The Land Conservancy of B.C. (TLC) is pleased to announce a spring 2024 session of the Deertrails Naturalist Program from May 14 to 19, 2024.

This four full-day workshop invites deep immersion in the practice of place-based living. Set in the beautiful Upper Clearwater Valley near Wells Gray Provincial Park, it’s designed for students, teachers, artists, naturalists – anybody seeking to build resilience into their lives in times of climate change by connecting with the living world.

Connection to place and commitment to stewardship arise from the stories we tell, not least about place itself. Whether we’re peering in from the edge of wilderness or putzing about in our own back yards, place-based narratives draw sustenance from the contemplation of living form and biologic process.

Throughout this workshop, leaders will introduce us to the rudiments of bird study, plant lore, fungus and lichen identification, forest ecology, and volcanology, as well as to the art of creating vehicles to meaning in the form of field journals, memory maps, and directed readings. More generally, we’ll be invited to consider how direct experience of the natural world can reimagine our place within it.

By day, Deertrails includes a series of naturalist-led hikes in a valley renowned for its volcanic history and vibrant ecologies. We’ll learn to follow forest trails in the paths of the elders, attend to waterfalls and precipitous canyons, listen for the early-morning songs of migrating songbirds, and generally immerse ourselves in an ecosystem awakening to spring.

Evenings, we’ll share a meal, converse indoors, huddle around the campfire, enjoy poetry and readings – allowing our conversations to run far and delve deep. We’ll also attend to the nighttime conversations of frogs, owls and wolves, and maybe take in some star-gazing.

2024 Instructors

Deertrails is hosted by The Land Conservancy of B.C. in collaboration with Edgewood Wild. Instructors this year are Briony Penn (author and artist), Lyn Baldwin (ecologist and artist), Juliet Pendray (naturalist specializing in fungi and lichen), Trevor Goward (lichenologist and place-based naturalist), with cameo appearances from and Cathie Hickson (volcanologist), Nancy Flood (ornithologist and ecologist) and Chris Coppin (amateur astronomer).

Application Deadline & More Information

The Deertrails Naturalist Program application window closes Thursday, March 28th at 5PM PDT. Applicants will be notified of the success of their applications in early April.

Program fees are $750 per person and include meals and basic accommodations. Bursaries covering up to 50% of program fees are available to participants in need of financial aid thanks in part to endowment funds hosted with the Victoria Foundation.

Accommodations included in the program fee consist of field station cabins at Thompson Rivers University’s Wells Gray Wilderness Centre. Tent and vehicle camping is available at no additional cost. For other accommodations in the Upper Clearwater Valley, please see www.wellsgraypark.info and www.wellsgray.ca.

To learn more and register for the Deertrails Naturalist program, please visit www.conservancy.bc.ca/deertrails  or contact TLC at (250) 479-8053 or admin@conservancy.bc.ca.

About The Land Conservancy of BC:

The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC) is a non-profit, charitable Land Trust working throughout British Columbia. TLC’s primary mandate is to benefit the community by protecting habitat for natural communities of plants and animals including 141 acres of protected wetlands, forests, and wildlife corridors in the Upper Clearwater Valley. Founded in 1997, TLC is membership-based and governed by an elected, volunteer Board of Directors.  TLC relies on a strong membership and volunteer base to help maintain its operations.

About Edgewood Wild:

Edgewood Wild is an outreach of Edgewood Blue, located in Upper Clearwater, BC. It is dedicated to the proposition that any path to a livable future in time of climate change must now include some form of reconciliation with Living World that sustains us all. The purpose of Edgewood Wild is to offer a venue for explorations of what reconciliation of this kind could look like. A variety of programmes are offered at no charge, though donations are welcome. You can find out more by linking here: https://edgewoodwild.org/

American Friends of Canadian Conservation (AFCC) is excited to announce the protection of Bowen Island, located in the Township of Tarbutt, Ontario. We had a great experience working with The Kensington Conservancy (TKC) on this ecologically significant land donation, and look forward to the opportunity to partner on future projects!

Please read the full story on TKC’s website here.

 

The border between Canada and the United States may be the world’s longest international border and the friendliest, with long-standing positive relationships between the residents of both countries. Quebec’s Eastern Townships is one region where that close connection is very apparent. Two Canadian organizations have been successful in their efforts to conserve the natural, scenic […]

Birds herald the spring with their songs, protect our crops from pests, and astound us with their beauty and versatility. The Vancouver Avian Research Centre is working to guarantee the future of these remarkable creatures.

Photo courtesy of VARC

The haunting minor-key song of the Varied Thrush announces the arrival of spring in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia’s coastal forests.

The annual north/south migrations of many bird species connect Canada and the US.  Canadians, referred to as “snowbirds,” arrive each autumn in their southern US habitats and return home in the spring. In non-pandemic years, Americans travel north to their summer environs in Canada and head back to the US  ahead of winter. Real bird migrations follow the same rhythm but for them migration is a matter of survival.  Covid-related border closures don’t stop the seasonal avian journey, but many hazards make their migrations dangerous. Since 1970, North America has lost 2.9 billion birds!

The Vancouver Avian Research Centre (VARC), one of American Friends’ newest partners, works to safeguard birds and their habitats to ensure their long-term survival.  VARC studies  the health and populations of bird species that migrate through western British Columbia, providing valuable insights to guide effective conservation.

VARC, which is operated almost entirely by volunteers, strives to communicate that migratory birds need winter and summer homes, and secure sites to rest and refuel on their grueling annual trips. One of those sites is Colony Farm Regional Park, a 260-hectare (650 acre) park at the confluence of the Fraser and Coquitlam rivers, in suburban Vancouver where the old fields, hedgerows and wetlands provide habitat for over 200 bird species.

Photo courtesy of VARC

Yellow-breasted Chat is the largest member of the warbler family. It winters in Central America.

VARC’s field station at Colony Farm is where they monitor and band migratory birds. This work also increases public awareness of environmental issues through the inspiring experience of interacting with wild birds. Since 2009 VARC has banded more than 50,000 birds of 99 species, many of which stopped at Colony Farm during migration. See if you can identify the species in this video! Data gathered by VARC is submitted to the North American Bird Banding Program.

Photo courtesy of VARC

Short-eared Owls hunt in open fields, like those at Colony Farm, during the day.

Derek Matthews, a North American Banding Council (NABC) certified trainer and his wife Carol, co-founded VARC. They conduct workshops for adults including an introduction to Bird Monitoring and Banding and a Bird Identification Workshop.  Participants are thrilled to see birds up close, and to learn about their life cycle and habits. VARC also offers programs for students, at schools and summer camps.

Photo courtesy of VARC

Banding records reveal that Golden-crowned Kinglets that nest in Canada migrate into the US for the winter, but many US populations stay put.

Recently VARC launched  the “Saving Our Songbirds” (SOS) initiative to supply 7 simple actions we can all take to protect the world’s bird populations. Currently VARC is focused on preventing “window strikes” which kill up to one billion birds each year in North America.  SOS educates the public on this issue and encourages  homeowners to act right away to create a safer urban environment for migratory birds.

Photo courtesy of VARC

Lazuli Buntings are flashy spring/summer residents of the western US and southern BC. Western Mexico is their home during fall/winter.

Learn more about Vancouver Avian Research Centre by watching the video created for Giving Tuesday  or the one about banding hummingbirds. American Friends of Canadian Conservation is pleased to support VARC’s research, conservation and education initiatives. Contribute today to help migratory birds continue their remarkable seasonal journeys for generations to come. You can make a secure (US) tax deductible donation online, or get a Canadian tax receipt by contributing on VARC’s website.

It is a huge challenge to manage and protect 644 provincial parks, four of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites,  24 others are UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. The BC Parks Foundation is there to help!

Jason Headley

Gwillim Lakes, Valhalla Provincial Park.

Canada’s westernmost province is promoted as Super, Natural British Columbia for its reputation as a destination where visitors can  renew themselves through interactions with nature. British Columbia (BC) Parks is the provincial agency that protects and sustains the network of more than 1000 parks that make those interactions possible. It is a huge responsibility because BC has the 6th largest park system in the world. In recent years the agency really needed a partner to help shoulder the burden. The BC Parks Foundation was formed in 2018 as the official charitable partner; creating  a “happy convergence,” in the words of CEO Dr. Andrew Day. The Foundation is bringing governments, businesses, communities and donors together  to create great parks and park experiences, ensuring long-term protection for the province’s vast natural resource.  According to Day, their “big, hairy, audacious goal” is simply that British Columbia has the best parks system in the world, supported by an active local and international community (yes, that’s all!)

Day is proud of the work achieved in less than three years. “It’s thanks to the goodwill of supporters through donations and volunteerism that we have been able to protect more than 3000 acres on seven parcels of land.” A great example is the Foundation’s purchase of properties in Princess Louisa Inlet – the “Yosemite of the North”– following a $3M fundraising campaign that went viral around the world.  The magnificent, pristine inlet is a world-renowned destination, home to marine life, grizzly bear, cougars, and old growth forests.

BC Parks Foundation

A beach at the southern tip of West Ballenas Island.

The Foundation’s small team  handles much more than fundraising and land acquisition. For example, their  new  “Healthy by Nature” initiative in which the healing powers of nature are delivered through programs such as “Park Prescriptions” and “Outside Unplugged.” The first – a fascinating innovation – involves working with healthcare professionals to prescribe time in nature to those who will benefit most. And the “Outside Unplugged” program provides youth, refugees, and other vulnerable populations with much-needed time outdoors.

BC Parks Foundation

Aerial view of a boat entering Princess Louisa Inlet.

The real estate market in BC is very hot right now, and the Foundation is working on several potential land acquisition projects to expand  BC’s permanently protected natural spaces. This includes the protection of the famous Lonesome Lake – the place where trumpeter swans were brought back from the edge of extinction. That means purchase funding is needed soon. Recently BC Parks Foundation became a grantee of American Friends of Canadian Conservation to make it possible for US taxpayers to support the Foundation’s goals and programs with tax deductible donations.

Dr. Day appreciates the valuable role  American Friends can play in land transactions  or monetary gifts from American donors. “I am so impressed with the spirit of the Friends, bridging the goodwill in both of our countries to achieve great conservation outcomes.” He notes that the American Friends’ expertise and bi-national tax status can influence US donors’  decisions to give. The Foundation may target a property owned by US taxpayers, in which case the partnership with American Friends could be pivotal.

BC Parks Foundation

A Discover Parks Ambassador interacting with two park visitors.

If you are passionate about BC’s wild lands, make a US tax-deductible gift to invest in the future of BC Parks or receive a Canadian tax receipt by donating on the Foundation’s website. To learn more, visit the BC Parks Foundation.

Fiddles and bagpipes call people from around the world to the town of Mabou, on Cape Breton Island, at the northern end of Nova Scotia. They are the sounds of the Ceilidh tradition, celebrating Celtic culture brought by 19th-century immigrants. The Gaelic word translates to “Gathering of People.”

In 2019, a Gathering of People celebrated the protection of 2000 acres on the wild coast of the Mabou Highlands and a new tradition of conservation, let by 20th-century settlers from the United States, and the Nova Scotia Nature Trust.

The Ontario Farmland Trust (OFT) is permanently protecting farmland from subdivision and urban sprawl with help from the American Friends of Canadian Conservation and the Woodcock Foundation.

OFT recently completed its 16th conservation easement, with a grant from American Friends to defray the substantial costs of protecting the 210-acre organic, multigenerational family farm in Price Edward County, Ontario. A charitable gift from the Woodcock Foundation in the U.S. made the grant possible.

Congratulations to First Place Winner of the Landscapes Category, Anna Scott, for her photo titled Treelaxing. The photograph was taken at Beauvert Lake in Jasper, AB.

This summer, with the Canada/USA border closed and travel within Canada restricted, many of us were missing people and places that we love. So American Friends of Canadian Conservation invited you to share your favorite Canadian locations in the Oh, Canada Photo Contest.

We received over 500 photographs from Canadian and American entrants. The winners in each of the contest categories were determined by the number of online votes received. American Friends encouraged its Canadian conservation partners to recruit contest entries and promote voting for those images.

Visit the photo contest winners page of American Friends’ website to see the Grand Prize Winner and Runners Up as well as the most popular images in each category.

Help American Friends and it partner organizations to protect the Canadian places you love with a contribution to support our work.

Contact Sandra Tassel, Program Coordinator, for information on how to conserve your Canadian property.

Congratulations to First Place Winner of the Water Category, Tracey Freemantle, for her photo titled Creepy. The photograph was taken in Kirkfield, ON.

This summer, with the Canada/USA border closed and travel within Canada restricted, many of us were missing people and places that we love. So American Friends of Canadian Conservation invited you to share your favorite Canadian locations in the Oh, Canada Photo Contest.

We received over 500 photographs from Canadian and American entrants. The winners in each of the contest categories were determined by the number of online votes received. American Friends encouraged its Canadian conservation partners to recruit contest entries and promote voting for those images.

Visit the photo contest winners page of American Friends’ website to see the Grand Prize Winner and Runners Up as well as the most popular images in each category.

Help American Friends and it partner organizations to protect the Canadian places you love with a contribution to support our work.

Contact Sandra Tassel, Program Coordinator, for information on how to conserve your Canadian property.