PGNC News and Notes, September 9, 2020

  • Prince George Naturalists Club Executive
  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • Report: Weed Pull, Hudson’s Bay Wetland, Saturday August 22
  • Dr. Hugues Massicotte Retires
  • Beaverly Community Association Lost Lake Trails: public input deadline September 24
  • Regional Parks Plan Review: survey deadline September 30
  • Takla Nation Fish Hatchery
  • Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

Prince George Naturalists Club Events and News


Prince George Naturalists Club Executive

The March 19 Annual General Meeting had to be cancelled due to pandemic restrictions. It may be some time before the Club can schedule an AGM, either in person or online. In the meantime, members of the current Executive are staying on to help guide the Club through these pandemic times. For a list of directors, visit the Club’s blog at: https://pgnc.wordpress.com/737-2/. The Executive will continue to conduct any necessary business by email or phone as needed.


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


Club Reports

Prince George Naturalists Club, Weed Pull, Saturday August 22, Hudson’s Bay Wetland

The last weed pull of the year successfully finished off the Deck 2 (north side) area at Hudson’s Bay Wetland. Besides helping the environment, this was a great opportunity for networking with the public.  People stopped by to ask what we were doing and why. Some were checking on us to make sure we were doing good work to protect the park, not just pulling out flowering plants on a whim. This was good to hear. It showed a sense of stewardship for the area.

Results this day were:  9 bags of Tansy, half a bag of Salsify, half a bag of thistle, half a bag of Burdock and a quarter bag of Campanula and Dalmatian Toadflax. The Burdock is a new one for us (see photos below). We had seen a clump of these huge-leaved plants last year. When we saw the clump this year, with the 7-foot stem of burrs, identification was confirmed! It has a 2-year cycle. It is an invasive also. We also found a strange fungus called Dog Stinkhorn (Mutinus caninus).

Many thanks to members who came out for all or some of the weed pulls: Dora H, Ric M, Anne H, Bonnie W, Jennifer M, Nancy Ku, Miguel, Laird L, and Linda C.; and to Audrey Faber of the Northwest Invasive Plant Council for her encouragement and weed pulling (report by Sandra Kinsey, photos by Miguel Trompo).


Editor’s note: Special thanks to Sandra Kinsey who organized and led all four weed pulls at the Hudson’s Bay Wetland and Carrie Jane Gray Park this year. They gave members a chance to socialize at a distance while removing invasive plants. The events were productive and fun!

Other Events and News

Dr. Hugues Massicotte Retires
Dr. Hugues Massicotte retired from UNBC this July. Hugues, aided and abetted by his partner Linda Tackaberry, is one of the Club’s favourite presenters. He has entertained and educated us with his presentations and field trips on fungi. Fortunately Hugues and Linda continue to reside in Prince George so we may be able to draw on them for fungi field trips and presentations at a future date.  

Hugues received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Natural Resources and Environmental Services Institute. Here’s the NRESi summary of Hugues’ contributions while at UNBC:
Hugues was an original NRES Faculty member in the Forestry Program. He is an outstanding colleague, researcher, teacher, and community member. Hugues engaged in many collaborative and multidisciplinary research projects throughout his career at UNBC with a wide number of colleagues, and was very successfully funded. Collectively, this work resulted in an impressive array of publications (82 peer-reviewed journal articles to date (10 more in the works); 1 co-authored book, 7 book chapters, 11 conference papers, 7 book chapters, 139 meeting and conference presentations and posters – and a host of other non-refereed articles and letters.  Perhaps even more importantly, Hugues gave 58 media interviews across his nearly 26 years at UNBC, many for Radio Canada en francais. As a professional forester (Laval), mycologist and ectomycorrizal expert, his skills (and Linda’s) were very much sought after. Hugues, and his partner Linda Tackaberry, also contributed to many types of multidisplinary service external to the UNBC campus. Dr. Massicotte’s expertise and passion for natural history, particularly plants and their fungal root associations, were in constant demand by Prince George and BC communities.  His ability to identify sporocarps (aka mushrooms), often from poor specimens left in bags on his office door or from field trips and courses, epitomizes his tireless enthusiasm for his discipline.


Beaverly Community Association Lost Lake Trails: public input deadline September 24
The Beaverly Community Association recently submitted an application to develop and maintain a system of trails in the vicinity of Lost Lake. The BC Government is accepting comments on this submission until September 24, 2020.We are expecting the comments from the community will be overwhelmingly in support of having the Beaverly Community Association develop and maintain the trail system. This expectation is due to the immense amount of time and community engagement that has already gone into designing the trail system. Comments on our community application can be made on the BC Government Crown Lands website until September 24, 2020: https://comment.nrs.gov.bc.ca/applications?clidDtid=7410134&id=5f46d23c4c007e0021b1069b#detailsPlease encourage your neighbours and others to provide their comments. Questions about the Beaverly Community Association application can be directed to Doug Beckett at druid@pgweb.com or 250-560-5556.

Regional Parks Plan Review: survey deadline September 30The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George is updating and reviewing its Regional Parks Plan to provide a clear direction, vision and priorities for regional parks over the next ten years. Public input is essential. For more information on the Review and access to the survey, see: http://www.rdffg.bc.ca/services/environment/regional-parks/regional-parks-plan-review. The online survey is open until September 30.

Takla Nation Fish Hatchery
Takla Nation is planning to install a small fish hatchery in response to current salmon declines. Here’s a video by Takla Nation about the project: https://www.facebook.com/TaklaNation/videos/344331510077754 (submitted by Mike Nash).


Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud
Todd Whitcombe recently wrote a fascinating story in the local paper on the role of mud in our world: https://tinyurl.com/yxnhsamc. This has been the summer of mud, and who doesn’t have vivid memories of playing in mud as a child, hiking in mud, trying to build a house on mud, and hoping against hope to grow a garden in mud. Mud is definitely glorious even if we find it frustrating at times.

PGNC News and Notes, August 19, 2020

    • Prince George Naturalists Club, Weed Pull, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday August 22, Hudson’s Bay Wetland
    • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
    • Report: Invasive Plant Cleanup, Hudson’s Bay Wetland, Saturday August 15
    • A note about the PGNC at work at the Hudson’s Bay Wetland

Prince George Naturalists Club Events and News

Prince George Naturalists Club, Weed Pull, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday August 22, Hudson’s Bay Wetland
 
The Prince George Naturalists Club will hold another weed pull at Hudson’s Bay Wetland on Saturday August 22 to continue removing common tansy and other invasive plants at the Club’s second observation deck, located east of Queensway and north of  the channel. We expect to finish cleaning up this area for the season.
Club members (and potential Club members) are invited to meet in the parking lot at The Exploration Place at 9 a.m. for waiver signing and a quick introduction to techniques for removing tansy. For those arriving after 9 a.m., the observation deck is also accessible from the foot of Ingledew Street at 20th Avenue. There is space for parking and a gate into Lheidli T’enneh Park. You will see and hear us on your right as you walk in on the paved path.
 
Bring your favourite hand tool for cutting off flowers and seed heads, or your favourite shovel for digging tansy, as well as work gloves and a personal water bottle. Participants should consider wearing long pants, long sleeves and sturdy footwear as the tansy is growing in long grass and among tall bushes. Bring personal hand sanitizer if possible. The Club will provide garbage bags, extra work gloves, and clippers if someone needs them. The work is suitable for adults and teens. There’s work for all levels of ability and there’s lots of room for social distancing. Come for an hour or come for the day – whatever length of time works best for you. For more information, email Sandra at sjkinsey@direct.ca, or phone 250.963.8381.
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 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/
 
Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club field trips, 10% discount on bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 
Club Reports
Invasive Plant Cleanup, Hudson’s Bay Wetland, Saturday August 15
We have been very lucky with the weather for our weed pulls this summer! Last Saturday was no exception. The sky clouded over part way through the day, giving relief to the dedicated weed pullers. A stop for Dora’s Nanaimo
Bars made for a welcome break. Like the other areas we have worked in this year, we are seeing results in this area by Deck 2. Even the northern and eastern edge of the area are looking better and they were cleaned up only last year.

Results: 9 garbage bags of Tansy, 1 bag of Salsify, 1/4 bag of thistle, 1/10 of a bag with Dalmatian Toadflax, and 1/10 bag of Campanula. The Campanula is a tall pretty purple-y blue bell flower spike that can be seen all over town. Thanks to the eight volunteers who gave up part or all of their Saturday for this important project. Many hands make light work (report by Sandra Kinsey. Photos by Dora Hunter and Sandra).
1 weeds Deck 2 10 bags IMG_1190
2 weeds Deck 2 IMG_1186
3 weeds Deck 2 IMG_1185
These tansy plants are standing tall and waiting to be harvested on August 22!
A note about the PGNC at work at the Hudson’s Bay Wetland
The Prince George Naturalists Club began work at the Hudson’s Bay Wetland in 2014, installing interpretation signs, building observation decks and removing invasive plants. In 2015, volunteers did considerable replanting with native plants in the area of Deck 1 by the yellow footbridge. While working on recent weed pulls in this area, we noticed that the wild currants are doing well with lots of tasty berries. Also doing well are the wild roses, yarrow and spruce trees.
Why is the Wetland so important to the Club and to local residents? As a wetland in the heart of the city it provides many opportunities to observe nature on our doorstep. One of its many functions is to drain stormwater from the west side of Prince George into the Fraser River. In recent years Club members have held work parties every summer to reduce the volume of invasive plants and prevent their spread down the Fraser.
The Northwest Invasive Plant Council recognizes the work the Club is doing. From a recent NWIPC email:  “The work your group has and is doing to help the NWIPC get invasive plants under control and hopefully eradicated, as in the case of Himalayan balsam, is starting to pay off. Please pass my sincere thanks to the group and also to Dave for his above and beyond work on the Himalyan balsam. It would be a shame to see it reappear in the Wetlands after all the work the group did with Andrea Eastham when she was with the NWIPC”.

PGNC News & Notes, August 13, 2020

    • Prince George Naturalists Club, Weed Pull, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday August 15, Hudson’s Bay Wetland
    • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
    • Report: Invasive Plant Cleanup, Hudson’s Bay Wetland, Sunday July 26
    • Report: Mesh Removal From Wilson Park Pond, Tuesday August 4
    • Report: Weed Pull at Carrie Jane Gray Park, Saturday August 8
    • Birding at Hudson’s Bay Wetland

Prince George Naturalists Club Events and News

Prince George Naturalists Club, Weed Pull, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday August 15, Hudson’s Bay Wetland
 
The Prince George Naturalists Club will hold another weed pull at Hudson’s Bay Wetland to remove common tansy and other invasive plants. We will be working at the Club’s second observation deck, located east of Queensway and north of  the channel.
Club members (and potential Club members) are invited to meet in the parking lot at The Exploration Place at 9 a.m. for waiver signing and a quick introduction to techniques for removing tansy. For those arriving after 9 a.m., the observation deck is also accessible from the foot of Ingledew Street at 20th Avenue. There is space for parking and a gate into Lheidli T’enneh Park. You will see and hear us on your right as you walk in on the paved path.
 
Bring your favourite hand tool for cutting off flowers and seed heads, or your favourite shovel for digging tansy, as well as work gloves and a personal water bottle. Participants should consider wearing long pants and sturdy footwear as the tansy is growing in long grass. Bring personal hand sanitizer if possible. The Club will provide garbage bags, extra work gloves, and clippers if someone needs them, along with disinfectant for cleaning gloves and tools. The work is suitable for adults and teens. There’s work for all levels of ability and there’s lots of room for social distancing. Come for an hour or come for the day – whatever length of time works best for you.For more information, email Sandra at sjkinsey@direct.ca, or phone 250.963.8381.
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 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/
 
Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club field trips, 10% discount on bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 

Club Reports

 
Invasive Plant Cleanup, Hudson’s Bay Wetland, Sunday July 26
 
The PGNC held its first weed pull of the year at Hudson’s Bay Wetland on the morning of July 26. It was a very productive day, not too hot with a pleasant breeze that kept the mosquitos at bay. Six Club members worked from the yellow footbridge to the first observation deck. There was considerable tansy on the corner by the Heritage Trail but the group got most of it out. Canada Thistle was abundant between the channel and the trail. It was all cut down. Final count was six bags of thistle and seven bags of tansy. It was fun working together with other members outdoors, with lots of space to maintain respectful social distance.
Mesh Removal From Wilson Park Pond, Tuesday August 4
 
A few years ago, as part of an upgrading of the water pumping facilities along the Nechako, the City of Prince George undertook a major landscaping project. A pond with access to the Nechako was created. To prevent erosion while vegetation became established, a series of meshes were employed. These were meant to be photo-degradable, however one layer of mesh, in particular, remained strong. This, combined with the fact that the meshes were no longer anchored securely, resulted in the mesh rolling into unsightly mounds that posed a threat to wildlife and to the trees and shrubs growing through it.

 

In June, with permission from the City, Rob and Bonnie Watt and I removed three bags of mesh. This was followed by a visit to the site with City employees. They agreed the situation should be remedied, and expressed appreciation for the work we had already done. On August 4th nine PGNC members removed nine more bags of mesh. I would like to thank Doreen Dyson, Darilyn Giesbrecht, Sandra Kinsey, Jennifer Medd, Ric Mlynarczyk, Miguel Trompo, Bonnie Watt, and Rob Watt for a job well done. (Report by Dora Hunter, photos by Miguel Trompo).
IMG_3317
IMG_3315
IMG_3319
Weed Pull at Carrie Jane Gray Park, Saturday August 8
 
Many hands do make for light work. Nine people attacked the invasive plants along the channel at Carrie Jane Gray Park on Saturday, August 8. The target species, Himalayan Balsam, took up a meager quarter bag. This is good! The club’s annual work here has brought the H. Balsam under control. The Tansy situation is also improving, and it’s a lot easier to remove now too as we are removing new shoots, rather than established plants. The Canada Thistle, well, it will take longer to see if we are winning. Results were four bags of Tansy, two bags of Thistle, and the bit of H. Balsam. The City of Prince George and the Northwest Invasive Plant Council appreciate all our work. Thank you to everyone who came out to help! After the formal work party, four eager weed pullers moved over to the area behind the Citizen Ball Diamond and filled another four bags with Tansy. (Report by Sandra Kinsey, photos by Miguel Trompo).
20200808 CJG Ric Laird IMG_1096
20200808 CJG 10 bags invasives IMG_1101
20200808 CJG Pk AH DH JM IMG_3354
20200808htoftansyCJGIMG_1099[2]

Other Events and News

Birding at Hudson’s Bay Wetland
An avid birdwatcher made the Four-Deck Tour at Hudson’s Bay Wetland (HBW) at midday on August 9. There were at least a dozen Yellow-rumped Warblers. Most, or all, were Hatch Year birds on the treed hillside west of Queensway. Finally! We haven’t had many detections of this species when out birding the past few weeks. 

HBW also had a dozen peeps including Western Sandpipers and Least Sandpipers, some Greater Yellowlegs and a Long-billed Dowitcher on the mud bar that extends into the pond on the west side of Queensway. Perhaps this will be our “shorebird spot” this fall.
For those who are not familiar with the Hudson’s Bay Wetland, it’s a large nature park located in downtown Prince George. The Prince George Naturalists Club constructed four observation decks at the Wetland and currently maintains them for public use. Two are located east of Queensway and two are on the west side. The Park is accessible from Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park and a small parking lot on Queensway Street across from Regents Crescent. Here’s a link to the City of Prince George page describing the park: https://tinyurl.com/yypbent9 And also a link to the long list of birds seen at the Wetland: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L445353

PGNC News and Notes, August 5, 2020

  • Prince George Naturalists Club, Invasive Plant Cleanup, Carrie Jane Gray Park, Saturday August 8, 9 a.m. to 12 noon
  • Prince George Naturalists Club, Weed Pull, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday August 15, Hudson’s Bay Wetland
  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • A Wolverine Experience

Prince George Naturalists Club Events and News

Prince George Naturalists Club, Invasive Plant Cleanup, Carrie Jane Gray Park, Saturday August 8, 9 a.m. to 12 noon

Come on out on Saturday August 8 to help remove invasive Himalayan Balsam at Carrie Jane Gray Park in Prince George. This pretty pink flower grows so well it crowds out our native species. We don’t want the seeds floating down the channel toward the Fraser River. It’s an annual that dies off in the fall, leaving the stream bank open to more erosion. For more information about Himalayan balsam and common tansy see: http://nwipc.org/invasive-plants

Long pants, long-sleeved shirts and sturdy, water-proof footwear are recommended (no sandals or open-toed shoes) as we may 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. Bring personal hand sanitizer if possible. Long bladed trimmers are also useful. The Club will provide garbage bags as well as extra work gloves and clippers if someone needs them, and also sanitizer for disinfecting tools. The work is suitable for adults and teens. 
 
We will meet in the small gravel parking lot behind the ball diamonds to sign a waiver and review how to remove the plants. There are two access roads from Massey Drive. The first is north of the new firehall currently under construction. The second is at Laverdure Way, behind the YWCA, past the horseshoe pits, then follow the paved road. You’ll see us in the small gravel parking lot at the far end of Carrie Jane Gray Park. This event is open to members and non-members. We’re hoping to get at least ten people out to help as there is lots of room for social distancing.  For more information, email Sandra at sjkinsey@direct.ca, voice: 250.963.8381 and text: 250.617.8381.
 
Prince George Naturalists Club, Weed Pull, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday August 15, Hudson’s Bay Wetland
 
The Prince George Naturalists Club will hold another weed pull at Hudson’s Bay Wetland to remove common tansy and other invasive plants. We will be working at the Club’s observation deck located east of Queensway and north of  the channel.
Club members (and potential Club members) are invited to meet in the parking lot at The Exploration Place at 9 a.m. for waiver signing and a quick introduction to techniques for removing tansy. For those arriving after 9 a.m., the observation deck is also accessible from the foot of Ingledew Street at 20th Avenue. There is space for parking and a gate into Lheidli T’enneh Park. You will see and hear us on your right as you walk in on the paved path.
 
Bring your favourite hand tool for cutting off flowers and seed heads, or your favourite shovel for digging tansy, as well as work gloves and a personal water bottle. Participants should consider wearing long pants and sturdy footwear as the tansy is growing in long grass. Bring personal hand sanitizer if possible. The Club will provide garbage bags, extra work gloves, and clippers if someone needs them, along with disinfectant for cleaning gloves and tools. The work is suitable for adults and teens. There’s work for all levels of ability and there’s lots of room for social distancing. For more information, email Sandra at sjkinsey@direct.ca, voice: 250.963.8381 and text: 250.617.8381.
PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
The Executive is very pleased that Club members continue to renew their memberships online or by mail. 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 the monthly eNews from them.
Memberships 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/
 
Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club field trips, 10% discount on bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 

Other Events and News

 
The Exploration Place Weekly Challenge for Citizen Scientists
The Museum is running a weekly Nature Challenge for citizen scientists in conjunction with BC Parks Foundation. Lisa Connor of The Exploration Place just posted this week’s challenge called Clownin’ Around. Here’s the information: Finishing up International Clown Week has us wondering just how many jesters can be found in nature. From fish to funny antics of squirrels, we think this is a great way to tickle our funny bones by having you send in your thoughts, photos and videos depicting clowns found everyday clowning around making you laugh and smile. Points will be awarded for all submissions to be traded into our Nature Exchange upon reopening.
 
Information about the weekly challenges is available at The Exploration Place Nature Exchange Facebook group. Nature Exchange “encourages people of all ages to appreciate nature and learn about the biological and physical components of our environment, through observation, background research, and responsible collecting”.The Prince George Naturalists Club will be participating in the Museum’s weekly Nature Challenge, with more details to come soon.
A Wolverine Experience 
From Mike Nash: Attached is an image of a rare encounter with a wolverine while I was descending off Little Shovel Pass on the Skyline Trail last week. It ran across scree in the gully just below me and up to the snow patch on the other side, where it sprawled in the snow to cool off. This was my third wolverine sighting in 42 years of roaming the mountains of western Canada. It was fairly close for a wolverine sighting at about 150 metres initially, ranging to 200 metres at the snow patch. Of my other two sightings, one was much more distant from a high ridge in Erg Mountain Provincial Park and the other was an astonishing face-to-face (two metre) standoff while bushwhacking around an alpine lake below Viking Ridge in BC’s Sugarbowl-Grizzly Den Provincial Park. This latest one was in between distance wise.
Wolverine JNP 1 of 2

PGNC News and Notes, July 22, 2020

  • PGNC Weed Pull, 9 a.m. Sunday July 26, Hudson’s Bay Wetland
  • PGNC Annual General Meeting
  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • The Exploration Place closed until spring 2021
  • City of Prince George Seeking Feedback on Pidherny Recreation Site
  • Two Revitalized Trails in the Inland Rainforest
  • The Exploration Place Weekly Challenge for Citizen Scientists
Prince George Naturalists Club Events and News
Prince George Naturalists Club Weed Pull, 9 a.m. Sunday July 26, Hudson’s Bay Wetland
 
The Prince George Naturalists Club will hold its first weed pull of the year, to remove common tansy and other invasive plants at the Hudson’s Bay Wetland. Club members are invited to meet in the parking lot at The Exploration Place at 9 a.m. for waiver signing and a quick introduction to techniques for removing tansy. Bring your favourite hand tool for cutting off flowers and seed heads, or your favourite shovel for digging tansy, as well as work gloves and a personal water bottle. Participants should consider wearing long pants and waterproof footwear, and bring personal hand sanitizer if possible. The Club will provide garbage bags, extra work gloves, and clippers if someone needs them, along with disinfectant for cleaning gloves and tools. There’s work for all levels of ability and there’s lots of room for social distancing. The work is suitable for adults and teens. For more information, email Sandra at sjkinsey@direct.ca, voice: 250.963.8381 and text: 250.617.8381.
Prince George Naturalists Club Annual General Meeting
The pandemic lockdown in March meant that the Club’s Annual General Meeting had to be postponed. We will be looking for a suitable venue that meets all the requirements for in-person gatherings during the pandemic.The current Executive is serving until a date can be set, hopefully in the fall and with an in-person meeting rather than online.
The current Executive includes Vice-President Heather Meier, Treasurer Sandra Kinsey, Secretary Anne Hogan, BC Nature Director Dave Leman, David Breault, Blaire Smith and Sandra Hepburn. There are currently three vacancies on the Executive. Anyone who would like to participate in the Executive now can email princegeorgenaturalistsclub@gmail.com for details. Essential business is being conducted by email until the Executive can meet again in person.
At this time in the Club’s history it’s important for new people to get involved and provide leadership to the Club. We encourage Club members to think about volunteering for the Executive.
PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
Members continue to renew their memberships online or by mail. 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 the monthly eNews from them.
Memberships 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/
 
Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club field trips, 10% discount on bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 
 
The Exploration Place closed until spring 2021
The Exploration Place has been a valuable partner with the PGNC since 2013 when the Club held its first monthly presentation nights at the Museum. We were sad to learn that the Museum will not be re-opening its doors until spring of 2021 as staff work on renovating the galleries, access points and interpretation. For all the details see the Museum’s recent media release: https://tinyurl.com/ybtpg7h7. We are very grateful for all the support the Museum has provided to the Club over the past seven years and we look forward to working together again next spring. In the meantime we expect to work on virtual projects together.
Other Events and News
City of Prince George Seeking Feedback on Pidherny Recreation Site
The City of Prince George is seeking feedback from the public about the use of one of the City’s increasingly popular outdoor recreation destinations. In recent years, Pidherny Recreation Site has seen a steady increase in visitations from outdoor recreation enthusiasts, such as hikers, dog walkers, and mountain bikers in particular, including visitors from out of town.
 
Full details including links to a survey and an interactive map are here: https://news.princegeorge.ca/en/news/city-seeking-feedback-on-pidherny-recreation-site.aspx Feedback will be accepted until August 4.
Two Revitalized Trails in the Inland Rainforest
 
Conservation North and Save-The-Cedar League have been working this summer to revitalize  the Morkill Old Growth Cedar Trail and the Goat River Canyon Trail. Detailed directions to access these trails are on the Conservation North website: https://conservationnorth.org/fresh-trails/
 
The Exploration Place Weekly Challenge for Citizen Scientists
The Museum is running a weekly Nature Challenge for citizen scientists in conjunction with BC Parks Foundation. Last week the Challenge celebrated World Snake Day on July 16. Information about the weekly challenges is available at The Exploration Place Nature Exchange Facebook group. Nature Exchange “encourages people of all ages to appreciate nature and learn about the biological and physical components of our environment, through observation, background research, and responsible collecting”.The Prince George Naturalists Club will be participating in the Museum’s weekly Nature Challenge in August, with more details to come soon.

PGNC News and Notes, July 3, 2020

  • Prince George Naturalists Club Events and News
  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • City of Prince George Seeking Feedback on Pidherny Recreation Site
  • White-Throated Sparrows Research at UNBC
  • iNaturalists – BC’s Big Nature Challenge
  • Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program Annual Newsletter
  • Jasper National Park
  • Built From Within by Ansel Adams

Prince George Naturalists Club Events and News

BC has entered Phase 3 of the province’s restart plan. As a result, some outdoor clubs are now resuming activities with limits on attendance and carpooling. Any PGNC member wishing to lead a nature walk or field trip is invited to contact the Executive at princegeorgenaturalistsclub@gmail.com with their ideas.
The pandemic lockdown in March meant that the Club’s Annual General Meeting had to be postponed. The current Executive is holding the fort until a date can be set, hopefully in the fall and with in-person meeting rather than online. Several members of the current Executive will be stepping down at the AGM. It’s very important for new people to get involved and provide leadership to the Club. We encourage Club members to think about volunteering for the Executive at the next AGM.
PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
The Club is very grateful to members who have renewed their memberships online or by mail in the past three months. 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 the monthly eNews from them.
Memberships are available online any time. Cost is $25 per year for individuals, $40 for a family, and $15 for students. Information including payment by PayPal is available at: https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/
 
Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club field trips, 10% discount on bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 

Other Events and News

City of Prince George Seeking Feedback on Pidherny Recreation Site
The City of Prince George is seeking feedback from the public about the use of one of the City’s increasingly popular outdoor recreation destinations. In recent years, Pidherny Recreation Site has seen a steady increase in visitations from outdoor recreation enthusiasts, such as hikers, dog walkers, and mountain bikers in particular, including visitors from out of town.
 
Full details including links to a survey and an interactive map are here: https://news.princegeorge.ca/en/news/city-seeking-feedback-on-pidherny-recreation-site.aspx Feedback will be accepted until August 4.
White-Throated Sparrows Research at UNBC
 
Congratulations to Dr. Ken Otter, Biology Professor at UNBC, for his many years of research on song evolution of white-throated sparrows. On July 2 the results were published in Current Biology and the news went worldwide immediately. A quick media search shows links to reports that have appeared in Canada, the US, the UK, Australia and Asia overnight. Here’s a link to the story in the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/02/science/sparrow-bird-song.html In the past few years Ken and then-PhD candidate Stefanie LaZerte have made presentations to the PGNC, sharing their research on the changing song of white-throated sparrows. Our members really enjoyed learning about the research as it progressed.
 
iNaturalistsBC’s Big Nature Challenge
A message from the BC Parks Foundation: The BC Parks Foundation in partnership with BC Parks, UVIC and SFU, want to meaningfully engage the British Columbia public in citizen science, so this year, we are launching B.C.’s Nature Challenge campaign. Our goal is to collect one million observations, province wide, to not only support scientific discovery but also provide data that supports informed, conservation-minded management of natural resources in B.C. As an example, observations from iNaturalist have already been used to inform the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
 As you may know, there is very poor information about parks and what is in them, and how that is changing due to climate, use, and other factors. British Columbians have such passion and respect for their environment, and many are looking for a way to be more engaged. Let’s work together to get them involved!
We are connecting with other organizations in the province and adding all our observations together to reach this audacious goal. We need everyone we can get, and with parks re-opening and summer just getting started, there’s no better time to get outside. It’s a simple and enjoyable thing to do – you just take some photos while you are out and upload them to iNaturalist, or our platform partners (eBird, Birds Canada, or the WhaleReport App). It can be inside or outside parks. We are also using remote wildlife cameras in case any of your members have those out on the landscape or near their homes.
As nature enthusiasts and naturalists, PG Naturalists Club members are already excellent citizen scientists and it would be great to have your involvement in this initiative. Learn more at www.naturechallenge.ca.
Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program Annual Newsletter
The FWCP annual newsletter is available now. It’s full of updates and results from fish and wildlife projects in the Coastal, Columbia and Peace regions. The newsletter is in a new reader-friendly format: http://fwcp.ca/annual-newsletter/
Jasper National Park
2019 Jasper National Park Annual Report Now Available:
Built From Within is a three-minute historic 16mm colour film shot along Teton Crest Trail in Wyoming, narrated by Ansel Adams, renowned American photographer and environmentalist: https://vimeo.com/410137897. Thanks to Mike Nash for passing this along.

PGNC News & Notes, May 6, 2020

  • Prince George Naturalists Club in-person events cancelled
  • Curlewmania Continues
  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • iNaturalists at UNBC and Forests for the World
  • Regional Parks Now Open
  • Advice from the BC Wildlife Federation re: Hunting and Angling Activities
  • Log Decks of the Rainforest
  • Canadian Institute of Forestry E-Lectures on Citizen Science
  • Hoary Marmots
  • Willow Canyon in full flood
Club Events and News
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all in-person Club activities have been suspended until further notice, including the Annual General Meeting, the May presentation night, and Wednesday Walkers. Everyone is welcome to join the Prince George Naturalists Club Discussion Facebook group to share nature-related information.
Curlewmania Continues
The webinar held on April 17 on long-billed curlews was well-attended. Curlewmania continues, with regular updates among bird-lovers regarding recent curlew arrivals and activities. For those who missed it, the webinar is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dVp4DGhOFQ The Club is very grateful to Dr. David Bradley and Graham Sorenson from Birds Canada who put this presentation together.
PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
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 the monthly eNews from them. Therefore, personalized reminders will be emailed to those whose membership is due.
Memberships are available online any time. Cost is $25 per year for individuals, $40 for a family, and $15 for students. Information including payment by PayPal is available at: https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/
 
Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club field trips, 10% discount on bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 
Other Events and News
iNaturalists at UNBC and Forests for the World
Saphida Migabo, who teaches at UNBC in the Biology program, advises that the UNBC Forest Lands and Forests for the World iNaturalists project is up and running. Everyone visiting UNBC and Forests for the World is invited to contribute to the project: https://www.inaturalist.org/places/university-of-northern-british-columbia-unbc-forest-lands-forests-for-the-world Be sure to click on the link to see the variety of plant and animal life already identified at UNBC and Forests for the World.
Regional Parks Now Open
Media Release: After a long winter, the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George is pleased to confirm that many of its Regional parks are open for the season as of May 1. There are 11 sites within the Regional District park system which provide residents opportunities for recreation and space to enjoy the natural beauty of our area. Parks are day use only with no overnight camping permitted.
The Regional District reminds everyone that for the safety and comfort of all park users and to align with public health guidelines, visitors should keep their time at the parks short and maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet away from other users and refrain from contacting gates, fences and other surfaces with their hands.
As ground conditions and snow-melt vary for the parks, some may have areas cordoned off for visitor safety.
The Regional District is pleased to provide the parks for residents as a place to go and enjoy open spaces, but encourages visitors to be responsible with park use.
The 11 parks within the Regional District parks system are:
• Berman Lake
• Cedarside
• George Hicks
• Giscome-Portage/Huble Homestead (opening June 1)
• Harold Mann
• John Dahl
• Koeneman
• Kristian Winther
• McMillan Creek
• Ness Lake
• Wilkins
Further details on the parks can be found at: http://www.rdffg.bc.ca/services/environment/regional-parks/regional-parks-overview.Media Contact:Petra Wildauer, General Manager, Environmental Services,
(250)961-4483
Advice from the BC Wildlife Federation re: Hunting and Angling Activities
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Log Decks of the Rainforest
Conservation North has made a short video, Log Decks of the Rainforest: https://youtu.be/oGHas2JXpGQ “In what is becoming an unpleasant annual tradition, we have again documented log decks at Pass Lake FSR near Prince George, BC. These logs come from BC’s globally unique temperate inland rainforest. We are logging the last of our old growth forests. Once gone, these forests and the species that rely on them will never come back.” 
Our Instagram post will be here: https://www.instagram.com/conservationnorth/
 
Here is last year’s footage from the same area: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KZy6Rap59s&t=3s
Conservation North is a 100% volunteer-run community group. We support and advocate for the protection of nature in northern BC. Reach us at info@conservationnorth.org
Canadian Institute of Forestry E-Lectures on Citizen Science
Wednesday May 13, 2020, 10:30 a.m. PDT: Citizen Science and Invasive Species. Presenter is Lauren Bell, Education and Community Outreach Coordinator, Invasive Species Centre.
This is the first of six lectures on Partnerships through Citizen Science: Success Stories and Solutions. All electronic lectures are free but registration is required. For more information and to register online, visit: https://www.cif-ifc.org/e-lectures/
Hoary Marmots
 
Mike Nash has passed along a short video about hoary marmots, with suitably heroic musical background: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1QwseK7fec
Willow Canyon in full flood
Forty-six years ago this weekend, a party of eight teenage boys set off in canoes down the Willow River from Highway 16 east of Prince George. Unknowing of what lay ahead, they quickly rounded a bend and were swept into an impassible canyon just downstream of the highway. All were lost in what became one of Canada’s worst ever canoeing accidents. The tragedy galvanized the community and was the beginning of the Prince George Search & Rescue Group, which continues to this day.
Despite its tragic history, the Willow Canyon is also one of this area’s best, but lesser known natural wonders, especially during the spring freshet which we are in the midst of now. This is surprising since there is pretty good vehicle access to a fenced viewing area. To get an idea of what the canyon looks like in full flood, these images were taken in late April and early May this year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyBo6SVlog0.
If you wish to see the canyon in person, the fenced viewpoint is accessible either by walking or by vehicle or some combination. On foot, you can park at the paved Highway Rest Area and walk along the CIF interpretive trail to the picnic shelter, and just beyond that walk up the forest road for the remaining kilometre to the viewpoint. Note: if you undertake this option, there are quite a few wet sections and trees down that have not yet been cleared, as well as fresh bear sign, so I would only recommend this for reasonably fit hikers at the present time. However, you can drive to the viewpoint, turning north off Highway 16 just over a kilometre before (west of) the Willow River highway bridge and rest area. The dirt road is narrow and may have a few muddy spots, but should be passable for a car. The viewpoint is on the right (east) side of the road as you drive north, just past the 1.5 km sign. (with thanks to Mike Nash for this history as well as a chance to view the spring flood in action from the comfort of our couches).
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PGNC News and Notes, April 13, 2020

  • Prince George Naturalists Club in-person events cancelled
  • Friday April 17, 5 to 6 p.m., Online Presentation on Curlews in Prince George
  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • Hudson’s Bay Wetland Project Report
  • Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP): Peace Region action update
  • BC Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program 2020
  • Project FeederWatch extended
  • Green Mountain
  • NRESi Colloquium Presentations Online

Club Events and News

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all in-person Club activities have been suspended until further notice, including the Annual General Meeting, the April and May presentation nights, and Wednesday Walkers. Everyone is welcome to join the Prince George Naturalists Club Discussion Facebook group to share nature-related information.

Friday April 17, 5 to 6 p.m., Online Presentation on Curlews in Prince George

Curlewmania continues in the Prince George region! Please join Birds Canada (Graham Sorenson and David Bradley) on Friday April 17 as they present on the satellite-tagged Long-billed Curlews in Prince George. On April 17 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. they will share updates on the curlews that were monitored in the summer of 2019 and provide information on how you can continue to help this project. Curlew re-sight information can be entered into this spreadsheet:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1jMWdo57TQA5H_ccLo6Snv8_P8h-II6fn_grJvkFv2MY/edit#gid=0 and this will be described in greater detail.

Birds Canada is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting on April 17 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Join the Zoom Meeting here https://zoom.us/j/324700128 on your computer, tablet, or phone.

  • Use your computer and computer audio if possible so that you can view the presentation 
  • Be sure you are muted when entering the meeting
  • If calling in on a landline or cellphone, dial this number: +1 778 907 2071, then be prepared to enter the meeting number: 324 700 128
  • If calling on a cellphone, you can dial this full number: +16473744685,,324700128#

Message from the Prince George Naturalists Club: The presentation can handle about 50 people. It is primarily for PG folk and will be recorded so others can catch the presentation later. We’ll let you know when and where. There is no local phone number for PG people to phone in on if they aren’t watching it on their computer. We will be using the Zoom platform. So familiarize yourself with it as much as you can before the presentation starts. You may have to download it.

Hudson’s Bay Wetland Project Report

The Annual General Meeting scheduled for March 19 had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. It will be rescheduled whenever restrictions on gatherings are lifted. In the meantime the Executive wants to share important news about the Hudson’s Bay Wetland Project that would have been reported at the March AGM.

At the 2018 AGM, members were advised that it wasn’t feasible to do any further construction on the Hudson’s Bay Wetland Project west of Queensway. This was due to the high costs of capital construction of boardwalks or towers, the costs of ongoing maintenance of new structures, and the potential for environmental damage caused by construction. In 2019 a volunteer committee worked with McElhanney and the City of Prince George to update the design of an accessible ramp on the east side of Queensway. The ramp would connect Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park with the observation deck on the north side of the channel.

In the fall of 2019 the Executive considered in detail the full extent of the construction process and concluded that the Club did not have the capacity to build the ramp. The process requires volunteers who will be available over several years to carry out the many responsibilities the project entails. Responsibilities include researching funding opportunities, applying for grants, hiring contractors, setting up and following the necessary budgeting and reporting requirements, and carrying out public information and liaison with various government bodies including City Council. When we notified the City Parks Department about the decision, they were very appreciative of the work the Club has done to date. It is possible the City will take on the redesigned ramp as part of a future capital project.

Also in 2019, the Club held our annual spring Wetland Cleanup, and continued our efforts to deadhead tansy and remove Himalayan Balsam from the Wetland drainage areas. We dug and deadheaded common tansy and cut Himalayan Balsam. Volunteers removed about 60 big black contractor bags of these two priority invasive plants. These annual events are making a difference. We noticed the plants are smaller than when we worked in 2018. We hope to be able to continue these cleanup-events in 2020 and beyond.

For yet another year, volunteer Ric Mylnarczyk, assisted by Nowell Senior, regularly inspected the four observation decks, cleaned graffiti and removed garbage. Special thanks go to Ric for the maintenance checks he has conducted consistently since the summer of 2017.

PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals

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 the monthly eNews from them. Therefore, personalized reminders will be emailed to those whose membership is due.

Memberships are available online any time. Cost is $25 per year for individuals, $40 for a family, and $15 for students. Information including payment by PayPal is available at: https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/.

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

Other Events and News

Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP): Peace Region action update

FWCP is proceeding with plans to update the Peace Region action plan, which guides close to $1.5 million each year toward fish and wildlife projects in the area. They are hosting six online discussions and an online feedback form so that people can safely join the discussion about the Peace Region action plans. See the poster below for details of introductory online information sessions and online technical workshops in April.

FWCP

BC Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program 2020, feedback accepted until April 30
 

The BC Wildlife Health Program is again asking for help assessing the effects of winter ticks on the province’s moose population as part of its annual moose winter tick surveillance program.

The program relies on observations from wildlife professionals, wildlife enthusiasts, and the public to:

  • Document and map the distribution of winter ticks in moose in B.C. and;
  • Estimate the severity of winter tick infestations within moose populations across the province.

An online survey, downloadable survey forms and background information are available on the Moose Winter Tick Program website:  https://tinyurl.com/wkskkmw  Feedback will be accepted until April 30, 2020, at 11:59 pm.

Project FeederWatch Season Extended
A message from Birds Canada: Birds are fascinating and inspiring. When we hear a song from the trees or catch a glimpse out our window, it’s a moment of joy and wonder. Birds are a daily, delightful connection to nature. During this time when so many are confined to their homes, we have decided to extend the FeederWatch season through the end of April so that FeederWatchers can continue to watch the birds in their yards and submit counts through our website and app. This brief extension is purely voluntary and for this year only. We are hoping that being able to report birds to FeederWatch for a few extra weeks will bring some cheer during the COVID-19 crisis. Website: https://tinyurl.com/t8hm3sj
Green Mountain
Green Mountain is across from Tabor Mountain Ski Resort but you won’t find it on Google Earth or hiking lists. Mike Nash describes it here and gives us a chance to experience it online:
There are no trails that I am aware of on Green Mountain, and access is by bushwhacking, at least from the highway side. Access is perhaps least challenging in the late winter or early spring when there is a good snow pack to partly cover the plentiful deadfalls. Because of its location next to a major tourist highway, close to the city, and directly across from Tabor Mountain, it had the highest Visual Quality Objectives (VQOs) applied to it for logging purposes. Because of this, when the plentiful Douglas fir trees on Green Mountain were attacked by the Douglas fir bark beetle a number of years ago, the hill was extensively helicopter logged to remove the infested trees, and those of us who were skiing down the adjoining hill were treated to a front row seat to the spectacle of the big Sikorsky helicopter lifting bundles of Douglas fir stems from the hillside. Most of us have driven by this landmark hill many times, but few have ventured up; so here’s a chance to experience it vicariously: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZ7XCKgxgT8
NRESi Colloquium Presentations Online
UNBC has made over 150 NRESi presentations available on video: https://video.unbc.ca/channel/NRESI/ Now we can catch up on presentations we didn’t have time to attend in person at UNBC before the Great Pandemic Shutdown. Check out presentations on climate change, salmon research, bats and wind energy, and a host of other topics.

PGNC News and Notes, April 3, 2020

  • Prince George Naturalists Club in-person events cancelled
  • Curlew News
  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP): Peace Region action update
  • BC Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program 2020
  • Project FeederWatch extended
  • Grand Canyon of the Fraser

Club Events and News

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all in-person Club activities have been suspended until further notice, including the Annual General Meeting, the April and May presentation nights, and Wednesday Walkers. Everyone is welcome to join the Prince George Naturalists Club Discussion Facebook group to share nature-related information.
Curlew Events
Bird-lovers are hoping to see curlews returning to this region by mid-April, depending on the weather. The Club is working on an online presentation about the Prince George curlews. More information to come.
 
PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
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 the monthly eNews from them. Therefore, personalized reminders will be emailed to those whose membership is due.
Memberships are available online any time. Cost is $25 per year for individuals, $40 for a family, and $15 for students. Information including payment by PayPal is available at: https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/
 
Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club field trips, 10% discount on bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 

Other Events and News

Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP): Peace Region action update
 
FWCP is proceeding with plans to update the Peace Region action plan, which guides close to $1.5 million each year toward fish and wildlife projects in the area. They are hosting six online discussions and an online feedback form so that people can safely join the discussion about the Peace Region action plans. See the poster below for details of introductory online information sessions and online technical workshops in April. FWCP
BC Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program 2020, feedback accepted until April 30
 

The BC Wildlife Health Program is again asking for help assessing the effects of winter ticks on the province’s moose population as part of its annual moose winter tick surveillance program.

The program relies on observations from wildlife professionals, wildlife enthusiasts, and the public to:

  • Document and map the distribution of winter ticks in moose in B.C. and;
  • Estimate the severity of winter tick infestations within moose populations across the province.

An online survey, downloadable survey forms and background information are available on the Moose Winter Tick Program website:  https://tinyurl.com/wkskkmw  Feedback will be accepted until April 30, 2020, at 11:59 pm.

Project FeederWatch Season Extended
A message from Birds Canada: Birds are fascinating and inspiring. When we hear a song from the trees or catch a glimpse out our window, it’s a moment of joy and wonder. Birds are a daily, delightful connection to nature. During this time when so many are confined to their homes, we have decided to extend the FeederWatch season through the end of April so that FeederWatchers can continue to watch the birds in their yards and submit counts through our website and app. This brief extension is purely voluntary and for this year only. We are hoping that being able to report birds to FeederWatch for a few extra weeks will bring some cheer during the Covid-19 crisis. Website: https://tinyurl.com/t8hm3sj
Grand Canyon of the Fraser
Mike Nash has sent us interesting notes on the Grand Canyon of the Fraser. Food for thought while we wait for spring and the chance to get outside and enjoy more of the natural world.
Images of the Grand Canyon of the Fraser from a Caledonia Ramblers snowshoe trip led by PGNC member Dave King on Sunday March 8, 2020:
For other Grand Canyon videos, click on the ‘Canyons’ playlist at the end of the video. The following link is to one of them, namely a comparative view of the Grand Canyon, accessed by riverboat at low water in early September, 2011 on the occasion of putting up the BC Parks boundary signs on the Fraser River below the canyon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG_g4T8EAU4. On that trip, we also disembarked above the upper rapids and again between the canyons, from where we bushwhacked up to the lower canyon viewpoint. You can see this from about the 3 min 15 secs mark, and this is followed by a complete downriver run from Kenneth Creek, starting from where we first hit the Fraser River on the recent snowshoe trip, down through the upper rapids and the upper and lower canyons. You can see from the tide marks on the rocks, as well as the vegetation lines how much higher the water is at peak flow in June. This year, the water through the Grand Canyon is likely to be very high in June due to the Upper Fraser mountain snow packs being well above average. It could be a good year to see the famous whirlpool in the lower canyon for anyone willing to undertake the arduous bushwhack necessary to get there.

PGNC News and Notes, March 17, 2020

  • Prince George Naturalists Club Annual General Meeting, Thursday March 19: Cancelled
  • Wednesday Walks
  • Curlew Events
  • PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
  • Report: PGNC Swan and Eagle Count, January 12
  • BC Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program 2020
  • More on Slim Creek Provincial Park

Club Events and News

 
Prince George Naturalists Club Annual General Meeting, Thursday March 19: Cancelled
The PGNC Annual General Meeting has been cancelled. Our partners at The Exploration Place closed the Museum to the public and all childcare programs on March 13 for at least two weeks due to the corona virus. The Club will consider rescheduling the AGM once the Museum re-opens.
Wednesday Walks
 
Wednesday Walks are presently scheduled to start up again in April. However conditions dictated by COVID-19 may impact the schedule. These morning events are slow walks to observe nature in local natural areas and parks. They are open to members and non-members. For more information or to go on a mailing list contact Dora Hunter at hunterdora@shaw.ca.
 
Curlew Events
The Club is hoping to sponsor an evening talk in mid-April about curlews and also take part in field trips relating to these amazing birds. However it all depends on factors outside of our control relating to COVID-19. We will provide more information as it becomes available.
 
PGNC Memberships: New and Renewals
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 the monthly eNews from them. Therefore, personalized reminders will be emailed to those whose membership is due.
Memberships are available online any time. Cost is $25 per year for individuals, $40 for a family, and $15 for students. Information including payment by PayPal is available at: https://pgnc.wordpress.com/membership/
 
Benefits of membership: Subscription to BC Nature magazine, liability insurance coverage for Club field trips, 10% discount on bird seed purchased at Spruce Capital Feeds, and access to popular events limited to Club members only. 

Club Reports

 
January 12 Swan and Eagle Count Field Trip
 
The 21 Trumpeter Swans tallied on this year’s swan count were seen a couple of times. After we snowshoed down to the river through light fluffy snow to see the swans, the birds decided to fly over our heads as we were standing on a bridge a couple of kilometres upstream. Yes, it was -24 C, but it was a gorgeous sunny day. Yes, one of the six of us hadn’t snowshoed or gone birding before. He gets credit for participating in Extreme Birding! Thank you to Allan, Angie, Joe, Julia, and Sara for coming out helping with the survey! (report by Sandra Kinsey)
 

Other Events and News

BC Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program 2020, feedback accepted until April 30
 

The BC Wildlife Health Program is again asking for help assessing the effects of winter ticks on the province’s moose population as part of its annual moose winter tick surveillance program.

The program relies on observations from wildlife professionals, wildlife enthusiasts, and the public to:

  • Document and map the distribution of winter ticks in moose in B.C. and;
  • Estimate the severity of winter tick infestations within moose populations across the province.

An online survey, downloadable survey forms and background information are available on the Moose Winter Tick Program website:  https://tinyurl.com/wkskkmw  Feedback will be accepted until April 30, 2020, at 11:59 pm.

More on Slim Creek Provincial Park 
Submitted by Mike Nash: An editorial note in a recent club newsletter warned that Slim Creek Provincial Park is not for the faint of heart, requiring ten or more kilometres of hard bushwhacking and up to eight hours to see most of the park. However, it’s worth qualifying that one can experience a representative piece of the park with much shorter treks of as little as a few hundred metres, as indicated on the map. And if the round-trip drive of 240 kilometres seems excessive for a short visit, one could make a full day of it by combining a couple of hours in Slim Park with a similar amount of time in the Ancient Forest just two kilometres to the west, perhaps using the opportunity to compare the forests in the two parks above and below the highway bench. Once in Slim Park, however, it’s so enchanting that you might wish to spend several hours there, even if you don’t travel very far. I recommend going on a sunny day because the open glades provide wonderful winter sun opportunities in a completely unspoiled and untouched landscape.
Certainly, anyone who ventures into the park must be prepared for deep snow, snow-bridged creeks and ponds, weakening ice later in the winter, bushwhacking and some steep terrain, but it can be an easy and delightful trip on a broken snowshoe trail. In a poor snow year it can be tough snowshoeing, but with this year’s normal and settled snowpack, and continuing cool temperatures, the park should still be good for snowshoeing to mid-March and possibly later. Although this is wild, untouched forestland, it’s hard to get lost in the park as all you have to do is head south, preferably using a compass (or on a sunny day by heading directly towards the sun) and you will hit the highway. However, this is also an ideal place for GPS in order to plan a route to hit the glades that are visible on Google Earth. If anyone plans to visit the big Douglas fir tree, I can supply GPS coordinate for that.
Slim Creek Park is entirely undeveloped and likely to remain so, as it was established mainly for its ecological values. Apart from relative ease of travel in the late winter using snowshoes, there is also less impact to the flora than a spring or summer visit would entail. There is good parking on a paved pull-off on the north side of the highway some two kilometres east of the Ancient Forest parking lot (which is another option if you don’t mind some added walking or snowshoeing). Park your vehicle(s) tight in at one or other end of this pull-off so as to not impede trucks needing to chain up or off for the Slim Creek Hill just beyond.
If you would like to visit the park vicariously, or to just get an idea of what to expect if you go, four of the eight videos in this playlist are of Slim Creek Park. I recommend starting with number 8, ‘Ancient Forests of Prince George’ which has images from my first two exploratory trips, in April 2010 with Dave King and a BC Parks Ranger and my first winter snowshoe explore in 2011: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLy0NTkFnAEe2uAjb1wwFUpfcxFbIzaInM. (Give it a little while to load, as playlists take a bit longer than individual videos).
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