Nature Q&A with Al: Squirrels

Q: What is the difference between a red squirrel and a Douglas squirrel?   A: I love squirrels, they are so much fun to watch - always busy, going about their business of gathering food, or chattering loudly to warn of predators such as large owls, hawks, long-tailed weasels and American marten. In BC we have two related squirrel species –American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) and Douglas Squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii). How to tell the difference? The red squirrel’s eye rings and tummy are white; the Douglas squirrel has orangey eye rings and ...

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Why Are Fish Shaped The Way They Are?

What is a fish? A fish is a vertebrate (an animal with a backbone) that lives in water. There are more fish than any other kind of vertebrate - not surprising since our planet is mostly water. Now to our question – why ARE fish shaped the way they are? To answer that, it is important to understand the environment in which fish live. This affects their shape and how they survive. First of all, fish are cold-blooded animals. Mammals, including humans, are ‘warm-blooded’- their bodies can control their own temperature. Mammals can grow a layer of fat or fur to ...

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Hunters in the sky

Because many different species of birds hunt by day, they use different ways of catching prey so they do not compete with each other - here are just a few of the ways. #1 - Pounce from high up: Red-tail Hawk While the Red-tail is almost the largest bird you’ll see, even the biggest one weighs only a little over one kilogram - yet it can catch rabbits of double that weight! The Red-tail Hawk has very sharp eye-sight and can see long distances. It can spot prey from 30 metres away. Sitting, very still, high up on trees and telephone poles, the hawk moves its eyes all ...

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Donate today to get more kids outside!

NatureKids BC is thrilled to be launching its first formal fundraising appeal after 18 years of supporting volunteer-led nature clubs in local communities throughout British Columbia. The inaugural fundraising drive focuses on bringing the benefits of family-time outside together to more residents across BC. “As a small charity, we rely on the exceptional generosity of a select few foundations and individuals, but we’re looking forward to expanding our community of donors in the months and years ahead,” said Executive Director, Louise Pedersen. NatureKids BC ...

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Not All that Glitters is Gold for Wildlife

With the Christmas season in full swing and families looking for art projects to do with their kids, NatureKids BC encourages families to consider eco-friendly alternatives to glitter this year. For many people, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without glitter and sparkly accessories, however, the majority of commercial glitter products use materials that are hazardous to wildlife, birds and fish. Most glitter is made from plastic sheets which are cut into tiny pieces and when washed down the drain, glitter particles join the subset of marine plastic litter that is ...

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5 Ways to Help Your Kids Love Nature

By now you’ve probably heard about the benefits of getting outside and exploring nature. For kids, the benefits of spending time outside are even more powerful: reduced stress, increased self-confidence, and a strengthened connection to the living world.  As Dr. Scott Sampson, president of Science World, pointed out in an article in the Vancouver Sun, “Children outside tend to be more imaginative, they play longer in a natural environment versus a metal and plastic playground, let alone an indoor structure.” Research in psychology and health continues to show ...

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Kids Swap Screens for Binoculars to Count Birds

This Saturday morning, December 1, 2018, children will swap their screens for binoculars to count birds in Stanley Park as part of an event hosted by Bird Studies Canada, NatureKids BC and Stanley Park Ecology Society. The Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4Kids) helps kids and their families learn about wild birds in our neighbourhoods and contribute to a nation-wide citizen science project while spending valuable time in nature together. Now in its 8th year in Canada, this popular family event helps create an annual snapshot of how the birds in our parks and other ...

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Book review and draw: Dive in! Exploring our connection with the ocean

The key message of a new book for the 9-12-year-olds, Dive in!, by the BC-based author, Ann Eriksson, is that everything is connected and our lives are intrinsically linked to the ocean environment. The ocean provides half the oxygen we breathe; it feeds us, creates our weather and provides us with drinking water.  But as is evident through the images that we now see and the stories that we hear on a daily basis, soups of plastic debris, overfishing, rising sea levels and pollution are creating big trouble for our oceans and its inhabitants, and for us. However, there ...

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Staying alive through the winter

Winter is on its way to BC – the Lower Mainland is not usually very cold, but the rest of BC can be ver-r-r-y cold indeed. So how do living things keep on living through the cold? We humans have lots of ways to keep warm during winter – warm homes, warm clothes, warm food: our neighbours in nature are often not so lucky and have found different ways to survive. Birds Many birds migrate – they just wing off south to warmer climates until winter up here is over, then they come back to lay eggs and raise their young. Other birds like chickadees, jays and nuthat...

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Grab your binoculars and come birding!

The Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4Kids) is a fun, family-friendly - and free - bird watching event that builds bird identification skills and contributes to important citizen science for bird conservation.

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