Cowichan Valley YNC Weekend Club

Volunteer Co-leaders: Boleyn Relova and Krista Crowther

For information about the club please email us or visit our Facebook page at the link above and click "Like" to follow news/updates on club events.

Meet your volunteer club leaders: Boleyn recently moved back to the West Coast from Calgary. No matter where she is, she loves to be surrounded by nature. It is a familiar place that gives her serenity. Boleyn looks forward to getting to know all the YNC members. These days, her favourite spot is a private stretch of beach on Shawnigan Lake where she loves to watch her three children immerse themselves in the water and in the nearby grove.

My name is Krista Crowther and I'm very excited to be the new co-leader for the YNC Cowichan Saturday group.  My family and I are relatively new to the valley as we moved here from Vancouver in 2013 (and we absolutely love it here!) I have two young children and together with my husband we are a nature-loving family. We can be found working and playing in our yard and garden at any time of the year. I am an elementary school teacher of 7 years, now home with my busy boys. I look forward to getting to know you all and having more adventures on Explorer Days!

YNC is a nature discovery and environmental action club-based program for kids 3-12 years and their families. We normally meet on the 4th weekend of each month on a Saturday or Sunday for two hours somewhere in the Cowichan Valley, except July/August. Our Explorer Days are facilitated by a Naturalist or biologist/scientist.

As a member, you will be up-to-date on upcoming nature-related events in the area, be able to attend Explorer Days, receive NATUREWILD magazine and be enrolled in YNC Action Awards Quest and Passport to Nature programs. The Cowichan Valley Young Naturalists are proudly supported by Cowichan Valley Naturalists' Society (CVNS) and the Cowichan Land Trust. Young Naturalists and their families are invited to attend the CVNS Winter Solstice Extravaganza every December and the CVNS Summer Solstice Picnic each June.

Please note: There is also a Cowichan Valley Young Naturalists Club for homlearners that meets once per month on a Tuesday, for more information please click here.  Please note that homelearners are also welcome to join the weekend group if that is a better fit for the family.


We will send emails a week before each event- RSVPs are appreciated. Hope to see you at these great events. Thank you for arriving 10 minutes in advance so that we can arrange for name tags, signing of your passports, etc

Saturday, June 27
1241 Maple Bay Rd, Duncan. 
Planting Garry Oaks with Nature Conservancy Canada
10am - noon
Join the Nature Conservancy of Canada for a day gathering native seeds in the Garry oak woodlands of the Cowichan Valley. 

Garry oak meadows and woodlands are home to numerous endangered flora and fauna. Come and assist in the preservation of these species by collecting seeds which will be propagated in the Native Plant Nursery at the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve

What to bring: Depending on the forecast, sun hat and sunscreen and/or raingear are recommended. Please bring water and sturdy shoes. Snacks will be provided! (It will be 28 degrees on Saturday.)

Guest Speakers: Katy Fulton and Irvin Banman, Nature Conservancy of Canada Garry Oak Ecosystem Restoration Technicians

Meeting Time: 10 a.m.

Meeting Place: We will meet at the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve (CGOP), on the backside 1241 Maple Bay Road (turn left on Aitken Road, just Southwest of 1241 Maple Bay Road).

Directions to the Property: From Victoria drive north on Highway 1 from Victoria to Duncan; As you approach Duncan from the south, you will cross a silver bridge over the Cowichan River – turn RIGHT at the first set of traffic lights after the bridge (Trunk Rd); Stay in the left lane. At the round about take Maple Bay Rd, the second exit. Stay on Maple Bay Rd. until you see Aitken Rd. on the left. 

We are meeting around the back of the property so turn LEFT onto Aitken and follow it around until you see the parking area; From the traffic lights on the highway, Aitken Rd is 6.7 km. Notable landmarks along Trunk/Maple Bay Rd. include, 7-Eleven, Queen of Angels school, Quamichan Lake, and “the Properties at Maple Bay” stone wall.

On-site facilities: There is an outhouse available on site

A collection of various seeds (Photo by NCC)

Upcoming Tentative Explorer Days for 2015
July/Aug - no Explorer Days
Saturday, September 26th - Shoreline cleanup at Cowichan Bay with Cowichan Land Trust
Sunday, October 24th , 1-3pm - Learn about Fungi 

Past Explorer Days

Saturday, May 16
Low Tide Day at Cowichan Bay
Low Tide Day at Cowichan Bay is open to the public and will be lots of fun. Try to come out to any part of the festivities starting 9:30am. Dress in layers since it is normally windy by the beach. Boots are a must! Plus extra shoes for the kids on the ride home. Bring snacks and a picnic lunch.
The science activities will again be at Kil-Pah-Las beach (by OceanFront Suites Hotel) beginning at 9:30. This is a great opportunity for families to learn all about the critters who live near and under the shore. A group of biologists from the Department of Fisheries (DFO) normally conducts these events.
The community beach cleanup for adults and older youth begins at 9:30 at Hecate Park near the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre. This is an opportunity to help with environmental stewardship.
At noon both groups will meet up at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre for lunch, fun, and a birthday party for the Cowichan Land Trust.

Tuesday, June 16th - Potluck with adult Naturalists

Saturday, April 26 
Fairburn Water Buffalo Farm 
Come for a nature walk with us and taste some special cheeses at Fairburn Water Buffalo farm. The tranquil setting is a naturalist paradise: walking trails alongside the meandering creek, access to the Trans Canada Trail, and wildlife and farm life at your fingertips.

Saturday, March 28th
Somenos Marsh Nature Walk
10 - 11:30am
RSVP for meeting place
Somenos Marsh is a wonderful wild area on southern Vancouver Island. Learn about waterfowls, fertile lowlands, and the history of the area. Nature interpreter, Genevieve Singleton, will be leading this discovery nature walk. Come join us, rain or shine.
Turn off Lakes onto Trillium. Take Trillium to the end which is York. Turn left at York and go to end and park. No bathrooms available.
RSVPs appreciated!

Saturday, March 14th 
Seedy Saturday in Cobble Hill

Amphibian Survey
Sunday March 8th – 1:00 -2:00pm  (NOTE: daylight savings time begins today)
Daytime club Road Survey and Salamander Hunt event - all members welcome
Meeting location: Belvedere Crescent (Directions - turn south off Cowichan Lake Road off Jordan's Lane, right on Appaloosa Way, Left on Pinto Rd, Left on Belvedere Crescent = Dead end road - park here.

Sunday, March 8th 
Seedy Sunday in Duncan
Come say hello at our booth!

Friday, March 6th - 6:30 -7:30 pm
Evening Pilot Road Survey - 8+ members only 
(meet at the end of Jordan’s Lane)
Remember to dress warmly!

Saturday, January 24th
Mason Bees
10am - noon
Freshwater Ecocentre, 1080 Wharncliffe Rd, Duncan (indoor talk)
Bee Enthusiast Eugene Fleck will be sharing information about the importance of mason bees. They are a crucial part of gardening through pollination. Eugene will teach us how to take care of a bee house and how to harvest bees.
If you would like to have four bees and a small starter bee house ($5) that will hold 300 cocoons, please let me know so we can be sure to have enough. Eugene is making them by hand.

Tuesday, December 16th
You are invited to a joint YNC and Cowichan Valley Naturalists Club's Winter Solstice celebration
5:15 pm - 7:30 pmFreshwater Ecocentre, 1050 Wharncliffe, DuncanPlease RSVP before December 16th.
This is always a fun, laid back event. We hope to see you there. 
What to bring: Everyone is asked to bring dishes, cutlery and cloth napkins for a zero waste event, a contribution to our potluck meal, backyard greenery and one gift for a young naturalist.  Note..... Just ONE gift, even if you have three kids. All the kids will receive a nature-based gift from Mrs. Claus.

Saturday November 22, 2014
Sea lion walk and talk

Meet at Cowichan Bay. Under the Oceanfront Hotel sign on Cowichan Bay Road.  Please RSVP to confirm the meeting place.
Naturalist Eric Marshall will be engaging our young naturalists in Cowichan Bay to get a closer look and understanding of sea lions. He will engage our young naturalists on what the sea lions are doing, why they are here, what they are all about, what their relationship with the salmon run is, etc.  

Rain or shine. Wear your boots and bring a snack. 

For those 10+ year olds who are interested in joining Youth Stream Keepers Club, the training will be on November 29/30. Many older YNC members have 'graduated' to that program. They will meet monthly with a retired biologist and they will track the progress of a local waterway. It will be a good opportunity for them to be fully engaged in the science of tracking the water, etc.

Streamkeepers Course with biologist David Clough
Saturday and Sunday November 29th and 30th, 9am to 4pm 
Join the Cowichan Land Trust for the popular Streamkeepers Course taught by biologist David Clough. Lunch and snacks are provided. The optional course manual is available as free download or a hard copy will be available at the course for $20. The Streamkeeper course provides volunteers with the training and support required to protect and restore local aquatic habitat, educate the public about the importance of watershed resources and encourage communication and cooperation in watershed management. The course includes both in-class sessions and hands-on training in the field. Cost: $60 for members, $90 for non-members. Includes lunch and snacks.
To register:  sign up on-line at
For more info or call 250-746-0227

Saturday November 8th, 2014 
10am - noon
Salmon Circle of Life 
at Freshwater Ecocentre, 1080 Wharncliffe, Duncan
Nature Mentors: Willi Jansen, Fisheries officer, Shona Smith, Fisheries outreach officer and Nature interpreter Genevieve Singleton will be leading a walk, salmon dissection and activities.

Sunday, October 19th, 1-3pm at Wildwood Ecoforest in Ladysmith.  
Wildwood Ecoforest is widely recognized as a model of ecoforestry. The 77 acre property is diverse with areas of steep slopes, marshy areas and dry ridges. Come and join us for an interpretive nature walk amongst old growth trees.
Wildwood Naturalists will be moderating the afternoon. Donations appreciated. FREE event.

September 27, 2014- Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup
10am - noon. Rain or shine. Cowichan Estuary Centre in Cowichan Bay.
The Cowichan Land Trust will be with us.
Please wear boots, layered clothing, hat, etc. Gloves, garbage bags and snacks will be provided.

From coastal beaches to inland riverbanks and lakeshores, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup provides a fun and easy way for  youth to make a difference in their local community, while learning about the impacts of litter on our environment.

Saturday, June 28th - Planting Garry Oaks with  Nature Conservacy Canada
Join us in planting young Garry oak trees at Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve, a 52-acre conservation area home to one of the last and best remnants of Garry oak ecosystems and its associated biodiversity in the world. Garry oaks are the only native oak trees in western
Canada, so come on out and help us to restore this incredibly diverse habitat together!

This will be a great opportunity for the kids to feel like they are part in making a difference in preserving nature. Detailed instructions on where we will be meeting will be emailed about two weeks before the event.

June 17, 2014 - Year End Picnic - 5pm with all Young Naturalist Families and Cowichan Valley Naturalists.
Bright Angel Park is still under construction, so the Cowichan Valley Naturalists June Potluck Picnic will be held in Hecate Park by the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre. It is a potluck beginning at 5 pm on Tuesday, June 17. YNC members and their families are all invited. There will be fun nature activities and a chance to meet the senior naturalists.

May 17, 2014 - Low Tide Day at Cowichan Bay, 12:24pm
Just a friendly reminder of the upcoming Low Tide Day at Cowichan Bay.
There are TONS of stuff to participate in from 9:30 am till 5 pm. See attached poster.
YNC will be taking part in the BEACH SEINE and CRITTER COUNT. This year, there will be live music and BBQ. The official low tide time is 12:24pm.
This event is open to the public. Yes, non-members and adults with no kids can come! Feel free to pass on the attached poster to your friends. Everyone is welcome.
Dress in layers, bring extra clothes/shoes for the kids in the car and wear boots.

Tuesday May 28 at the Kinsmen Park in Duncan. We are doing a composting workshop with the Cowichan Green Community.

April 26, 2014 - Wildflower Walk!  Let's see chocolate lilies with vegetation ecologist/biologist,Tracy Fleming at Garry Oaks Meadow  10am-noon

March 22, 2014 - Learn about composting in this interactive workshop by Green Community.   Freshwater Ecocentre

February 22, 2014 - Cedar of Life with the Cowichan Valley Docents at the Nature Centre

Saturday, January 25th, 2014 10am - 12pm
"Watershed Program and Beach Walk" at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 at 5:15pm: Solstice Party at
 Fresh Water Eco Centre 1080 Wharncliffe Road, Duncan
Come one, come all for a Winter Solstice celebration.  Bring a merry dish to share.  We will be celebrating with the Cowichan Valley Naturalists and the YNC Homelearners Club, along with Mrs. Claus! 

November  - Sea Lion Viewing **Event Cancelled** Will try to reschedule for Nov.2014
Extra outing. Nighthawk Charters out of Cowichan Bay will be giving us a closer look at the sea lion populationais they follow the salmon run.  A scientist will be invited to talk about the relationship between sea lions and the salmon run.

Saturday, November 23, 2013 - **Change of event** Bird Walk
Past leaders of Cowichan Valley YNC Linda Hill and ecopsychologist John Scull have agreed to do a bird walk with us on this day. At Freshwater Ecocentre, 1080 Wharncliffe Rd, Duncan

Saturday, October 26, 2013 - Eves Park Nature ExplorationFacilitated by Eves Park Co-Chair and Cowichan Valley Docent, Genevieve Singleton.  Will give us insight on the faune and flora while we take a walk through the rainforest, pond, old railway tracks and even a cave!

Saturday, September 28, 2013  10am-noon

"Bees" at Cowichan Estuary Centre to hear about native bees.
Did you know BC has 450 species of native bees in its pollination web and each species has a place that must be protected and cared for?  Did you know most bees do not sting? Ted L, biologist from Plan Bee Now will teach us how we can be part of protecting bees.

Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 1pm

We will be joining the Cowichan Land Trust for the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-up.
Meet at the Cowichan Estuary Centre. Dress for the weather, bring your mud boots or sturdy sandals, plastic gloves, etc.

Saturday, June 8,2013, 10-2:00 

**The Cowichan Valley Naturalists and Young Naturalists Club will be attending this instead of the usual June evening picnic event.**
Eves Provincial Park Board of Directors invites the YNC to Eves Park 50th Birthday Party!

Where: Eves Provincial Park, 8107 Little Mountain Road, Westholme

Please bring your own picnic, Eves Park Board will supply cake and beverages
10-12 Work bee and Nature walks
12-2:00 Picnic, Speeches, children’s and adult activities

Low Tide Day, Saturday, May 25, 2013
Low Tide Day is open to everyone and is not just for Young Naturalists, so invite your friends, neighbours, and classmates. 

Saturday April 20th, 2013 10:00 Inside The Hive at Bees n' Glass Lake Cowichan

Tuesday March 26th, 2013 March Break Wildfoods Walk, location TBA

Saturday February 16th, 2013 10:00 am Bird House Building/ Backyard Bird Count at The Freshwater Eco-Centre Duncan

Saturday January 26th, 2013  10:00 am Mason Bee House Building at The Freshwater Eco-Centre Duncan