Nicola Naturalist Society – Spring & Summer events 2019

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 from January through May 2019

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


Monday April 22nd: Field outing to Douglas Lake area

This is our annual field trip to look for migrating Sandhill Cranes. We might encounter hundreds or even thousands of cranes as they head north. Many stop over on the fields of Douglas Lake Ranch and neighbouring areas. Also expect to see numerous water birds and raptors and many other birds. White pelicans are a possibility and we usually see interesting mammals too.

Meet at 0800 (note the early time to catch the cranes) at the Merritt Civic Centre to carpool. Bring lunch, drink, binoculars, camera and warm clothes.

Sandhill Cranes on the Douglas Lake plateau in 2013. Photo: © Alan Burger


Thursday May 16th 2019, 7 PM at NVIT Lecture Theatre: Frances Backhouse –  “Once they were hats” The biology of beavers and their role in Canada’s history.   

[This presentation was postponed in 2017 due to weather – rescheduled by popular demand]

Biologist and author Frances Backhouse has published books on a wide range of nature topics, including owls and woodpeckers, and also on historical topics such as the women in the Klondike gold rush. Her latest book examines humanity’s 15,000-year relationship with Castor canadensis, and the beaver’s even older relationship with North American landscapes and ecosystems. This will be a fascinating presentation blending biology and history. Some of you have heard Frances’s recent CBC Radio Ideas program on beavers.

Frances Backhouse brings a huge amount of knowledge and an infectious enthusiasm for Canada’s iconic emblem – the beaver. Photos courtesy Frances Backhouse.


Saturday May 25th – Nature with Norm

Our respected elder Norm Hansen will lead us on another interesting outing to see local features and nature. This trip will first have a gentle walk to visit an old brick factory above Merritt. Then we will drive to Dry Lake Road to see one of the biggest and oldest culturally-modified trees in our area. This giant was alive before Columbus came to North America! And lots of opportunities to enjoy birds and wildflowers along the way.

Meet at 09:00 at the Civic Centre to carpool. Bring a lunch and drink, binoculars and walking shoes.

Norm Hansen at a culturally-modified tree near Merritt. Photo: ©Anne Pang


More spring and summer field outings to come – watch this space!

Likely outings will include birding, wildflowers, butterflies and more.


 July 19-21  – Nicola Naturalists’ Second Annual Summer Camp – FX Ranch

We are heading back to Frank Chisam’s excellent campsite on the FX Ranch  – the same venue as our first summer camp last year.

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 (cost $10 per night per site) and also 8 hookups for RVs ($25 per night per site). 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. 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 (but let us know you are coming by submitting the registration form). 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.

To register for the camp – complete the registration form and submit that, with your payment to the mailing address provided or drop off with Chris Lepsoe – contact phone on the form. For insurance reasons only members can register. Click here for the NNS Summer Camp registration form.

To see a short report and photos from last year’s camp click here: 2018 Summer Camp

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