This year’s Brant Wildlife Festival theme is Beaches, Marshes and Estuaries and includes plenty of river walks and other water related activities in addition to bird watching, nature films, presentations, nature art such as carving, weaving and music and a bioblitz. - Submitted photo

Brant Festival kicks off, features more than 25 events

‘Beaches, Marshes and Estuaries’ includes plenty of water-related activities

The annual Brant Wildlife Festival is in full swing and will run until April 20, featuring more than 25 events.

This year’s festival theme is Beaches, Marshes and Estuaries and includes plenty of river walks and other water related activities in addition to bird watching, nature films, presentations, nature art such as carving, weaving and music and a bioblitz.

In addition to events, volunteers from the Arrowsmith Naturalists are doing weekly Brant monitoring in the area to count the Brant and other birds.

RELATED: Brant festival carving competition this weekend

This weekend, events include bird watching at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre (1240 Leffler Rd., Errington) on Saturday, March 23 where anyone aged 16 and up can join Lynne Brookes in a practical, hands-on, beginner to intermediate workshop from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The event is $40 plus tax and people can pre-register at www.niwra.org/events or call 250-248-8534.

Also on March 23, Wetland birding tours will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and again from 1 to 4 p.m. The tour will be facilitated by field ornithologist and expert birder Christopher Stephens. Tours are $40 plus tax and people can pre-register by calling 250-248-3667 or email: mail@rainforestnaturehikes.com.

RELATED: Parksville Qualicum Beach birders keep Brant count alive

Events for Sunday, March 24 include Call of the Forest Film and Discussion at 2 p.m. in the Seaside Auditorium at the Parksville Community Centre. The film follows scientist, conservationist and author, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, on her journey to the most beautiful forests of the northern hemisphere. After the film a panel discussion will be moderated by John Beaton, followed by questions from the floor.

Also on Sunday, people can join the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society on a walk in the Englishman River Regional Park and learn about the river and fish. This tour will be an easy two hour walk on trails paralleling the Englishman River and/or the Clay Young Channel and will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Those interested are asked to meet at the gate into the park which is located at the end of Allsbrook Road.

The festival has events for all ages and interests. Happening from March 25 to 29 is a go Wild Spring Break Camp at Moorecroft Regional Park in Nanoose Bay. Kids aged six to 10 are invited to go wild and spend spring break at the park and experience nature and adventure. The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day and is $190 for the five days. Register at www.rdn.bc.ca/recreation.

Additional events happening in March include a beach seine at the Englishman River Estuary from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on March 27 (register by emainling rrivers@naturetrust.bc.ca or calling toll free 1-866-288-7878), Deep Bay Marine Field Station guided tours on March 26 and 28, the Winged Migration film at 7 p.m. at Arrowsmith Independent School on March 29 and Brant in the Bay with the Aroowsmith Naturalists from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 31 in the Parksville Community Park.

A large number of volunteers are involved in making the festival happen including the Arrowsmith Naturalists, Friends of French Creek, Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society, Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers and others.

For a full list of the events, visit www.brantfestival.ca/events.

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