Thursday, March 7, 2013

Upcoming Events: Geology of Howe Sound and Bog, Beach, Bluff

The Nature Club began the year in style with our traditional AGM potluck and an excellent presentation by UBC marine mammal expert, Professor Andrew Trite, explaining why BC Steller sea lions are thriving whilst their Alaskan relatives are in sharp decline. The answer appears to be food quality, since they thrive on high food value fish such as herring, whereas low value foods such as pollock cause them to have lower birth and infant survival rates. This suggests that the hard work of the Fish and Wildlife Club and other stream keepers associations, restoring herring spawning grounds in our area, will pay off in terms of increased sea mammal activity around Bowen and in the Sound. At the AGM we also heard about the exciting adventures planned for this year, beginning with two Nature Club events in March.

The remarkable mountain wall rising above Howe Sound
On March 17th at 7pm, Bob Turner will be discussing our local geological landscape. Living on Bowen, with its rocky shores and beaches full of pebbles, we encounter lots of geology to look at and questions to ponder. Our shoreline bedrock can be pale-coloured, or dark grey, or full of layers –what’s the difference? Smooth bedrock surfaces abound – is this the work of ancient glaciers? And how big was the glacier that carved our rock? Many pebbles that you find on a Bowen beach are different from Bowen bedrock – so where did they come from? Elsewhere, curious layers of clay contain marine fossils, yet are high above the sea. And what about Bowen Island – how old is it? Has it always been an island? Our island rocks formed in the Jurassic Era – could we find dinosaur bones here? Across the waters of Howe Sound near Squamish are the famous climbing cliffs of Stawamus Chief. Why are these granite walls so steep? Rising even higher is Mount Garibaldi, a giant volcano that erupted violently 12,000 years ago, yet it doesn’t look like a volcano at all. Could it erupt again? And asking a really big question – why do we have mountains along the coast of BC? Why isn’t our coast flat like Nova Scotia?
Our geological curiosity can range from the nature of a pebble to the origin of our coastal mountains. This talk explores the geological wonders that are all around us. So bring your questions and your local rocks. This event is free and open to non-members; contact the club for further details.
During spring break, Emily van Lidth de Jeude will be leading a (F)unschool mini camp called Bog, Beach, Bluff on March 19, 20 and 21; 2-4pm. The mini-camp is for people of all ages and will explore three different Bowen ecosystems. First, participants will hike into Fairy Fen, where there is evidence of early logging on Bowen, will look at the slow transformation of a small lake into rainforest, and find some of the deepest mud around in the bog and fen. On the second day local Naturalist Will Husby will join explorations of the estuary by Mother’s Beach and the lagoon, and help discover and identify various creatures that live there. And finally the group will hike up a bluff, starting in the forest down below and emerging to look out and see our island from above.
This activity is free, and for Nature Club members only. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Contact Emily van Lidth de Jeude at 9563 or email the Nature Club (address to the right, in the sidebar) to register for Bog, Beach, Bluff.

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