Abbotsford-Mission Nature Club holds conference

The theme of the event was Along the Fraser – Adapting to Change.

The BC Nature Annual General Meeting and Spring Conference included trips to Sumas Mountain and Mission Interpretive Forest at Stave Lake.

The BC Nature Annual General Meeting and Spring Conference included trips to Sumas Mountain and Mission Interpretive Forest at Stave Lake.

The Abbotsford-Mission Nature Club (AMNC) hosted the BC Nature Annual General Meeting and Spring Conference last week.

Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman, Mission Mayor Ted Adlem and Sto:lo elder Eddie Gardner welcomed 120 members from across the province to learn about and experience the local natural environment and communities.

Participants were encouraged to share research, explore solutions to environmental challenges and network with other naturalists.

The conference theme, Along the Fraser – Adapting to Change, attracted talks on the flooding history of the lower Fraser River, the ecology of Sumas Mountain, sustainable food systems for the 21st century, and current research on great blue herons, amphibians and butterflies.

The keynote speaker, BCIT instructor Dr. Marvin Rosenau, described the tremendous impacts of human settlement and industry on the Fraser River ecosystem, particularly fish, but left a message of hope that the river is resilient and with careful management and preservation of vital habitats, we can work to rebuild its productivity.

Participants explored habitat restoration projects on field trips to Aldergrove and Matsqui Trail Regional Parks, Willband Creek Park, and Silverdale Creek Wetlands.

A tour of the Mt. Lehman Winery, Glen Valley Organic Farm and Bakerview Eco-Dairy focused on sustainable agriculture, while nature-based recreational and tourism opportunities were highlighted on trips to Mission Interpretive Forest at Stave Lake, a Fraser River Safari boating excursion and Sumas Mountain.

Hank Roos, conference chair and president of the AMNC, opened the event with reference to Dr. Seuss’s the Lorax: “Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

AMNC encourages this call for action to adopt a personal stewardship ethic and make wise choices so that future generations can live alongside other creatures in a healthy natural world.

Several speakers raised the importance of getting children into nature and engaging youth in environmental conservation and leadership.

Readers can learn about BC Nature’s Young Naturalists Program at www.ync.ca.

The Abbotsford-Mission Nature Club (abbymissionnatureclub.org) welcomes visitors and new members.

Meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month from September through May at 7:30 p.m. at Abbotsford Middle School and there are regularly scheduled field trips and social events. Contact Hank Roos at 604-853-4283 for more details.