Tara Sprickerhoff photo Birds show that life is coming back to Scout Island after a long winter. A fundraising banquet to support the nature centre will be held April 20.

Scout Island Nature Banquet to take place Friday, April 20

Rob Higgins, former resident, presenting on stories of B.C. bugs

The Scout Island Nature Centre will be hosting their annual banquet April 20 at the United Church Hall.

The event will be catered by members of the United Church, with delicious desserts from the dependable Joanne Wright.

The social part of the evening will start around 6 p.m. with the banquet starting at 6:45 p.m. The banquet will be followed by speaker Rob Higgins.

Higgins is a former lakecity resident and entomologist — one who studies insects, and in Higgin’s case, ants.

While based in Williams Lake, Higgins confirmed the presence of the European fire ant in British Columbia, as well as rediscovering a number of other invasive ant species.

Having since moved to lecture at the Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, Higgins will be returning with his familiar enthusiasm to present on insects, good and bad, for the banquet.

The passionate scientist — whose students report is very interesting in lectures — will deliver a presentation: The Old and the Awesome Versus the New and the Terrible: Stories of the Insects of British Columbia.

His talk will cover the diversity of insects in the province, from beautiful butterflies, hissing beetles, and the social ants that ranch, take slaves, and even feed on the blood of their young. He’ll also look at some of the new arrivals, from biting ladybugs, insects that spoil the taste of wine, and even ants that can stop planes from landing.

“There are many awesome tales to tell,” said Higgins in his speech preamble.

The evening is an important fundraiser for the nature centre, and one that celebrates the natural beauty that Scout Island preserves.

“When you think of the services being provided down there, we have to have a lot of people working, and we have to have a lot of money for supplies, educational materials and other things. It’s significant,” said Fred McMechan, past president of the Williams Lake Field Naturalists, who run Scout Island.

While much of the funding for the Scout Island Nature Centre comes from grants, every little bit helps.

“The other thing that is nice about it, being involved, it’s a very nice social outing for a lot of people who look forward to coming, enjoying their meal, and socializing.”

The tickets are $40 for an adult $15 for a student, and are available at the Open Book, the Nature House and members of the club.

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