SWI offers lichen identification workshop

The Strathcona Wilderness Institute is offering a workshop this summer on identifying lichens in Strathcona Provincial Park:

Title: Field Identification of Basic Lichens in Strathcona Provincial Park
Date: July 27, 2024
Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: Strathcona Park Wilderness Centre, Paradise Meadows
Cost: $65 – includes a copy of Field Guide to Basic Lichens of Strathcona Provincial Park
Registration: Email
Limit: 15 participants
Instructor: Loys Maingon

Here is SWI’s description of the workshop:

This event is one in a series of “Discovering our Biodiversity” Workshops held each summer to promote the amazing wealth of flora and fauna in Strathcona Provincial Park.  This specific workshop, led by lichen expert Loys Maingon (RPBio), provides an introduction to field identification of lichens found in Strathcona Provincial Park . There will be an in-class slide presentation and discussion in the morning in the Ruth Masters Nature Hall (lower floor of the Strathcona Park Wilderness Centre).  After lunch the group will go out into the Meadows for on-site observation of lichens in the Paradise Meadows area.

Preregistration is required, with acceptance on a first paid, first served basis.

Please email  for further information.

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Tour the Trees of the Year 2024

Nominations for Trees of the Year 2024 ended March 31, and we’ve been busy planning tour routes to help you visit these 27 impressive trees efficiently. Maps of these routes are now available. You can access them using the links in the tables below.

For full descriptions of the individual trees, including tree number, location, a photo, size, and the tree’s story, see this page: Trees of the Year 2024.

If you prefer a guided walk, CVN is also offering a few of these for members and the general public. To sign up for a guided walk, see the Events page.

Please respect private property boundaries and owner privacy by viewing the trees from public land unless otherwise invited in.

The maps

We have three ways for you to access the route maps using the links in the table below:

Individual routes

Note that the Grand Tour route encompasses almost all the nominated trees, which (except for #12 and #27) are also in one or another of the shorter routes.

Tour
Route
Tree Nos.plotaroute.com
(online)
plotaroute.com
(PDF)
On
Google
Map
?
Grand Tour1 to 27[coming soon]yes
Comox
7-tree cycle route
5, 8, 11, 17, 22, 25, 26web pagePDFyes
Comox 5-tree walking route8, 11, 22, 25, 26web pagePDFyes
Comox 5-tree and more walking route8, 11, 22, 25, 26web pagePDF
Bear Creek Park2web pagePDF
Courtenay A1, 4web pagePDFyes
Courtenay B20, 23, 24web pagePDFyes
Courtenay C3, 7, 10web pagePDFyes
CVRD A9web pagePDF
CVRD B6, 16web pagePDFyes
Comox Lake Bluffs13web pagePDF
Royston-Cumberland14, 15, “owl tree”web pagePDFyes
Seal Bay Park18, 19web pagePDFyes
Union Bay21web pagePDF

Tips for viewing the plotaroute maps:

  • Expand the map to full screen using the crossed arrows at the top right of the map.
  • Play an animation using the play icon at the bottom left of the map.
  • Zoom in or out using the + and – icons at the top left of the map.
  • The length of the route is given in the bottom margin of the map. You can switch between kilometres and miles.
  • You can also find these routes any time by going to plotaroute.com and searching for “toty 2024”.

Collections of routes

Each individual route is also included in a plotaroute collection. All the routes in one collection can be shown on one map. In the table below the map, select the route or routes that you want to see. The table below refers to the individual routes by their designations in the first table.

Collection NameOnlineContains
Comox Collectionweb pageComox 7-tree cycle tour, Comox 5-tree walking t9ur, Comox 5-tree and more walking tour
Courtenay Collectionweb pageCourtenay A, Courtenay B, Courtenay C
CVRD North Collectionweb pageBear Creek Park, CVRD A, CVRD B, Seal Bay Park
CVRD South and West Collectionweb pageComox Lake Bluffs, Royston-Cumberland, Union Bay

We are grateful to ToTY team members Roger Chayer and I.E. for all their work preparing these maps.

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Botany at Comox Lake Eco Reserve, June 2024

A small contingent of Botany/Mycology Group members enjoyed the group’s June field trip to the Comox Lake Bluffs Ecological Reserve on June 4. They explored both the forested area adjacent to the reserve and trails inside the reserve leading to the bluffs with their uncommon dry-site plant communities, including some plants rare in this region.

Seaside juniper


The group’s co-leader Véronique has created another very useful photographic identification guide to many of the species observed on this walk using her own photos and additional research. Below is a selection of images from the guide. Download the guide here (PDF, 16.1 MB).


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Mycoheterotrophs at Puntledge forest, June 2024

The identification guide linked here was updated on July 13 with a few minor changes, replacing the version that was posted originally.

Spotted coralroot (Photo: V. McIntyre)

The Botany/Mycology Group held an extra outing in June (on June 12) at the Puntledge forest with the goal of finding mycoheterotrophs. A mycoheterotroph is a plant that gets its nutrients from a fungus during at least part of its lifecycle.

The group’s co-leader Véronique has created another very useful photographic identification guide to the mycoheterotroph species observed on this walk using her own photos and additional research. Below is a small selection of images from the guide. Download the guide here (PDF, 5.4 MB) [click a photo to see the uncropped image].



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Recording for talk on understanding watersheds

Comox Valley Nature recently hosted the following presentation at our May general meeting:

Title: Understanding our Watersheds “One Puzzle Piece at a Time”
Speaker: Dave Weaver (Beaufort Watershed Stewards)
Date: Sunday, May 26, 2024

If you missed this event or would like to see it again, a recording is available here (MP4, 100 MB if downloaded).

For more information about this talk, see the announcement in our earlier post.

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Botany at Little River, May 2024

Beach plain in foreground, estuarine plain on opposite bank, wooded area with pond (not visible) in background. (Photo: V. McIntyre)

The Botany/Mycology Group’s May field trip took place on May 14 at Little River Nature Park and was well-attended.

This CVRD nature park has three special ecosystems which the group explored:

  • the rare and sensitive beach plain
  • the sensitive salt marsh estuarine plain
  • the wetland and pond area.

Many of the spring flowers on the beach plain were showing up on this trip.

The group’s co-leader Véronique has created another very useful photographic identification guide to most of the species observed on this walk using her own photos and additional research. Below is a small selection of images from the guide. Download the guide here (PDF, 10.3 MB).

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Coastal waterbirds workshop on June 9

Surf Scoters (Photo: Sean Jenniskens)

Comox Valley Nature is hosting a workshop by Birds Canada to promote interest in its Coastal Waterbird Survey and Beached Bird Survey citizen-science programs.

CVN members and the general public are invited to this two-part workshop to be held on June 9 during World Oceans Weekend. You can attend either one or both parts of the workshop.

Refresh your birding skills with a presentation + trivia about the local coastal waterbird species, and learn more about the coastal programs at Birds Canada, and how you can help monitor the health of our coasts!

Part 1: Indoor presentation:
Speaker: Rémi Torrenta (Birds Canada)
Date: Sunday, June 9, 2024
Time: 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. PT
Location: Main hall of Comox United Church, 250 Beach Drive, Comox

Part 2: Coastal bird walk:
Discover the birds and biodiversity of Goose Spit, and practice your bird ID and counting. Pairs of binoculars and spotting scope will be provided if you don’t have your own. Dress for the weather.
Leader: Rémi Torrenta (Birds Canada)
Date: Sunday, June 9, 2024
Time: 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. PT
Location: Goose Spit, Comox. Meet at the parking lot with the toilets.

Participants who are interested in joining the team of Coastal Waterbird Surveyors or Beached Bird Surveyors will have the opportunity later this summer to receive specific training, equipment, and identification guides (coastal waterbird ID guide and/or beached bird ID guide) for the surveys.

About the speaker

Rémi Torrenta is a biologist and the British Columbia Projects Coordinator at Birds Canada. He obtained his master’s degree in France, then a PhD in Ecology at Université de Moncton (NB), and he has been involved in avian research for the past 12 years. Rémi is currently managing a dozen programs in British Columbia, including all the citizen science programs, species-at-risk research, monitoring programs, Urban Birds, and Outreach/Education programs. He is convinced that conservation goals are better achieved through public education and citizen science.

About Birds Canada

Previous workshop participants
(Photo: Rémi Torrenta)

Birds Canada is a non-profit organization, and the country’s only national organization dedicated to bird conservation. The BC Coastal Waterbird Survey helps track populations of living waterbirds on our coasts, and the BC Beached Bird Survey helps track bird die-off and bird mortality events. These are the most well-known of Birds Canada’s citizen science programs in BC.

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Tour native plant gardens and learn about carbon sequestration

Comox Valley Nature is sponsoring a special all-day event at Steller Raven Ecological Farm that will highlight native plant gardening techniques and research into the potential of such gardens for carbon sequestration. The public is invited to attend this free event:

Date: Saturday, June 15, 2024
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. PT
Location: Steller Raven Ecological Farm, 3177 Kentwood Road, Courtenay
Host: Dr. Royann Petrell

Features

  • Tour existing native plant gardens and new experimental gardens
  • Speak with experienced gardeners
  • Learn how to convert lawns into native gardens
  • Learn about the carbon sequestration process
  • Seeds and plants for sale

Tour sign-ups

You can sign up online in advance for one of the guided tours planned throughout the day. The number of participants in each tour is limited, so signing up is recommended. See the selection of times and sign up for one on our Events page.

For more information

On April 28, Royann gave a talk on this subject at CVN’s monthly general meeting. The announcement for that meeting briefly describes how she transformed her small farm using native plants, and how that led to her investigations into sequestering carbon. Subsequently, we posted her slides from that talk which you can download.

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Learn how to understand watersheds

Comox Valley Nature members and the general public are invited to CVN’s May general meeting for the following keynote presentation:

Title: Understanding our Watersheds “One Puzzle Piece at a Time”
Speaker: Dave Weaver (Beaufort Watershed Stewards)
Date: Sunday, May 26, 2024
Time: 7:00 p.m. PT
Location: Main hall of Comox United Church, 250 Beach Drive, Comox

This 45-minute information session will present what the Beaufort Watershed Stewards are all about—their intent, how they are structured, what activities they do and where, the processes they use and/or follow, and where they intend to go in the future. This is an all-volunteer non-profit organization that has grown very quicky and has achieved much in it’s first 7 years—first by slowing walking, to now actually running at full steam—one puzzle piece at a time.

Two case-study programs will be highlighted briefly—the Hydrological Cumulative Effects Assessment Program and the Aquifer Mapping Program. The intent is to give the audience an overview of the details involved and the expected outcomes, ultimately aiming to better understand how our watersheds function.

About the speaker

Dave Weaver has had a varied career, working in forestry in BC for 37 years for many organizations. He was a Registered Professional Forester (RPF) since 1981 and has now resigned from this association when he retired in 2016. He started his career on Vancouver Island, working for MacMillian Bloedel Ltd, as an Area Forester for 11 years. He then moved with his family to Smithers in the BC interior and worked in silviculture and planning as a forest consultant for 14 years. Within this period, he worked 9 years as part-time College Forestry Instructor and for 10 years he logged on weekends as a hobby as a woodlot licensee. During the last 12 years of his career he worked for the Provincial Government in Silviculture Policy and Legislation, in Smithers and finally back on the Island in Victoria.

Currently in retirement, he is the President of the Beaufort Watershed Stewards. He assists with the administration and stream sampling and leads the Forestry Subcommittee of this group.

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Botany at MacDonald Wood and Mack Laing Parks, April 2024

Red-flowering currant in Mack Laing Park
(Photo: V. McIntyre)

The Botany/Mycology Group was privileged to have Marta Donovan lead the group in a very informative walk through MacDonald Wood Park and Mack Laing Nature Park in Comox on April 9.

Marta is a professional botanist who recently retired after working for 26 years for the BC Conservation Data Centre, a program for the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. She compiled the provincial list of plants in BC, assessing their conservation status and mapped the locations of species at risk in the province.

The two parks, while close together, evidence somewhat different environments and plant communities, and Marta very usefully pointed out the differences. She highlighted many characteristic plant species in each park in the context of the structural layers of the forest.

Following the practice started with the group’s March walk at the Tsolum floodplain, group co-leader Véronique has created very useful photographic identification guides to most of the species observed on this walk using her own photos and additional research. You can download the two guides (one for each park) here:

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Slides for native plant gardening talk

At Comox Valley Nature’s general meeting on April 28, the keynote presentation by Royann Petrell on “Native Plant Gardening and Carbon Sequestration” was well-attended and stimulated an interesting discussion. Some audience members expressed an interest in seeing the slides again, and Royann has kindly allowed them to be distributed. You can download the presentation here (PDF, 16.5 MB).

For more information about Royann’s work at her Steller Raven Ecological Farm and an event at the farm in June promoting native plant gardening, see this earlier post.

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