With a little help from Williams Lake Field Naturalist Cathy Koot (right) presenter Brioni Penn gets her slide show set up for her presentation at the naturalists annual fundraising banquet. Penn talked about her ancestors

With a little help from Williams Lake Field Naturalist Cathy Koot (right) presenter Brioni Penn gets her slide show set up for her presentation at the naturalists annual fundraising banquet. Penn talked about her ancestors

Nature Centre depends on volunteers

The success of Scout Island Nature Centre depends on volunteers and a great deal of community support.

The success of Scout Island Nature Centre depends on volunteers and a great deal of community support.

In 2014 volunteers contributed 3,678 hours of time on various projects which equates to a monetary value of $99,408, the Williams Lake Field Naturalists say in their annual report released last month during the annual fundraising banquet.

Materials donated, including City of Williams Lake contributions, totalled $14,238.

In-kind donations of time and materials for trail upgrades and enhancement of wildlife habitat was equal to $26,592.

This weekend another fundraising event is coming up for the Scout Island Nature Centre, the much anticipated annual spring yard and garden sale.

This event will be held at the nature centre Saturday, May 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There will be interesting house and garden plants, bird houses, household treasures, sporting and outdoor equipment as well as garden items for sale.

The event raises funds for a student bursary.

The total revenue collected for operating the nature centre programs in 2014 totalled $188,338.16.

Funds are received in the form of program fees, a gaming grant, donations from various supporters and partners such as the Nature Trust of B.C., United Way, Cariboo Foundation, federal summer student grant, School District 27, Lioness Club, TELUS, Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society, Rotary Club, Pinnacle Renewable Energy, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, City of Williams Lake, Cariboo Regional District, TD Friends of the Environment, individual donations and more.

The complete budget including reports on all the programs and upgrades completed in 2014 is available at the nature centre.

The directors and members of the Williams Lake Field Naturalists have met the challenge of managing Scout Island Nature Centre since 1978.

Through their volunteer efforts, programs and materials are developed, staff hired and trained, funds raised, trails repaired, buildings and infrastructure improved, weeds pulled, boardwalks built, bird boxes installed, native plant display plot maintained and much more, the report states.

The naturalists provide nature focused education programs for preschoolers, school students, families and the general public.

They also recruit a wide variety of expert speakers for public talks at the nature centre.

This year the plan is to have three full-time summer staff and one to two high school students working at the centre.

Paula Laita, Mary Forbes and Sue Hemphill will continue sharing the fun of teaching classes and the society hopes to extend its Art in Nature and Nature in Art programs so that there are some art programs just for adults.

As well, the Healthy by Nature movement will continue.

The naturalists are also in talks with SD27 to create a nature-based Kindergarten which would operate out of the current pre-school space in the basement of the nature house.

The naturalists plan to continue their work in supporting teachers in developing high school outdoor education programs and clubs that participate in stewardship and field trips for students including overnight adventures in the wilderness areas of the region.

Naturalists also lead field trips into the wilderness to view birds, wildlife and beautiful places to see around the Cariboo Chilcotin.

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