It was all about the birds on Saturday night. Adrian Chalifour

It was all about the birds on Saturday night. Adrian Chalifour

Gala kicks off many weeks of events for the Brant Wildlife Festival in Parksville Qualicum Beach

More than 150 people attended the opening gala in Parksville on Saturday night

  • Mar. 3, 2015 6:00 p.m.

The Brant are back.

Over the next two months, Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) Deep Bay Marine Field Station is celebrating with style.

The marine station will be hosting boat tours, high tea, cooking classes, music by the bay and public lectures focusing on the Strait of Georgia during the annual Brant Wildlife Festival. More than 150 people attended the festival’s opening gala on Saturday in Parksville.

“We’re thrilled to be part of the fantastic line up of events for this festival,” said the station’s facilities coordinator Stephanie Richards. “Once again, we’re offering people of all ages a chance to learn about wildlife and marine science.”

The annual festival is a celebration of nature, particularly Brant geese as they rest and feed on the shores of Parksville Qualicum Beach.

Field station staff will offer boat tours on March 11 and 14 to give the public a chance to view wildlife and see herring spawn in Baynes Sound. Tickets are $100 each and guests must pre-register by calling toll free 1-866-288-7878 or e-mailing rrivers@naturetrust.bc.ca.

For kids ages six to 10, the field station will offer spring break marine biology camps from March 16 to 20. The cost is $55 per day or $250 for the week. A Family Day open house will be hosted on April 12, from 10 a.m. to

4 p.m. and will feature touch tanks, large public aquaria, face painting and other marine science educational activities. Admission is free.

The field station’s popular High Tea By the Sea, including a selection of teas, sandwiches and treats, will be offered Tuesdays during March and April between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. On March 17 there will be a special St. Patrick’s day lunch while a special Easter High Tea will be served on March 31.

Authors from the award-winning book The Sea Among Us will deliver ­public lectures about the Strait of Georgia every Thursday at 7 p.m. from March 5 to April 30 for $10 per lecture. For an additional $15 guests can indulge in a pre-lecture themed dinner at 5:30 p.m.

The opening lecture is called How Did the Strait of Georgia Originate – The Geological Story of Our Inland Sea featuring Dr. John Clague speaking on March 5.

VIU Honorary Doctorate recipient Dr. Dick Beamish, a world-renowned scientist now retired from the Pacific Biological Station, will deliver a lecture on March 12 entitled The Strait of Georgia and its Fishes.

Additionally there will be culinary classes throughout the festival: A Taste of India on March 8 and Chocolate Lovers on March 28. A Music By the Bay luncheon and concert will also take place on April 19 from 1 p.m. to

4 p.m. (tickets $40) with the A Cappella Plus Chamber Choir performing “A Buffet of Choral Music: twelve years of musical fare.”

Please note that advance tickets or pre-registration is required for all events except Family Day.

VIU’s Deep Bay Marine Field Station is located at 370 Crome Point Road. It is a key research facility, public marine science centre and a popular tourism destination on Vancouver Island. This is the third year that VIU has participated in the Brant festival.

For more information visit www.viu.ca/deepbay or call 250-740-6611.

The Brant Wildlife Festival is coordinated by The Nature Trust of BC. For more information, visit www.brantfestival.bc.ca.

— NEWS Staff/Submitted By VIU

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