Welcome to the Nanaimo NatureKids Club!

Volunteer Leaders: Linda Brooymans & Alex King
Club Email: Nanaimo@naturekidsbc.ca

My name is Alex and I’m pleased to be co-leading the Nanaimo NatureKids club.  I grew up in the mountainous Kootenays and greatly admired park interpreters who could magically point out life under logs and in water.  Moving to Vancouver Island in 1994 opened up even more doors of wonder into coastal temperate rainforests and intertidal ecosystems.  I’m a teacher and mother who is happiest outdoors exploring.  I’m looking forward to getting to know all the NatureKids families and having adventures on Explorer Days!
Upcoming Explorer Days

Astronomy Explorer Day 
Sometime between April 25-April 30
Paine Horticultural Centre, 2324 E Wellington Rd, Nanaimo

Our upcoming explorer day will be with the Nanaimo Astronomy Society at their observatory. Learn about winter constellations, view Venus, Mars and Jupiter in the telescope, and let's see what else there is to spot in our night sky.

We are going to try another strategy in terms of scheduling this event. Our intention is to hold the explorer day in the final week of April (sometime between Tuesday April 25 - Sunday April 30), but we won't pick a day until closer to that week in in effort to get the best weather. Ideally we will go for the weekend as it will be an evening event, but if there is bad weather forecast on those days but not during the week, we will go with a weekday.

Bumblebee Explorer/Stewardship Day
Saturday May 13th from 1:00 - 3:00pm 

Location TBD

We will be learning all about the bumblebees in our area and what we can do to help some of these slower and fuzzier cousins of the honeybee! With Nature Mentor and bee expert Ted Leischner we will learn what makes Bumblebees different from other bees, how to identify the different species, and how to plant a bumblebee-friendly garden. Then we will practice our identification skills 'in the field' as we train ourselves up for a summer of searching for Bumblebee hotspots!

The plan is that, using our data collected over the summer, we will be able to identify bumblebee hotspots (places where there are lots of bees) and then over the winter we'll build bumblebee boxes (or houses, if you will) to place in those hotspots before the BBs emerge from hibernation.

May 27 - Super Low Tide day! Where: Neck Point Park When: 1:00pm
June 17 - Bat Explorer/ stewardship day with Bat Count! Where: Diver Lake Park When: in the Evening
June 24 - Tentative Jr. Streamkeeper workshop Where: Walley Creek
July/ August - Amphibians with Elke Wind; Moths or Dragonflies with Tim Goater (hopefully), and another Bat Count!

Past Explorer Days

Wednesday March 22nd
Nature Walk with the Immigrant Welcome Centre Youth Club
1 pm (Note time!)
Neckpoint Park

What could be more fun than showing a new friend all the plants and animals that you love while on a nature walk through Neck Point Park? The Immigrant Welcome Centre youth club is a club for newly immigrated youth (12 - 18 years) from around the world who want to learn about all that Nanaimo has to offer. On this nature walk we will discuss important trail safety skills as well as show them some local plants and other wildlife!

Saturday March 19th 
Amphibian Road Survey
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm (Note time!)
Normarel March, Sywash Ridge Road

This will be our 2nd Spring Amphibian Road Survey. If you haven't yet participated, it is a great stewardship activity! Last year we spotted a Red-Legged Frog!

Saturday March 04th at 9 AM
Colliery Dam Park (meet at 6th Street Parking Area)

Lets learn more about the different kinds of owls that live on Vancouver Island! With a crew of very experienced and knowledgable bird enthusiasts and professional biologists - Eric Demers, Karen Barry, Tanya Seebacher, Pablo Jost and Kim Wetten, we will learn about the habits and calls of these elusive and mysterious birds. Learn their calls, and cross your fingers that we can actually spot one or two! This is an activity geared more to older children (7 or 8 +) but parents can use their discretion as to whether they think their younger child will enjoy this kind of activity.

Astronomy Explorer Day [Unfortunately Cancelled due to weather, but will try to do again]
Saturday Feb 04 at 6:00pm
Paine Horticultural Centre, 2324 E Wellington Rd, Nanaimo

Our upcoming explorer day will be with the Nanaimo Astronomy Society at their observatory. Learn about winter constellations, view Venus, Mars and Jupiter in the telescope, and let's see what else there is to spot in our night sky this February! This explorer day is weather permitting.

Christmas Bird Count at Buttertubs Marsh!
December 28 at 9:00 AM
Buttertubs Marsh (meet at Buttertubs Dr. parking)

Do you know the difference between a Chestnut-backed Chickadee and a Red-Breasted Nuthatch, or a Bufflehead and a Goldeneye? Learn the ropes of Bird identification with biologist and Nature Mentor Tanya Seebacher and her crew of experienced birders as we participate in the biggest wildlife survey in all of Canada! Learn about plumage, calls, and maybe even start your own 'lifer' list (this is a list that some enthusiast birders have of the first time they have ever seen and positively identified a bird species).
This is a great opportunity to contribute to local stewardship efforts regarding bird populations, and hopefully we will spot a few rare birds!

BRING: Binoculars, appropriate clothes for the weather and snacks/ warm drinks

Mushroom Hunt
November 6
Linley Valley Park (meet at the Burma Road Entrance) 

1:30pm - 3:00 pm
Let's learn about Mushrooms and their equally interesting cousins Lichens! With Mycologist (a biologist who studies Fungi) and nature mentor Terry Taylor we will explore Linley Valley's forest and learn about different kinds of fungi.

Sunday October 30th Explorer Day
Englishman River Estuary 
(with NatureKids Oceanside)

Dave Hutchings is leading our group at the Englishman River Estuary for a 'Fall walk around the Estuary and then a check to look at the trees we planted there. Bring your binoculars for bird watching and wear boots for the wet weather.

Dave is from the Arrowsmith Naturalists, he and other members go twice a month to help clear the area from invasive species and know the area well, so bring your questions. He also mentioned the river is changing its course and we will be able to see clues to that.

Please let me know if you are able to come, we may even get a dry day as the weather forecast looks promising.

All About Squirrels!
Sunday, October 23rd from 1:30 - 3:00pm
Where: Bowen Park (meet at the playground near the swimming pool)

Let’s learn all about squirrels with Nature Mentor and VIU Biologist Liz Gillis! We'll put on our scientist hats and see what we can observe. What are the differences between the Eastern Grey Squirrel and the Red Squirrel? Do squirrels hibernate? Where do they live? Do they live in family groups or alone? Do they eat nuts or seeds or other things? Is there are squirrel language?

Amphibian Road Surveys
Wednesday October 13th
We will be meeting at Sywash Ridge Road (see map here) in Lantzville

As part of our stewardship activities our club will once again be doing the Amphibian Road Survey. When we last did the survey this spring we found a (live) Red-legged Frog, which is a threatened species in our area! A number of you were unable to attend the last survey, so we hope you can make it to this one :)
As you may know, roads near wetlands can be a real threat to amphibian species. Collecting this data can help to determine where amphibian 'underpasses' should be placed underneath roads so the little critters are less likely to be squashed by passing cars. Refer to email sent for videos!

Moorecroft Park Picnic and Exploration
When: Sunday September 18th

12:00 pm - 2:30pm

Where: At Moorecroft Regional Park

September is the opening of Nanaimo NatureKids’s Explorer season - Let’s have a picnic lunch together and get to know new and old members as we embark on a new series of exciting local field trips and stewardship activities! Bring your family's picnic (and something small to share if you would like). Lunch will be from 12:00 - 1:00pm

If you have never been to Moorecroft you are in for a treat! Moorecroft Regional Park is tucked away in the Nanoose Peninsula, and was formerly run as a Sleep-away camp before being purchased by the Regional District of Nanaimo to be restored as a Natural Park. We will explore Moorecroft with Naturalist Allison Roberts (who is also a former sleep-away camper at the park) and see if we can see, hear, smell, touch or even taste the flora and fauna that have made it home. Can we spot the resident beaver in the pond? Hear the Pileated Woodpecker tapping away for its food? Smell some freshly sprouted mushrooms (there are even Morels to be found at the right time of year!)? Touch the rough bumpy bark of Douglas Fir trees and the ridgy bark of the Red Cedar? Or even taste some edible plants? Moorecroft Exploration will be from 1:00 - 2:30 pm.

June 11th
3:00 - 5:00pm
Stephenson's Point 
(map - do not go to this actual house but park along the road. We will meet in this general area to get to the beach)
"Fossil Hunt! --- Digging up Nanaimo's Prehistory with Nature Mentor and geologist Dr. Tim Stokes"

Stephenson's Point is said to have some of the best fossils in our area. Learn about Nanaimo's prehistoric landscape and the creatures that made it their home. All tools will be provided.

Stewardship Activities - Streamkeeping
Nanaimo NatureKids is also starting a Stewardship effort with the Whalley Creek Streamkeepers group (of which I am a part). These activities will be in addition to the regular Explorer days. They are a great hands-on learning opportunity about taking care of our environment, and taking action to help restore it to a healthy state.

As part of this, we will be having a Junior Streamkeeper's Workshop for anyone who is interested on Sunday June 12th from 9am to 11am at Whalley Creek. We will get hands-on training from Biologist Dave Clough about what makes a stream healthy, What to measure to test the ecological health of a stream, and what we can do to restore a stream to its best health. Kids will learn how to test ph, temperature, oxygen levels, etc. and will learn to identify the bugs that indicate stream health (among other things). If you are interested in participating in this please let me know ASAP.

Sunday June 5th
12:00pm - 2:00pm
Neck Point Park
"Intertidal Scavenger Hunt --- Exploring Tide Pools with Nature Mentor Charlotte Haley from the Pacific Biological Station"

Learn about Bivalves, Univalves and all the other creatures that make their home in the intertidal zone! See how many creature you can find on our Scavenger Hunt Checklist, and learn about this interesting habitat. This date and time has been choses because of the excellent low tide, so there should be lots to see.

Some of our members having fun in the pools! 
Credit: G. Arkos

Sunday, May 15th
9:00 - 10:30 am 
Bird Banding @ Buttertubs March

Buttertubs Marsh is a reclaimed wetland within Nanaimo’s city limits. Nature Mentor and biologist Dr. Eric Demers has been banding and studying birds here with a team of researchers for years, and will be able to learn about migrating and breeding birds as we 
see them up close!

Sunday, April 10th
1:30 - 3:00 pm
Composting and Decomposers @ Linley Valley Park

Linley Valley is Nanaimo’s hidden gem of a park just north of Departure bay. With Nature Mentor and environmental educator Travis Barrington (from Nanaimo’s Recycling Exchange) we will learn all about decomposers as an important part of nature’s cycles. Travis will bring along some composting critters for us to see up close (if you have a composting bin in your own backyard you might already know some of them!), and then we will go on a trail walk to see some ‘nurse logs’ and other places where decomposers are doing their work. Lastly we will do some dip netting in the pond to observe the biodiversity that is just out of sight. Meet at the Burma Road Entrance and bring some rubber boots as the trails might be muddy! 

Sat. Jan. 23rd, 2016
Geology Walk with Nature Mentor Dr. Steve Earle
1:30 pm

Meet at the Nanaimo Museum, downtown in the Foyer

PLEASE NOTE: The Nanaimo Museum entry fee is $2.00 for Adults and $0.75 for children

Join us for a geology walk right through the heart of our city! Nature Mentor VIU Geology professor, Steve Earle will give us a tour of Nanaimo's downtown from a geologist's perspective. Dr. Earle will be showing us all kinds of neat rock exposures and coal seams, and will answer any of those burning geology questions you might have. So bring those interesting rocks you've found while at the beach or on a hike, and he will tell you all about them! We will then head to the Nanaimo Museum and get a tour of the exhibit on Nanaimo's Coal history.

Rabbits and Natural History Museum tour!
Sunday December 13th
1:30 pm
VIU campus Building 365 (the log cabin)

With Nature Mentor Vancouver Island University biologist Liz Gillis we will be learning all about the rabbit population that lives on the Vancouver Island University Campus. This is a non-native species of rabbit - actually the population stems from some domesticated rabbits that some Nanaimo resident must have let loose! Liz has done research on this non-native rabbit population so she can tell us all about them.

October 22nd & 29th
Amphibian Road Survey
6:30 pm * Please note special evening time, RSVP
For members 8 years and older only 
Meeting at: Hamilton Marsh on the 22nd & Lantzville on Oct. 29th

Our Nature Mentor Elke Wind will teach us how to survey Amphibians Fall migration. These surveys are taking place in different areas in BC with NatureKids clubs. The "surveyors" should be 8 years and over. Videos of the Cowichan Nature Kids who did the survey in their area in the spring are available. * Please let Linda (or Alison, leader of Oceanside) know if you are attending.

Sunday Sept. 27th, 2015
Rivers Day Exploration
1:30 pm
Meeting at Top Bridge at the Englishman River Park (see below)

Join the Oceanside club and meet your new Nanaimo volunteer club leader Linda Brooymans. Take highway 4 turn on to Bellevue Road turn left at Allsbrook go to the end and park at the Englishman River Park where we will meet.

Monday, November 10, 2014
9:15 - 11:15 AM
Nanaimo River Hatchery Tour
Members will take part in:
1. Hatchery Egg Take 2. Stream Walk 3.Salmon dissection.

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 
1:30 PM
Qualicum Bay
Learning about herbs and the importance in the Middle Age Culture. We will be mixing some dried herbs and making sachets.

Saturday October 4th, 2014
Vancouver Island University, Building 315, Room 214
The Night Sky
Greg Arkos and his wife Gail will show us the night sky on the screen and if the weather permits look through the scope. 

Sunday, September 28th 2014
Little Qualicum Estuary
Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup
We will be joining the Arrowsmith Naturalist Club in participating in a Shoreline Cleanup!

10+ Club

Sunday, January 19, 2014
Mt. Washington
Snowshoeing & Lunch

Sunday, Febuary 16, 2014
Westwood Lake
Hike to the Lookout.

We will hike to the lookout above Westwood Lake searching for geocaches along the way, birdwatching, and enjoying a “lunch with a view”.

Sunday, March 16, 2014
Newcastle Island

We will enjoy a few hours of kayaking along Newcastle Island learning basic paddling skills and about the shore life that we encounter.