PGNC News and Notes, June 11, 2021

  • PGNC Field Trips and Work Parties
  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • Nature Canada Photo Contest
  • Moth Sightings

Club Events and News


PGNC Field Trips and Work Parties

The PGNC Executive is drafting guidelines for field trips and work parties which can now resume as pandemic restrictions are gradually lifted. We will seek the advice of past trip leaders before posting the guidelines on the Club blog for comment. Over the next few months the guidelines will be adapted as public health orders change.
In 2020 we were able to hold physically distanced work parties at Hudson’s Bay Wetland Nature Park, Carrie Jane Gray Park and Wilson Park. We are looking forward to doing similar work in 2021 as well as holding local field trips.

PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals

Club members continue to renew their memberships by mail or online at https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/. New members are also joining the Club. This support is much appreciated. Memberships can now be paid using eTransfer. No secret word is needed. Just send the e-Transfer to PrinceGeorgeNaturalistsClub@gmail.com and it goes directly into the club’s bank account.


BC Nature has changed how individual Club membership lists are kept so anyone more than three months in arrears will not receive BC Nature magazine or BC Nature’s monthly eNews. 

Memberships run from January 1 to December 31 and are available online any time. Cost is $25 per calendar year for individuals, $40 for a family, and $15 for students. Information including payment by PayPal is available at: https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/. Payments by cheque can be mailed to Prince George Naturalists Club, PO Box 1092, Prince George BC V2L 4V2.

Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club work parties and field trips, 10% discount on some of the bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 


Other Events and News


Nature Canada Photo Contest


The Nature Canada photo contest opened on May25 and closes on August 16, 2021. Details are here: https://tinyurl.com/43jad39t

Nature Canada announcement: We have partnered with Black Feather the Wilderness Adventure Company for our 2021 Photo Contest Grand Prize. This year’s first prize winner of our contest will receive a spot on an incredible seven-day sea kayaking trip exploring the 30,000 Islands that surround Georgian Bay in the 2022 season, valued at over $2000! 

The 30,000 Islands make northeast Georgian Bay a kayaker’s paradise. From a few square meters to several square kilometres, these granite islands form a protective maze for the paddler to explore. Away from the sheltered channels, there are also open bays and crossings to distant islands for the experienced paddler. There is very little soil in this area, and most of the vegetation on the coastline consists of wind-twisted and gnarled trees that are far older than they look. It’s a harsh and fragile environment — the least-settled wilderness on the great bay.

Moth Sightings

Two beautiful moths were spotted recently in Prince George. iNaturalist shows four sightings of a One-Eyed Sphinx Moth, Smerinthus cerisyi in the Prince George area, including one at Eskers Provincial Park on May 23, 2021. Thanks to Jack Bowling who provided this helpful link: https://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/species.php?phylo=890141 (Taylor Sapergia photo)

The second, a Hummingbird Clearwing, Hemaris thysbe, was seen this week in Prince George. iNaturalist lists two other sightings in the Prince George region dated June 3, 2021 and June 19, 2020. (Bob Steventon photo)

PGNC News and Notes, May 4, 2021

  • Hudson’s Bay Wetland Nature Park
  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • Monday May 10, 6:30 p.m. The Exploration Place, Virtual Adult Speaker Series: Freshwater Misfits That Fit So Well
  • Peace Region of the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program Supports Mugaha Marsh Bird Banding Station
  • Have your say in the future of Jasper National Park

Club Events and News


The PGNC is currently not scheduling any outdoor events or activities due to the pandemic. We are hopeful that this will change in a fe  w weeks if restrictions are lifted. In 2020 we were able to hold physically distanced work parties at Hudson’s Bay Wetland Nature Park, Carrie Jane Gray Park and Wilson Park. We are looking forward to doing similar work in 2021.


Hudson’s Bay Wetland Nature Park
This is an excellent time to go for a nature walk at Hudson’s Bay Wetland Nature Park in downtown Prince George. The Fraser River is rising rapidly, filling the channel between the river and Queensway Street with water. Young salmon seek refuge in the flooded channel during spring freshet.
On your walk you may see beaver, muskrat, fox and other mammals. The Park is a haven for birds, especially at the pond area west of Queensway. A Great Blue Heron and a Northern Shoveler were spotted recently. A long list of Wetland birds can be found on eBird: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L445353
The PGNC maintains four viewing platforms: two east of Queensway and two west of Queensway. Each platform has interpretive signs that describe the birds, mammals and fish that rely on these waters. Be sure to visit all four and enjoy what you find at each site.
There are several ways to access the Nature Park including the Heritage Trail, The Exploration Place parking lot, and the small parking lot on Queensway across from Regents Crescent.


PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals

Club members continue to renew their memberships online at https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/ or by mail. New members are also joining the Club. This support is much appreciated. Memberships can now be paid using eTransfer. No secret word is needed. Just send the e-Transfer to PrinceGeorgeNaturalistsClub@gmail.com and it goes directly into the club’s bank account.
BC Nature has changed how individual Club membership lists are kept so anyone more than three months in arrears will not receive BC Nature magazine or BC Nature’s monthly eNews. 

Memberships run from January 1 to December 31 and are available online any time. Cost is $25 per calendar year for individuals, $40 for a family, and $15 for students. Information including payment by PayPal is available at: https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/. Payments by cheque can be mailed to Prince George Naturalists Club, PO Box 1092, Prince George BC V2L 4V2.

Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club work parties and field trips, 10% discount on some of the bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 


Other Events and News


Monday May 10, 6:30 p.m. The Exploration Place, Virtual Adult Speaker Series: Freshwater Misfits That Fit So Well


This is a free online event. Registration is required: https://tinyurl.com/b5kx2cc9As some of the world’s rarest species, freshwater semi-aquatic mammals live in some of their most threatened habitats. Along with well-known species, such as the platypus, beavers, the common hippopotamus, and otters, more than 140 species of mammals around the globe make freshwater habitats their home. 


This talk introduces you to how semi-aquatic mammals from around the world thrive in the intermediate realm between fully aquatic and fully terrestrial species. Their physical and behavioural adaptations have perplexed scientists for centuries and pushed our understanding of evolution along the way. Semi-aquatic mammals also show us the precarious nature of our natural world, and how concerted conservation efforts can overcome even the most daunting challenges.


Dr. Glynnis Hood is an ecologist and Professor of Environmental Science at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus in Camrose. Before signing on with the university, she worked for 24 years in various protected areas, from Canada’s west coast to the subarctic. In July 2007, she left a 19-year career with Parks Canada’s warden service and followed her passion for teaching and research. Her research interests include aquatic ecology, wildlife ecology, and natural resource management. She is the author of Semi-aquatic mammals: Ecology and Biology and The Beaver Manifesto.

The Exploration Place is pleased to acknowledge that CBC Daybreak North – Northern British Columbia is the official media sponsor of the Adult Speaker Series. https://www.cbc.ca/

Peace Region of the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program Supports Mugaha Marsh Bird Banding Station

PGNC volunteers help with bird banding every fall at the Mackenzie Nature Observatory which operates the Mugaha Marsh Sensitive Area Bird Banding Station on the Parsnip Reach of the Williston Reservoir. The FWCP has awarded a grant of $20,475 in support of year 4 of a long-term, multi-year project that will add to 20-plus years of bird monitoring data. The 2021 data will provide important information on breeding bird population trends, distribution, and health, which can guide species conservation and habitat enhancement initiatives in the region.

Have your say in the future of Jasper National Park 

Jasper National Park is pleased to resume its public consultation for the park management plan. A draft management plan for Jasper National Park has been created, using feedback from the initial phase of Indigenous and public engagement in 2019, and based on the success of previous plans. To hear what we’re planning for the next 10 years, please join us at a virtual information session. Virtual information sessions:

  • Wednesday, May 5, 2021, 1:30 pm–3:00 pm
  • Thursday, May 6, 2021, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

Register for a session at  letstalkmountainparks.ca/Jasper or email pc.opinion-jasper.pc@canada.ca.Sessions are identical.

 What is a management plan? A management plan is the road map that guides Parks Canada’s work in your national parks. Topics in Jasper National Park’s draft management plan include:·         

  • Ecological integrity (conservation, species at risk, invasive species, fire management, human-wildlife conflict)·        
  • Managing visitor use·         
  • Development and the community of Jasper·        

PGNC News and Notes, April 20, 2021

  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • Ferguson Lake Nature Reserve News
  • Sunday April 25, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Annual Civic Cleanup
  • Make BC Rodenticide Free: Petition
  • Jasper National Park 2020 Annual Report
  • Feeding Endangered Caribou at Kennedy Siding

Club Events and News

PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals

We are very grateful that Club members continue to renew their memberships online at https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/ or by mail. New members are also joining the Club. This support is much appreciated. Memberships can now be paid using eTransfer. No secret word is needed. Just send the e-Transfer to PrinceGeorgeNaturalistsClub@gmail.com and it goes directly into the club’s bank account.

BC Nature has changed how individual Club membership lists are kept so anyone more than three months in arrears will not receive BC Nature magazine or BC Nature’s monthly eNews. 

Memberships run from January 1 to December 31 and are available online any time. Cost is $25 per calendar year for individuals, $40 for a family, and $15 for students. Information including payment by PayPal is available at: https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/. Payments by cheque can be mailed to Prince George Naturalists Club, PO Box 1092, Prince George BC V2L 4V2.

Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club work parties and field trips, 10% discount on some of the bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 


Ferguson Lake Nature Reserve News
The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George held a public hearing on April 8 to consider input on Bylaw 3195, a proposed rezoning to allow a residential subdivision adjacent to Ferguson Lake Nature Reserve. Most submissions to the public hearing were opposed to the rezoning, including the Prince George Naturalists Club. The public hearing has not been closed but has been adjourned to a future date. The date will depend on when the applicant wants to continue with the rezoning application. The public hearing will then be re-opened and will provide another opportunity for comments.

To receive advance notice of public hearing dates and other Regional District meetings, people can sign up for E-Updates. Just go to https://rdffg.civicweb.net/Portal/ and click on E-Updates to see the list of available notices.

Other Events and News

Sunday April 25, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Annual Civic Cleanup
Everyone is invited to get outside on Sunday April 25 and pitch in to clean up public spaces throughout the city. REAPS is handing out free bags and gloves to anyone who wishes to participate. The City of Prince George will have garbage collection bins stationed in various locations. Join others Pitching In! Whether you are by yourself, with your family or partaking with a group (with COVID-19 guidelines in place) sign up today by emailing recycling@reaps.org. Bags, gloves and instructions are provided.

For more information and a map of bin locations check out the City of Prince George website: https://tinyurl.com/wc74ehxa

Club members and supporters may wish to work on cleanup at two locations with strong connections to the PGNC: the Hudson’s Bay Wetland where the Club maintains four observation decks, and Ferguson Lake Nature Reserve.

Make BC Rodenticide Free: Petition
From Jovanka Djordjevich: A petition is going to the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy regarding the use of rodenticides in the province. Background information on rodenticides, and details of the petition are here: https://tinyurl.com/3bsjapsr

Jasper National Park 2020 Annual Report
Mike Nash provided this link to the Jasper National Park 2020 Annual Report: https://tinyurl.com/Jasper-P-2020-Annual-Report

Feeding Endangered Caribou at Kennedy Siding
From Doug Heard: Kathi Zimmerman and I are pleased to let you know that an article on feeding caribou has just been published in the online journal PeerJ. The article is “Fall supplemental feeding increases population growth rate of an endangered caribou herd”.

This paper describes the results of our supplemental feeding experiment which showed how this technique might contribute to the conservation and recovery of small caribou herds. The paper has links to a short video (7.5 min  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgzjC8Gh-4c) and a graphical abstract (brochure-style) that were designed for a less technical audience to support communicating our project results to the public.
https://peerj.com/articles/10708/
We would be happy to discuss project results if you have any questions:

Abstract
Most woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) populations are declining primarily because of unsustainable predation resulting from habitat-mediated apparent competition. Wolf (Canis lupus) reduction is an effective recovery option because it addresses the direct effect of predation. We considered the possibility that the indirect effects of predation might also affect caribou population dynamics by adversely affecting summer foraging behaviour. If spring and/or summer nutrition was inadequate, then supplemental feeding in fall might compensate for that limitation and contribute to population growth. Improved nutrition and therefore body condition going into winter could increase adult survival and lead to improved reproductive success the next spring. To test that hypothesis, we fed high-quality food pellets to free-ranging caribou in the Kennedy Siding caribou herd each fall for six years, starting in 2014, to see if population growth rate increased. Beginning in winter 2015–16, the Province of British Columbia began a concurrent annual program to promote caribou population increase by attempting to remove most wolves within the Kennedy Siding and the adjacent caribou herds’ ranges. To evaluate the impact of feeding, we compared lambdas before and after feeding began, and to the population trend in the adjacent Quintette herd over the subsequent four years. Supplemental feeding appeared to have an incremental effect on population growth. Population growth of the Kennedy Siding herd was higher in the year after feeding began (λ = 1.06) compared to previous years (λ = 0.91) and to the untreated Quintette herd (λ = 0.95). Average annual growth rate of the Kennedy Siding herd over the subsequent four years, where both feeding and wolf reduction occurred concurrently, was higher than in the Quintette herd where the only management action in those years was wolf reduction (λ = 1.16 vs. λ = 1.08). The higher growth rate of the Kennedy Siding herd was due to higher female survival (96.2%/yr vs. 88.9%/yr). Many caribou were in relatively poor condition in the fall. Consumption of supplemental food probably improved their nutritional status which ultimately led to population growth. Further feeding experiments on other caribou herds using an adaptive management approach would verify the effect of feeding as a population recovery tool. Our results support the recommendation that multiple management actions should be implemented to improve recovery prospects for caribou.

PGNC News and Notes, March 31, 2021

  • History of the Ferguson Lake Nature Reserve
  • Proposed Rezoning and Potential Residential Subdivision
  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • Join the Peace Region board: Apply by April 16

Club Events and NewsHistory of the Ferguson Lake Nature Reserve

Prince George Naturalists Club has a long history of support for the Ferguson Lake Nature Reserve. The City of Prince George established the Reserve in the summer of 1990 following recommendations from regional biologists Dave King and Dennis Ableson to preserve the only lake in the city able to support a fish population (Shane Lake in Forests for the World had not yet been developed as a fishing lake). In 1991 the Club formally agreed to undertake a four-season survey of the Reserve for the City of Prince George. Past President Sandra Kinsey sent a 10-page letter with supporting maps to the City summarizing the findings of the survey. The letter itemized an extensive list of plant and animal species found in the Reserve. The Park was created with wide community support. The Killy family donated the site to the Nature Trust of British Columbia. Other organizations involved in maintaining and developing the Reserve include the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Spruce City Wildlife, and the Downtown Rotary Club of Prince George.

Club members and many other local residents enjoy the park for activities such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing, photography, nature walks, picnics and general enjoyment. A distinctive feature of the park is the trail that loops around the lake. In September 2020 the City of Prince George rebuilt sections of the boardwalk at the south end of the park. Another 30 metres of boardwalk at the south end will be repaired in 2021. The City has applied for a $848,980 Canada Infrastructure grant to make further improvements to the trail and boardwalk.

Proposed Rezoning and Potential Residential Subdivision

This unique urban nature park will soon be put at risk by a proposed rezoning that would allow a residential subdivision immediately west of the park. The property is in the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George. The property is 32.5 ha (80 acres). The current zoning is “Rural 1” which allows residential use with a minimum lot size of 15 ha (37 acres). The owner could also replant the land and plan to harvest it again when the forest matures. The rezoning to “Rural Residential 2” would allow residential lots with a minimum size of 1.6 ha (4 acres). The recently logged area in the attached image shows the location of the potential subdivision adjacent to the Nature Reserve. It is approximately 25 meters west of the boardwalk along the northwest side of the lake.

A public hearing via conference call is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday April 8. Written comments from the public must be received by 12 noon on Wednesday April 7:
* Public Hearing notice: <https://tinyurl.com/rmzbzvxh>.
* Detailed background reports are on this page: <https://tinyurl.com/56apayjy>.

Residents and park users in both the Regional District and the City should oppose this rezoning.

* The activity associated with a rural subdivision so close to the park is not compatible with a nature park or with the interests of the many people who use this park.

* Two streams flow the entire length of the property. One (Ferguson Creek) is designated as potentially fish bearing. The lower 30 m of the other stream is designated as fisheries sensitive. A rural subdivision, even with a leave strip along each stream, would impact the water quaility of both the streams and the lake. Contaminants could include fertilizers, nutrients leaching from sewage systems, herbicides and pesticides with a potential impact on fish populations and eutrophication due to increases in algae and aquatic plants.

* This rezoning would put the value of the City’s current and future investments in the park at risk.

* The rezoning may offer benefits to the owner of the property but there is no benefit to the residents of this region. The owners of the property are Global Union Investment Group Ltd. and a numbered company both registered in BC. Both owners share a street address in Vancouver. 

(Submitted by Anne Hogan and Bob Steventon)

PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals

We are very grateful that Club members are supporting the work of the Prince George Naturalists Club and BC Nature by  renewing their Club memberships online or by mail. New members are also joining the Club. This support is much appreciated. 

BC Nature has changed how individual Club membership lists are kept so anyone more than three months in arrears will not receive BC Nature magazine or BC Nature’s monthly eNews. 

Memberships run from January 1 to December 31 and are available online any time. Cost is $25 per calendar year for individuals, $40 for a family, and $15 for students. Information including payment by PayPal is available at: https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/. Payments by cheque can be mailed to Prince George Naturalists Club, PO Box 1092, Prince George BC V2L 4V2.

Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club work parties and field trips, 10% discount on some of the bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 

Other Events and News

Join the Peace Region board: Apply by April 16The Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program is looking for a new public representative to join their Peace Region board for a three-year term starting in June 2021. As a board member, you will share in decision-making about projects to help conserve and enhance fish and wildlife in watersheds impacted by BC Hydro dams. We’re seeking someone who lives in—or in close to—our Peace Region and is committed to supporting thriving and sustainable watersheds. Candidates should bring a regional perspective to fish, wildlife, and environmental issues, and represent a broad range of public interests—not the interests of a single or specific organization(s). Apply by Friday, April 16, 2021.For more information see: https://fwcp.ca/join-peace-region-board/

PGNC News and Notes, March 18, 2021

  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • Friday March 19, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. NRESi Colloquium, (Re)Naming Routes: A Tale of Power and Resistance in the Outdoor Climbing Community
  • Wednesday March 24, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. NRESi/FWCP Special Colloquium: Genomic analysis within Salvelinus (Char)
  • Join the Peace Region board: Apply by April 16
  • Moose Winter Tick Monitoring Program
  • Beaver Dam Collapse and Rebuilding

Club Events and News

PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals

We are very grateful that Club members continue to renew their memberships online or by mail. New members are also joining the Club. This support is much appreciated. 

BC Nature has changed how individual Club membership lists are kept so anyone more than three months in arrears will not receive BC Nature magazine or BC Nature’s monthly eNews. 

Memberships run from January 1 to December 31 and are available online any time. Cost is $25 per calendar year for individuals, $40 for a family, and $15 for students. Information including payment by PayPal is available at: https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/. Payments by cheque can be mailed to Prince George Naturalists Club, PO Box 1092, Prince George BC V2L 4V2.

Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club work parties and field trips, 10% discount on some of the bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 

Other Events and News


Friday March 19, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. NRESi Colloquium, “(Re)Naming Routes: A Tale of Power and Resistance in the Outdoor Climbing Community”

 The presenter for this talk is Dr Jennifer Wigglesworth, Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management, UNBC.  During a year that saw much unrest, one powerful lesson that comes from 2020 is that names can change. Alongside transnational calls for racial justice, we witnessed racist sports team names and mascots be expunged and monuments and statues honouring racist figures be removed. Within the outdoor climbing community, a heated debate took place over misogynistic, racist, and homophobic names assigned to cliffs and crags. In this talk, I use an analysis informed by feminism, anti-racism, and decolonization to discuss the implications of route names within a shifting cultural terrain. I revisit data I collected in 2018 that examined women’s reactions to sexist climbing route names, and I document significant route name changes that took place in 2020. In this way, my presentation aims to weave together a tale of oppressive naming practices and a tale of collective grassroots resistance. Importantly, I argue that we cannot divorce the politics of naming routes from a settler colonial logic that has long used mapping and (re)naming land as a strategy for nation-building. I conclude with a discussion of the relevance of naming practices (e.g., trails, routes, parks) to natural resource management. Contact al.wiensczyk@unbc.ca to request the passcode and get the Zoom link. 

Wednesday March 24, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. NRESi/FWCP special colloquium: Genomic analysis within Salvelinus (Char)
Arctic char and Dolly Varden are important components of subsistence and recreational fisheries and the focus of many conservation programs. Here’s a link to all the background information on this March 24 special colloquium on genomic analysis within Salvelinus: https://tinyurl.com/56nfkv62.


The best way to ensure access to the NRESi and FWCP webinars is to sign up for the NRESi weekly newsletter which contains all the access information for each event. If you would like to receive NRESi’s newsletter, updates on events and other announcements, please contact Al Wiensczyk at Al.Wiensczyk@unbc.ca or Art Fredeen at: Art.Fredeen@unbc.ca.


If you’re unable to access a webinar on the day it’s broadcast, here’s the link to the archive: https://video.unbc.ca/channel/NRESI/

Join the Peace Region board: Apply by April 16

The Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program is looking for a new public representative to join their Peace Region board for a three-year term starting in June 2021. As a board member, you will share in decision-making about projects to help conserve and enhance fish and wildlife in watersheds impacted by BC Hydro dams. Apply by Friday, April 16, 2021. For more information see: https://fwcp.ca/join-peace-region-board/


Message from Mike Nash: I was a public board member of the FWCP-Peace Region for eight years from 2007 to 2015, during the program’s transition to its present delivery model. This program is one of three in British Columbia, funded by BC Hydro as part of its water license agreements. They are overseen by BC Hydro, the BC government and the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, with extensive First Nations involvement. If you are interested in this largely volunteer opportunity, I found it to be a very worthwhile endeavour, especially the chance to work with the nine or so First Nations whose traditional territories lie within the watershed, as well as with the other two FWCP programs, Columbia and Coastal. If any club members are interested in applying, I’d be happy to chat with you about my experiences with the FWCP. My email address is pgoutdoors@telus.net

Moose Winter Tick Monitoring Program

The Province is running a Moose Winter Tick Monitoring Program from January 1 to April 30. Provincial wildlife biologists are asking for our help in promoting moose health and controlling potentially-deadly winter moose tick infestations. It’s easy to participate. All you need are keen eyes and a love of the great outdoors. Here’s the link to the survey information: https://tinyurl.com/y2ayhbl6


Beaver Dam Collapse and Rebuilding
The March 9 newsletter highlighted videos from northern Minnesota showing the dramatic cycle of beaver dam collapse and resulting impact on the environment. It also included descriptions of beaver dam failures in Eskers Provincial Park and on Cranbrook Hill. Mike Nash was the author of this item but in the rush to get the newsletter out, we forgot to credit Mike.
The topic generated interesting discussion regarding Cranbrook Hill and Shane Lake from readers who have been involved with Forests for the World for many years. Watch for more information to come in a future newsletter!

PGNC News and Notes, March 9, 2021

  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • Wednesday March 10, 12 noon, “Dammed if we don’t: Exploring opportunities to restore connectivity in rivers and streams and why it matters”
  • Friday March 12, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. NRESi Colloquium, What can the SPEI tell us about the future of drought in British Columbia?
  • Moose Winter Tick Monitoring Program
  • Beaver Dam Collapse and Rebuilding

Club Events and News

PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals

We are very grateful that Club members continue to renew their memberships online or by mail. New members are also joining the Club. This support is much appreciated. 

BC Nature has changed how individual Club membership lists are kept so anyone more than three months in arrears will not receive BC Nature magazine or BC Nature’s monthly eNews. 

Memberships run from January 1 to December 31 and are available online any time. Cost is $25 per calendar year for individuals, $40 for a family, and $15 for students. Information including payment by PayPal is available at: https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/. Payments by cheque can be mailed to Prince George Naturalists Club, PO Box 1092, Prince George BC V2L 4V2.

Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club work parties and field trips, 10% discount on some of the bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 

Other Events and News

Wednesday March 10, 12 noon, “Dammed if we don’t: Exploring opportunities to restore connectivity in rivers and streams and why it matters” (Previously scheduled for March 3 but rescheduled to March 10).

Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program and NRES Institute Special Colloquium Presentation. Presenter is Dan Kraus, Senior Conservation Biologist, Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Ecological connectivity and wildlife corridors are often considered for terrestrial wildlife, but in many places in Canada it is our aquatic ecosystems that are most impacted by habitat fragmentation. Migratory fishes that depend on access to spawning and nursery habitats are often impeded by dams and other obstructions, including road-stream crossings. These barriers can compromise stock and species diversity, result in losses of annual recruitment and reduced production and harvests. Fragmentation of aquatic habitat connectivity can also impact nutrient flows, riparian processes and spread invasive species.

Fortunately there are many actions that can help us to better understand and improve aquatic habitat connectivity. Using examples from the Great Lakes basin and case studies from the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Dan will explore some of the approaches to mapping and prioritizing barrier removal and the challenges and opportunities of reconnecting aquatic habitats. Dan is the Senior Conservation Biologist with the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s national office. He is an expert on Canadian biodiversity and conservation and has recently written reports on a variety of topics including freshwater Key Biodiversity Areas in Canada and species at risk legislation.

Dan also co-authored biodiversity conservation strategies for all four Canadian Great Lakes, co-led the first conservation assessment of Great Lakes islands, and prepared the State of the Great Lakes indicator on aquatic habitat connectivity. His current projects include developing Canada’s first list of nationally endemic species, a review of biodiversity in Canadian cities, and an assessment of biodiversity, threats and conservation responses across southern Canada. Dan often shares his passion about nature and the importance of conservation, and his editorials have appeared in media across Canada. He is a councillor on the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution, a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, Deputy Chair of the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario and was a founding board member of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council. In his spare time, he is currently researching the socio-ecological drivers of wildlife extinction and recovery at the University of Waterloo. Prior to NCC, Dan worked with Parks Canada and as an environmental consultant. Dan lives at the headwaters of Bronte Creek in the Lake Ontario watershed where he enjoys chopping wood and raising happy chickens. This event is funded by the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP). The FWCP is a partnership between BC Hydro, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, First Nations, Public Stakeholders and the Province of BC, to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife in watersheds impacted by existing BC Hydro dams. Contact al.wiensczyk@unbc.ca to request the passcode and get the Zoom link.

 
Friday March 12, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. NRESi Colloquium, What can the SPEI tell us about the future of drought in British Columbia?” 

The presenter for this talk is Dr Natalie Linklater, Engineering Program, UNBC. Farmers and ranchers in British Columbia produce a diverse array of products, including dairy products and eggs, poultry and beef, vegetables, berries, grapes and tree fruit. The agrifood and seafood sector in B.C. contributes $14 billion or 2% of total provincial GDP and is an important part of making B.C. a healthy place. Climate change projections indicate that by 2050, B.C. can expect an average increase in temperature of 1.8°C and an increase in precipitation of 6%, with a 1% decrease during the summer. Hotter and drier conditions can exacerbate the frequency and severity of summer droughts as well as increase the likelihood of multi-year seasonal droughts. Using a water balance approach and the Standardized Precipitation and Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), this study examined projected changes to the available water in summer for agriculturally-significant watersheds in B.C. for two global greenhouse emission scenarios (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5). Contact al.wiensczyk@unbc.ca to request the passcode and get the Zoom link. 

 The best way to ensure access to the NRESi and FWCP webinars is to sign up for the NRESi weekly newsletter which contains all the access information for each event. If you would like to receive NRESi’s newsletter, updates on events and other announcements, please contact Al Wiensczyk at Al.Wiensczyk@unbc.ca or Art Fredeen at: Art.Fredeen@unbc.ca.
If you’re unable to access a webinar on the day it’s broadcast, here’s the link to the archive: https://video.unbc.ca/channel/NRESI/

Moose Winter Tick Monitoring Program

The Province is running a Moose Winter Tick Monitoring Program from January 1 to April 30. Provincial wildlife biologists are asking for our help in promoting moose health and controlling potentially-deadly winter moose tick infestations. It’s easy to participate. All you need are keen eyes and a love of the great outdoors. Here’s the link to the survey information: https://tinyurl.com/y2ayhbl6

Beaver Dam Collapse and Rebuilding
Below are two videos from northern Minnesota showing the dramatic cycle of beaver dam collapse and recovery and resulting impacts on the environment. Note the similarity of the scene to that near the start of the trails in Eskers Provincial Park. Closer to home, there is an historic cycle of beaver dam failures and floods on Cranbrook Hill, and one can still see signs of old outwash fans along the west side of the city bowl. In the examples linked below, the initiating event seems to have been heavy rain, whereas in Eskers the underlying porosity of the glacial soil is more likely able to absorb large rain events than might be the case with Minnesota bedrock. On Cranbrook Hill, the cycle was driven mainly by wildfire and natural forest succession, first creating and then depleting first growth deciduous food trees, and leading to dam failures as the beavers move on and cease maintaining their dams. Concern for the long term integrity of the stepped beaver dams holding back Shane Lake in Forests for the World Park prompted the City’s demolition of the historic Ginter Mansion situated next to Shane Creek, and the later construction (it took two attempts) of the artificial dam to augment the beaver dams. The containment ponds on the UNBC campus — that are the centrepiece of the David Douglas Botanical Garden — are also part of this system and are designed to protect against flood events in the bowl below. Earlier, there had been some effort to maintain beavers in Shane Lake by providing food in the form of cut aspen tree branches delivered to the lake. I understand that this was mainly for natural history interpretation, but it may also have helped extend the life of the beaver dams.Beaver Dam Collapse (4 m): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFMRD5kuREwBeaver Dam 18 months later (3 m): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crGJ5b2-gG4

PGNC News & Notes, February 27, 2021

  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • Report: Two Excellent February Events 
  • Trans Mountain Expansion Project Reconsideration: Deadline March 1
  • Wednesday March 3, 12 noon, “Dammed if we don’t: Exploring opportunities to restore connectivity in rivers and streams and why it matters”
  • Friday March 5, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. NRESi Colloquium, Dynamics and Restoration of Whitebark Pine Ecosystems at their Northwest Limit
  • Saturday March 6, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Northern BC Virtual Seedy Saturday
  • Moose Winter Tick Monitoring Program

Club Events and News

PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals

We are very grateful that Club members continue to renew their memberships online or by mail. New members are also joining the Club. This support is much appreciated. 

BC Nature has changed how individual Club membership lists are kept so anyone more than three months in arrears will not receive BC Nature magazine or BC Nature’s monthly eNews. 

Memberships run from January 1 to December 31 and are available online any time. Cost is $25 per calendar year for individuals, $40 for a family, and $15 for students. Information including payment by PayPal is available at: https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/. Payments by cheque can be mailed to Prince George Naturalists Club, PO Box 1092, Prince George BC V2L 4V2.

Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club work parties and field trips, 10% discount on some of the bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 

Other Events and News

Report: Two Excellent February Events 
On February 8, Dr. Hugues Massicotte gave an overview of the challenges of studying fungi and explored some of the insights he has made over the years with colleagues at UNBC, including the intriguing myco-heterotrophic plants and the opportunities of myco-prospecting in northern BC. Over 100 people enjoyed his informative and entertaining presentation. Thanks to The Exploration Place for sponsoring this online presentation as part of their Virtual Adult Speaker Series.


On February 10, conservation specialist Rich Weir gave an online presentation on  “A Tale of Two Populations: Why Are Fishers in the Peace Different from 200 km Away?” Just over 80 people watched the webinar which was sponsored by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program and NRESi at UNBC. A PGNC club member reported that it was an A++ presentation both for the content and the presentation style of the speaker. It’s now available for viewing at the NRESi Colluquium archive: https://video.unbc.ca/channel/NRESI/


Trans Mountain Expansion Project Reconsideration: Deadline March 1

The Province of BC is seeking public comments on the Draft Provincial Reconsideration Report. Deadline to submit comments is March 1, 2021. For full information on the reconsideration report see: 
https://engage.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/consultation/trans-mountain-expansion-project-reconsideration/


Wednesday March 3, 12 noon, “Dammed if we don’t: Exploring opportunities to restore connectivity in rivers and streams and why it matters”
Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program and NRES Institute Special Colloquium Presentation. Presenter is Dan Kraus, Senior Conservation Biologist, Nature Conservancy of Canada.


Ecological connectivity and wildlife corridors are often considered for terrestrial wildlife, but in many places in Canada it is our aquatic ecosystems that are most impacted by habitat fragmentation. Migratory fishes that depend on access to spawning and nursery habitats are often impeded by dams and other obstructions, including road-stream crossings. These barriers can compromise stock and species diversity, result in losses of annual recruitment and reduced production and harvests. Fragmentation of aquatic habitat connectivity can also impact nutrient flows, riparian processes and spread invasive species. Fortunately there are many actions that can help us to better understand and improve aquatic habitat connectivity. Using examples from the Great Lakes basin and case studies from the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Dan will explore some of the approaches to mapping and prioritizing barrier removal and the challenges and opportunities of reconnecting aquatic habitats. 

Dan is the Senior Conservation Biologist with the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s national office. He is an expert on Canadian biodiversity and conservation and has recently written reports on a variety of topics including freshwater Key Biodiversity Areas in Canada and species at risk legislation. Dan also co-authored biodiversity conservation strategies for all four Canadian Great Lakes, co-led the first conservation assessment of Great Lakes islands, and prepared the State of the Great Lakes indicator on aquatic habitat connectivity. His current projects include developing Canada’s first list of nationally endemic species, a review of biodiversity in Canadian cities, and an assessment of biodiversity, threats and conservation responses across southern Canada. Dan often shares his passion about nature and the importance of conservation, and his editorials have appeared in media across Canada. He is a councillor on the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution, a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, Deputy Chair of the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario and was a founding board member of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council. In his spare time, he is currently researching the socio-ecological drivers of wildlife extinction and recovery at the University of Waterloo. Prior to NCC, Dan worked with Parks Canada and as an environmental consultant. Dan lives at the headwaters of Bronte Creek in the Lake Ontario watershed where he enjoys chopping wood and raising happy chickens. 

This event is funded by the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP). The FWCP is a partnership between BC Hydro, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, First Nations, Public Stakeholders and the Province of BC, to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife in watersheds impacted by existing BC Hydro dams. Contact al.wiensczyk@unbc.ca to request the passcode and get the Zoom link.

Friday March 5, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. NRESi Colloquium, Dynamics and Restoration of Whitebark Pine Ecosystems at their Northwest Limit
Sybille Haeussler, Adjunct Professor, UNBC, Smithers and Alana Clason, Post-doctoral Research, Bulkley Valley Research Centre, Smithers are the presenters. Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis), western Canada’s first officially endangered tree, reaches its northwest limit in our backyard, the mountains of north central BC. Its huge, nutritious seeds are dispersed by a bird –the Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana)–rendering it particularly vulnerable to a changing environment. Fifteen years ago, against the backdrop of BC’s devastating mountain beetle epidemic, the Bulkley Valley Research Centre in Smithers began a collaborative research program to better understand the dynamics of this curious tree species, and to develop practical techniques for restoring healthy whitebark pine ecosystems. For full background on this webinar see: https://tinyurl.com/52w94nu9

Members of the PGNC have found that the best way to ensure access to the NRESi and FWCP webinars is to sign up for the NRESi weekly newsletter which contains all the access information for each event. If you would like to receive NRESi’s newsletter, updates on events and other announcements, please contact Al Wiensczyk at Al.Wiensczyk@unbc.ca or Art Fredeen at: Art.Fredeen@unbc.ca.

If you’re unable to access a webinar on the day it’s broadcast, here’s the link to the archive: https://video.unbc.ca/channel/NRESI/

Saturday March 6, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Northern BC Virtual Seedy Saturday
The PGNC has participated in Seedy Saturday events for many years. Sponsored by Prince George Master Gardeners and David Douglas Botanical Garden Society, the event is going online this year. Host is Seeds of Diversity. SIGN UP HEREhttps://tinyurl.com/b9xsuhax After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Moose Winter Tick Monitoring Program

The Province is running a Moose Winter Tick Monitoring Program from January 1 to April 30. Provincial wildlife biologists are asking for our help in promoting moose health and controlling potentially-deadly winter moose tick infestations. It’s easy to participate. All you need are keen eyes and a love of the great outdoors. Here’s the link to the survey information: https://tinyurl.com/y2ayhbl6

PGNC News and Notes, February 7, 2021

  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • Monday February 8, 6:30 p.m. Dr. Hugues Massicotte, “Planet fungi, underground connections and myco-prospecting”, The Exploration Place Virtual Adult Speaker Series
  • Wednesday February 10, 12 noon, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program presentation,  “A Tale of Two Populations: Why Are Fishers in the Peace Different from 200 km Away?
  • Friday February 12, NRESi Colloquium, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Survival How? Pandemics, Transgressions and Education for the Anthropocene. Dr. Alex Lautensach, School of Education, UNBC
  • Seedy Saturday Online, February 19 to 21
  • Trans Mountain Expansion Project Reconsideration
  • Moose Winter Tick Monitoring Program
  • Request for information on Erythranthe lewisii / Mimulus lewisii

Club Events and News

PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals

We are very grateful that Club members continue to renew their memberships online or by mail. New members are also joining the Club. This support is much appreciated. 

BC Nature has changed how individual Club membership lists are kept so anyone more than three months in arrears will not receive BC Nature magazine or BC Nature’s monthly eNews. 

Memberships run from January 1 to December 31 and are available online any time. Cost is $25 per calendar year for individuals, $40 for a family, and $15 for students. Information including payment by PayPal is available at: https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/. Payments by cheque can be mailed to Prince George Naturalists Club, PO Box 1092, Prince George BC V2L 4V2.

Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club work parties and field trips, 10% discount on some of the bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 

Other Events and News

Monday February 8, 6:30 p.m. Dr. Hugues Massicotte, “Planet fungi, underground connections and myco-prospecting”, The Exploration Place Virtual Adult Speaker Series
In this presentation, “Planet fungi, underground connections and myco-prospecting”, Dr. Massicotte will give an overview of the challenges of studying fungi, and will explore some of the insights he has made over the years with colleagues at UNBC, including the intriguing myco-heterotrophic plants and the opportunities of myco-prospecting in northern BC.

Dr. Massicotte retired as Full Professor from the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), Canada, in the summer of 2020 and is now Adjunct Professor with the Ecosystem Science and Management Program. He remains fascinated by the natural history of fungi and plants, and still feels he knows far too little about them. 
Attendance is free but advance registration is required. Here’s the link to the registration information you need to enjoy this talk by one of the Prince George Naturalists Club’s favourite presenters: https://tinyurl.com/2mbv6yku

Wednesday February 10, 12 noon, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program presentation
Join carnivore conservation specialist Rich Weir for “A Tale of Two Populations: Why Are Fishers in the Peace Different from 200 km Away?” Find out about one of the rarest mammals in the Peace Region, the key role fishers play in local low-elevation forests, and what is being done to conserve their habitat.
Known to have among the fastest burst speed of any land mammal in North America and an unequaled ability to prey on porcupines, fishers are a housecat-sized carnivore that live around us in the forests of central and northern BC. Fishers are one of the rarest mammals in the Peace and Williston regions, but they play a key role in low-elevation forests throughout these areas. Come hear Rich Weir talk about this fascinating species and learn about what is being done in the Peace and Williston regions to conserve this vital part of our forested ecosystems. Rich Weir is the Carnivore Conservation Specialist for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in Victoria. Fascinated with ‘all the little killers’ since an undergraduate student, Rich has done field studies on fishers across BC over the past 30 years and is a leading expert on the species. This event is funded by the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP). The FWCP is a partnership between BC Hydro, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, First Nations, Public Stakeholders and the Province of BC, to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife in watersheds impacted by existing BC Hydro dams. 
The presentations are free, and no pre-registration is required. Contact al.wiensczyk@unbc.ca to request the passcode and get the Zoom link.

Friday February 12, NRESi Colloquium, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Survival How? Pandemics, Transgressions and Education for the Anthropocene. Dr. Alex Lautensach, School of Education, UNBC
The CoViD-19 pandemic has caught much of humanity by surprise, despite repeated warnings by the scientific community. Yet, the pandemic also represents a multidimensional learning opportunity. It illustrates the human predicament in the Anthropocene in its exponential growth patterns and dynamics. Based on his latest book, Dr. Lautensach will interpret the Anthropocene as a period of population anomaly and transition, governed by significant choices and patterns of behaviour regarding resource use and ‘development’. Education in the sciences, the social disciplines and the humanities can contribute significantly to our successes or failures with respect to the environmental, socio-political, economic and health-related challenges to future human security. A crucial potential influence comes from cultural learning at the individual and collective levels, particularly involving cultures learning from each other.
Contact al.wiensczyk@unbc.ca to request the passcode and get the Zoom link. 
To see the full schedule of NRESI/FWCP webinars from now until April, check this link: https://www2.unbc.ca/nres-institute/colloquium-series

Members of the PGNC have found that the best way to ensure access to the webinars is to sign up for the NRESi weekly newsletter which contains all the access information for each event. If you would like to receive NRESi’s newsletter, updates on event and other announcements, please contact Al Wiensczyk at Al.Wiensczyk@unbc.ca or Art Fredeen at: Art.Fredeen@unbc.ca.
If you’re unable to access the webinar on the day it’s broadcast, here’s the link to the archive: https://video.unbc.ca/channel/NRESI/

Seedy Saturday Online, February 19 to 21

BC’s First Collaborative Virtual Seedy Saturday Conference: Seed Saving. Want to know more about saving seed for yourself and others? Join FarmFolk/City Folk and Seedy Saturday organizers on February 19 to 21. For details and registration information see: http://www.bcseeds.org/2021-bc-seedy-saturday-virtual-conference/

Trans Mountain Expansion Project Reconsideration

The Province of BC is seeking public comments on the Draft Provincial Reconsideration Report. Deadline to submit comments is March 1, 2021. For full information on the reconsideration report see: 
https://engage.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/consultation/trans-mountain-expansion-project-reconsideration/

Moose Winter Tick Monitoring Program

The Province is running a Moose Winter Tick Monitoring Program from January 1 to April 30. Provincial wildlife biologists are asking for our help in promoting moose health and controlling potentially-deadly winter moose tick infestations. It’s easy to participate. All you need are keen eyes and a love of the great outdoors. Here’s the link to the survey information: https://tinyurl.com/y2ayhbl6

Request for information on Erythranthe lewisii / Mimulus lewisii
Message from Mackenzie Urquhart-Cronish, PhD student, Botany Department, UBC, to the PGNC: I am a PhD student studying the geographic distribution and natural history of the native plant pink monkeyflower (Erythranthe lewisii or Mimulus lewisii). The Prince George region is the North-Eastern range limit for E. lewisii and I am looking to compile a list of current occurrence records to identify potential sites where I would apply for permission to conduct minimally invasive sampling of leaf tissue (to be used to extract DNA for genomic analyses).

While there are a few Herbarium records from the region, many are over 20 years old. Erythranthe lewisii is a riparian plant species and populations are prone to environmental disturbances (e.g., flooding), so older records are less reliable. So far, I know of current occurrence records in Kakwa Provincial Park (iNaturalist with images and coordinates), and have heard that the plant might occur in Evanoff Provincial Park along Fang Mountain Trail (but have not seen any photographic evidence, herbarium collections, or GPS coordinates from populations within the Park). If your organization is able to put me in touch with any local Botanists or Native Plant experts in your region, I would be grateful. 
Note: If you have information or photos you would like to share, you can send them directly to Mackenzie at murquhart@zoology.ubc.ca.

PGNC News and Notes, January 27, 2021

  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • PGNC Annual Swan and Eagle Count, Sunday January 17
  • NRESi Colloquium, Friday January 29, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, Regional Parks Plan Review
  • Seedy Saturday Online, February 19 to 21
  • Trans Mountain Expansion Project Reconsideration
  • For the Love of Birds Festival, January 27 to 29
  • Moose Winter Tick Monitoring Program
  • Parakeet at Cottonwood Island Park

Club Events and News

PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
We are very grateful that Club members continue to renew their memberships online or by mail. New members are also joining the Club. This support is much appreciated. 
BC Nature has changed how individual Club membership lists are kept so anyone more than three months in arrears will not receive BC Nature magazine or BC Nature’s monthly eNews. 
Memberships run from January 1 to December 31 and are available online any time. Cost is $25 per calendar year for individuals, $40 for a family, and $15 for students. Information including payment by PayPal is available at: https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/. Payments by cheque can be mailed to Prince George Naturalists Club, PO Box 1092, Prince George BC V2L 4V2.
Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club work parties and field trips, 10% discount on some of the bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 
Club Reports
PGNC Annual Swan and Eagle Count, Sunday January 17
Although the Swan/Eagle Count was cancelled as a formal event, a few people went out to look for the birds. The Crooked River was quite open, and high. Nevertheless, 27 Trumpeter Swans were found. This is about what would be expected in a normal year. Of the 27, seven were immatures, a higher proportion than we usually get. Along with the 98 Trumpeter Swans on the Upper Nechako and the 134 seen on the Stuart River on the Fort St. James Christmas Bird Count we have data for the key areas close to Prince George.

Fifty Bald Eagles were counted, mainly due to the Pineview abbatoir having a busy weekend. The Foothills Landfill site was not surveyed. (Report by Sandra Kinsey)

Other Events and News
NRESi Colloquium, Friday January 29, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
The presenter for this talk is George Poulakidas. He will be giving the presentation, “An introduction to the Genomics & Society program at Genome BC” Genome British Columbia, a non-profit research organization, leads genomics innovation on Canada’s West Coast and facilitates the adoption of genomics into society. Genomic tools have been applied in many fields and industries, including environment, mining, agri-food, forestry, fisheries, and human health. Genome BC has always believed that while the research and development of genomics-based applications is a scientific pursuit, the acceptance and appropriate use of genomics is a societal question. The Genomics & Society program explores and supports research across many disciplines that investigate the Environmental, Economic, Ethical, Legal and Social aspects (GE3LS) of genomic tools. This presentation will introduce the work of Genome BC and the Genomics & Society program, followed by a discussion on the application of genomics in these fields. Please email Al Wiensczyk, NRESi Research Manager at    al.wiensczyk@unbc.ca to obtain the webinar link and pass code.
To see the full schedule of webinars from now until April, check this link: https://www2.unbc.ca/nres-institute/colloquium-series. The best way to access the webinars is to sign up for the NRESi weekly newsletter which contains all the access information for each event. If you would like to receive NRESi’s newsletter, updates on event and other announcements, please contact Al Wiensczyk at Al.Wiensczyk@unbc.ca or Art Fredeen at: Art.Fredeen@unbc.ca.
If you can’t access the webinar on the day it’s broadcast, here’s the link to the archive: https://video.unbc.ca/channel/NRESI/
Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, Regional Parks Plan Review
The RDFFG is conducting a review of its Regional Parks Plan for 2020 to 2030. Information on the review is available here: http://www.rdffg.bc.ca/services/environment/regional-parks/regional-parks-plan-review Deadline to provide input on the Plan is Friday February 5, 2021.
Seedy Saturday Online, February 19 to 21
The PGNC has had an information table at the Prince George Seedy Saturday celebration for many years. This year the event is going virtual due to the pandemic. Want to know more about saving seed for yourself and others? Join FarmFolk/City Folk and Seedy Saturday organizers on February 19 to 21. More details to come soon.
Trans Mountain Expansion Project Reconsideration
The Province of BC is seeking public comments on the Draft Provincial Reconsideration Report. Deadline to submit comments is March 1, 2021. For full information on the reconsideration report see: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/consultation/trans-mountain-expansion-project-reconsideration/
For the Love of Birds Festival, January 27 to 29
Here’s a Festival for anyone who wants to learn all the ways to love birds: https://fortheloveofbirdsfestival.com/for-the-love-of-birds-festival-registrationa Cost is only $12. All sessions are pre-recorded and available through January 31 (information provided by Blaire Smith).
Moose Winter Tick Monitoring Program
The Province is running a Moose Winter Tick Monitoring Program from January 1 to April 30. Provincial wildlife biologists are asking for our help in promoting moose health and controlling potentially-deadly winter moose tick infestations. It’s easy to participate: all you need are keen eyes and a love of the great outdoors. Here’s the link to the survey information: https://tinyurl.com/y2ayhbl6
Parakeet at Cottonwood Island Park
Jack Bowling and his partner were walking in Cottonwood Island Park on January 21 when they suddenly spotted a brilliant parakeet atop its owner’s head. It appeared to be none the worse for wear despite the -9C temperature. Its name is Cush and is apparently a Facebook star in Prince George. This species is the Green-cheeked Conure a.k.a. Green-cheeked Parakeet, native to South American forests. Sexes are similarly plumaged. The owner said it is fine with these temperatures and prefers going for walks outside. They fed it a few sunflower seeds before the owner pried it away saying they are too fattening for the bird. Photo of this handsome feathered friend attached (information and photo provided by Jack Bowling).

PGNC News and Notes, January 11, 2021

  • PGNC Annual Swan and Eagle Count, Sunday January 17
  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • Report: PGNC Christmas Bird Count, Sunday December 27
  • Wednesday January 13, 2021, 1 to 3 p.m., BCWF Bird Identification in Wetlands and Riparian Zones
  • Friday January 15, 2021, NRESi Colloquium, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Webinar: Supplemental Feeding and Endangered Caribou Populations
  • Two local wildlife videos
Club Events and News

 
PGNC Annual Swan and Eagle Count, Sunday January 17
 
The annual field trip to count swans and eagles is cancelled this year due to the pandemic. However, people observing swans and eagles on Sunday January 17 are invited to report the numbers and their location to Sandra Kinsey, who is compiling the information. Sandra can be reached at sjkinsey@direct.ca.
 
PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
Club members continue to renew their memberships online or by mail. New members are also joining the Club. This support is much appreciated. BC Nature has changed how individual Club membership lists are kept so anyone more than three months in arrears will not receive BC Nature magazine or BC Nature’s monthly eNews.
Memberships run from January 1 to December 31 and are available online any time. Cost is $25 per calendar year for individuals, $40 for a family, and $15 for students. Information including payment by PayPal is available at: https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/. Payments by cheque can be mailed to Prince George Naturalists Club, PO Box 1092, Prince George BC V2L 4V2.
 
Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club work parties and field trips, 10% discount on some of the bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 
 
Club Reports
 
PGNC Christmas Bird Count, Sunday December 27
 
Report provided by Cathy Antoniazzi, compiler, on December 27, 2020:
 
Happy New Year everyone! Hopefully this will be our first, last and only pandemic CBC! It came so close to being cancelled, but I am glad that we did it. It was such a nice day to be outside–perfect weather for a CBC–no wind and the temperature hovered around freezing. The sun came out in the afternoon and there were lots of birds! Circle coverage was better than ever with 41 participants in 19 groups. In addition there were 16 feederwatchers.

The story of this count is the number and variety of winter finches found. I don’t remember ever having this many Pine Siskins here in the winter. The 2,825 siskins counted were ten times the previous high. They were absolutely everywhere!  It is one of the few counts where Bohemian Waxwing was not the most numerous species. Pine Grosbeaks were found in near record numbers. There were good numbers of White-winged Crossbills and even a few Red Crossbills were spotted. They have been absent from these parts for a few years. The spruce trees are loaded with cones this winter and I wonder if it is a mast year. Even Red-breasted Nuthatches were found in record numbers.  American Goldfinch numbers continue to increase. They were an all-time high.  House Finch numbers were good. Not many redpolls though.
The mild winter to date allowed a few species to linger: Wood Duck, Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, American Robin, record numbers of Varied Thrushes, Townsend’s Solitaire.
There was a really good variety of raptors–probably due to the ample food supply. One of the College Heights groups had a Cooper’s Hawk chasing a Sharp-shinned Hawk!
Only two Eurasian Collared-Doves were found. Their numbers have dropped precipitously.
The Blue Jay and Common Grackle that have been hanging around this winter were found.  We seem to be getting more eastern species.
The Spotted Towhee photographed on Christmas Eve wasn’t spotted during the count, but was included for count week.  I think there is only one other winter Spotted Towhee record.
Finally, Northern Flickers seem to be doing very well. A Feederwatcher in College Heights reported 16 of them and he has had up to 18 at one time!  Their numbers (194) were way up this year.  We may have double counted some, but that is still a lot of flickers.
Once again thank you to everyone who took part! For a copy of the results, email Cathy at canton1@telus.net.
Other Events and News
Wednesday January 13, 2021, 1 to 3 p.m., BCWF Bird Identification in Wetlands and Riparian Zones
 
In January BC Wildlife Federation is starting a series of monthly webinars aimed at people aged 65 and older. The series is called Fishing in Later Years and includes topics about fishing and related areas of interest. The first webinar is hosted by our very own Clive Keen who has extensive knowledge of birds and birding in all parts of the world. Advance registration is required. Here’s the link: https://tinyurl.com/y8hmhtj8
 
If you have any questions about the registration process please email BCWF at fish@bcwf.bc.ca.
 
Friday January 15, 2021, NRESi Colloquium, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Webinar: Supplemental Feeding and Endangered Caribou Populations

This presentation was originally scheduled for October 16, 2020 but had to be cut short due to technical difficulties. The presenter for this colloquium is Doug Heard, RPBio, Adjunct Professor, UNBC, who will be giving the talk “Can Supplemental Feeding Promote Growth in Endangered Caribou Populations? A Test of the Aesop Hypothesis

Increased predation risk may be preventing caribou from surfing the green wave, compromising their nutritional status and contributing to population declines. To test that hypothesis, we fed high-quality food pellets to free-ranging caribou in the Kennedy Siding herd each fall for 6 years. Supplemental feeding appeared to increase population growth. Was Aesop right in concluding that “It’s better to eat simply in peace than to feast in terror”?
To access this online presentation, email Al Wiensczyk at al.wiensczyk@unbc.ca for the Zoom link and passcode.
Two local wildlife videos
Doug Heard has shared two videos. The lynx video was taken from his living room window just before Christmas. The caribou video is from Kennedy Siding in October 2020.