This is the place to find updates, articles, insights, Board musings, stories, etc…
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Creston Valley Bird-a-thon
May 12th, 2020
Results are in! The Creston Valley Bird Festival organized a Bird-a-thon in Creston on May 9th, International Migratory Bird Day and the scheduled weekend for the Festival (which was cancelled due to COVID-19). Birders took to the Valley, social distancing practices in place of course, and found 134 species. CV Bird Fest wishes to thank to all Valley birders who headed out in the beautiful sunshine to find the following:
Great Blue Heron
Swainson’s Hawk – possible
Rough-legged Hawk – possible
Eurasian Collared Dove
Great Horned Owl
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Respectful Use of the Wetland and Respecting Fellow Visitors
May 1, 2020
From Carla Ahern, Senior Manager
As the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic continue, we are all seeking to deal and live with these new normals. And with no known end in sight, many of us are unsure about how to deal with all this in a way that keeps us sane! Many people turn to nature for respite, rejuvenation and recharging of “batteries”. Whether you are feeling isolated at home or overwhelmed at work, nature can provide a way to find peace and physical and mental nourishment.
As a result of nature being a popular choice for leisure activity, now probably more than ever, we are seeing larger numbers of people accessing recreation sites. This means more impacts on existing trail (hiking, biking) and waterway (kayaking, boating) networks as well as the ecosystems they reside in.
Access advisory for the wetland
The Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area (CVWMA) issued an advisory to users to refrain from entering onto the CVWMA until further notice, in an attempt to mitigate associated risks to human health due to the coronavirus. While many may not understand or appreciate this closure and limits to access, the decision was based on the best interest of everyone’s health and well-being.
If you chose to still access the CVWMA, they issued guidelines asking you to comply with all applicable physical and social distancing and other health and safety guidelines issued by relevant governments and governmental departments and agencies.
Impacts due to increased use
The CVWMA has seen increased use of the area in the past month, as have other natural areas. Impacts on the wetland ecosystem itself has been evident. Many people are recreating with their dogs and while many leash and pick up after their pets, many do not. At a time when migratory birds are resting and feeding and other birds are nesting, impacts of loose dogs can cause major stress and disturbance to these species. And the amount of dog poop and dog poop bags that litter the trails is a little…gross.
Exploring off the established trails is another impact…this again can disturb the variety of wildlife that are using the area to rest, feed, hide and reproduce. They tend to stay away from the trails and we should stay away from the areas they use.
And then there is vandalism…with increased use seems to come increased destruction. The CVWMA swallow nest box lids were ripped off dozens of houses (volunteers took the initiative to replace them, thank you!), caution tape on benches and towers were removed and the amount of garbage along the trails has increased.
Respect and connect
We all know we should respect nature and each other. And in a time of crisis such as we are in now, it is more important than ever before to support, help, connect with and respect our fellow community members and our local environment. If we all do our part, we will make it through these trying times and our environment and wildlife will not be worse for the wear because of it.
Your neighbourhood and beyond
We are lucky that from all neighbourhoods and communities in our Valley we can just walk out of our front doors and access beautiful vistas, breath fresh air and get the needed physical activity we crave.
The Creston Valley Trail Society has a list of local trails and some of those might be worth exploring if you feel the need to venture a little father from your neighbourhood. Just be smart about accessing the outdoors. If a parking area is full or there are lots of people on that particular trail than maybe that is not the best time to access that area and you could try another day when it is less busy. If you do access a trail, respect social and physical distancing guidelines. Stay on designated trails to limit your impact on the local flora and fauna. And finally, leash your pet to minimize stress to wildlife. I think if we make these few conscious efforts, nature can nurture us and we can nurture nature.
Covid-19 and Environmental Education
Bog Blog Post
April 15, 2020
From James Posynick, Chair of KCDCS
So much has happened since my last blog. The Interpretive Centre is gone. Covid-19 arrived. We closed our school programs for May and June. The CVWMA closed the wetland to visitors.
The Interpretive Centre served as an environmental education and awareness resource for the valley and visitors from B.C. and all over the world. Now only a large mud pie remains where it stood for more than 45 years.
We at KCDC have worked to preserve the tradition of using the wetland as a classroom for environmental learning, since 2015. It seemed particularly important to do so in light of the science demonstrating the potentially catastrophic impacts of climate change. We managed to obtain funding for a trailer-size classroom and set it in the parking lot. We continued relationships with organizations and people that generally supported and funded our programs. We established new relationships, too. We developed a modern, cross-cultural model for a new Discovery Centre to be built on the wetland.
Then along came Covid-19, a health catastrophe and, with it, a macro-economic melt-down.
Keeping our doors closed for all or most of the summer season means a lot of school children will lose the opportunity to experience hands-on learning on the wetland. In 2019 we hosted 1,181 students, 5,061 visitors and more than 1200 people attended camps, special events and canoe tours. This year, possibly, zero.
The closure means a huge revenue loss for us. While we have some program funding in place for the next two years, this is the year we hoped to take the next steps toward the development of a new, multi-functional, technologically modern and barrier-free Discovery Centre. Our support group, including governments, public agencies, private foundations and individuals will also have suffered economic losses. For organizations like ours, there may be little or no money to support existing, much less, new projects.
From the outset, this has been no small undertaking. The Board is a committed group, though, because we see the incredible societal value in offering environmental education and awareness programs. To cut to the chase: if the prospect of environmental catastrophe hastened by Climate Change is not convincing, Covid-19 demonstrates to combat threats to humanity, we need a well-informed, responsible citizenry, skilled at critical thinking and making well-considered decisions that affect them and their fellow community members. Children and young adults who participate in environmental education studies fit that description according to a 20 year study of the impacts of environmental education on K-12 students. Clearly, environmental education is a key element in building the capacity of communities to meet challenges of all kinds. Learners not only gain an appreciation for our natural world and the need for stewardship of it, the skills they learn prepare them to become the community leaders of tomorrow.
We want to continue in pursuit of a new Discovery Centre. The project itself has great potential to bring the peoples of our valley together for the common good today and in the future. When a memorable building is actual built it will bring educational, social and economic benefits to the valley and the entire region.
We hope you support this project. We want to hear from you. If you need further information, use the contact information below. If you can support us with a donation, please visit our website at www.discovery-centre.ca or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. If you represent a foundation or an industry with an interest in becoming a partner in this wonderful enterprise, please call our Senior Manager @ 250-254-0708 or email me at email@example.com.
We can do this together, for our children and for the safety and security of everyone.
 Primary study author: Ardoin, N. M., Bowers, A. W., Roth, N. W.,& Holthuis, N. (2016). Environmental education and K–12 student outcomes: A review and analysis of research. Manuscript submitted for publication.
Message from the Senior Manager
March 31, 2020
From Carla Ahern, Senior Manager
We hope that all our partners, colleagues and patrons are staying healthy during this pandemic. It is trying times as we all make attempts to adapt and alter our usual ways of doing things.
At KCDCS, we are working towards finding ways to keep you engaged and learning in a time where we cannot afford the luxury of getting together with friends and sometimes even family. Getting outdoors is one of the ways that we can work to keep our bodies and brains healthy! We all know that fresh air helps in any circumstance to make one feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Something that is needed now more than ever.
We are lucky that there are many places in our Valley where we can get out for a walk and not be around others, or if there are others, remaining a safe distance away is doable. The trails at the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area remain open. With over 30kms of dyke trails covering a large portion of the Valley bottom, there is lots of opportunity for adventure!
Access to trails is available at all sanctioned CVWMA access points except from the Discovery Centre parking lot – at the moment. The old Wildlife Centre was demolished this past February and the CVWMA and KCDCS are working to get access back at this location as soon as we can (floating bridge is on order and if weather cooperates this will hopefully happen towards the end of April). We are encouraging people who want to explore the trails around the Centre to use the Balancing Rock parking lot.
KCDCS is working to develop and link you to activities, ideas and variety of resources to help you gain the most out of an outdoor adventure! For families, adults and kids…from scavenger hunts to bird identification checklists to crafts and stories…It can be indoor and outdoor, from window to wetlands…we hope to aid you in promoting healthy activities for body and soul!
So stay tuned to our Facebook page, join our eNews list, check back to our website – we are in process of redoing our website so stayed tuned for wonderful changed on that front! Our new website will have a great list on links and resources for you to use in the coming months.
Take care everyone. Be fastidious and wash those hands! Video chat and call people to connect…we are lucky for a virtual world when it comes to the variety of avenues that we can use to communicate with the greater community near and far, so use those channels!
And hopefully we will see you, from a distance, in the wetlands as you plan your next outdoor adventure!