The club supports and participates in a number of special projects

Monitoring Western Grebe nesting in Salmon Arm bay
Dancing Grebes
 For 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.





 Peter Jannink ParkPeter Jannink Nature Park
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 Club 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 2003.

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 the generous support of the Rotary Club of Salmon Arm.



Academic award
In 2006 the club established a scholarship for a university student studying in the area of environmental sciences and planning to pursue a career in environmental conservation and protection.  The Shuswap Naturalist 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 recipient.


Mara Meadows Ecological Reserve
 This Reserve 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 Brunswick.  Mara 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.  
   

  Here 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.

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