leisurely visit to ponds and lakes, with lunch together. Lundbom Commonage is always an interesting place for birds, scenery and interesting plant life.
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 7TH (meet 10AM at the highway INFORMATION CENTRE at the junction of highways 5 Coquihalla and 97C Connector) – Field outing: Mushrooming with Erin Feldman
Erin Feldman is a graduate student in Biology at UBC Okanagan and Nicola Naturalist members will remember her enthusiasm and knowledge of mushrooms and other fungi at our March 2015 meeting. Fall is peak mushroom season – come and learn more about local mushrooms – edible and not.
Thursday November 19th (7PM at NVIT): Chris Gill – Guns, Traps & Poisons: Island Conservation in the 21st Century
Islands support fragile ecosystems and are the nesting sites for huge numbers of seabirds. Invasive alien species, such as rats, are one of the greatest threats to these sensitive locations. Chris Gill is a wildlife biologist from Salmon Arm and the founder of Coastal Conservation. He has been working for 15 years on island restoration in Haida Gwaii, BC where invasive rats, raccoons and deer are a major threat. In 2014 Chris received the prestigious Parks Canada CEO Award of Excellence for the Night Birds Returning program – recognizing his excellent work in restoring breeding populations of birds on these islands. An important conservation success story.
Saturday December 12th (1 – 3 PM at NVIT classroom L017): Winter Bird Identification Workshop
Alan Burger will lead this workshop – tune up your birding skills before the Christmas Bird Count, or just to help identify those birds at your winter feeder.
Sunday December 20th (all day): Merritt Christmas Bird Count
You don’t have to be an expert birder to participate in this annual event – in fact it is a great opportunity for beginners to join more experienced birders to improve birding skills. Be part of the world’s largest citizen science program – now in its 116th year and run by the Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada. If you are interested in participating please get in touch before the count day – phone 250-378-2468 or e-mail email@example.com.
Coming up in the new year:
- Thursday January 21st (7PM at NVIT): Frank Ritcey (WildSafe BC) – Safety and Management of Wildlife
- Thursday February 18th (7PM at NVIT): Bob Scafe – The Wonderful World of Butterflies
- Monthly meetings in March, April and May – details to come
Mystery bird identities: Song Sparrow (left) is a year-round resident and American Tree Sparrow (right) breeds in boreal subarctic areas and visits our area in winter.