Victoria Home Learners

 **Leader positions vacant. Currently seeking two volunteer co-leaders for this club**
For more info click here

Past  Explorer Days at a Glance

Great Canadian Shore Line Clean-Up
Date: Friday, September 27th, 2013 at 1pm
Location: at the trails near Tillicum Mall.

Self-guided walk/exploration of Witty’s Lagoon
Date: Tuesday, May 28th
Time: 10:30am

Location: Witty’s Lagoon in Metchosin :
Please meet up by the nature house. Enjoy the forested trails and views of Sitting Lady Falls plunging into the lagoon below.
Witty’s Lagoon is a birder’s paradise -over 160 species have been documented in the park. Listen for the rattle call of the belted kingfisher, and the songs of orange-crowned warblers and dark-eyed juncos. Bring your binoculars, and be prepared for discovery, but remember to respect the habitat and birds that use it.

We will walk together through the forest trails and plan to picnic on the beach below.

May: Herons Galore!

When: May 25th,  @ 10 am
Where: Beacon Hill Park. The heronry is located at the
Douglas Street side of Beacon Hill Park. We will meet at the intersection of
Avalon Road and Douglas Street, on the park side of the road.
In May on one of the most incredible sights on the island is
a heron colony- known as a ‘heronry.’ These colonies can be made of fifty or more
nests, with multiple nests on each tree towering overhead. Newly born juvenile
herons chortle and call out for food, clacking their bills in anticipation. In
May, Trudy Chatwin, a Rare and Endangered Species Biologist, and Great Blue
Heron specialist will be joining us on a heron expedition. We will be visiting
one of Victoria’s most famous heronry’s- right in Beacon Hill Park! With
binoculars and spotting scopes we will watch the excitement and listen to the
cacophony of a heron colony in May.

“What on Earth
is in Our Stuff?  Non-renewable Resources and Us”

This hands-on presentation
explores the links between products (at home, school, work and outdoors) that we
use every day, and the non-renewable resources that are needed to produce
Presenter: Dr. Eileen Van Der
Flier-Keller from the school of Earth and Ocean Sciences at University of
Date: Monday April 15, 2013 
Location: University of Victoria
(room location TBA)
Please RSVP as spaces are limited
This is an indoor event but come
prepared for outdoor play.  After the presentation, feel free to stick
around for a walk/play in the forest beside UVic.  Bring

Discovery with Naturalist at Swan Lake

1 hour
program, where they will gain an understanding of the value of wetlands by
collecting and recording their observations of aquatic plants and animals.
Topics include adaptations of some wetland vertebrates and their role in the
food chain.
When: Thursday, March 14th at 10:00 am,
please arrive 15 minutes early to sign consent forms and
Where: Swan Lake Nature House, 3873 Swan

Cost: This is a paid program through
the Swan Lake Nature House, it works out @ $ 3

*Please dress for all

Bluebird Project with Julia Daly
When: February 15th, 2013  at 10:00 am, please arrive 15 minutes early to sign consent forms and passports.

Where: Beacon Hill Park – in the Garry Oak Meadow at the Southgate Street end, across from the back of St. Anne’s Academy. We will meet in the park, on the park side of the cross walk half way down south gate Street (going towards the water) that links the grounds of St. Anne’s Academy with the park. 

Parking:  Nearest parking is by  the petting zoo, a short walk to the meeting place from there.

Join Conservation Outreach Coordinator, Julia Daly, of the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team and learn about characteristics of Western Bluebirds (e.g. what they look like, habitat preferences, food habits), some of the reasons they’ve disappeared from Vancouver Island, and what we can do to bring them back, and how it relates to the restoration of Garry Oak ecosystems.   We will also take part in a scavenger hunt to locate habitat elements both beneficial and detrimental to Western Bluebirds.
*Please dress for all weather*

Please note space is limited to 20 children, so please RSVP to register thank you.

Geology Nature Walk and Talk with John Henigman
Date: Thursday November 8, 2012
Time: 10:30-12:00 (be 15 minutes early if you would like your passport signed)
Meet: Finlayson Point Kiosk on Dallas Road, Victoria
park along Dallas Road just south and below Beacon Hill Park.  Walk
across the grass area where the dogs play to the Finlayson Point kiosk.
 From the kiosk, at 10:30 we will walk down the staircase to the beach
and then a short distance to the rocks at the Point.  *Please dress for all weather*

John will show and tell about the
geology of the bedrock, the glacier impact on the rocks, erratics, and
the sediment load left by the glaciers.  Finally, he will discuss the
Salish walled village that used to sit on the bluff.

Henigman has been a member of the Victoria Natural History Society for
about 20 years, and resident of Victoria since the mid 70’s.  In his
career, he has been a professional forester and biologist. He does a lot
of bird watching. John has hung out with geologists and read the book
on local geology to know the basics of geology in the Victoria area.

 October 2012 Explorer Day: 

local birder and raptor fanatic David Allinson at East Sooke Regional Park to
learn more about our annual hawk and vulture migration spectacle. From
mid-September through mid-October, 17 species of hawks, falcons, eagles along
with Turkey Vultures have been recorded here at the southern tip of Vancouver
Island as they congregate and prepare to cross Juan de Fuca Strait. David will
explain the dynamics of this migration as well as provide ID pointers on telling
species apart. As many as 1100 Turkey Vultures have been seen in a single
“kettle” or flock during the peak of raptor migration (last week of
September-first week of October). Aside from raptors, we will be able to see
many other bird species migrating as well.

David is a Past-President of the Victoria Natural History Society as well
as a founding member and Past-President of the Rocky Point Bird Observatory.
This year marked David’s 21st hawkwatch at East Sooke Regional Park!

LOCATION: Aylard Farm meet at entrance to East Sooke Regional Park
at the map kiosk in the parking lot
TIME: 10:15 am on Friday, October 5th

Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a snack/drink. Walking distances
will be minimal and no strenuous hiking will be required, but we will still
explore some of the park trails, forest, and beach. The raptors can be seen
overhead right from the parking area so we don’t have to venture very far! 
Bring binoculars if you have a pair.
NOTE: Plan for a 35-45 minute drive to the park itself (depending on where
you live in the Victoria area).

June 2012: Saanich Organics Farm Tour with Rachel Fisher
Where: Saanich Organics at 7900 W Saanich Rd – Three Oaks
How to get there: Follow the Trans-Canada Highway from
Victoria, and take the Helmcken Rd exit, continue onto Wilkinson Rd, slight
left onto Interurban Rd, turn left onto W Saanich Rd, turn right onto Sparton
Rd. 7900 W Saanich Rd
When: Monday, June 25th, 10:30 am
What: Wild Flower Walk and Scavenger Hunt
When: April 16th at 10:30.
Where: Mill Hill Regional Park.

Come to Mill Hill for a Wildflower walk and nature scavenger hunt. Learn about flowers and how to identify the wildflowers in our area. Learn how you can help with Garry Oak meadow conservation and enjoy a lovely Spring day walk. Mill Hill has lots of picnic tables so bring a picnic lunch and spend some time enjoying the park with other home learning families afterward.
Bring your birdwatcher cards!
*Please note that the CRD has rated this hike as moderate to challenging due to it being steep and possible slippery if wet. Please dress and prepare accordingly, but note that we will go at a slow pace to make it manageable for everyone
April:  Gone ‘Frogging’
Where: Trevlac Pond, off Prospect Lake Road. Travlac Pond is part of Calvert Park in Saanich. ( Further directions to come !)
When:  To be confirmed
On many balmy summer nights, Purnima Govindarajulu can be found lying in the bow of a canoe, flashlight in hand, among shoreline plants in lakes around Victoria: she is ‘frogging’. She is Victoria’s frog and bullfrog expert. Join Purnima as we visit rarely seen Trevlac Pond, a conservation area in Saanich. We will see how Purnima studies frogs at Trevlac, and check for salamanders on her salamander boards. Then we will set minnow traps to see if we can find newts and maybe even tree frogs.

Winter/Spring 2012
January: Hartland Tour
Where: Hartland Landfill Education Centre, #1 Hartland Avenue. Meet in the gravel parking lot to the right, before the main landfill gates.
When: Saturday, January 28th    10- 11:30 am            
Did you know that Victoria’s Hartland Landfill has received many international awards for being one of the world’s most green landfills? The site has attracted researchers from all over the world, to see how the landfill reuses, recycles, and even creates electricity from what we call ‘trash’. The Landfill has just opened a brand new classroom education centre, where students can learn about recycling and how Hartland works, and we have been invited for a tour!       
*Please RSVP with numbers of kids and parents (space is limited to 40 participants a session)                                                   
February: Wondrous Whales!
Where:  Beaver/Elk Lake Nature House
When: Sunday, February 13th,   10 – 11 and 11:15 – 12:15
There are 25 different kinds of whales that spend time along the coast of British Columbia! Come and learn about the diversity of whales in B.C. and how they make a living in the waters off our coast. Marine educator, Leah Thorpe, a whale naturalist with Cetus Research and Conservation Society, will show us how to tell these different whales apart and will take us on a journey into the world of humpback whales. Complete with games and crafts, this journey will help us discover how these animals live and how we can help to make sure they stay safe in our waters.
Leah Thorpe is a marine educator who has worked as a biologist and naturalist for various organizations, including Stubbs Island Whale Watching and the Whale Interpretive Centre in Telegraph Cove, B.C. She helped put together a 85 foot long Blue Whale skeleton for UBC’s Beaty biodiversity museum and is currently the Outreach Coordinator for the Cetus Research and Conservation Society. Leah holds an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Victoria and a masters degree in environmental education and communications from Royal Roads University. 
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.
Mad Hatter’s Forest Tea Party
Where: Francis King Regional Park, Francis King Nature Centre
Have you ever tasted blackberry leaf tea, or tea of Liquorice Fern? Forests are full of plants that make delicious teas. Join Reed Osler, a Community Herbalist and CRD Parks Interpreter, for a tea party with teas and jellies made from our local plants. Bring a silly hat if you have one!

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