An endangered Vancouver Island marmot suns itself on rocks at Mount Washington, near the Comox Valley. Learn more about this endangered species with the Alberni Valley Nature Club. (PHOTO COURTESY SANDY MCRUER, AV NATURE CLUB)

An endangered Vancouver Island marmot suns itself on rocks at Mount Washington, near the Comox Valley. Learn more about this endangered species with the Alberni Valley Nature Club. (PHOTO COURTESY SANDY MCRUER, AV NATURE CLUB)

Marmots, underwater mysteries part of Alberni Valley Nature Club lineup

Club kicks off membership drive with series of Zoom chats

The Alberni Valley Nature Club is kicking off its 2021 membership drive by holding a series of Zoom webinars. To whet people’s appetite, the club has lined up four speakers for March 8, April 12, May 10 and June 14.

Adam Taylor, executive director of the Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery Foundation, will speak March 8 about the endangered marmots that live exclusively on the Island. In addition to explaining the life habits of these unique creatures, why they are endangered and what’s being done to help them survive, he will bring us up to date with last summer’s efforts. Did you know there are marmots up above Labour Day Lake?

Doctor John Reynolds will be the April 12 speaker. Reynolds is a familiar face in Bamfield at the Marine Sciences Centre during the field season. He is also the chair of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). He is also a passionate advocate of iNaturalist, a world-wide app where one can both learn about nature and contribute observations to a world wide data base, or any specific park, valley or back yard. He will both take viewers through the app and explain what they can do with it. This is an ideal pandemic app where one can learn in the field and be socially distant.

When you become a member of the Alberni Valley Nature Club, you become a member of BC Nature with other affiliated clubs across Vancouver Island and British Columbia. And that means there are other highly skilled people who can speak on various topics in the other clubs—people such as Doug Fraser of Nature Nanaimo, the May 10 speaker, says organizer Sandy McRuer. Fraser was a biology teacher before he retired. He has traveled on expeditions all over the world with students or on science projects. He will be presenting “Inspired by Nature.”

The final presenter, June 14, will be Peter Mieras from Rendezvous Dive Adventures in Rainy Bay. For those that don’t know, Rainy Bay is located near the mouth of the Alberni Inlet, in Barkley Sound. Vancouver Island is known as one of the top diving locations in the world, and Mieras’ location is pristine. He also is an incredible underwater videographer, so we expect this webinar to be a visual treat.

The Alberni Valley Nature Club came into being at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. “Of course all our planned activities were shut down. So the steering committee had to bide its time,” McRuer said.

“With the prospect of vaccines ahead, we thought it was time to start up again with online activities and some limited field projects: projects like building and putting up bird houses, bat houses etc., planting trees, broom busting, and scavenger hunts for the kids.”

Webinars are free for anyone to join, but people must register to receive the Zoom link by e-mailing Sandy McRuer at smcruer@shaw.ca. For those interested in more, annual nature club memberships are available for individuals, students and families, starting at $30. Contact McRuer to purchase a membership.

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