With roots reaching back more than 25 years, the Brant Wildlife festival celebrates mid-Island spaces and species.

Brant Wildlife Festival shines spotlight on the mid-Island’s spaces

Visit Parksville Qualicum Beach for 2018 festival March 19 to April 28

The 2018 Brant Wildlife Festival takes flight this month, with numerous activities for the whole family.

With roots reaching back more than 25 years, the festival celebrates mid-Island spaces and species. Located on the Pacific Flyway, the migratory route of tens of thousands of birds each year, and home to the Mt. Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve, the Parksville-Qualicum Beach region is a wildlife watcher’s dream.

“We, and nature, will benefit as we learn to live consciously in this incredible area,” reflects Dr. Lynne Brookes, volunteer co-organizer of the festival.

The stars of the show are the thousands of Brant geese that visit during their spring migration from northern Mexico to their breeding grounds in the Arctic, Brookes explains. Stopping to rest and feast on eelgrass, sea lettuce and herring spawn to fatten up for the next leg of their journey, individual birds can visit for a few days to a week or more, depending on their condition. During that time, it’s imperative that people, and dogs, give the birds a wide berth – including not getting too close for photos.

While the Brant are the “poster birds” for the festival, its focus is far-reaching, reflected in the diverse line-up of events and activities, from an eagle release and birdwatching to food foraging and tours of wetland and forest areas.

“People are excited because there’s so much going on and so much to see and to do,” Brookes says.

Here’s a look at some can’t miss highlights of the festival:

March 24, Basic Bird ID and Bird-watching for Adults, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Practical workshop for beginning and intermediate-level participants at North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre. Pre-register at niwra.org or call 250-248-8534.

March 24 and 25, Forest Bathing Walk, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Relax, rejuvenate and soak up nature’s restorative medicines on a slow-paced, sensory and mindful forest bathing experience with knowledgeable eco-tour guides. Pre-register with Pacific Rainforest Tours: mail@rainforestnaturehikes.com or 250-248-3667.

March 25, Brant in the Bay, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – View Brant geese and other birds at Parksville Community Park through the Arrowsmith Naturalists’ spotting scopes.

March 28, Winged Migration Film, 2 p.m. – Watch this epic portrait of winter bird migration, filmed on all seven continents over four years using in-flight cameras. By donation, at Eaglecrest Golf Club, Qualicum Beach.

April 3, 10 and 16, Guided Deep Bay Marine Field Station Tours, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Interactive Field Station group tours explore the green building, marine conservation, sustainable seafood, etc.; $12 per person, pre-registration encouraged:

research.viu.ca/deep-bay-marine-field-station/form/brant-tour-form

April 7 & 8, Pacific Brant & Carving Show, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – From the Vancouver Island Woodcarvers Club, see amazing wildlife carvings and work by other top wildlife artists at Parksville Community Centre; admission $5.

April 14, Eagle Release, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – See owls, eagles, falcons and bears, and tour the wildlife garden at Errington’s North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre. A rehabilitated eagle will be released into the wild at 2 p.m.; suggested donation $5/person, children 12 and younger free.

April 19, Foraging for Wild Edibles, 2 to 4 p.m. – Small-group foraging excursions from the shellfish research farm of Vancouver Island University at Deep Bay, exploring ocean delicacies, First Nations’ shellfish use, marine ecology, species identification and recipes! $30/person. Register through the Regional District of Nanaimo.

April 21, Bioblitz: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to Englishman River Regional Park/Top Bridge Park trailhead; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Milner Gardens & Woodland – Learn how to BioBlitz alongside students and community experts at Milner Gardens. If you already have some experience with species identification, head to Englishman River/Top Bridge Park. Volunteers needed at both locations: mabr@viu.ca.

April 22, Brant Wildlife Interpretive Park Dedication – New Brant Wildlife Interpretive Park at Qualicum Beach will be dedicated in memory of committed local naturalist Faye Smith.

April 28, Hamilton Marsh Tour, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – The Friends of French Creek Conservation Society and Arrowsmith Naturalists raise awareness of this amazing wetland with annual April tours, with Island Timberland’s permission.

Find a full list of events planned throughout the festival online, and follow the festival on Facebook for updates.

 

Thousands of Brant geese visit the Parksville Qualicum Beach area during their spring migration from northern Mexico to their breeding grounds in the Arctic.

Just Posted

COVID-19: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation asks Tofino businesses for support as emergency funding runs dry

“We need to pay for the work they do. It’s such important work.”

DFO says the five aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Canada can lead the way to save sharks from extinction, says fisheries expert

“Combined with fishing extraction numbers, sharks experience huge losses in the environment.”

Five Vancouver Island First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Cowichan’s Dillabaugh checks in from the NHL bubble in Toronto

Flyers’ Duncan-born goalie coach weighs in on hockey restart

Wedding party bear sprayed at Okanagan campsite irks locals

Latest criminal activity at the Meadows leaves locals frustrated

Paramedics fired for allowing patient to crawl for treatment on Downtown Eastside: court documents

The man spent three days in intensive care and three months recovering in hospital from sepsis

Feds seeking private consultant to design firearm buyback program

The ban covers some 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style weapons

Face masks for teachers can impact learning on young children, experts say

Face coverings, mandatory in most indoor public places across the province, can help limit the spread of COVID-19

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Most Read