Hudson’s Bay Wetland project: fundraising continues in 2015

In 2015 the Prince George Naturalists Club continues to submit grant applications for work on the Hudson’s Bay Wetland project.

Grant applications to date:

  • $2,500 toward the cost of building an observation deck on the north side of the channel east of Queensway.
  • $5,000 towards an accessible ramp to link Fort George Park with the new trail and observation deck to be built this summer on the north side of the channel east of Queensway.
  • $1,500 to carry out rehabilitation and restoration on both sides of the Hudson’s Bay Wetland channel that flows between Queensway and the Fraser River. Now that we have new observation decks and upgraded trails in place or planned for this summer, we’re able to take people safely down to the area to pull invasive plants and replant sloping banks and other sensitive areas with native plants.
  • $2,000 to install interpretive and directional signs on the north side of the lake west of Queensway and hold outreach events with residents of the VLA neighbourhood and other interested groups.
  • $15,000 to carry out improvements on the north side of the shallow lake west of Queensway. We require surveys, permits and engineered designs for an upgraded trail, a short boardwalk leading to an observation deck, and a ramp to provide universal access to the trail from Queensway Street. These improvements will provide safe public access to the north side of the lake as well as connecting with the VLA neighbourhood and the popular Heritage trail to the west of the Wetland. The improvements will also allow volunteers from the Naturalists Club and other organizations such as the Prince George VLA Enhancement Association to work safely on future rehabilitation and restoration initiatives to make the Hudson’s Bay Slough a valued urban wetland.

Special thanks to the organizations currently funding the Hudson’s Bay Wetland project including BC Nature/ Foundation of BC Naturalists, Pacific Salmon Foundation, TransCanada, TD Friends of the Environment and the City of Prince George. Many others are contributing time and resources including Caledonia Ramblers, REAPS and The Exploration Place.

PG Naturalists Club Events and Notes, February 11 2015

Club Events
1. Note: No Evening Presentation for February
For those getting used to heading to Club presentations on the third Thursday of the month — we thought it best not to hold one this month, given all the activity and volunteering for the Winter Games.
2. Presentation: The Value of Urban Wetlands, Thursday, 7:00 pm, March 19, The Exploration Place
Gina Layte Liston, City of Prince George, will give insights into the role and value of wetlands beyond their immediate value as naturalist haunts.3. Travelling World Community Film Festival – Volunteers Needed
Some details still need to be worked out, but if volunteers come forward to act as organizers, the Club will sponsor two films:
• All the Time in the World, Friday March 27, Two Rivers Gallery
• Dam Nation, Saturday March 28, location TBA
If you’re able to act as an organizer, please let us know by return email.
Notes1. Sturgeon Presentation, Friday, Feb 13, 3:30 – 4:30 pm, room 7-238 , UNBC
As part of the UNBC NRES talk series, Cory Williamson, Manager of the Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre in Vanderhoof, will give a presentation entitled “Recovery of the Endangered Nechako White Sturgeon – Sunrise for a population of ancient fish?” Note that the Club is planning a visit to the Conservation Centre in the early spring.2. Cottonwood Island Eagle Nest Falls
That huge and rather famous eagle nest came crashing down, either late on Monday 9th, or early on Tuesday 10th. The nest was probably at least 25 years old, and grew annually. It’s nearly time for the eagles to start nesting again, so we’ll soon see whether they’ll rebuild nearby or move elsewhere.
3. Great Backyard Bird Count begins this Friday, February 13
You can count birds for just 15 minutes, or count everything you see from Friday until the end of next Monday. You’ll then be part of a huge citizen science army: in 2014, 140,000 people from 135 countries counted 33 million birds.  gbbc.birdcount.org has details.
Shows a Great Grey owl sitting on a  cable against a cloudy background

Great Grey

4. More on Owls
Numerous owl reports have been coming in this week, and this is definitely an irruption year for Great Gray Owls, making up for the absence of Snowies. Great Grays are being reported in many parts of the province, and the guy above, photographed just this afternoon, is almost becoming a regular PG sighting. Note the bow tie, which added to their huge size makes Great Grays unmistakable.
Clive Keen,
PO Box 1092, Prince George, BC V2L 4V2

CANCELLED – Feb. 6 Presentation on Endangered White Sturgeon

UNBC advises that the speaker scheduled for Friday February 6 on the Endangered White Sturgeon has had to cancel due to illness. They hope to reschedule his presentation later in the term.

Naturalists Club Events and Notes, 1 February, 2015

Club Activities
1. Livingstone Springs Snowshoe Trip, Sunday, 8 February, 9:00 am start
The annual snowshoe trip to the spring of the Crooked River is coming up – it’s a great way to learn more about tracks in the snow, and there’s a chance of seeing otters, dippers, swans, eagles, moose, etc. Meet at Spruceland shopping centre under the big sign for a 9:00 am departure, dress appropriately, and bring lunch and (of course) snowshoes. If you’ve questions, contact Sandra Kinsey atsjkinsey@direct.ca. Contribution by passengers to gas costs: $8.00.
2.  Canada Winter Games, Women’s Hockey, BC vs. Ontario, Sunday, 15 February, 7:30-10:00 PM, CN Centre
TransCanada are following up their sponsorship for the Hudson’s Bay Wetland Project by inviting Naturalists Club Members to be their special guests for this Canada Winter Games event. There is space for up to sixteen Club members (or eight club members plus partners) — please respond to this email ASAP to book your tickets, which will be distributed on a first-come first served basis.
3.  Seedy Saturday, Saturday, 7 February, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, The Exploration Place
Drop by The Exploration Place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to enjoy gardening presentations, swap and buy open-pollinated seeds, and view information tables and seed displays. The Naturalists Club is hosting a table with information and posters on Waterbirds and Wetland Birds, as well as tips about the best grains and seeds to feed local birds. It’s also a great opportunity to join the Club, renew your membership, or meet other members. Admission to the Atrium is free.
4. Trip Report: Swan and Eagle Count
The PGNC trip on January 18  saw six adult Trumpeter Swans and one Bald Eagle. Elsewhere around PG, Vanderhoof, the Upper Nechako River, and Fraser Lake, 59 adult and 15 immature Trumpeter Swans were seen, along with 13 adult and two immature bald eagles and one immature Golden Eagle.  Swan numbers were low partly because it’s been a warm winter: since the rivers aren’t freezing over, the swans are not concentrated on spots such as Crooked River.
5. Naturalists Club Memberships
We’re on a mission to expand the Club’s membership in order to build support for nature-related activities in Prince George. Cost is $25 for individuals or $40 for a family. The membership form is available athttps://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/ . Forms are also available on presentation nights, field trips, and at Seedy Saturday. For more information about memberships, contact pgnaturalists@hotmail.ca.
Other Events & Notes
1. Annual Backyard Bird Count
The 18th annual Great Backyard Bird Count takes place on February 13-16.  All that is needed is to tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see for at least fifteen minutes, and submit your observations at www.BirdCount.org.
2. Owls Again
A Great Gray Owl has been reported locally a couple of times in the last week, and it might not be alone — folks in Williams Lake are reporting an invasion, with ten Great Grays spotted on one stretch of road.

3. Unexpected Visitor
The Club Secretary had a rather unexpected visitor this week ….

 Silver Fox

PG Naturalists Club Events and Notes, 8 January, 2015

Upcoming Club Events

  1. Presentation: Singing Through the Noise: How birds compensate for effects of  urbanization on communication. 7:00 pm, Thursday, January 15, at The Exploration Place.
    Many birds communicate using song that has been adapted to forests, but cities are much noisier. UNBC doctoral candidate Stefanie LaZerte  will speak about the ways birds are affected and how they can change their singing to compensate.

    Spruceland shopping centre sign on top with save on foods sign on bottom

    Meeting Place

  2. Annual Club Swan and Eagle Count, 9:00 – 3:00, Sunday, 18 January
    Meet at 9:00 am under the central green Spruceland Shopping Centre sign. Bring lunch and snowshoes. Dress warmly.  For more info email sjkinsey@direct.ca or phone at 250.963.8381.

Notes

  1. Membership Renewals
    Members can renew, and new members can sign up, at the January 15 presentation night. Membership is still $25 for a single person, and $40 for a family, and includes a subscription in the magazine BC Nature.
  2. PG Christmas Bird Count, 28 December
    This year’s Bird Count was as usual very well attended by counters — 42 people in 12 groups — though the birds weren’t quite as forthcoming. The cold wind made them hunker down. In all, 40 species and 6,969 individual birds were tallied — the lowest since 1997. If you’re interested in details, keep your eye on the website of the BC Field Ornithologists, which will gradually add details of all BC’s CBCs at:
    http://bcfo.ca/115th-christmas-bird-counts-results/.
  3. Owls in PG
    All sorts of birds that hid themselves for the Christmas Bird Count started to appear afterwards, including, in recent days, a Northern Pygmy-Owl, Great Gray Owl and a pair of Short-eared Owls. Earlier in December, Bob Steventon got this terrific picture of a Barred Owl, which was attempting to turn one of his resident squirrels into dinner.

Shows a Barred Owl clinging to the side of a tree looking at you.

  1. Days Getting Longer ….
    The PG Observatory notes that on 22 December, Prince George experienced 16 hours and 37 minutes of darkness. You’ll be relieved that days have been getting about two minutes longer each day since then. Their website is http://pgrasc.org/
  2. BC Mountain Caribou Videos
    There’s an excellent new short video on our threatened caribou, now available on uTube. Doug Heard and colleagues give a fine overview of the current situation at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHTlKliD7P8.
  3. Water Gratitude Concert, Sunday February 8, doors at 6:30pm, show at 7:00-8:30pm
    At Knox United Church Sanctuary, 5th and Victoria Prince George. For details see www.thebankofgratitude.net.

Clive Keen for:
PO Box 1092,
Prince George, BC
V2L 4V2
http://hbwetland.wordpress.com
pgnaturalists@hotmail.ca

Naturalists Club Notes, November 27, 2014

Mount Polley Tailings Pond Results

UNBC is holding a colloquium event on Friday November 28th at 3:30pm. Topic is the Mt. Polley tailings pond breach. Speakers are Sam Albers, Ellen Petticrew, and Phil Owens from the Quesnel River Research Centre, Geography Program, and Environmental Science Program at UNBC, respectively. Their colloquium presentation is entitled, “The Mount Polley Mine Tailings Pond Breach: A Perspective from UNBC’s Quesnel River Research Centre on Aquatic Impacts”. The colloquium will be held in the Weldwood Theater 7-238 from 3:30 – 4:25 pm.

Young Naturalists’ Club of Prince George

The next Club outing will be on Sunday December 7th at The Exploration Place. Japanese fish art (Gyotaku) will be the seasonal nature craft for this year. Experience the wonder of using local salmon to make beautiful prints. In addition to the Gyotaku, participants will use nature objects such as leaves and cones as stamps to make smaller prints suitable for use in creating cards.

Young Naturalists Club is an exciting nature discovery and environmental action program that invites young people ages 5-12 years to discover nearby nature on Explorer Day Adventures with local experts, learn about native wildlife and plants in NatureWILD Magazine, and take part in environmental actions to protect their habitat with Stewardship Projects and an Action Awards Quest. For more information about this event or the Prince George Club, contact co-leaders Gail Ross, Michelle Sims and Guy Scharf at PGYNClub@gmail.com

Spiders – Maligned, Misunderstood, but Marvellous!

Staffan Lindgren’s presentation on November 20 at The Exploration Place kept attendees, especially arachnophobes, on the edge of their seats. Staffan has sent along a list of links for those wanting to learn more about spiders or possibly overcome their fears.

Catherine Scott’s blog about spiders: http://spiderbytes.org/

Three sites discussing the misconceptions of spider bites:

http://buzzhootroar.com/a-spider-did-not-bite-you/

http://arthropodecology.com/2012/02/15/spiders-do-not-bite/

http://www.scilogs.com/expiscor/the-truth-about-spider-bites-aggressive-spiders-and-the-threat-to-public-health/

Videos:

How primary eyes of jumping spiders move https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvN_ex95IcE

(And a short blog explaining jumping spider vision in more detail https://experiment.com/u/eYfCEg)

Courtship by Australian peacock spider https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_yYC5r8xMI

Net-casting spider (ogre-faced spider) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAuwriAgbSA

Bolas spider https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wl120RuhQYg

Trail and Observation Deck: More Photos

The observation deck crew hard at work in early October, down at the Hudson’s Bay Wetland. George Roberts led and directed the construction, which was carried out entirely by volunteers. See the November 6 post for a complete list of all volunteers!

Photo by Dora Hunter.

DSCN0880 Dora

Darren Adams of Darren Adams Contracting Ltd. built the accessible nature trail. Nowell Senior and Ron Neukomm did the levelling, compacting and site clean-up. Darren also gave volunteer hours when not operating his machinery.

Club members and visitors came out on November 9 to celebrate the completion of the new accessible observation deck and nature trail.

Deck Group 2

The group then gathered for a photo by the kiosk information sign installed last April.

Sign Group1

Many thanks to the organizations that provided funding for the deck, the trail and the kiosk sign. They include BC Nature, BC Naturalists’ Foundation, Pacific Salmon Foundation, TD Friends of the Environment and TransCanada.