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: Jocie Brooks & Rene Jorgenson
Email: comox@naturekidsbc.ca

Meet your volunteer leaders!

Jocie Brooks

I'm a local nature-enthusiast and parent. 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!

Rene Jorgenson

Hello! I love everything to do with outdoor recreation and nature studies and am excited to assist Jocie in leading this amazing program that brings families together outdoors. I have been involved in recreation for over 20 years and love to share my experiences with people of all ages and abilities. We have some exciting events coming up and I look forward to getting to know all of you better as the year progresses.

Join our Facebook group! Search for "Comox Valley NatureKids" and request to join.

Upcoming 2016 Explorer Days

Sunday, October 22nd
William's Beach Forest

Our next Explorer Day will be a mushroom walk on Saturday, October 22nd from 10:00-12:00 at the William's Beach Forest. This forest has a mix of mostly pine and Douglas-fir and it is a great place for fungi in the fall! Please dress for the weather, and there may be some mud and puddles so gumboots or hiking boots would be best. Bring a snack and water bottle. Note that in the event of extreme weather (heavy rain, strong winds etc) we will cancel.

Directions: Drive north on the old island Hwy. Turn right on William's Beach Rd (the next right after the Merville Store). Follow William's Beach Rd for quite a ways, continue past Larkin Road and Halstead Farm. The road straightens out before coming to a sharp bend, and right at the corner is the main parking area for the forest. There is no signage as it is not officially a park.

Past Explorer Days

Sunday, September 18th 
Exploring Morrison Creek

We will play some interactive nature games, then take a walk along Morrison Creek to look at spawning salmon. Bring a snack and water bottle. Meet at the main parking lot of Ecole Puntledge Park Elementary School at 401 Willemar Avenue.

Saturday, August 13
9:00 - 12:00
Courtenay Museum Fossil Tour program

We will be guided through the museum and explore the fossil collection before heading out into the field (parents will be required to drive to the site) to fossil hunt on the shores of the Puntledge River. The program is free for Nature Kids families, but please RVSP so we have an idea of how many families can attend. Since we are using Nature Kids funds to pay for this program we want to make sure we have enough families signed up to make this a go.

Saturday, June 25th
2:00-3:30 pm
Low Tide Beach Exploration

Miracle Beach Provincial Park, meet at the Nature House (see email for directions)
We will be participating in a Jerry's Rangers program at the Nature House!

Sunday, May 29th
Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society

Our next explorer day will be at the MARS (Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society) facility at 6817 Headquarters Road. Volunteer Rene Jorgenson has offered to introduce us to the MARS education owls and give us a tour of the facility. Afterwards, we may take a short walk on a trail there. 

Sunday, April 10th
1pm - 3pm 
Tsolum River Walk!

Join us down at the beautiful Tsolum River to explore spring wildflowers. Woodland wildflowers are abundant this season, and we are sure to find white and pink fawn lilies 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 thicket of alder, small remnant forest of Douglas fir, wet areas of alder, salmonberry, and skunk cabbage and some of the largest Sitka spruce that can be found in the Tsolum River floodplain trails.
Meeting Place:
The exhibition grounds parking lot, beside the Comox Valley Curling Club on Headquarters Road, across from Vanier High School.

Woodhus Slough
Sunday, March 6

The next Explorer Day will be on Sunday, February 28th at 1:00pm at Woodhus Slough (meeting at Salmon Point). Our special guest for this walk is Luisa Richardson, a Campbell River naturalist who is very experienced at teaching children about nature. Luisa completed her Masters degree in environmental education at Simon Fraser University in 2015.

Directions from Courtenay/Comox: Go north on Hwy 19A. Continue north of Black Creek, going over the Oyster River Bridge. Continue on, pass Fosgate Road and take the very next right on Salmon Point Road and drive to the end. We will meet at the parking lot of the Salmon Point Pub. Allow about 35 minutes one way for the drive. You can also take the Inland Hwy, but be sure to take the Hamm Road connector and then continue as above. Please dress for winter weather with boots, toques, gloves or rain gear as needed.

Millard Creek Trail
Sunday, January 24 
1pm - 2:30pm 

A gravel path with some boardwalk follows alongside Millard Creek, an important salmon stream. We will also have views of the Comox Estuary, where large numbers of ducks congregate in the winter. Please dress for winter weather with toques, gloves or raingear as needed. You may wish to bring a small snack and water bottle.

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.

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!