Cowichan Valley Weekend Club

Volunteer Co-leaders: Boleyn Relova & Katrina

For information about the club please email us or visit our Facebook page at the link above and click “Like” to follow news/updates on club events.

Meet your volunteer club leaders: 

recently moved back to the West Coast from Calgary. No matter where she is, she loves to be surrounded by nature. It is a familiar place that gives her serenity. Boleyn looks forward to getting to know all the NatureKids members. These days, her favourite spot is a private stretch of beach on Shawnigan Lake where she loves to watch her three children immerse themselves in the water and in the nearby grove.

Katrina: I moved to the Cowichan Valley under 2 years ago, with my husband, and son. I enjoy hiking, biking, skiing, kayaking and exploring the mountains, forests and beaches. I work part-time as a computer animator. As a child I lived in a remote area of the caribou interior in mid-central BC. Having access to so much wilderness as a child has fostered my need be close to wild places and has given me a deep respect for nature. After living in some very busy cities, I realize how important it is for everyone, especially our children to experience the wonderment and beauty of the wilderness that surrounds us, and the creatures that we share our planet with.

NatureKids is a nature discovery and environmental action club-based program for kids 5-12 years and their families. We normally meet on the 4th weekend of each month on a Saturday or Sunday for two hours somewhere in the Cowichan Valley, except July/August. Our Explorer Days are facilitated by a Naturalist or biologist/scientist.

The Cowichan Valley NatureKids are proudly supported by Cowichan Valley Naturalists’ Society (CVNS) and the Cowichan Land Trust. NatureKids members and their families are invited to
attend the CVNS Winter Solstice Extravaganza every December and the CVNS
Summer Solstice Picnic each June.

Please note: There is also a Cowichan Valley NatureKids Club for Home Learners that meets once per month on a Tuesday, for more information please click here.  Home learners are also welcome to join the weekend group if that is a better fit for the family.

Upcoming Explorer Days

We will send
emails a week before each event- RSVPs are appreciated. Hope to see you at these great events. Thank you for
arriving 10 minutes in advance so that we can arrange for name tags, signing of
your passports, etc
Saturday, February 25
10am – 12noon 
All about Bumblebees by Ted L 
Freshwater Ecocentre at 1080 Wharncliffe Rd, Duncan

RSVPs are appreciated. This is an indoor event. We will learn how to care for and protect our local bumblebees!

March 25th 

Geology Walk/talk with Neil Bonner

In March, we will have Neil, a geology enthusiast from ‘Rock Hounds’ group to show us different spots on the Malahat which has igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. More details to follow. Minimum age 6. Maximum 25 participants.

2017 Explorer Days – TBC:

Saturday, March 11th – 10am – 3pm – Cobble Hill Seedy Saturday –

Sunday, March 19th – 10am – 2pm – Duncan Seedy Sunday –

April Explorer Day – Food forest nature hike, TBD

Saturday, May 27th – Cowichan Bay Low Tide Day – details to follow

June Explorer Day – Stewardship Project – TBD

Past Explorer Days

Sunday, January 15, 1-3pm 
Cobble Hill Hike with Naturalists John S. and Linda H.

We will start the year off with a casual Cobble Hill Hike on Sunday, January 15th, 1-3pm with two members of the Cowichan Valley Naturalists Society. Please dress in layers. Bring gloves, touque, adequate footwear and a snack for your kids. See email attachment to members for more details.

NatureKids/CVNS Winter Solstice Potluck

When: Tuesday Dec 20, 2017 – 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Where: Freshwater Ecocentre at 1080 Wharncliffe Road in Duncan

What to bring:
– an unwrapped gift for a Nature Kid of any age
– a contribution to a potluck meal
– help us have a zero-waste event by bringing your contribution in a re-usable container and bringing your own plates, mugs, cutlery, napkins etc

– Make a Suet Bird Feeder
– Mingle with Nature-lovers of all ages
– Sing Along with the Muddy Buddies
– Enjoy Barry’s bird photos
– Enjoy great food
– Create winter solstice poems and songs
– Ssssshhhhhhhh……. someone special is coming to town!!!!

Salmon Walk & Talk
Saturday, November 26, 2016
10am – noon
Meet at Freshwater Ecocentre at 1080 Wharncliffe Road in Duncan (Where we did the shoreline cleanup)

We are very lucky to have Nature Interpreter Genevieve Singleton, a Parks Canada 2015 Volunteer of the Year, to help lead this Salmon Explorer Day. She will be taking half the group on a nature walk to special spots to see salmon spawn. Genevieve will talk about what they are doing here and how they got here. Learn about their amazing life cycle.

Sunday, October 23 

Bat Talk at Chase Woods

Location: Chase Woods, Duncan
Date: Sunday, Oct 23, 2016
Time: 1-3pm
Cost: FREE

Bats are mysterious night flyers. Unfortunately, bats are in trouble. Find out some things we know about bats and how you can help biologists learn details needed to conserve them. Join Nature Mentor Adam Taylor for a walk in the woods while learning about bats’ life cycle, habitat and habits.

Sunday, October 16
10am – 1pm.
Nature Mentors: Linda Hill, Dorothy & Eric Marshall from CVNS
Part of Wildwings Festival
Various Duncan locations
$10 cost

Kids Little Big Birding Day
A fun family outing that will match teams of kids and parents with experienced birders to count bird species and numbers at a specified location. Then it will be followed by a potluck lunch at Freshwater Ecocentre. Prizes will be given for most birds counted, most species seen and other fun categories. What will the bird of the day be?

Sunday, September 25 – Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, Cowichan Bay, 1-3pm

We will be joining one of our sponsors, Cowichan Land Trust, to be part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup on Sunday. Dress in layers, boots. Snacks, gloves, plastic bags will be provided. Rain or shine, we will be there.

Every year, we find interesting things by the beach and wonder why people would dump/throw stuff like that out. It is a great conversation piece with the kids on how we are all part of this ecosystem. How can we help Mother Earth be healthy?

The kids get really excited finding unusual garbage finds. Last year, we found a stray dog who we helped out. The year prior, it was a couch and sleeping bag/tent. What will we find this year?

Sunday, September 11 – Introduction to Kayaking, Maple Bay, 1-3pm, LIMITED SPACE. Pre-registration is required. $12 per participant (See attached poster.)

Tuesday June 21st
Annual Picnic with NatureKids and Cowichan Valley Naturalist Society (our sponsors)
5 pm with Potluck at 5.30 pm followed by activities for all
Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre
Your RSVPs are appreciated!

The kids always have a fun time at the beach after the meal. This will be a no waste event. Bring your own plates, cutlery, cups, etc. and lawn chairs as the Centre’s chairs will be in storage.

Sunday, June 12th
11 am-noon 
Bird Count with adult Naturalists
Meet at Hecate Park behind the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre. Everyone is welcome to share an hour on the shore as citizen scientists.

Low Tide Day
Saturday, May 7
Starts at 10:30 am
Kil-pah-las Beach 
NO RSVP needed. Just come and enjoy the day. 

Beach clean-up and marine science, critter count. Lunch is free and we have a great children’s performer, Ken Atkins, doing the music. 

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016
10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Jubilee Garden Stewardship Program
Next Explorer Day is a day in the garden…planting, potting, learning about bees. Come and help plant lettuces, carrots and other greens. Then there will be bee stories and bee observation with Ted. The garden is located at the north end Centennial Park in Duncan on 1st Street. This is a great opportunity for you to learn about composting, see how bees help the garden, get ideas on what to plant in your garden. After a snack, we’ll have you pot up some seeds to take home to your own garden. RSVPs appreciated. Friends are welcome.

Sat March 26
10 am – noon
Many Hands Permaculture Farm Tour

We will be doing a farm tour and looking at the systems. There is almost 3 acres of hugelkutur beds, swales, food forests and more. If the weather is sunny, we’ll have a peek at the bees. We will play a few games and plant some seeds for you to take home. Please wear clean boots.

March 16 AND 19
7 – 8pm

Age suggestion: 8+
Spring Frog Surveys

Last year, our club received a grant to make a training video that has been now distributed to 30 NatureKids Clubs in BC. Each fall and spring, we do frog surveys and data is collected and a UBC PhD biologist complies the data and is passed on to the government. We are inviting all 8+ year old NatureKids members to come and participate in two frog surveys during spring break.

Meeting location: Belvedere Crescent (Directions – turn south off Cowichan Lake Road off Jordan’s Lane, right on Appaloosa Way, Left on Pinto Rd, Left on Belvedere Crescent = Dead end road – park here.)

January 30th, 2016
Mason Bee Harvesting
10 am – noon
with Nature Mentor Bee Enthusiast, Eugene Fleck
Freshwater Ecocentre conference room
 (indoor session)

Bee Enthusiast, Eugene Fleck will be going over the mason bee life cyle then will show us how to harvest our mason bees. Each child can help disassemble his/her own mason bee house, scrape off the cocoons on the terry cloth and count them. Then Eugene the Bee Guy will gather the group’s cocoons then will wash them then will give each child the # of cocoons he counted earlier.

He would love to hear what you observed this summer regarding the mason bees and if they helped pollinate your fruit trees and veggies. You could write 1-2 sentences on a piece of paper OR you could draw him a picture. Don’t forget to write your name and age. He loves getting input from all his mason bee keeper helpers.

Please bring the following items: a snack for your child
*a small flat screwdriver
*small terry cloth
*small container to hold your cocoons
*your labeled mason bee house, of course!

Tuesday, December 15th. 5 – 7.30 pm
Potluck Winter Solstice Party with the adult Naturalists Group (CVNS), one of our sponsors.
Location: The Freshwater Ecocentre – Trout Hatchery 1080 Wharncliffe Rd, Duncan, BC.

It is always a fun night out with crafts, a ukelele trio serenade over dinner and a special visit by Mrs. Claus. Each family is asked to bring a gift that will be handed out to a NatureKid.
Crafts 5-5:30pm. Dinner from 5:30pm. Stories, gifts, songs from 6:30pm.

Saturday, November 28th
10am – noon
Nature Walk, 
Eves Provincial Park Crofton 

Please meet at the main entrance of Eves Park (by the caretaker’s house) once you park your car.
Nature Mentors: Cowichan Valley Docents

Nature Walk with a focus on changing of seasons, how do animals store food for the winter, plants changing with Eves Park of the Cowichan Valley Docents in Crofton. We will be divided up into smaller groups. This is one of the Cowichan Valley’s best kept secrets. It is a 45 acre, Class C Provincial Park (meaning it was donated to the province but is managed by a volunteer board and receives no government funding), gifted to BC in 1961 by Janet Goodall. If you haven’t been there before, it is a quaint park that has a rain forest, railroad tracks AND even a cave!

Sunday October 25
1-3 pm  
Bluebird Talk
Garry Oaks Preserve, meet at the end of Aitkin Rd off Maple Bay Rd
RSVP and please arrive 10 minutes before the nature walk starts

The Bring Back the Bluebirds Project is an effort to re-establish a population of Western Bluebirds to our home in the Cowichan Valley. Join us and learn about Western Bluebirds and other cavity nesting birds, like chickadees and swallows, as we share how we went from zero bluebirds four years ago to over 80 today!

Come out for a nature walk with Nature Mentor Reanna S, part of the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team Society (GOERT) and learn about the Garry Oaks and the bluebirds.

Rain or shine. Please dress in layers and bring a snack.

Tuesdays Oct 6 & 13th
Amphibian Road Surveys
For 8+ year olds
NEW TIME 6:30  – 7:30 pm

(see below)
Please RSVPs 
for the Frog Survey so we can be on the lookout for you.
Rain or no rain, rain is better since the frogs will be hopping!

We are inviting all 8+ year old NatureKids members to come and participate in two frog surveys in October with NatureKids Co-Leader, Krista. We have put the age minimum as a guideline since kids will be out in the dark and will be using some scientific apparatus.

Sunday, September 27th 
Shoreline Cleanup
1-3 pm (pre celebration at noon) 
Cowichan Bay with Cowichan Land Trust (see below)

will joining one of our club sponsors, Cowichan Valley Land Trust, to
participate in the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-up at the Cowichan Bay
Estuary. There will be a little celebration noon – 1pm to celebrate the
35th anniversary of BC Rivers Day. Light snacks and refreshments will
be available.

Then our cleanup as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline cleanup will begin at 1pm.
at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre. What interesting ‘treasures’
will we find this year? Dress in layers, bring gloves and wear boots.
Rain or shine.

Saturday, June 27
1241 Maple Bay Rd, Duncan. 
Planting Garry Oaks with Nature Conservancy Canada

10am – noon
Join the Nature Conservancy of Canada for a day gathering native seeds in the Garry oak woodlands of the Cowichan Valley. 

Garry oak meadows and woodlands are home to numerous endangered flora and fauna. Come and assist in the preservation of these species by collecting seeds which will be propagated in the Native Plant Nursery at the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve

Saturday, May 16
Low Tide Day at Cowichan Bay

Low Tide Day at Cowichan Bay is open to the public and will be lots of fun. Try to come out to any part of the festivities starting 9:30am. Dress in layers since it is normally windy by the beach. Boots are a must! Plus extra shoes for the kids on the ride home. Bring snacks and a picnic lunch.
The science activities will again be at Kil-Pah-Las beach (by OceanFront Suites Hotel) beginning at 9:30. This is a great opportunity for families to learn all about the critters who live near and under the shore. A group of biologists from the Department of Fisheries (DFO) normally conducts these events.
The community beach cleanup for adults and older youth begins at 9:30 at Hecate Park near the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre. This is an opportunity to help with environmental stewardship.
At noon both groups will meet up at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre for lunch, fun, and a birthday party for the Cowichan Land Trust.
Tuesday, June 16th – Potluck with adult Naturalists

Saturday, April 26 

Fairburn Water Buffalo Farm 
Come for a nature walk with us and taste some special cheeses at Fairburn Water Buffalo farm. The tranquil setting is a naturalist paradise: walking trails alongside the meandering creek, access to the Trans Canada Trail, and wildlife and farm life at your fingertips.

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