The Pacific black brant geese have arrived in the Parksville-Qualicum area! Observations of these birds is one of many activities you can take part in during the annual Brant Wildlife Festival, happening March 21 to April 19.

5 ways to connect with nature at the Brant Wildlife Festival!

Vancouver Island residents invited to visit Parksville-Qualicum during annual spring celebration

Have you always wanted to be able to identify birds or learn their migratory habits? How about touring wetlands, rivers and parks, hanging out with fellow nature enthusiasts and maybe even experiencing forest bathing?

With a theme of Sea, Stream & Forest the Brant Wildlife Festival features these and many more opportunities for you to be inspired by nature, March 21 to April 19. Visitors will catch the enthusiasm of local wildlife group members and other volunteers, says Ceri Peacey, Brant Wildlife Festival Community Facilitator for The Nature Trust of British Columbia.

“I never fail to be impressed by the variety of nature that people can explore in the Parksville-Qualicum Beach area and the number of dedicated volunteers who share their passion for birds, plants, rivers, wildlife art and more,” she says.

Here’s just a taste of what you’ll find during the festival:

  • The return of the brant – Celebrating the Pacific black brant goose – flocks have already begun arriving – is a tradition in the area, says birding expert and longtime festival volunteer Sandra Gray. “It symbolizes the return of the sun, longer days, warmer temperatures … it is time to plant and enjoy the numerous species that visit our shoreline.”
  • Tackle a tour or two – From guided walks along the Englishman River Estuary and adjacent regional park, and tours of Hamilton Marsh and Grandon Creek in the Qualicum area, to guided paid birding tours with ornithologist Christopher Stephens, you’ll learn a lot about what makes this area ecologically special.
  • Weddings for Wildlife – Peacey is also a registered celebrant who would like to marry five couples at the Seaside Nature Park during the festival for this unique fundraiser. She and photographer Taryn Pickard of Innocent Thunder Photography donate their time and couples’ $400 donation for the service to support the festival.
  • Wildlife as art – The Pacific Brant Carving, Woodworking & Art Show celebrates its 30th year in 2020 and features some of the most exquisite wood carvings and wildlife art you’ll find anywhere. Check it out at the Parksville Community Centre on April 4 and 5 starting at 10 a.m. both days.
  • Helping animals return to the wild – Visit the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington and witness the release of a rehabilitated eagle or sign up for a workshop to learn how to identify and watch birds.

For a full schedule, visit brantfestival.bc.ca. To register for programs or make a donation call Elvira Grondin toll-free at 1-866-288-7878 or email her at egrondin@naturetrust.bc.ca. Find the latest festival news on Facebook.

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Registered celebrant and Brant Wildlife Festival Community Facilitator Ceri Peacey (left), will marry up to five couples in a beautiful outdoor setting during this year’s festival. Inquire with the Nature Trust of B.C. for more details. Photo by Innocent Thunder Photography

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