Dr. Tom Dickinson, a respected scientist at TRU, Kamloops, will be the guest speaker at the Scout Island Nature Centre fundraising banquet on April 20.
In 1989 Dickinson came to Cariboo College to teach and do research in the biological sciences.
In 2009 he was appointed Dean of Science. He assisted in the development of the Natural Resources Science Program and taught the first courses in wildlife management.
He also was involved in the establishment of the Wells Gray Education and Research Centre.
He has actively participated in assisting provincial and local naturalist organizations and developing land-use plans in the Kamloops region.
His research interests include bird communities in high elevation forests and energy utilization by nuthatches. He enjoys being a natural historian and bird watcher, and continues to inspire others with these interests.
During the banquet, Dickinson will talk about his travels in Colombia, a country of magnificent beauty and one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth.
“This talk will provide a snapshot of Colombia’s rich cultural and ecological diversity as it was revealed to me during a brief visit in 2011,” Dickinson says. “My travels centred on what is called the Coffee Triangle — an area bounded by highland rain forests of the Western Andes and the towering peaks of the dry Central Andes.
“In my talk I will share some insights I got while birding in this area about the agricultural practices that give rise labels such as ‘bird-friendly’ and ‘fair-trade’ to the coffee from Colombia and I will show some pictures of spectacular avifauna of the region.
He says the economy of Colombia is changing rapidly and as it changes an essential role is being played by a network of important bird areas and small NGO stewardship groups.
“There are many ways in which we in North America can help them in their important work,” Dickinson says.
The funds raised by the banquet will be used to develop nature programs at the Scout Island Nature Centre for school classes, children’s groups and family events throughout the year, says society president Fred McMechan.
As well, funds will be used to continue with projects to maintain and enhance the trails, and to improve the habitat for wildlife and plants.
“The Nature House is a very important interpretive centre where visitors, including tourists, can learn about the wonderful natural world in the Cariboo Chilcotin region,” McMechan says.
“To provide this service funding is required to meet needs such as the improvement of the displays, the provision of educational resources and the employment of university students to act as hosts.
Tickets for the banquet may be purchased at the Open Book, the Scout Island Nature House or from members of the Williams Lake Field Naturalists.