The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC) is holding a Community Day for its Deertrails program, where residents can see what the group is doing and learn more about nature in the Clearwater area.
The event takes place at the Wells Gray Education and Research Station on May 11 beginning at 1 p.m. and will offer hourly tours with a naturalist as well as Mother’s Day art projects for youth to take part in.
“People will get to learn more about the flora and fauna of the area with a unique opportunity to learn about the wetlands and the protected wildlife corridors that we’re working on protecting up there,” said Karen Iwachow, environmental technician with TLC.
“These wildlife corridors are habitats where wolves, cougars, grizzly bears, black bears, moose, and other animals travel between their winter and summer ranges in Wells Gray Park.”
Because the Deertrails program is a longterm project in the area, Iwachow said TLC feels it’s important to get the community involved and give people an idea of the work the group is doing.
The Deertrails program is an intergenerational place-based learning opportunity to exchange naturalist knowledge both scientific and natural, and Iwachow added what makes the program different is that it isn’t a top-down approach, but students are encouraged to share their knowledge of the naturalist world with the seasoned naturalists and build connections.
The program is also not limited to post-secondary students, but is for anyone who has an interest in the natural world and this year Deertrails is fully booked with registered participants.
Based on this year’s success, TLC is planning to run the program again next year.
“I think getting off the grid for a week to spark deep dialogue on issues about climate change with seasoned naturalists is a dream opportunity for any nature and environmentally inspired person, especially with the incredible backdrop of the Clearwater River Valley and Wells Gray Park,” Iwachow said.
“For the Clearwater community to attend our Community Day, they can learn more about what students are learning in the Deertrails program and may be inspired to participate next year.”
One of the other things Community Day visitors can learn about is the TLC’s role in protecting the wetlands, including fundraising the group did to add a parcel of land to the Wetland and Wildlife Corridor project.
“The Wetland and Wildlife Corridor project is a special place containing an ancient swamp, an unusual occurrence in the Clearwater and Wells Gray area,” said Iwachow.
“I think it’s going to be a really great and fun day and I’m sure the Clearwater community would be interested in learning about the unique ecosystems they have in their backyard; for me as a naturalist, the area is quite the paradise, Wells Gray is an incredible landscape created by glaciers, volcanic action, fires, and wind storms, which creates a very biodiverse gem to learn from.”