COLUMNS: Down to Earth: new viewpoint joins Trib columnists

Welcome to the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society’s new column, “Down to Earth.”

Welcome to the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society’s new column, “Down to Earth,” where each month we’ll share tips, tricks, news, and reflections on all things conservation.

There are many wonderful environmentally-focused groups in our area — too many to mention here.

However, in celebration of Earth Day, we’d like to recognize two groups with which we often collaborate: Scout Island and the Potato House.

The Scout Island Nature Centre’s claim to fame is their physical location — a beautiful nature sanctuary in the heart of Williams Lake featuring marshes and natural grasses which attract a diversity of natural life.

It’s a place where people and wildlife can coexist. The Williams Lake Field Naturalists have managed and cared for SINC for 40 years as volunteers in partnership with the Nature Trust of BC and the City of Williams Lake.

A variety of programs are offered to local school children on ecosystems, plants, salmonids, and other subjects, along with summer camps, nature kindergarten, a Nature Kids club, and even nature-themed birthday parties.

The Nature House itself accommodates interpretive displays, a library, and knowledgeable staff to answer your questions.

The Potato House Project’s distinguishing feature is its recently renovated and beautifully preserved heritage house which provides a unique location for weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, and staff meetings.

The house is surrounded by gorgeous community garden space which flourishes in the summertime. Countertop compost containers are available for purchase which can be emptied in the Potato House’s bins — Canada’s only drive-up community compost program.

They also maintain an urban bee hive as well as a root cellar which was built by the Conservation Society.

Which brings us to us — the Conservation Society is probably best known for our Water Wise and Waste Wise programs and our regional Parks Guide, but we also run Watershed Health and Sustainable Living programs.

Our instructors teach environmental education modules in the classroom and at Gavin Lake Forest Education Centre, and coordinate an annual ‘Earth Challenge’ event for all grade 7 students.

We hold field trips to the river valley, sewage treatment plant, and landfill as well as lead storm drain painting, worm composting, and classroom gardening. Within the community, we deliver Bikes for All and Skates for All programs, stock our root cellar with gleaned vegetables for food banks, hold xeriscape gardening workshops, and host an annual Earth Friendly Holiday Event, just to name a few.

Finally, we’d like to send Earth Month kudos to our members, volunteers, directors, and funders (especially the City of Williams Lake, Cariboo Regional District, Community Gaming Grants, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Pacific Salmon Foundation, and BC Parks) all of whom are critical to our success. Thank you one and all!

Conservation tip of the month: Join us in celebrating Earth Day on Saturday, April 22 with a family-friendly scavenger hunt litter pick.

There will be recycling demos, critter painting, and local refreshments provided by Cariboo Growers.  See you at 1 p.m. in front of Cariboo Growers Coop at 327 Oliver Street.

Vanessa Moberg is the co-ordinator and sustainable life educator for the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society. She will be one of several writers from the CCCS contributing to the column set to run once a month.