Opinion

Parksville's Rathtrevor Nature House

The next several weeks of the Voice of Business, produced by the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce, will feature articles by our summer student employees. This week is the third of four feature articles by our summer student employees. Today, Becky Myerscough writes about the Rathtrevor Beach Nature House.

William Rath, a gold prospector in the 1800s from Ireland, and his bride Elizabeth, once lived on the land that we know as Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park. This provincial park holds one of the hidden gems of Parksville. The Rathtrevor Nature House, once the house that Elizabeth Rath and her family lived in, is a great place for families to visit.

According to Alli Roberts, park naturalist, the nature house, sponsored by RLC Parks Services, is not run by or funded by the provincial government, despite it being located in a provincial park. It relies heavily on volunteers and is always welcoming new volunteers.

The nature house holds various fundraising event, including family BBQs, all by donation. If you have a larger group, you can hire a naturalist for sleep over field trips, birthday parties, or just for the day. Events like this help the nature house stay afloat.

Although they do sell various items in their gift shop, including books, frozen treats and souvenirs, it is costly to stock those items, and the nature house often ends its season in the red.

So go out and support your local nature house, they do accept donations!

It is important, as locals, to know what is going on in the community, especially during the tourist season. If families come to town, and are looking for things to do with their children, the nature house is the place to be! Various programs are offered throughout the summer, including Jerry’s Rangers, (daily at 3:30 p.m.), and evening programs that all ages can attend (daily at 7:30 p.m.). Guest speakers often come in, including the Wildlife Recovery Centre, firefighters and the RCMP. Anyone can participate in the programs — locals and tourists alike. Without the tourist support of the nature house, it would not be where it is today, and these programs would not be as popular as they are!

The nature house is unique, as it offers education on the park, in the park and the naturalists try to inspire people to connect with local nature. 

— by Becky Myerscough

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