Have a very YNC Holiday!

Things that are hand-made have a special significance. Along with the items themselves, they carry a message of thoughtfulness and care, which is what gift-giving is really all about:
  • Recipe Book: Gather favourite recipes from your friends and family, and put them together into a recipe book. By adding photos, drawings or a line or two about each contributor, you can make the book even more personal. Binding can be as simple as a three-ring binder. Or you can use heavier card stock to make front and back covers, and finish the book with cerlox or coil binding available at a print shop or quick copy centre. 
  • Edibles: Baking will always be appreciated, especially if it contains chocolate! Home-baked holiday goodies are a tasty gift. Cookies, fudge, jam, relish, pasta sauce - things that are literally consumable will be well received at any time of year. And who wouldn't appreciate a pan of lasagne, a pot of stew or a favourite casserole? One thing - if you are doing munchable gifts, make sure you know the tastes (and allergies, if any) of the recipients. 
  • Plant Cuttings: Cuttings from plants that you have around your home make for a great personal gift. Look in second-hand stores for unique containers like teapots, mugs and bowls to use as planters. Alternatively, a package of seeds will be a pleasant reminder of friendship during next year's gardening season. 
  • Arts and Crafts: Use your time and skills to make something unique. For example: Make a wooden toy, paint a watercolour, personalize a towel. Decorate photo frames, T-shirts, candles or a container for pens. Knit a scarf, crochet a hat, sew potholders. Make book ends, a storage box or letter holder. Make an ornament, a sock monkey, a hemp necklace, table centrepiece or wreath. 
Giving an item an extra life helps reduce our use of new resources. And as any antique-hunter can tell you, browsing through vintage shops, consignment stores and goodwill outlets looking for treasures can be a lot of fun!
  • Books, Music and Movies: Find newer releases at a fraction of the cost, or go for time-tested and familiar classics. 
  • Clothing: Comfy sweaters, flashy silk scarves, or a funky hat or bag ... with a bit of effort, you're bound to find a new favourite. 
  • Housewares and More: Thrift shops can be an ideal place to find a wide range of unique items in very serviceable condition - vases, platters, trays, fancy cups, candleholders, and much else. Or you might run across a musical instrument, garden tools, cross-country skis, binoculars, art supplies or retro-style furniture! 
Giving a gift of service requires the use of little or no natural resources. Whether you buy a gift certificate from a professional, or give a coupon offering your own time, it will be a welcome treat.
  • Time: Instead of giving a physical thing, invite family and neighbours to a seasonal-themed party. Have a pot luck dinner. Sing songs, play games, tell stories. Make people the focus of your holiday time. 
  • Services: Creating coupons that offer free babysitting or housecleaning, snow shovelling, a neck massage or a special treat can mean more than a stocking stuffer.
  • Skill-sharing/Lessons: Music, cooking, languages, pottery, knitting, sewing, yoga, home-repair, bike maintenance. 
Consider giving a gift that will keep on giving... to the environment. Check out some of these items which will save energy, resources and money. Your friends and the environment will thank you!
  • LED Night Lights: They provide the right amount of light, run cool, and use a fraction of the electricity that conventional incandescent bulbs use. 
  • Stapleless Stapler: It's a small piece of office equipment that attaches pages to each other without using any staples. 
  • Wind-Up Radio or Flashlight:  You never need to replace the battery! A hand crank provides the power. 
  • Solar-Powered Battery Charger: Uses freely available sunlight to re-charge batteries.

Good luck creating your sustainable holiday, and have fun!  We wish all of you a wonderful, peaceful season. And remember that the best gift is to be grateful for those we love and to tell them we love them – Happy Holidays from the YNC!

Comox Valley NatureKids Club

Volunteer Leaders: Jarrett Krentzel & Jocie Brooks
Email: comox@naturekidsbc.ca

Meet your volunteer leaders!

My name is Jarrett Krentzel and I'm happy to be your NatureKids co-leader. Getting outside, walking and being with kids are a few of my favourite things, so I'm quite excited to start getting out there with you all, hitting the trails and exploring our beautiful Comox Valley together! 

and...I’m Jocie Brooks, a local nature-enthusiast and parent, and I’ll be co-leading NatureKids with Jarrett. I look forward to exploring nature together with our children, in this rich and diverse area. Hope to see you out at our explorer days!

Upcoming 2015 Explorer Days

Annual Kids Bird Count and Potluck Lunch
Saturday, November 14th
Meet at 10:00 am at the Park Café at the Courtenay Airpark (102 20th Street)
Please RSVP

We will divide into three teams: 1) Courtenay Airpark 2) Lazo Marsh and 3) Mack Laing Park. The birding group from Comox Valley Nature will be assisting with this event and an expert birder will lead each team. We will be out counting birds for an hour to an hour and a half, after which we will all meet at the Tsolum Building at the Lewis Centre for a potluck lunch. You can bring your potluck items to the Tsolum Building after the bird count. To get to the Tsolum Building, enter Lewis Park at the totem poles and park at the end of the paved road. Due to construction the Tsolum Buildng parking lot is closed. Enter at the totem poles at Lewis Park, and park anywhere along the paved road. It will be a short walk to the Tsolum Building.

Please come dressed for the weather, rain gear if it is wet and warm clothing/toques and mitts if it is frosty. If you have binoculars, bring them along. Please bring your own plate/cultery/cup to the potluck. Hot apple cider and juice boxes for the children will be provided. 

We are hoping for a good turn out for this event! To give us an idea of numbers, please RVSP and let us know if you can make it.

Past Explorer Days

Sunday, October 25th
Oyster River Hatchery, part of Bear Creek Regional Park

Nature Mentor Charlie Vaughn, a long time member of the Oyster River Restoration Society (ORES) has kindly offered to give us a tour. This will be a great opportunity for the children to learn about salmon and explore the rich and varied habitat of the area.

Sunday, September 13th, 2015
1 - 2:00 PM
Miracle Beach Provincial Park
Nature Walk
We hope you are had a wonderful summer, and we are excited to start off a new season of Explorer Days. We will start with a trail walk through a second growth forest, keeping a look out for slugs and snails, and then explore the Black Creek estuary and beach before looping back to the Nature House.

Sunday, May 24th, 2015
1 - 2:30 PM
Mack Liang Nature Park
Nature Walk
Mack Laing (1883-1982) was a famous Canadian author, artist and ornithologist, and collector for the National Museum of Canada and the Smithsonian. He moved to Comox in June 1922 where he built his first home, Baybrook. He later built a second home known as Shakesides. Laing donated part of his estate and property to the town of Comox.

We will take a walk on a trail where Mack Laing once roamed... along Brooklyn Creek, which is an active salmon stream, and out to the waterfront at Comox Bay. This lush woodland is a hotspot for birds, and closer to the bay we will see black soil with bits of broken shell, evidence of an extensive First Nations’ midden. At the waterfront, an entirely different habitat exists with salt marsh plants such as the salty tasting pickleweed.

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

1 - 2:30 PM
Tsolum River Walk
Join the NatureKids club down at the beautiful Tsolum River to explore spring wildflowers. Woodland wildflowers are abundant this season, and we are sure to find pink and white fawn lilies (see photo) and trilliums. The trail starts at the Courtenay Exhibition Grounds and loops through prime lily habitat.

A few wildlife viewing highlights that can be found along the river are bald eagles, kingfishers and herons. Some of the natural features include dense thickets of alder, a small remnant forest of douglas fir, and wet areas of salmonberry and skunk cabbage. Some of the largest sitka spruce can be found in the Tsolum River floodplain trails. 

Sunday, March 22nd 

1 - 3 PM
Kye Bay Beach
Coastal WalkJoin the NatureKids down at sandy Kye Bay to explore the beach at low tide, and walk along the coastline towards Air Force Beach. We will be looking at the sand flats and tide pools, with creatures such as sand dollars, clams, small fishes, crabs and anemones. We will also watch for ducks, gulls, bald eagles and other birds. If time permits, we might check out the sensitive ecosystem of the upper beach zone, with interesting plants like dune grass, sea rocket, silver burweed and large-headed sedge.

Sunday February 22nd, 2015

1 - 3 PM
Seal Bay Park
Nature Walk 
Come join the NatureKids for a walk on one of the many trails that leads down to the waterfront. The trail is well maintained and meanders through second growth fir, maple and alder trees, with steep ravines, giant sword ferns and seasonal waterfalls. Once down at the beach, it is not uncommon to spot seals, birds and possibly even a whale! Let's walk together and get to know your new co-leaders, Jocie Ingram and Jarrett Krentzel, while we get to know you. Come rain or shine!