Special Notice: Invasive Plant Cleanup at Carrie Jane Gray Park, Sunday September 10

Invasive Plant Cleanup at Carrie Jane Park, Sunday September 10, 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon
Wanted! Volunteers on very short notice to help remove flowers and seed heads of invasive plants at Carrie Jane Gray Park. The banks of the canals that feed into the Hudson’s Bay Wetland are again becoming infested with Himalayan Balsam and common tansy. Both plants are garden escapees that are pushing out native plants in natural areas. The Club is concerned that these invasives will spread into inaccessible parts of the Hudson’s Bay Wetland further downstream toward the Fraser River. 
 
Long pants, long-sleeved shirts and water-proof footwear are recommended as we will be working in wet areas. If possible, bring your own hand tool for cutting off flowers and seed heads, work gloves and a personal water bottle. Long bladed trimmers are also useful. The Club will provide garbage bags as well as extra work gloves and clippers if someone needs them. The work is suitable for adults and teens. We will meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97 under the big Save On Foods sign at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure time, to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling. This event is open to members and non-members. For more information, email Sandra at sjkinsey@direct.ca, voice: 250.963.8381 and text: 250.617.8381 or Dora Hunter, 250 596-6772 or email: hunterdora@shaw.ca.
 
For more information about Himalayan balsam see: http://nwipc.org/plants/himalayan-balsam as well as a whole range of other invasive plants at http://nwipc.org/invasive-plants/
Himalayan Balsam
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PGNC Events and Notes, September 4, 2017

Club Events

  1. Fungi Field Trip, Saturday September 9

Join us on September 9th for a walk to examine the fungi of Wilkins Regional Park. Dr. Keith Egger and Dr. Hugues Massicotte, both enthusiastic and expert mycologists, will lead the walk. Because Wilkins is a public park, we will leave our collecting baskets at home and leave any harvesting to the leaders. Consider bringing insect repellent, a snack, water, a magnifying glass and a camera. A magnifying mirror is a handy tool for examining the hidden structure of low-lying fungi. Meet at Spruceland Mall at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure to sign a waiver and to arrange car-pooling. Travel fee for passengers will be $3. This outing is open to members and non-members. For more information contact Dora Hunter at hunterdora@shaw.ca

  1. Wednesday Walkers, September 13

On Wednesday, September 13, the Wednesday Walk will return to Forests For The World where we will continue our exploration of the trails near the Shane Lake/UNBC neighbourhood. We’ll meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97 under the big Save On Foods sign at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure time, to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling. Travel cost for passengers will be $2 for gas. The walk will end around noon. All are welcome on this walk. Call Dora Hunter for more information. (250) 596-6772 or hunterdora@shaw.ca

  1. Tracking birds using RFID, 7 p.m. Thursday September 21, at The Exploration Place

Guest speaker for the first presentation night of the new season is Jacob M. Bailey, M.Sc. student at UNBC in the department of Natural Sciences and Environmental Studies. Using radio-frequency identification (RFID) to track their movements, Jacob is studying the impact of gaps in habitat on the movement decisions of Black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus). Jacob will explain the technology involved, and also show slides of his work in the field. Everyone welcome.

  1. Wednesday Walkers, September 27

On Wednesday, September 27, the Wednesday Walk will explore the area of the Greenway off Westcrest Road on Cranbrook Hill. We’ll meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97 under the big Save On Foods sign at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure time, to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling. Travel cost for passengers will be $3 for gas. The walk will end around noon. All are welcome on this walk. Call Dora Hunter for more information. (250) 596-6772 or hunterdora@shaw.ca

Field Trip Reports

  1. Field Trip to Shelley Lagoon, August 20

Report by Angie Joiner: Sandra Kinsey and I led a trip to the Shelley “smelly” Lagoons and the weather was pretty good for a walk around the ponds. It wasn’t even very smelly. We had 17 participants and we were treated to a number of good shorebird sightings. The City is doing a lot of work constructing a new road around the back lagoon (lagoon 5?). Ironically, that’s where the majority of the shorebirds were. Some highlights of the trip were the 3 Red-necked Phalaropes whirling around in the first lagoon. They are so funny to watch. We were also delighted to see many Least Sandpipers who were joined by a couple of Western Sandpipers and a Semipalmated Sandpiper. I would argue the bird of the day was a Stilt Sandpiper mingling with a group of Long-billed Dowitchers. Later, we saw a second Stilt Sandpiper. If you are interested in viewing our complete list please see the eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S38808930. If you use eBird and have photos from the trip please add them. Thanks to everyone who came out with us!

Club Notes

  1. NRES Institute Colloquium, 3:30 p.m. Friday September 15, 2017, UNBC Room 8-164

Primary Forests and Roadless Areas in the “Anthropocene”: Why we need wild places for our survival. The most recent NRESi Newsletter notes: Primary forests and roadless areas around the world are disappearing at an alarming rate. This comes with grave consequences to biodiversity, ecosystem services, and potentially human health. Dr. Dominick DellaSala of the Geos Institute www.geosinstitute.org will present published research on why these areas are key to human survival and what is being done internationally to call attention to their plight. For more information on this event and the full Colloquium schedule visit http://www.unbc.ca/nres-institute/colloquium-series

  1. Great News for Arctic Bird Conservation

Tallurutiup Imanga, Canada’s newest national marine conservation area, located in Lancaster Sound, will protect twelve of Canada’s Arctic Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) from industrial threats. For more details about the twelve IBAs visit BC Nature’s website and its related links at arctic-bird-conservation/

  1. Funding for Fish and Wildlife Grants Available Now

Are you interested in a grant for a fish or wildlife project in B.C.’s Peace Region? Apply to the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program. Submit mandatory Notice of Intent by September 8, 2017.  It’s the first step. Learn more. Contact us at Fwcp.ca

PGNC Events and Notes, August 19, 2017

Club Events

  1. Field Trip to Shelley Lagoons, Sunday August 20

There will be a field trip to the Shelley Lagoons (also known as the Smelly Lagoons) on Sunday August 20 to look at shorebirds and ducks. We will be walking about one kilometer around the lagoons on a gravel road. Closed footwear is recommended. Bring binoculars if you have them; scopes will be available. Dress for the weather –  a jacket if it’s a cool day, a hat if it’s sunny. Bug spray is optional. Meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97 under the big Save On Foods sign at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure time, to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling. This event is open to members and non-members. For more information, email Sandra at sjkinsey@direct.ca.

  1. Wednesday Walkers August 23

On August 23, 2017, we’ll visit the trails and fields west of Kueng Road. We’ll meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97 under the big Save On Foods sign at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure time, to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling. Travel cost for passengers will be $2 for gas. All are welcome on this walk. Call Dora Hunter for more information: 250-596-6772.

  1. Fungi Field Trip to Wilkins Regional Park, Saturday September 9

On Saturday September 9 the Club is hosting a field trip to learn more about fungi.  More details to come.

  1. Thursday Night Presentations

The Executive is busy lining up a series of presenters on the third Thursday of the month from September to November 2017 and January to May 2018. If you know of a presentation that would be of interest, please send us an email at pgnaturalists@hotmail.ca. Save the dates and stay tuned for more details.

Club Notes

  1. Solar Eclipse, Monday August 21

Prince George will experience a partial eclipse of the sun on the morning of Monday August 21. The Royal Astronomical Society of BC will open its observatory to the Prince George public from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For details about location and parking visit the Society’s website at http://pgrasc.org. The Exploration Place is hosting solar eclipse activities from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, including the NASA livestream. The first 100 visitors will receive free eclipse sunglasses (providing they arrive on time!)

For tips on eye safety while watching an eclipse, visit NASA at https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive-info. NASA’s livestreaming of the eclipse will also be available on the same page.

  1. Protection of Tallurutiup Imanga /Lancaster Sound

On August 14, Canada, Nunavut and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association announced an agreement on the final boundary for a future national marine conservation area in the high Arctic. To read why this is important to all Canadians, see https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/amnc-nmca/cnamnc-cnnmca/lancaster and check out the short video on this significant region.

Fish Rescue – August 6th, 2017

The Prince George Naturalists Club will be helping the Department of Fisheries and Oceans with a fish rescue on Tabor Creek on Sunday morning, August 6.

Meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97, under the big Save On Foods sign,  at 8:30 a.m., to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling.

Anyone interested in helping is welcome to come along. Bring water, hat, sunglasses, rubber boots, snack.

There appears to have been a significant amount of young fish stranded in Tabor Creek,  as the water levels have dropped significantly. Species rescued so far are Chinook, Rainbow, Red Side Shiner, Sucker, Northern Pike Minnow, Long Nose Dace, White Fish.

For more information contact Sandra at 250.963.8381 or sjkinsey@direct.ca.

PGNC Events and Notes, August 1, 2017

Club Events

  1. Wednesday Walkers, August 9 

On August 9, 2017, we’ll walk at Wilkins Park in Miworth. The site, while not large, offers a variety of habitats. The trails are near river level, making for easy walking. We’ll meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97 under the big Save On Foods sign at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure time, to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling. Travel cost for passengers will be $3 for gas. All are welcome on this walk. Call Dora Hunter for more information:250- 596-6772.

  1. Field Trip to Shelley Lagoons, Sunday August 20

There will be a field trip to the Shelley Lagoons (also known as the Smelly Lagoons) on Sunday August 20 to look at shorebirds and ducks. We will be walking about one kilometer around the lagoons on a gravel road. Closed footwear is recommended. Bring binoculars if you have them; scopes will be available. Dress for the weather –  a jacket if it’s a cool day, a hat if it’s sunny. Bug spray is optional. Meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97 under the big Save On Foods sign at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure time, to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling. This event is open to members and non-members. For more information, email Sandra at sjkinsey@direct.ca.

  1. Wednesday Walkers August 23

On August 23, 2017, we’ll visit the trails and fields west of Kueng Road. We’ll meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97 under the big Save On Foods sign at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure time, to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling. Travel cost for passengers will be $2 for gas. All are welcome on this walk. Call Dora Hunter for more information: 250-596-6772.

Field trip reports

  1. Invasive plants cleanup at Hudson’s Bay Wetland, July 25

Seven happy volunteers worked on the south side of the Wetland near the footbridge and the observation deck. We collected twelve large contractor bags with common tansy, Canada thistle and other spreading plants.

  1. Wednesday Walkers at Shane Lake, July 26

On July 26th six of us, including one fire evacuee from Williams Lake, walked around Shane Lake at Forests for the World. Summer is well underway with most shrubs sporting berries and the asters and goldenrod coming into bloom.  Thirteen species of birds were noted, but except for begging young birds, the woods were quiet. A MacGillivray’s warbler was a highlight for one sharp-eyed birder. A duck feeding on Reflection Lake, even after much discussion, remained a mystery.

DSCN2048 Small

Club Notes

  1. Message from the Executive

The PGNC Executive regrets to advise that Clive Keen has resigned from the Executive for personal reasons. Clive was instrumental in reinvigorating the Club at a public meeting at UNBC in November  2010 and was the inspiration behind the Hudson’s Bay Wetland project which he saw as a Club legacy for residents of Prince George. He led the original Events Planning Committee which also included Sandra Kinsey, Anne Hogan and Carol Fairhurst. He retired as President in 2014 to encourage another generation of leaders to take over the reins. Clive is one of many members of the Executive who have shared their skills and strengths for the benefit of the Club. Today we have a growing membership, an active Executive and a legacy project at the Hudson’s Bay Wetland that continues in partnership with the City of Prince George, Caledonia Ramblers and other organizations. Thank you Clive for your inspiration and contributions.

  1. Purple Violet Green Flowers in Your Lawn?

Several people have noticed a small purple flower growing in their lawns. It’s Prunella vulgaris or self-heal, which has long been used medicinally. It’s an introduced species and a member of the mint family. It grows from a rhizome and may be difficult to eradicate. In at least one local lawn, it grows alongside another mint. Mowing keeps both varieties under control, creates a soft carpet to walk on, and generates a wonderful fresh scent with every footstep.

  1. Northwest Invasive Plant Council at the BCNE

Will you be in the Prince George area between August 17 and 20? Attend the BC Northern Exhibition for free! Help out at the NWIPC Information Booth. The Northwest Invasive Plant Council is asking for volunteers to help out. You do not need to be an invasive species expert. Just bring a passion for educating the public on the impacts of non-native invasive species. Help us spread the word on how we can help prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species! Booth hours: August 17, 18, 19 (Thursday – Saturday) 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM August 20 (Sunday) 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. You can expect to be helping out for 2 – 3 hours, depending on day and time. Contact Penni Adams, NWIPC Program Manager manager@nwipc.org. Or call toll free 1-866-449-3337 – Leave a message with your contact information and we will get back to you.

PGNC Events and Notes, sent 22 July, 2017

Club Events

1. Invasive Plants Cleanup, Hudson’s Bay Wetland, Tuesday July 25, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. 
Club members and supporters are invited to help out on Tuesday July 25 to cut flower heads of common tansy and Canada Thistle. We will also dig out clumps of immature tansy plants where feasible. Meet at the small parking lot at The Exploration Place, 333 Becott Place in Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park to register. We will walk to the Wetland from there. 
 
Long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe footwear are recommended as we will be working in tall grass. If possible, bring your own hand tool for cutting off flowers and seed heads, work gloves and a personal water bottle. Long bladed trimmers are also useful. The Club will provide garbage bags as well as extra work gloves and clippers if someone needs them. The work is suitable for adults and teens. Non-members, especially temporary visitors to Prince George, are most welcome to join us for some outdoor therapy! For more information, contact Dora at hunterdora@shaw.ca.  
 
2. Wednesday Walkers, July 26 
On this walk we will circumnavigate Shane Lake at Forests for the World. Bring your binoculars to view the flotillas of young ducks that are often spotted there each summer. Because the trail is not rugged, sturdy shoes are adequate for hiking. We’ll meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97 under the big Save On Foods sign. We meet there, at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure time, to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling. All are welcome on this hike. We extend a special welcome to fire evacuees.
 
3. Hike at Pidherny Bog Trail (Swamp X), Saturday, July 29
This hike will do a loop from Summer Place. The trail is on a combination of retired Forest Service Roads and mountain bike trails. A boardwalk aids crossing the bog, where we’ll see Sundew and Bog Cranberry. There are a few long hills and several short steeper hills, so you might want to bring your walking stick and wear sturdy shoes. Bring water, bug repellent and, as we’ll be out for a few hours, a snack. We’ll meet in the parking lot at the Spruceland Shopping Mall at the corner of 5th Avenue and Hwy 97 under the big Save On Foods sign, at 9:20 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. departure time, to sign a waiver and arrange car-pooling. All are welcome on this hike. We extend a special welcome to fire evacuees. 
 
Report on July 12 Wednesday Walk:
Our visit to Ferguson Lake Nature Park added some new species to our checklist for the park. Most notable were Creeping Snowberry (Gaultheria hispidula) and Spotted Coral-root (Corallorhiza maculata). At a glance the Creeping Snowberry could be confused with either Bog Cranberry or even Twinflower. As our photo shows it loves to perch on a sphagnum-covered stump. The Coral-root, like all in that genus, is a saprophyte feeding on decaying matter in the soil – no need for food-producing green leaves or even sunny days.
Spotted Coral-rootCreeping Snowberry
Club Notes
 
1. Mugaha Banding Station, Mackenzie – Volunteers Needed
Message from Vi Lambie: Mackenzie Nature Observatory still has some openings for volunteers for this fall season.   A couple of our long term volunteers had to cancel their times at the banding station so more time is available.  If you are interested in volunteering for a few days during any of these time periods please let us know. Dates available: July 26 – August 2, August 12 – August 17, August 21 – August 24, August 30 – September 7, September 11- September14. We started banding on July 19th.  We open at sunrise (time is adjusted at the 15 min interval) – at present the opening round is 5 am and we close at 11 am.  For more information please send an email to Vi Lambie at JLambie@telus.net
2. New Conservation Area, Valemount
Nature Conservancy Canada has established its first conservation area near Valemount. The 12 hectare (29-acre) Anne Hicks Conservation Area is on the banks of Swift Creek.  Read more about the significant features of this special area at http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/where-we-work/british-columbia/featured-projects/anne-hicks-conservation-area.html

PGNC Events and Notes, 9 July, 2017

Club Events

1. Wednesday Walkers, July 12
This Wednesday we’ll be visiting Ferguson Lake, a walk featuring both woods and a boardwalk over a marsh with relatively flat terrain throughout. Ferguson Creek drains north into Wright Creek which in turn runs under Hwy 97 and into the Salmon River. As always, meet under the large Spruceland Mall sign for car pooling and waiver-signing in time for a prompt 9:30 a.m. departure. Walks finish around noon.
Report on the June 28th walk:
Seven of us took a short walk on the Tabor Mountain Recreation trail off Klein road. There we found many species of woodland flowers with the highlight being a Round-leaved rein orchid (Platanthera orbiculata) with its two, flat-to-the-ground basal leaves, each as big as the palm of your hand. Photo below. Then we were off to the nearby Great West Life Mobility Trail to see, in particular, five species of ferns: Ostrich fern (Matteucia struthiopteris), Lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina), Spiny wood fern (Dryopteris expansa), Oak fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris) and, tucked in a rock crevice, a special treat Fragile fern (Cystopteris fragilis).   – Dora Hunter.
Round Leaved rein orchid
2. Shorebird Migrants at the Shelley Lagoons, Trip Date TBA
The annual run of southerly migrating shorebirds has started, and will be building up in coming weeks. When the run is at its prime, a short-notice announcement of a trip will be sent out. A dozen species can be expected during the July-August passage, and there’s always the possibility of a true rarity, particularly since these are in vogue at present (see below).
3. Fungi identification Trip, Wilkins Park, Saturday, 9 September
We’re pleased to say that fungi expert Keith Egger will be leading this trip. Meet at Spruceland for a 9:30 departure.
Club Notes
 
1. Yet more rarities
The latest report of a rarity in our region is the most surprising yet – a Curve-billed Thrasher, the first ever in BC, seen and photographed at Francois Lake. See http://bcbirdalert.blogspot.ca/ .

Below is a different sort of rarity, spotted in the Shelley area. It’s  a common enough bird – a Pine Siskin – but it’s a rare leucistic (white) form.  Talking of birds, watch out for very young ones on the road at this time of year – they’ve not yet learned to get out of the way.

Leucistic Siskin
2. Tick Safety
Following up on the earlier discussion of the dangers of ticks, Jack Bowling sends a simple tip (attached document) for staying tick-safe.