Chickadee Nature Festival hatches a different kind of program

By David F. Rooney

The Chickadee Nature Festival kicks off May 27 with a set of programs quite different from those offered in the past. Gone is the emphasis on keep-the-kids-busy type of activities that characterized it in the past. What’s new are a hands-on Bio Blitzes, a Scavenger Hunt, a Morning Bird Blitz and other activities, most of which are downtown instead of being up at the chalet on Mount Revelstoke.

“We had drifted towards having more kids-oriented events and activities and wanted to offer more things of interest to adults,” said Neills Kristensen, executive director of the Friends of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier, which organizes the festival that is now in its sixth year.

There still are kids’ activities, but there are more that are geared for youths and adults.

The festival’s first event is a 7:30 pm talk on Friday, May 27, by researcher Natalie Stafl on the American pikas that live in our local mountains. This is to be held in the United Church Hall.

Saturday, May 28, dawns with a pancake breakfast at the United Church Hall from 8:30 am until 11 am. Besides the pancakes there will be muffins and “certified organic, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance” coffee (however, bring your own mug for that). There is a suggested donation of $3 for this.

Once you’ve refueled yourself check out some of the activities scheduled for 9:30 am until 1 pm on Mackenzie Avenue between Second and Third Streets:

  • The North Columbia Environmental Society will be presenting the winners of its Bike Give-Away Contest with their prizes.
  • Bear Aware’s Janette Vickers will teach people how to identify black and grizzly bears and will have some activities for kids, as well.
  • Sylvia Woods will present Crazy About Caribou, a program that will present some of the latest research on this endangered species.
  • The NCES will a host a program that invites children to plant their own vegetable at the Community Garden beside the United Church.
  • Jannica Hoskins will present a program on aboriginal peoples.
  • Parks Canada staff will hold a mini-Bio Blitz and Scavenger Hunt downtown. It is also offering a talk about wolverines.
  • The Friends will also have a booth dedicated to its popular Junior Naturalist Program. Children that would like to register for this program will be able to do so.
  • Kevin Bollefer of the Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation will talk about RCFC’s role in and around our community.
  • Amy Holzer and Smokey the Bear will be on hand to talk about wildfires and hand out materials about preventing them.
  • In keeping with the fire-prevention theme, Tim Laboucane and the Parks Canada Fire Crew will demonstrate some of their techniques. But be prepared, this could be a very wet demonstration!
  • Representatives of  L’Association de Francophones Kootenay Ouest will be on hand to talk about the programs they offer French Canadians living in our region.
  • And, finally, the City will have a booth where someone will be on hand to tell passersby about the City’s impending ban on cosmetic pesticides.

Sunday will dawn early with a 6 am Morning Bird Blitz at the Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk. Participants will be able to listen to calls and have a chance to observe the great variety of birds you can find there.

Also on Sunday, Parks Canada’s Alice Weber will lead a Bio Blitz at Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk. Participants will have a chance to inventory all of the plants and animal species that make their homes there. From 8 am until 9 am local bird experts will lead birders in spotting as many species as possible. Then, from 9 am until 11 am you can visit different themed stations where park biologists will talk about bugs, plants, amphibians and fish. Then, at 11:30 am, those who are willing can pull on some gloves and using garden tools participate in a one hour-weed-pull. Participants are strongly encouraged to bring a snack and water plus their own gloves and tools for the weed pull. Pre-registration is encouraged but not required. To pre-register please send an e-mail to by May 26 or drop by the Parks Canada booth on Mackenzie Avenue on Saturday, May 28.

Please click here to view the official Chickadee Nature Festival Schedule of Events.