Nicola Naturalist Society – spring & summer events 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.

Field Outings: For insurance reasons, our field outings are restricted to our members (visitors can join membership-for-a-day for the short day-trips but not our summer camp). To join the Nicola Naturalist Society click here: Membership Page

Scroll down to see what is coming up:  May through August 2018

Saturday May 5th: Bluebird Nest Box Workshop in Merritt –

Vancouver Avian Research Centre (VARC) is taking over the bluebird nest-box route around the Merritt area, and is running a workshop for those interested in participating in monitoring these nest-boxes. Contact VARC for more details:  Phone (604) 218-1191 or email

Saturday May 12th: Bluebird Blitz @ Napier. 08:00 – 12:00 at Napier Lake Ranch Conservation Area (Highway 5A).

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is sponsoring a birding tour of the Napier Lake Ranch Conservation Area which supports a large diversity of iconic grassland birds. Bluebird boxes will be put up. Associate Professor Matt Reudink from TRU will give a special talk about his work with birds. Water and snacks will be provided, but you may want to bring some of your own. No toilets on site.

For details:

Thursday May 17th 2018, 7 PM at NVIT: Philip Gyug – Range Management in the Merritt area

We all love our grasslands but few of us know how they are managed and monitored. Philip Gyug is a graduate from UBC Okanagan with a degree in Earth and Environmental Science. In Merritt he works as a Range Agrologist for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. He works with range licence holders to promote sound management practices, monitor range health, and provide science-based decisions to achieve good range management plans.

Badgers, cows and cowboys – all iconic residents of the BC interior grasslands. Photos: ©Philip Gyug, ©Alan Burger

Sunday June 3rd: Birds, Blooms & Butterflies. Meet 8 AM at Civic Centre to carpool.

For this spring outing we will go to Lundbom Commonage. Gentle hiking and lots to see. Bring lunch, drink, camera, binoculars and clothes to match the weather. An early start to catch the birds and stay as long as you like.

Lunch under the trees at Lundbom Common. Inset: Western Meadowlark. Photos: ©Alan Burger

Wednesday June 6th 2018, 7 PM at NVIT: David Manning – The Old Man and the Vultures   [Note Wednesday and not our usual Thursday]

Dave, a senior from Pender Island who’s been birding for 60 years, became hooked on vultures when he stumbled upon a white fuzz ball of a chick peeking from its nest cave. His program on the three vulture species of North America, particularly follows one Turkey Vulture nest from mating to migration. His recently published Turkey Vulture book, same title as this program, will be available for purchase.

Dave Manning has just published a book on vultures – this will be the theme of his presentation too.

Sunday June 24th – Coutlee Plateau – outing with the Nicola Valley Round Table. Meet at 9 AM at the Civic Centre to carpool.

Local rancher and rangeland expert Wayne Schindler will lead us on a tour of ranchland on the Coutlee Plateau outside Merritt. He will show us examples of range and woodlot management with the emphasis on the effects and control of introduced species. There are places where the tenacious alien Knapweed appears to be under control. There are usually interesting plants, birds and critters in this area too.

Bring a lunch, drink and clothing to match the weather. The outing will likely be about 3 hours. Should not require any serious hiking.

Nicola Naturalist Society members’ camp, on the July 20-21 weekend at Frank Chisam’s campsite on Nicola River.

Situated on Fx Ranch Road off Hwy 8, half-way between Merritt and Spences Bridge, this is a sheltered and scenic spot right on the Nicola River with lots of nature to enjoy close by. There are many tent sites and also 8 hookups for RVs. Toilets & showers are available. Swimming hole just steps away. Hike or bike on the KVR trail right there.

Campers will need to register with the club and provide their own food and drinks. For insurance reasons only members can register. We are planning a communal pot-luck BBQ on the Saturday night. Members who are not camping and would like to join us just for that event are welcome too. We are planning a guest speaker and some hiking and non-hiking outings. Stay tuned and watch your e-mails and our website as plans evolve.

Here are a few photos of the camp site:

Spring flowers at Frank Chisam’s campsite.

These are a couple of the RV hookup sites at Frank Chisam’s campsite.

Just a section of the large field available for tent camping at Frank Chisam’s campsite.

More open field for tent camping with the Nicola River on the doorstep.

View of the Nicola River and KVR bridge from Frank Chisam’s campsite.

View down the KVR trail across the river from Frank Chisam’s campsite.



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