club supports and participates in a number of special projects
Monitoring Western Grebe nesting in
Salmon Arm bay
more than 20 years club members have monitored and
recorded nesting data from several places in the
bay. The recording of events and grebe populations
continues from April to August with counts conducted every second week
from mid-May to mid-July when the nesting results are observed
and tallied as well.There
are now usually fewer than 100 pairs nesting in BC, most of which nest
in the bay. The
shrinkage of wetlands throughout the province demands that the club
remains very vigilant in protecting this habitat. More information
on the Western Grebe.
The area now called
Peter Jannink Nature Park began as a city lot which was overgrown with weeds
and had been used as a landfill dump. Peter was the head city gardener
who had an infectious passion for bird watching and
was a valued and beloved club
member. On the initiative of the Shuswap Naturalist
the area was converted to a city park in 1999. Its location on the
marshy shore of the lake makes it a wonderful area for birdwatching.
The park was named in Peter's honour after his passing in
The Shuswap Naturalists continue
to plant indigenous plants and, along with the efforts of the city, are
working towards making the Nature Park a truly interpretive park. The
park is being maintained through the efforts of the club with
generous support of the Rotary Club of Salmon Arm.
2006 the club established a scholarship for a university student
the area of environmental sciences and planning to pursue a career in
environmental conservation and protection. The Shuswap
Club Award is now available to students at Thompson Rivers
University entering the third year of the Bachelor of Natural
Resource Science program. Priority is given to
students from the Shuswap area. See information on the latest award
was established in 1972 to protect unique calcareous fens. Fourteen of
BC’s thirty-two orchid species, including four which are considered
rare, grow in these fens. The
determining factor in having this fen set aside as an ecological
reserve was the
rare Liparis loeselii or Bog twayblade
which is found in Mara Meadows. The only other known location in Canada
is in New
Meadows Ecological Reserve is a small but very important
reserve and worthy of protection and close monitoring.
Jeremy Ayotte, the Reserve Warden at Mara
Meadows, monitors water depth and
quality and takes
inventory of the plant species, with special attention directed at the
orchids. He also records nesting bird species, beaver
activity and amphibian and reptile populations.
is a list of birds which club member Geoff Styles has identified at
Mara Meadows in recent years.
Nest box monitoring program This
program to mount and monitor nest boxes began as a result of concerns
about the rapid decline of aerial insectivores in Canada, as well as
the effects of older birch trees being cut down because they are
hazards to public safety. It is hoped that through this program
we will be able to:
- monitor population trends of these aerial insectivores, and possibly bluebirds across our nest box monitoring area.
- monitor land-type usage by the various nesting species that may be able to inform land-use decisions in the future.
- engage the public in a citizen science project that is enjoyable and supportive of declining breeding birds in our area.
The Great Canadian Birdathon is the oldest
sponsored bird count in North America, raising money for bird research and
conservation both across Canada and here in Salmon Arm. Club members join the 7,000
people from across the country to participate in this one-day birdathon i
every year in May. Part of the money donated goes towards the Shuswap Naturalist Club’s
projects such as our Young Naturalist Program, our nest boxes program and
Jannink Nature Park.
Our team is called The Twits. Covering a 10 km radius
around Salmon Arm, the individual groups within the team will count from 50 to
100 bird species. The Twits’ total species count record for any one year is130, achieved in 2014.