Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bowen Nature Club AGM, membership time and speaker: Seals and Sealions of the Northern Coast

The time has finally come for getting your 2013 Bowen Nature Club membership and attending our Annual General Meeting!

Where & When:
This year it will be held on February 16th at the home of D.G. Blair. 

Email bowennatureclub at gmail dot com for address.
It is a potluck and starts at 5:30pm.

Our Speaker: Dr Andrew Trite
Dr Andrew Trite is an amazing speaker and world renown researcher on Steller sea lions.
Dr Trite has been studying North Pacific marine mammals for over 20 years and his research is primarily focused on Steller sea lions, northern fur seals, and harbor seals. His research program involves captive studies, field studies and simulation models that range from single species to whole ecosystems. His goal is to further the conservation and understanding of marine mammals; providing insights that can be used to resolve conflicts between people and marine mammals. He is involved in many projects including those measuring how the distribution of different species (walrus, fur seals, kittiwakes, murres, pollock and bivalves) are controlled by fishing, predators, food availability as well as changes in the physical environment that can act alone or in concert to alter the species ecosystems. He will provide a presentation on his research trying to understand the disappearance of Stellar sea lions from the Gulf of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. He has been testing three contributing factors: 1) predation by killer whales; 2) competition with existing fisheries and 3) reproductive failure due to changes in diet. He will link this work back to his new research program trying to determine how Harbour seals in the Strait of Georgia (highest density of harbour seals found anywhere in the world) influence sockeye, chinook and coho salmon populations in BC. Dr. Trites is a Professor at UBC's Fisheries Center and Director of UBC's Marine Mammal Research Unit and the North Pacific Universities Marine Mammal Research Consortium.

Membership Outings:
This year we have some exciting adventures planned, including an Owl Prowl, Invasive Plant Walk, Howe Sound Boat Tour, Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Family Camping Trip, a bug and insect walk, the annual Sea Creature Dive, and a hike over Collins Ridge. Also, in addition to the continuing weekly (F)unschool outings, we will be offering a 3-day (F)unschool camp during Spring Break!

Bowen Nature Club has affordable annual memberships ($22/family or $18/single), which give you emailed notices of our outings, attendance to members-only outings, BC Nature Magazine, and insurance coverage for our outings.

If you would like to purchase a membership at the AGM: Get a membership form from a director, fill in both pages, and hand it back with your payment.

If you would like to purchase a membership by mail: Email bowennaturclub at gmail dot com to ask for a membership form, print and fill in both pages once you get it, and mail it with your payment (cheque made out to Bowen Nature Club) to our director in charge of membership (you'll be given her address when the form is emailed to you, because I don't want to post it on a public forum and increase her junkmail burden!).

Friday, February 8, 2013

(F)unschool along Killarney Creek

Last week we explored the section of Killarney Creek just east of Magee Rd. and in the same general area where we previously found fighting barred owls and Signal Crayfish parts, we found even more excitement: a very gruesome dead deer, many broken freshwater mussel shells (also the remains of an otter feast, we expect), a deposit of lovely clay, some recent beaver handiwork, tiny sitka spruce saplings (one felled by a beaver), a bald eagle, and a Red Legged frog which I believe was getting ready to lay eggs. Some also smelled a musty smell that we think may have been the beavers, likely hiding out nearby. Of course we didn't see them...
The leg bone's connected to the hip bone!
 So today we went back again! Along the south side of the creek, we found more mussel shells, a spectacular upended tree, whose roots were encrusted with clay so that it looked like a cliff face from one side, a scattered old deer skeleton, whose bones could be pieced together again, some interesting fungi, cedar shells, and moss, and yet more evidence of beaver activity (and that musty smell, again!)

In addition to our continuing weekly outings, (F)unschool will be convening for a 3-day "camp" during March break, entitled Beach, Bog, and Bluffs. Maybe you can guess where we'll be going...

Sitting on the upended tree roots.
This was a very exciting fireworks show, with "fireworks" made of tiny broken twigs, which the audience is welcome to catch!
Fairy garments.