The summer is drawing to a close, although you would be hard pressed to realize that given the near record temperatures the last few days. We have had another mild summer, but thankfully have been spared from smoke this year. That does not mean that the environment is not under severe stress. Salal and western red cedar are dying, and the Cowichan River is so low that water is pumped from Lake Cowichan into the river to keep the resident organisms alive. The southern resident Orcas are struggling, losing yet more family members this summer. This is presumably because of declining salmon stocks, made worse by a landslide in the Fraser River near Chasm. Our activities to spread awareness about Nature are important, so your membership in Nature Nanaimo can make a difference.
Meanwhile, the Bigg’s (transient) Orcas seem to be thriving because of abundant seals and sea lions. The mild spring and hot late summer has led to lots of yellowjacket wasps, which tend to be very persistent this time of year. Further on the positive side, it appears the Purple Martins have done well; they are now on their way south. Also positive is that the end of summer means that Nature Nanaimo will emerge from aestivation and move into another exciting year of meetings and activities.
While we haven’t been meeting since our successful picnic, a lot has happened behind the scenes. Dan Haslam and Michael Stebbings have been busy bringing our Constitution in line with requirements for official society as well as charitable status. Michael has also been in discussions with the Friends of Buttertubs to bring them under the umbrella of Nature Nanaimo. Sari Saunders has been working on getting a permanent Nature Nanaimo logo, after which we will be producing a small brochure that can be handed out to potential members. Prior to the summer break in association with the Arrowsmith Naturalists who took the lead and kindly invited us to participate, we have generated a bird checklist for the Nanaimo “County” as delineated in eBird. You can buy your own copy for $3, which includes a modest sum to support the club. Doug Fraser has lined up some exciting meetings for the fall, including a talk on Interesting Birds of Vancouver Island, Orcas, and Sharks and their relatives. Our first outing will be this Friday with a trip to Paradise Meadows, and many other activities will happen. So we have lots to look forward to in our third year.
This year several members of our Board will step down (including yours truly from the President position), so we really hope that some of you will step up and put your name forward for election. The workload is not massive, and you get to know a lot of the people in Nature Nanaimo more intimately. All you need is a willingness to take on tasks from time to time. The nature of those tasks would be whatever you are comfortable with. It is important that we get new blood on the Board for several reasons. One is to prevent burnout in those who have served for too long, and the other is to constantly move forward with new ideas and approaches. Our Constitution also limits the number of terms anyone can be elected to, so we need to share the fun!
I look forward to seeing you all again in September.