Ordell Steen (right) leads an expedition of naturalists from around the province through the Churn Creek Protected Area.

BC naturalists gather in lakecity to explore Cariboo-Chilcotin

Naturalists from throughout B.C. met in Williams Lake over four days May 12-15 to participate in the B.C. Nature Conference.


Naturalists from throughout B.C. met in Williams Lake over four days May 12-15 to participate in the B.C. Nature Conference. 

There were about 180 registrants including about 140 who came from all parts of the province. 

They were actively involved going on field trips, listening to presentations and attending the annual general meeting.

Field trips were a main part of the activities with the focus being on learning about and appreciating the nature of the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

There were full-day trips to the Churn Creek Protected Area and the Horsefly River Riparian Conservation Area. 

During Friday afternoon there were nine field trips with several centred on the Chilcotin grasslands between Riske Creek and Farwell Canyon, one to the Doc English Bluff along the Fraser River and another along the Dog Creek Road. 

On Saturday and Sunday mornings there were morning field trips to the Scout Island Nature Centre, the upper and lower Williams Lake River Valley, the UBC Research Forest at Knife Creek, Chimney Valley and Walker Valley. 

Field trip leaders provided information on many topics including bird watching, plants in a variety of habitats, ants, cavity nesting birds, plants of the Secwepemc people, ecology and management of  Interior Douglas-fir forests.

There were several presentations by scientists and naturalists who provided a wealth of knowledge to the audience. 

On Friday morning Karen Wiebe provided information on her research on the Northern Flicker on the grasslands rear Riske Creek, Rob Higgins introduced the audience to the ecology of ants, Ordell Steen outlined the Cariboo-Chilcotin ecosystem’s diversity and uniqueness, and Rob Dolighan gave a talk on the effects of climate change on the ecology of large lakes in this region.

There were two presentations on Thursday and Friday evening when Ray Coupe showed photos of the biological diversity of this region and Chris Harris took people on a photographic journey showing volcanic landscapes in this region. 

During the banquet on Saturday the audience enjoyed a presentation by the guest speaker, Wayne Sawchuk, who told about his efforts to conserve the Muskwa Kechika wilderness area in the northern Rockies.

During the banquet Anna Roberts was presented with one of B.C. Nature’s most significant awards, The Ian McTaggart Cowan Outstanding Naturalists award. 

She was recognized for her many contributions to the knowledge of natural history, especially of the Cariboo-Chilcotin region.


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