The Prince George Naturalists Club
In brief, the club
- Formed in 1969 and after a few years’ hiatus reformed in 2011
- Is a federated club of BC Nature
- Exists to enhance enjoyment and understanding of the natural world
- Provides field trips and evening talks, plus ongoing information on local nature themes
- Has published the Prince George Bird Checklist since 1988 and has now added online guides to the region’s amphibians & reptiles and visiting shorebirds
- Has membership of around 100
- Is open to everyone interested in nature (annual dues: $25 single; $40 family)
- Has a webite at pgnc.wordpress.com
Members are varied in their interests. Some are particularly interested in a specific field, such as mammals, trees, amphibians, geology or birds, but many are interested in all aspects of nature. A listserv carrying observations primarily, but not exclusively, on birds, is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo left: Prince George recently saw an invasion of Snowy Owls. One of the merits of joining the Club is that you get to hear about all such interesting sightings in and around the city.
The following is a reprint of the Spotlight on BC Nature Federated Clubs, from the Winter 2012 edition of BC Nature:
The Prince George Naturalists Club
In 2011 the Prince George Naturalists Club reformed and rose from the ashes sporting a newly energized membership and an active calendar. Originally formed in 1969, the club existed with a focus that still remains – to provide educational and social outings for members, as well as to maintain a soft advocacy role through building upon people’s awareness, appreciation and understanding of nature and conservation. Today our membership sits comfortably at about 50 people, and our structure is relatively informal.
Prince George is home to many who have a deep knowledge of the natural world, and who are very generous in sharing that knowledge. We are fortunate to have the University of Northern British Columbia located here. The students and faculty offer an extension of their expertise to draw from. For many years our members have participated in conservation-related programs such as the Robson Bird Blitz, the Breeding Bird Survey, the BC-Yukon Nocturnal Owl Survey, and of course the always-popular Christmas Bird Count and potluck (since 1968!). Members also continue to represent the club on a number of organizations and committees at the local and regional level in areas such as species at risk, land-use planning and outdoor recreation.
However, as with most clubs, the membership exists mainly to learn and experience the natural world. The PGNC offers field trips year round on subjects including birding, mushrooms, wildlife viewing, botany and animal tracking – and talks may include anything from nature photography to gadgets to international travel. We have produced the Prince George Bird checklist since 1988, which is distributed for free through the tourism offices, and this is being supplemented by online guides to the area’s amphibians and reptiles, as well as a special guide to visiting shorebirds.
Our most exciting and ambitious project, currently in its infancy, is the possibility of establishing a nature interpretive centre, and incorporating this with the rehabilitation of the significant Hudson’s Bay wetland which extends from the Fraser River through to the heart of the city. The wetland traditionally extended far beyond its current boundary, and it remains an important habitat to migrating and nesting waterfowl as well as beaver, fox and other birds, mammals and amphibians. We envision a hub where nature education can be shared with school groups, residents and tourists, where walkways and bridges can connect the existing trail system year round, and where site reclamation can be conducted to bring back a natural area for the benefit of its natural inhabitants. Both projects require the support and involvement of other interest and civic groups,and to date we are receiving considerable encouragement.
We believe that having a positive project to focus on will help raise awareness of our club as well as maintain interest and pride for the members for the long term. If we can leave a legacy that will enhance the natural landscape and increase civic pride within our city, the PGNC will have realized a major accomplishment. Our web blog can be found at pgnc.wordpress.com and you can follow the Prince George Naturalists Club on Facebook.