A boy and girl bring a small container of mud from the beach, dilute it with a bit of water, and put it under a dissecting microscope. After some fiddling and adjusting, “Look, there’s a tiny clam with a teeny tub coming out of it.” Other children are getting to know the intertidal creatures in the touch tank, working at the craft table, or watching fish in the aquarium. Their parents and grandparents are reading the displays and watching movies of Elders telling about the estuary. Outside, a family in the viewing tower can watch the gulls wheeling below them and see the swans and ducks feeding in the estuary.
It’s Sunday afternoon at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre. The Nature Centre is run by the non-profit Cowichan Land Trust and by volunteers from the Cowichan Valley Naturalists and the Cowichan Bay community.
During the week the Nature Centre has programs for schools and other groups – home learners, young naturalists, elder college. Hands-on activities are led by a professional nature interpreter assisted by volunteer docents. On Thursday morning at 11am there is a story time for pre-school children.
Each month volunteers participate in the Coastal Waterbird Survey – led by an experienced birder, a team counts the birds visible from the shoreline near the Nature Centre. Everyone is welcome to come along for this opportunity to learn about some of our local birds. Film night is held at 7 pm on the last Thursday evening of each month. This spring the feature is the One Ocean series with David Suzuki.
1845 Cowichan Bay Rd in Hecate Park, Cowichan Bay
Open Thurs – Sun 12 – 4pm
Admission by Donation
For the latest information, visit www.cowichanestuary.ca.