Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Why do Bluebirds Lay Blue Eggs?
Research on mountain bluebirds in the Alkali Lake and Dog Creek area
Jeannine Randall

Jeannine has been working with birds in BC and beyond for nearly a decade and she recently graduated from the University of Northern BC with a master’s degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies. For this degree she studied Mountain Bluebirds breeding in nest boxes in the Caribou region

Wednesday November 22
          7pm at the Nature House
                        Free Presentation 250 398 8532

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

fall break nature program--only one day

Fall Break Nature Program

The Beauty of Winter
Through exploring and drawing
Special One Day Program
Tuesday, November 14
Mary Forbes Leading
$35 for day

Children  aged 7-14 are welcome to join us for outdoor exploring and games.  Madi Riplinger will guide us in how to sketch wildlife in a winter landscape. 

Be sure to register early by phoning 398-8532 or emailing shemphill@xplornet.com

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Birding Adventures
in Extramadura, Spain
Thursday November 2
7:30 at Scout Island Nature House

Travel through Spain with Connie Haeussler and Leo Rankin
The main focus of their trip was birding in the province of Extremadura, on the border with Portugal.  It's the wildest, least developed part of Spain, and thus a haven for birds.  The region has Roman ruins, Arab fortresses and medieval towns as well as Monfrague National park, famous for its raptors. Birding highlights included hoopoes, great bustards, black storks, european rollers, bee eaters and hundreds of white storks.

Free presentation-no registration needed-Info 250 398 8532

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Vancouver Aquarium is coming to Scout Island Nature Centre

Our first family event for the season. 

We will be doing a shoreline clean up and pulling night shade starting at noon.  Then come back to enjoy the ocean creatures.

A Bit of the Vancouver Aquarium is Coming
Live Ocean Creatures in the Aqua Van
Will be at 
Scout Island Nature Centre

Sunday October 15 1-4pm---Free!

And to do our bit for the Oceans (yes we are connected to the ocean by water and salmon), there will be a Shoreline Cleanup starting at 12 noon

Come and Help at 12 noon- then visit the Ocean Visitors  for more info call 398 8532  

Remember the water you wash your hands with will touch a sea star five weeks later.  So choose your soap carefully.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Nature Fun Ends--Getting Ready for School Programs-Salmon Trip for High School Students

Nature Fun programs end tomorrow (Aug. 18).  It has been a good 3 weeks despite all the smoke.  Today the children are busy being bats and practicing their echolocation.  Sarah, and William are returning to university next week.  Gabrielle will be here to complete her work weeks (so many were lost during the order).  She will be busy cleaning animal tanks, doing all the feeding and developing nature learning materials for us.  But there will be no more Nature Fun for this summer.  Hopefully, we will be able to start the school season on time.  Nature Kindergarten children will be here all week.  There will be two grade 7 outdoor education classes visiting each month.  We will be offering school programs as usual.  The Salmon Trip for high school students (grades 10-12)is planned for September 18 -20 (if fire season allows it).  Students that want to take part in the Salmon Trip can call me (398 8532) or email me (shemphill at xplornet.com) and request the application form.   

I am pleased to announce that Paula Laita is taking over for me as Education Coordinator starting in September.  I will be the Executive Director.  We will both be working with Frances McCoubrey, SD 27 Outdoor Education Resource Teacher, to provide nature education to schools and community.

The Nature Centre is still closed to the public because of the fire danger.  Go out and do a rain dance so the danger passes.  When you are feeling sad for yourself in all of this smoke, think of the 3 baby osprey trying to learn to fly and hunt in this smoke.  Their parents must be having trouble fishing (can't see) as well as getting enough oxygen to have the energy to dive after the fish.

Be sure to find a way to enjoy nature on the less smoky days.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Due to the extreme fire danger, Scout Island Nature Centre is closed to the public until further notice (this includes vehicles and walkers). The gate will be locked. The children's program, Nature Fun, will continue from 10-2 each week day as children will be under the supervision of staff. This program will use inside the nature house when air quality is poor and outside when it is safe. Children are having fun and forgetting about fires for awhile. You can sign your child up for the program by calling 398 8532 or emailing scoutisland at shaw.ca. Parents will need to walk their children in from the gate to the Nature House. As well, parents must be immediately available to pick their children up in case of another evacuation order. 

Monday, 31 July 2017

Nature Fun
Scout Island Nature Centre
Discovering Nature Up Close
A New Program Each Day
Exploring, playing, learning, creating
Despite the Smoke

Monday –Friday 10-2  Aug. 1-18
Ages 4-13
We will be outdoors when the air quality allows us to be and indoors when the air is too poor (the Nature House has air conditioning that keeps the smoke out)
Cost is $15 or what ever you can pay
Sign up by email scoutisland at shaw.ca or 398 8532 in advance so we know how many children to plan for each day

Send lunch and snack (remember “no garbage” lunches if possible). Sunhats, sunscreen, shoes they can walk in the water in. We won't be swimming (no life guard) but might be getting wet in other ways.  Please ensure you are able to pick up your child as fast as possible if there is another evacuation order.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The Nature Conservancy found that on average Canadian kids under 13 now take part in freestyle play outdoors for only a half-hour per week.  That means that our children are not getting a chance to develop their “naturalist intelligence.”  Yes, according to Howard Gardner (professor of education at Harvard University) that is one of 8 types of intelligence.  Naturalist Intelligence is  the ability to understand patterns, relationships and connections in nature.  Children need ample time to get their bare hands dirty while exploring turtle nests and deer beds.  They need a big dose of exploring and loving the natural world. Our Nature fun two hour programs (Mon, Tues. Thurs. and Fri) does this for 4-8 year olds.  And, the Art in Nature program on Wednesdays does it all day for 8-13 year olds.  Our small groups (12 children and 2 leaders) allow for children to move at their own pace and stop and explore what they are interested in.  It’s a great way to spend a summer day.  It goes from 8:30-4:30 so perfect if you are a working parent.  The first week we will be getting up close to amphibians and reptiles, catching their food, observing, pretending to be one, and writing all about it.    Did you know garter snakes incubate their eggs inside their bodies? 

We are only having 5 weeks of these programs (we received less funding to pay for summer staff—university students), so sign up your children soon so they don’t miss out on the nature adventures.  
Call 398 8532 or email scoutisland at shaw.ca

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Summer Programs to start July 10

Nature Fun

Scout Island Nature Centre
July 10- August 11
Mon. Tues. Thur. Fri.  9:30-11:30 or
1-3 Mon. Tues. Thurs.
for  Ages 4-8
$12 per session
Art in Nature Adventures--  Wednesdays for Ages 8-13
8:30-4:30pm ($25)
Art, exploring, observing, games—at a slow summer time rhythm

(this program is offered with the support of the Cariboo Regional District and City of Williams Lake via the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society)

 Weekly Themes
July 10-14        Rep’s and Phibs (reptiles and amphibians in the marsh
July 17-21        Birds the Word (how they fly, hearing their voices…)
July 24-28       Mammal Mania (lots of mysteries to solve)
July 31-Aug. 4  Bugs are “Fly”  (invertebrates in the air, water, and land)
Aug. 8-11          Water Water Every Where (how life depends on water) 

 For more information or to register for programs
Call 398 8532 or scoutisland at shaw.ca

 The cost of these programs has been kept low through supportfrom the Canada Summer Jobs Program, Province of BC,and volunteers from the Williams Lake Field Naturalists

Please pack only fresh fruit and/or vegetables snacks for your child

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Salmon Trip 
Application for Fall 2016 Program
September 18-20

It will last three days with two nights at Gavin Lake.    Go to www.scoutislandnaturecentre.ca and click on salmon trip 2015 to see pictures from that  year’s trip.  This will help you answer the questions below. 

Goal:   To involve students in activities that help them appreciate how a watershed works—the animals, the plants, the water, the geography and how humans fit in. 

Twenty students from School District #27 will work together with teachers and biologists doing the following:
  • Chinook Brood Stock collection –You will be in the river helping to catch adult spawning Chinook salmon so that eggs and sperm can be harvested. 
  • Do activities involving stream invertebrates, salmon dissection, and stream dynamics
  • Hike and learn about forest ecostystems
  • Doing natural history observations (birds, plants, possibly bears and other mammals)
  • Art in Nature
  • First Nations and Natural Resources

You will be expected to be outdoors working, to share a cabin with 7-10 others, and have arranged to miss your other classes. 

Complete the following:

  1. What parts of this field trip really interest you?

  1. What do you want to learn from this experience?


  1. Is there anything else you would like to add?
4.  If you are a returning participant,  what would  you like to help lead?

You will be asked to think about your Ecological Footprint and what changes you can make to shrink it to help steward the water and land.  The first evening we will cover information you will need to understand the work we will do on and in the river with salmon and other species. 

Journal: While it is your journal to record your experiences, excerpts of it may also be used to submit with program grant applications. This would not be done without your permission

Transportation, food, accommodation and staff costs are being covered by Scout Island Nature Centre,  Gavin Lake, Quesnel River Research Centre, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), PAC and your fees.  The total cost for the field trip is $7500 or $375 per student.  Your fee is only  $50. 

Action Project: Each student is required to do 5 hours of stewardship work this spring or early fall with the WL Campus Enviro  Club, the Columnetza Greenies, or Scout Island Nature Centre .  During the summer, you can do  stewardship work directly with Scout Island Nature Centre.  Contact Sue at 398 8532 to arrange it. 

Please sign this contract.

I agree to take part in all of the activities of the field trip and complete an action project to a standard acceptable by teachers, Sue Hemphill (Scout Island Nature Centre), and Guy Scharf (DFO).  I understand that the completion of the action project and the journal is necessary to help ensure the continuation of the program. 

Name:________________________________________________ Grade in September:__________


Teacher recommending you:_________________________

Contact Info (student):
_____________________                  _____________________                  _____________________
Phone number                                      Cell number                                          Email



By signing below you have read the above application.  You agree to support your student in the completion of the Action Project with the understanding that it is an integral part of the Salmon Trip.



Contact Info (parent/guardian):
_____________________                  _____________________                  _____________________
Phone number                                      Cell number                                          Email   

Applications should be turned into Ms Riplinger or Sue Hemphill at Scout Island Nature Centre, 1305A Borland Rd, Williams Lake BC V2G 5K5
Or fill out an electronic version and email it to Sue      shemphill at xplornet.com

Stream to Sea Restored so it is a go for Salmon Trip 2017--Time to get applications in!

Hello All

Some of you may know that the Stream to Sea program was cut by the Minister of Fisheries a few weeks ago.  This is the program that allows 35 000 students in BC to raise salmon in their classrooms and release them to rivers.  In our area, Scout Island Nature Centre provides this service to 14-16 classrooms each year.  In addition, it is the basis of the high school Salmon Trip each September.  The good news is that last Wednesday I was told by Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) that the Stream to Sea Program will continue for at least one more year.  This reversal was because there was a strong and loud protest from people around the province asking the government to reinstate the funding.  But it is only for one year, so we must continue to let people in power (Prime Minister, Minister of Fisheries) that we want long term funding for the program.

Now that we know that the program will continue in the fall, we can start planning the Salmon Trip.  It will take place September 18-20.  If you are a grade 10 -12 student in September 2017 you can apply to take part.  Check out the connector on the Scout Island website to Salmon Trip 2015 to see how the trip works.  If you are interested in taking part email me shemphill at xplornet.com and I will send you the application form or check with one of your science teachers for the application form

I have attached the application form in the next blog.