As I was meeting with Sue Hemphill to discuss this fall’s student trip to the Quesnel Research Centre, I realized how closely I am tied to Scout Island Nature Centre.
When my family moved to WIlliams Lake in 1980, I was enrolled in “Spiders, Snakes, and Frogs.”
I remember walking through jungles of willow and first hearing the red-wing blackbirds.
I returned to SINC as a teacher-naturalist, the best summer job anyone could have.
I was outside all day identifying plants and animals, discussing the local area with tourists, and introducing the wonders of nature to kids.
SINC is Williams Lake’s top tourist attraction.
Anna and Gina Roberts trained the staff and other volunteers ensured the trails were always in excellent shape.
Scout Island is staffed almost completely by volunteers; last year $94,000 was donated by volunteer time. It’s amazing that only eight per cent of the cost of running SINC comes from our local tax dollars.
My experience at SINC was the major driver influencing my decision to become a biology teacher.
I am now able to take my classes to SINC knowing that Sue will have an excellent program for senior science students. She meets us in the river valley and spends hundreds of hours planning the three-day trip in the fall to Likely.
Volunteers from the Williams Lake Field Naturalists, like Fred McMechan, still ensure the trails are in excellent shape.
He put together boardwalks one morning before a class arrived so they would be able to reach the far island.
I am now a mother of two and take my children, and often their grandparents, to SINC. The kids sometimes participate in the summer programs, still run by outstanding and knowledgeable university students.
We watch the changing seasons, hunt for insects, taste mustard weed, plants trees and, of course, listen to the red-wing blackbirds.
What a jewel Scout Island is.
I encourage everyone to visit or revisit Scout Island this summer. And when you see someone planting trees, repairing boardwalks, or clearing brush, please be sure to thank them for their dedication to keeping Scout Island going.