NatureKids North Okanagan

Volunteer Leaders:  Megan McMillan, Marnie Williamson, Krystle Fedak, & Kathy deGrace
Club Email: NorthOkanagan@naturekidsbc.ca
 250-545-4743
Check out our club on Facebook 

Meet your Volunteer Leaders!

Hi! My name is Megan McMillan (nature name: Heron) and I’m an educator in Vernon, BC. When I moved to the North Okanagan in 2015 I fell in love with the landscape and the community. I currently teach experiential education to pre-school aged children and volunteer with the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program. I have a Bachelor of Science in Ecology & Environmental Biology and a Bachelor of Education in Outdoor & Experiential Education. I’ve worked as both a biologist and a teacher in public and private settings. I like to think of myself as a facilitator, rather than a teacher, providing experiences for children to take ownership over and direct their own learning. When I’m not working with children, I’m hiking with my dog, watching the sunset at Kin Beach or making food for a potluck with friends. Fun fact: I have a minor obsession with owls. The first time I saw a burrowing owl I cried!

My name is Krystle and I am happy to be a new co-leader for the North Okanagan. I originally grew up in Windsor, Ontario and my love for nature and the outdoors began at a very early age. This is due to my mother constantly taking me camping and fishing! After high school I attended Fleming College for Ecosystem Management and Forestry. I continued my studies on the East coast in Environmental Natural Resource Management at the University of New Brunswick. I recently moved to British Columbia and INSTANTLY fell in-love. I felt that joining Nature Kids would help me get to know the area/ province more intimately while meeting like minded people. I am excited and grateful for this opportunity!

Upcoming Explorer Days
March 5
Invasive Species

Kara Heal, from the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia will host a presentation on local invasive plants and what we can do to help the North Okanagan.

March 19
Cunning Connifers
Silverstar Mountain

How do conifers manage to keep their needles? How do they survive the weight of the snow? How can we tell the difference between them?

Bonny Junkins and Heather Cameron of the Silver Star Dreamweavers society will host an outdoor event about the conifers living on the mountain.

April 9
Stinky Plants
Coldstream Cemetery
Exploring Skunk Cabbage and other stinky plants. What do they look like? What do they smell like? Why do they smell? Join us with Harold Sellers, the president of the North Okanagan Naturalist’s Club to learn about odorous plants.

April 23
The Dock Side
Gardom Lake

We’ll meet with Jason, a local aFISHionado, to go angling for the afternoon.

May 7
Great Canadian Birdathon
Allan Brooks Nature Centre

Kite building and birding with our local nature guru Aaron Deans.

May 21
Bug Hunt!
Winfield Habitat Conservation

Come prepared to look for bugs of all shapes and sizes! Get down low to look for those tiny ants, use your racoon hands to find insects in tree bark or race to catch up to a dragonfly.

Bug boxes and some nets will be supplied. Bring your own if preferred.

June 11
TBA
TBA

June 25
Wild Food Picnic
TBA

Join us for a potluck style picnic! Bring one or more dishes featuring a local food (bonus if it comes from a native plant!). The educators will message members to ensure we have appetizer/main course/dessert balance.

Please notify our volunteers if you have any severe food allergies.

Past Explorer Days

February 5
Tracking
Ellison Provincial Park

1-3PM


Have you ever wanted to be a detective? Have you ever wanted to look for clues to figure out a mystery? How can we tell who’s been here? We’ll learn winter tracking skills in the snow! If we see/decide there’s nothing in the forest but dog, deer and human tracks, we could head down to the campground and compare snow vs. sand tracks at the beaches.


January 15
Swan & Eagle Count
Swan Lake Conservation Area 

Time: 9AM – 12 PM (NOTE THE TIME DIFFERENCE FROM OUR USUAL MEETING TIME)
Place: Butcher Boys Parking Lot

Requirements: Wear warm layers (will be getting in and out of the car), bring binoculars and/or scope if you have one, and map of the area. We will bring notepads and writing utensils.

We will be joining the North Okanagan Naturalist’s Club for the annual Swan & Eagle Count this year. We will begin by meeting at the Butcher Boy’s Parking lot and travel in caravan with the naturalists.We will stop at several points to observe and count how many swans and eagles we see.


*Please carpool if possible
**This event may not be suitable for younger children



November 20
Shelter Building
BX Falls
We have adjusted the location of our next NatureKids meeting to BX Falls, NOT Bench Row Road. There are not enough dead trees down at Bench Row Road to warrant shelter building. BX Falls had a number of dead trees down the last time we went, and several members are eager to see if their art installations are still intact. We will meet at the Star Road entrance on Sunday at 1-3PM. Please RSVP if you are able to make it. Please bring rope if you have any.


November 6
Rockin’ the Valley
Turtle Mountain 

We’ll meet with Tony, the President of the Vernon Lapidary Club to explore our local rocks.


October 16
Art in Autumn
BX Falls
Approximate trailhead address is 6185 Star Rd, Vernon, BC V1B 3P4

Join us for a beautiful fall hike – we’ll read stories to inspire us to create art using natural materials.
Optional: bring tools to create art with: scissors, hole punch, paintbrushes, small rakes, etc.


October 2
Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup
Kal Beach
Park off Husband Rd and meet next to Alexander’s Pub 

Welcome back NatureKids! We hope you had a great summer. We’re going to start off our official year with some local stewardship. Bring your gloves and a garbage bag because we’re cleaning up Kal Beach! This well-loved beach deserves some TLC. After our cleanup we’ll have a picnic and catch up with each other. If you’ve completed a nature project over the summer bring it to share.

Please bring a picnic lunch/snack. Vests, gloves and garbage bags will be provided by the RDNO Adopt-A-Stream program.


September 24/25
NatureKids Weekend Getaway
Silverlake Camp (Peachland) 

Our first annual weekend getaway! We will join Kate Kutzner and the Kelowna NatureKids for a weekend full of fun and activities. The theme this year is underground. Meals and accommodation included. Approximately $20pp. Send us an email if you would like to attend and we’ll send out more details.


Sunday, June 12
Tadpoles!

1:00-3:00 pm

Silver Star Ski Resort

We plan to go looking for tadpoles in the pond at Silver Star Ski Resort.


Sunday, May 15

Bluebird Nestbox Trail
1:00-3:00 pm
Predator Ridge, near Vernon.

Checking up on nesting bluebirds and other cavity nesters.



Saturday, April 30
Kalamalka Provincial Park
Twins Bay parking lot
10am-2pm
Unplug and Play week starts on Saturday April 30th and NatureKids is proud to be one of the hosts! We will be using all of our senses to explore the beautiful Kalamalka Provincial Park at the Twins Bay parking lot. If you can’t make it, there are a ton of other fun activities throughout the week…but you might have trouble choosing what to do.




Sunday, April 10
What’s buddin’?

Looking for birds, insects and plants at Middleton Mountain’s Mud Lake, Vernon. 1:00-3:00 pm.


Sunday, March 6th

1-3 pm
Bishop Wild Bird Sanctuary, Coldstream

Families, please bring your bird ID chart, binoculars and anything else to help you identify birds. Dress for the weather of the day; we will be outdoors on the trails and by the lake for the two hours.

To reach the Sanctuary come to the corner of Kidston Road and Coldstream Creek Road. Turn on Coldstream Creek Rd towards the lake. The sanctuary will be on your left; you’ll see a prominent sign. Park on the shoulder of the road (please don’t park on both sides of the road). We will meet just inside the sanctuary driveway for the usual greetings and orientation.



What do owls eat? Let’s dissect an owl pellet and find out!

Sunday Nov. 22nd
We will be indoors to dissect owl pellets, and then if weather permits, outdoors for games and hot chocolate around a campfire. Bring your own mug (but it’s okay if you don’t). Wear boots for walking in the garden.



Amphibian Road Survey~Be a Citizen Scientist!
Friday Sept. 25th

Our Nature Mentor Nicole Basaraba, biologist/herpetologist, will teach us how to survey Amphibians Fall migration. These surveys are taking place in different areas in BC with NatureKids clubs. Training videos of the Cowichan Nature Kids who did the survey in their area in the spring are available. 

Sunday September 27th
World of Mosses
1:00-3:00 pm
We will meet at Mike’s home, where he will show us a collection of mosses and explain where they are found, why they are important, and how to identify mosses and then leading a walk along the BX Creek North Trail (section east of Wal Mart).


Sunday, July 19, 2015 

10:00 am to 12:00 Noon
3193 Hill Road, Lake Country
Kangaroo Creek Farm
Our day will start at 10:00 because the morning is best at the farm as the animals are more active during feeding time and the park closes at 2 pm. There will be an optional swim & picnic lunch after at Kaloya Park in Oyama.

Check out the website at www.kangaroocreekfarm.com

The address is 3193 Hill Road, Lake Country. From the highway in Winfield, turn left (east) just after the A&W onto Hill Road. Continue past Main St a short distance to the farm. Map on website.

Sunday, June 14
11:30am – 2 PM

Salmon Trail in Lumby
Buggin Out
Ward Strong

Ward, an Insect Expert, will show us interesting bugs on the Salmon Trail in Lumby.
Time 11:30am – 2:00pm. Picnic lunch for the first 1/2 hour. Bring lunch and a blanket or chairs as there are no picnic tables.
This will be a “bring a friend” day, so you can show them what fun things we do on Explorer Days.


Sunday, May 31, 2015 

1 – 3 PM
Kal Park Hike & Nature Treasure Hunt

We’ll end the afternoon at the picnic grounds and beach, so if parents want the kids to take a dip, bring bathing suits.  Also bring snacks for the kids for a break when we initially make it down to the beach. 



Sunday, April 19, 2015
1 – 3 PM
BX North Park Trail

Blue Heron Observations
Bring your binoculars and note/sketch pads. We will have 2 scopes for viewing the herons on their nests. You can attempt to build a nest like the herons and do other activities. Afterwards take a walk along the boardwalk by BX Creek and check out the reclaimed wetland and pond.



Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Animal Signs 
Meeting at the home of Pat McAllister to view various teaching items, including casts of animal tracks. If you have any samples of animal signs (feathers, track pictures, etc.) that you’d like to get identified, bring them along.

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