Aspiring naturalists observe and take notes in TLC’s Wildlife Corridor. Photo by Karen Iwachow.

Sharing information on the natural world

The program takes place in May and those who sign up will learn from experienced naturalists

The Land Conservancy of B.C. (TLC) is accepting applications for the Deertrails Naturalist Program, which offers aspiring naturalists a chance to learn a variety of skills from experts in various fields of study.

“(Participants) will be hiking throughout TLC’s Clearwater Wetland and Wildlife Corridor in Upper Clearwater Valley into the forest and through Wells Gray Park itself,” said Dianna Stenberg, deputy executive director of TLC.

“The concept is, we’ll follow the natural paths of deer as they go through the property, which isn’t necessarily how mankind would travel, but looking through their eyes we’d see how they get through paths as well as because they’re the prey for other species, we’d also see the evidence of other species along this path.”

The program takes place from May 7 to 13 and those who sign up will learn from experienced naturalists and teachers Lyn Bladwin, Briony Penn, Trevor Goward with additional instruction from ornithologist Nancy Flood, mycologist Andy MacKinnon and volcanologist Cathie Hickson.

During the week participants will learn about natural history, take wilderness hikes, study waterfalls and canyons in the area and take in the Wells Gray ecosystem as it heads into spring.

Educators will share information on volcanology, bird study, teach how to identify types of plants, fungi and lichens as well as how to create field journals and memory maps.

TLC completes fundraising campaign to protect Clearwater wildlife corridor

“We’re just hoping they can become naturalists in their own right and they can inspire and educate the next generation of naturalists,” said Stenberg, adding it was Goward who really kickstarted the idea for the program.

“He’s a renowned lichenologist and a member of the Clearwater community; he really saw the importance of training the next generation of naturalists, and education is such a big part of TLC’s mandate that we were happy to partner and feature Clearwater because of its beauty and ecological significance.”

According to information from TLC the Deertrails Naturalist Program is aimed at students, teachers, artists, scientists, poets, philosophers and anybody else who feels drawn to place-based learning through immersive practice in wild nature.

Cathy Armstrong, executive director for TLC said, “Building a network of naturalists is one of the means by which TLC is addressing the interrelated issues of biodiversity loss and climate change; we are looking forward to our first Deertrails Naturalist Program and sharing the natural world TLC members have protected in the Clearwater Valley with up-and-coming naturalists.”

There will also be a community day on May 11 for the public to check out where they can take part in guided walks and learn from the naturalists while exploring the Clearwater Wetland and Wildlife Corridor.

For more details regarding the Deertrails Naturalist Program and the May 2019 session contact TLC at (250) 479-8053 or

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