Naturalists holding conference this month in Cranbrook

On Sept. 19-22 the Rocky Mountain Naturalists will be hosting the Federation of BC Naturalists Fall Conference in Cranbrook.

On Sept. 19-22 the Rocky Mountain Naturalists will be hosting the Federation of BC Naturalists Fall Conference in Cranbrook. The conference will bring in naturalists from all over British Columbia to talk about what they are doing and for the naturalists in the area to show their work.

Greg Ross, a member of the Rocky Mountain Naturalist and Kootenay co-ordinator for BC Nature (Federation of BC Naturalists), said the meeting is centred around what the various clubs are doing across the province.

“So here in Cranbrook we get to show off Elizabeth Lake,” Ross said. “The Rocky Mountain Naturalists have been pretty instrumental in preserving the area.”

He said they have been putting in trails, restoring native grasslands and general stewarding the city’s portion of Elizabeth Lake.

“The other clubs will come in and talk about the things that they’ve done.”

There will also be awards given to certain naturalists.

Daryl Calder, a member of the local non-profit society, said they sent an invite to all of the naturalist clubs of the province to attend the four-day event.

Calder said they are expecting 75-90 registrants. Many of those B.C. naturalists are active retired professionals who haven’t been in the Southeast part of B.C. in years.

The Rocky Mountain Naturalists were formed in the 1980s and work toward preserving, enhancing and documenting the wide array of native animals, birds and insects found in the East Kootenay.

The full schedule can be found at www.bcnature.ca. There are many events planned, from presentations on the Rocky Mountain Trench and the biology of Leopard Frogs, to early morning birding at Elizabeth Lake and Jimsmith Lake. There’s even a butterfly hunt along the Kootenay River and a field trip on the native plants in the Cranbrook Community Forest. Registration takes place at the Prestige Inn on Thursday from 6 – 7:30 p.m., Friday from 7 – 8:45 a.m. and Saturday at 8:45 a.m.

Calder said the public can sign up for the conference.

“The one condition is that they have to be a member of the BC Naturalists Federation,” he said.

The membership costs $20 and is available through www.bcnature.ca.

The Rocky Mountain Naturalists were also instrumental in putting together the new kiosk at the upgraded Elizabeth Lake pavilion.

BC Nature is a federation of local natural history groups and represents over 52 local nature clubs throughout B.C.