Nicola Naturalist Society – winter events 2017-2018

Evening meetings of the Nicola Naturalist Society are held at 7PM, usually on the third Thursday of the month, in the Lecture Theatre of NVIT (Nicola Valley Institute of Technology) on Belshaw Road, Merritt. Our evening meetings are free for members. We have awesome raffles.

Scroll down to see what is coming up:  December 2017 through April 2018

For insurance reasons, our field outings are restricted to our members (visitors can join membership-for-a-day). To join the Nicola Naturalist Society click here: Membership Page


Saturday December 16th: Merritt Christmas Bird Count.

You don’t have to be an expert birder to participate in our Christmas Bird Count. It is a great way to get to learn the local winter birds – each birding group has at least one experienced birder. Followed by a festive potluck for participants. If you are interested in participating and not already on the contact list send us an e-mail  nicolanaturalists@gmail.com

Rough-legged Hawk – this species winters in our area and is a regular on the Merritt Christmas Bird Count. They breed in the arctic tundra. Photo: ©Alan Burger


Wednesday January 17th 2018, 7 PM at NVIT Lecture Theatre: Jessica Urquhart – Salmonids of the Nicola Watershed: their habitats and health.

Note that this is Wednesday and not our usual Thursday evening.

Jessica Urquhart is a Fisheries Technologist with the Nicola Watershed Stewardship and Fisheries Authority (NWSFA), the “fisheries department” of the Nicola Tribal Association. Working with its member communities, as well as private property owners, the NWSFA undertakes an annual program of stock assessment and fish habitat restoration projects in the Nicola Watershed. NWSFA staff interact with other First Nations and DFO to advocate for the protection and restoration of the Nicola Watershed’s fisheries resources. With information provided by the entire NWSFA fisheries team, Jessica will discuss how the team plays an important role in the management of the salmonids of the Nicola Watershed.

The Nicola River supports several species of salmonid fish – some are threatened. Photos: NWSFA (river) and NOAA (salmon)


Thursday February 15th 2018, 7 PM at NVIT Lecture Theatre: Bruce Walter – Photographing Nature

Merritt resident Bruce Walter is an excellent photographer of landscapes and nature. He will share some of his photographs while providing tips on getting great nature pics. Most of us take photos – this is a chance to learn more and at the same time enjoy great outdoor photos.


Thursday March 15th 2018, 7 PM at NVIT: Don Gayton – Fire Ecology in Southern BC.

Don is a well-known ecologist who has worked on the roles that fire (accidental and intentional) has played in shaping our environment over the past centuries. How did Indigenous people work with fire before the arrival of Europeans? Why was 2017 such a bad year for wildfires? Don has explanations for these and many other questions about wildfires in our area. Not to be missed.

Ecologist Don Gayton has years of experience investigating the effects of fire on ecosystems in the BC interior. Photos courtesy Don Gayton.

Thursday April 19th 2018, 7 PM at NVIT: Jo-Anne Hales – Habitat selection of the Great Basin Spadefoot

Jo-Anne Hales is a professional agrologist and the Environmental Specialist for the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc. She is also completing a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science at Thompson Rivers University studying the Great Basin Spadefoot (an amphibian species at risk) on the New Gold – New Afton Mine site. Come and hear about these charismatic little critters. Her talk was postponed in May 2017 due to the floods – catch it in 2018.

Jo Anne Hales is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable speaker on the charismatic Spadefoots. Photos: Leonard Sopuck and Jo Anne Hales

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