Hornby Island Natural History Centre

Humpback Comeback!

What a great evening! After a huge storm and 18 hour power outage on Hornby Island, the power came on just in time to accommodate the 126 islanders who came out to hear Jackie Hildering speak on humpback whales at the Community Hall.

Jackie presented on the Humpback Comeback and the research of the Marine Education and Research Society.  She shared an impressive depth of knowledge combined with the ability to deliver in a dynamic and passionate presentation with a real message of hope for the environment. She also discussed learning to reduce threats to the whales through the MERS “See a Blow? Go Slow!” campaign. One attendee commented at the end of the talk that it was the “best presentation” she’d ever been too. We hope that Jackie will return to speak on orcas next year!

Jackie also gave a fun presentation at the Hornby Island Community School to the school kids the day before. Thanks to Jackie for sharing her knowledge and beautiful photographs with us all.

Below are photos and videos from Jackie’s presentation at the school taken by Barb Biagi.

 

Jackie Hildering gives a talk on the beauty and biodiversity in our ocean at the Hornby Island Community School.

Jackie with Hornby Island students.

Whale baleen shown by Jackie during her presentation at the Hornby Island Community Hall.


Jackie introduces her talk at the Hornby Island Community School.


Jackie discusses animal jaws, wolf eels, and adaptation – cool!


The Pacific spiny lumpsucker – cool and fun!


Jackie shares stories of octopuses and shows the students a viral photograph she took of an octopus-human hug.

Humpback Comeback! A talk with Jackie Hildering

On Friday October 7th, join us at the Community Hall for a talk on the Humpback Comeback! Jackie Hildering will provide an informative and entertaining discussion on Humpback Whales and the research of the Marine Education and Research Society. Please join us! Especially if you spend time on or near the ocean witnessing the return of these giants.

Doors open at 6:30 pm. Presentation at 7:00. Attendance is Free. Donations to the Natural History Centre gladly accepted. Refreshments available with proceeds to the Parent Advisory Council (PAC).

Photo by Jackie Hildering, “The Marine Detective”.

Summer 2016 Photos

Speaker Series
Nature Walks
Nature Art Tent

 

 

Summer Farmers Market 2016

This summer we had a weekly table at the local farmers market with several natural history members representing throughout July and August. They enjoyed connecting with everyone who stopped by to say hello, and to see which bird had joined the display each week! Here’s Verlie, Barb, and a red-breasted sapsucker on a hairy woodpecker nest (that opens with hinges) at the table.

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Nature Journals ~ Children’s Art Tent Activity

On Friday August 26th, drop in for the Natural History Centre’s final art session of the season at our Nature Art Tent. We will be creating beautiful nature journals and exploring different nature journal activities. These drop in sessions for children are held from 12:00 – 3:00 pm. Join us for some nature inspired fun and let your imaginations run wild!

Nature Walk – A Tidal Investigation

Tuesday August 16th, 10:30 am  – “A Tidal Investigation”

Exploring Hornby’s rich shoreline ecosystem.

This walk will be led by Kihan Yoon-Henderson, summer host/coordinator at the Hornby Island Natural History Centre. Pre-registration is essential as space is limited to 12 participants for each walk.

For inquiries or to register, email hornby.naturalhistory@gmail.com or come to the Centre. $10 per person. Children under 16 are free.

Location:
This walk will be held at Grassy Point. We will meet at 10:30 am right next to the parking lot. (Kihan will be there waiting to meet you.)
See you there!
Photo credit: Barb Biagi

Speaker Series – “Raptor Awareness”

August 18th: “Raptor Awareness”

Join the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) accompanied by an educational ambassador raptor in this presentation for all ages about raptor awareness in the Comox Valley.

Some birds who have been rescued cannot be safely returned back to the wild for various reason. And a few of these individuals are so comfortable around humans that they are given the role of being a MARS Ambassador – an education bird. Learn more about the ambassador program here.

Admission is $5.00 per person. Children under 16 are admitted free. Presentation begins at 2:00 pm in the Community School Library located at 2100 Sollans Rd. Please enter through the Natural History Centre door.

This events is part of the Thursdays Expert Speakers Series.

Speaker Series – “Indigenous Food Systems”

August 11th: “Indigenous Food Systems”

Sharon Niscak will share traditional ecological wisdom with a focus on the traditional plants and foods that are part of our regional environment. Indigenous food systems provided a variety by understanding the seasonal cycles and by utilizing horizontal and vertical ecological niches and regional trade. Food, clothing, shelter and technological needs required an understanding of the environment.

Sharon’s Indigenous ancestry is rooted in southwestern BC. Some of her most enjoyable early memories were of medicine gathering and berry picking with her grandmother

Admission is $5.00 per person. Children under 16 are admitted free. Presentation begins at 2:00 pm in the Community School Library located at 2100 Sollans Rd. Please enter through the Natural History Centre door.

This events is part of the Thursdays Expert Speakers Series.

Nature Walk – “Walking with Trees”

Tuesday August 9th, 10:30am  – “Walking with Trees”

Exploring the forests of Hornby

This walk will be led by Kihan Yoon-Henderson, summer host/coordinator at the Hornby Island Natural History Centre. Pre-registration is essential as space is limited to 12 participants for each walk.

For inquiries or to register, email Kihan at hornby.naturalhistory@gmail.com, call 250-335-1021, or come to the Centre. $10 per person. Children under 16 attend for free.

Location:
This walk will be held at Helliwell Provincial Park. We will meet at the head of the trail at 10:30am, right next to the parking lot. (Kihan will be there waiting to meet you.)
See you there!

To view the full summer nature walk schedule, visit Nature Field Trips.

Nature Walk – “Hornby Rocks!”

Tuesday August 2nd, 11:00 am – “Hornby Rocks!”

Exploring Hornby’s Unique Geology

This walk will be led by Kihan Yoon-Henderson, summer host/coordinator at the Hornby Island Natural History Centre. Pre-registration is essential as space is limited to 12 participants for each walk.  For inquiries or to register, email Kihan at hornby.naturalhistory@gmail.com, call 250-335-1021 or come to the Centre.  $10 per person. Children under 16 are free.

Directions:
(From the Natural History Centre at the Hornby Island Community School)
1) From Sollans Road, take a left onto Central Road in the direction of the Co-op
2) At the intersection in front of the Co-op (St. Johns Point Road and Central Road), make a left onto St. Johns Point Road
3) Continue straight, past the Big Tree and onto Ostby Road (towards Sea Breeze Lodge)
4) At the end of Ostby Road, turn right onto Fowler Road
5) Continue past Sea Breeze Lodge, to the end of the road
6) We will meet at the head of the trail, which is located at the cul-de-sac at the end of the road (Kihan will be there waiting to meet you).
Ostby Road

 

Park anywhere along the side of the road but please do not park in the cul-de-sac or in front of a driveway. See you there!

 

To see the full nature walk schedule, visit Nature Field Trips.

 

Photo Credit: Sandstone rock formation by Barb Biagi.

Speaker Series – “A Natural History of Killer Whales in BC”

August 4th: “A Natural History of Killer Whales in BC”

In this presentation, Eva Stredulinsky will illuminate the natural history of killer whales in BC: from their past exploitation, to fascinating studies that have shed a light on their social, mating and foraging behaviours, to their current population statuses and future outlooks. She will also examine the new whale births in the Southern Resident killer whale population.

Eva is a marine biologist completing her MSc at the Applied Conservation Science Lab at the University of Victoria. Her research explores the social structure of Northern Resident Killer Whales.  Specifically, she examines the phenomenon of matriline splitting (the fragmenting of natal family groups), how it might relate to group fitness, demographics, resource abundance and competition for Chinook Salmon, and what it may mean on a population and evolutionary level.

Admission is $5.00 per person. Children under 16 are admitted free. Presentation begins at 2:00 pm in the Community School Library located at 2100 Sollans Rd. Please enter through the Natural History Centre door.

This events is part of the Thursdays Expert Speakers Series.

Nature Art Tent Schedule

Nature Art Tent (4)

Nature Walk – “A Tidal Investigation”

Tuesday July 26th, 4:00 pm  – “A Tidal Investigation”

Exploring Hornby’s rich shoreline ecosystem.

This walk will be led by Kihan Yoon-Henderson, summer host/coordinator at the Hornby Island Natural History Centre. Pre-registration is essential as space is limited to 12 participants for each walk.

For inquiries or to register, email Kihan at hornby.naturalhistory@gmail.com or come to the Centre. $10 per person. Children under 16 are free.

Location:
This walk will be held at Grassy Point. We will meet at 4:00pm right next to the parking lot. (Kihan will be there waiting to meet you.)
See you there!

To view the full July/August nature schedule, visit Nature Field Trips.

Photo credit: Barb Biagi

“Art, Naturally” – Summer Art Program Begins!

We are excited to introduce Art, Naturally, a new summer-long collaborative program for children between the Hornby Island Arts Council and the Hornby Island Natural History Centre. The program takes place on Wednesdays and Fridays from 12:00 – 3:00pm (see schedule below).

Every second Wednesday, Art, Naturally will be at the Hornby Island Arts Council Gallery, located at 2115 Sollans Rd., in the woods behind the Credit Union.

Every second Friday, it will be held at the Hornby Island Natural History Centre, 2100 Sollans Rd., outside the Natural History Centre entrance at the side of the school.

These art sessions will explore the connection between art and nature. Under the guidance of an art instructor, children will be provided with opportunities to nurture their inner naturalist through creative hands-on activities. Local artists will also lead activities on several sessions (dates will be announced). Join us for some nature inspired fun and let your imaginations run wild!

Art, Naturally DATES

Friday July 15th (NHC location)
Wednesday July 20th (HIAC location)
Friday July 29th (NHC location)
Wednesday August 3rd (HIAC location)
Friday August 12th (NHC location)
Wednesday August 17th (HIAC location)
Friday August 26 (NHC location)
Wednesday August 31st (HIAC location)

Western Tanager Sighting

Western Tanager 2

Thanks to Mary Savoie for this photo of a male Western Tanager among the blackberry bushes on Hornby Island.

The beautiful flame-like Western Tanagers like to make their home among evergreens, often staying out of sight. They are often described as shy or solitary birds. During the summer, the woodlands is filled with their short rasping song and chuckling call.

Nature Walk – “Walking with Trees”

Tuesday July 19th, 10:30am  – “Walking with Trees”

Exploring the forests of Hornby

This walk will be led by Kihan Yoon-Henderson, summer host/coordinator at the Hornby Island Natural History Centre. Pre-registration is essential as space is limited to 12 participants for each walk.

For inquiries or to register, email Kihan at hornby.naturalhistory@gmail.com or come to the Centre. $10 per person. Children under 16 are free.

Location:
This walk will be held at Helliwell Provincial Park. We will meet at the head of the trail at 10:30am, right next to the parking lot. (Kihan will be there waiting to meet you.)
See you there!

To view the full July/August nature schedule, visit Nature Field Trips.

Photo Credit: Barb Biagi

Speaker Series – “Gone Batty – Living with Bats”

July 28th: “Gone Batty – Living with Bats – Working Together for Bat Conservation on the Northern Gulf Islands”

Jenny Balke, Denman Island biologist and conservationist, admits to being batty because bats need our help. Back by popular demand, Jenny will describe why we need bats and don’t need to be afraid of them. She’ll discuss ideas about how we can share our island habitats with bats and collaborate for their conservation. For bat species, bat housing, bat detection and bat stewardship – Prepare to Go Batty!

Jenny, a professional biologist for over 25 years, has worked with critters from butterflies to elephants. Living on Denman, she’s been involved in many projects on both islands. She has helped to steward Denman’s Old School bat colony since the Denman Conservancy Association took up occupancy with the bats, 20 years ago.

Admission is $5.00 per person. Children under 16 are admitted free. Presentation begins at 2:00 pm in the Community School Library located at 2100 Sollans Rd. Please enter through the Natural History Centre door.

This events is part of the Thursdays Expert Speakers Series.

Nature Walk – “Hornby Rocks!”

Tuesday July 12, 4:00pm – “Hornby Rocks!”

Exploring Hornby’s Unique Geology

This walk will be led by Kihan Yoon-Henderson, summer host/coordinator at the Hornby Island Natural History Centre. Pre-registration is essential as space is limited to 12 participants for each walk.  For inquiries or to register, email Kihan at hornby.naturalhistory@gmail.com, call 250-335-1021 (please note: the phone is temporarily out of service), or come to the Centre.  $10 per person. Children under 16 are free.

Directions:
(From the Natural History Centre at the Hornby Island Community School)
1) From Sollans Road, take a left onto Central Road in the direction of the Co-op
2) At the intersection in front of the Co-op (St. Johns Point Road and Central Road), make a left onto St. Johns Point Road
3) Continue straight, past the Big Tree and onto Ostby Road (towards Sea Breeze Lodge)
4) At the end of Ostby Road, turn right onto Fowler Road
5) Continue past Sea Breeze Lodge, to the end of the road
6) We will meet at the head of the trail, which is located at the cul-de-sac at the end of the road (Kihan will be there waiting to meet you).
Ostby Road

Park anywhere along the side of the road but please do not park in the cul-de-sac or in front of a driveway. See you there!

To see the full July/August nature schedule, visit Nature Field Trips.

Photo Credit: Sandstone rock formation by Barb Biagi.

Ethnobotanical Garden in Bloom

Our Ethnobotanical Native Plant Demonstration Garden is in bloom! The garden is located just outside our entrance at the Community School. Photos by Barb Biagi.

Natural History Fundraiser with Bob McDonald

On Saturday June 4th, Hornby residents and visitors packed the Community Hall for a colourful talk on space with science speaker extraordinaire Bob McDonald of CBC’s Quirks and Quarks.

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In this fundraising event for the Natural History Centre, Bob presented on Canadian Spacewalkers, the topic of his latest book, to an enthusiastic crowd that gave him a warm welcome.

We learned that Bob’s interest in space all began as a child upon receiving a book on the planets, a gift from his mom. The images were drawn because science had yet to obtain detailed photos of planets from space.  The only way to see detail beyond the obvious large features was through the imagination of the artist using the latest scientific knowledge.

Spacewalking is so difficult that only three Canadians have ever stepped out of their spacecraft into the abyss of space: Chris Hadfield, Steve MacLean, and Dave William.  These spacewalkers went through rigorous mental and physical training and wear special pressure suits. During the presentation, we saw footage of Bob participating in the zero gravity exercises that astronauts practice. These exercises take place in a designated fly zone with a special plane that zooms almost straight up, then straight down again, over and over. The effect simulates different degrees of weightlessness. Bob, of course, loved it.

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There were beautiful new images of the icy Pluto, and captivating images taken by spacewalkers of our planet Earth.

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His passion for space was contagious. He gave the analogy that our sun is equivalent to just one grain of sand among many, with all other grains being other suns…not only all the sand on the beaches of Hornby, but all the sand in the world!

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Before and after the talk, attendees of all ages lined up for Bob’s autograph. He brought thirty copies of his book on his motorcycle and they all sold out.

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Before the show, Bob toured our Centre, which the event was a fundraiser for. He commented that he was impressed with all the different geological, forest, and shoreline displays that are packed into our exhibit space. He was happy to support the Hornby Island Natural History Centre in this fundraiser which raised a total of $2,585.00! Bob’s message of nature education was clear: kids must be encouraged and provided with opportunities to get outside and play in the dirt.

After the talk, Bob drew the winning ticket for our membership prize, a boat tour around Hornby Island donated by Rob and Amanda Zielinksi of Hornby Island Diving. The lucky winner was Vicki Bale – Congratulations, Vicki!

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Bob was then presented with a gift basket from the Natural History Centre filled with goodies compliments of Hornby artists, crafters, and brewers.

Afterwards, Bob and natural history stewards were invited for a visit to Island Stars Observatory. Here they saw the ISS Station pass overhead in the night sky twice, having circled Earth in 90 minutes. Through a 15 inch telescope, the group saw Jupiter and its moons: Io, Calisto, Ganymede, and Europa. They also saw Mars and could make out a polar ice cap. Saturn and two of its moons, Titan and Rhea, became visible later in the evening. When one of the stewards was able to point these out, Bob said it was the first time he had seen these moons. In addition to numerous galaxies, Bob and the stewards also viewed star clusters and the Cat’s Eye Planetary Nebula

Bob once worked on science experiments with Casey and Finnegan, the two iconic puppets created and played by Hornby Island resident Judith Lawrence on the children’s show Mr. Dressup. He said that although he has sailed around the island twice, this was his first time stepping foot onto Hornby.

Bob has been the host of CBC’s popular science show Quirks and Quarks since 1992, a program that was started by David Suzuki.

Photos by Barb Biagi.