The Cowichan Valley Naturalists’ Society presents speaker Sara Wickham to talk local seaweeds. (submitted)

Coming up in Cowichan: Public speaking, water, food preservation

The Justice for the Peace Island tour is stopping in Duncan on Wednesday, March 21.

District 4-H public speaking event coming Saturday

The Cowichan Valley will be hosting a District 4-H public speaking event this Saturday, and, fittingly, the public is invited to sit in and listen.

The event takes place on March 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Stu Armour 4-H barn on the Cobble Hill fairgrounds.

“The 4-H program aims at developing the whole person,” said a media release about the event. “Part of this development involves learning how to speak confidently in front of an audience.

Did you know you can harvest seaweed to eat?

The Cowichan Valley Naturalists’ Society presents speaker Sara Wickham, a UVIC graduate student in Environmental Studies, Tuesday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m.

Wickham will speak about the ecology, identification and food preparation of local seaweeds. Seaweeds play an important role in marine ecosystems by providing food and habitat to oceanic species. But did you know they’re equally important to many land animals such as birds and bears?

“This talk will explain how to ID our many local species of seaweeds and discuss the health benefits of harvesting seaweeds. Additionally, we will investigate how seaweeds provide healthy marine nutrients to land-based animals from bugs to bears, an important but often overlooked coastal phenomenon,” said a press release for the event.

Head to the Freshwater Eco Centre at 1080 Wharncliff Rd., Duncan. Bring friends and a cup each to enjoy some refreshment.

Justice for the Peace tour stop in Duncan March 21

The Justice for the Peace Island tour is stopping in Duncan on Wednesday, March 21.

This is a chance for people to hear from Ken and Arlene Boon, third-generation grain and hay farmers from the Peace River Valley. Their property will be flooded by the Site C dam.

The event takes place at Duncan United Church, at 246 Ingram St. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the event running from 7-9 p.m.

Alongside the Boons, other speakers are Wendy Holm, an agrologist and food security specialist, and Guy Dauncey, an energy futurist.

The Justice for the Peace tour will also hit Courtenay/Comox, Quadra Island and Nanaimo before heading to Vancouver on March 26 for the opening of the Blueberry River First Nations court case.

This event is sponsored by the Cowichan Valley Chapter of the Council of Canadians and the Duncan United Church Social Justice Committee.

Opioid crisis focus of meeting Thursday, March 22

The Canadian Mental Health Association – Cowichan Valley Branch is hosting an event on Thursday, March 22, about the opioid crisis in the Cowichan Valley, featuring medical health officer Dr. Shannon Waters and staff of the overdose prevention site.

The evening will include discussion on questions such as, what is the impact of these drugs on the body? Why are people dying? What are we doing about it? What more needs to be done?

The event starts at 7 p.m. and will take place at the Duncan United Church, 246 Ingram St. Admission is by donation.

Speaker to give water inspiration for Water Day

Celebrating UN World Water Day on Thursday, March 22, Cowichan Watershed Board and VIU-Cowichan Campus are presenting an inspiring and knowledge-packed slideshow and talk by Gord Baird, of Eco-Sense.

Eco-Sense is a multi-award winning green home and business in Victoria’s Highlands neighbourhood, providing regenerative design in the areas of water, food, energy, and lifestyle.

Baird will urge and support everyone to do more with our most precious resource, sharing his extensive experience in the topics of rainwater harvesting, greywater reuse, composting toilets, and more.

The event takes place from 7-8:30 p.m. at the VIU Cowichan Campus, 2011 University Way, Duncan, in lecture hall 140. Admission is free.

At the event the Cowichan Watershed Board will also be handing out free hose washers as part of the Cowichan Million Litre Challenge.

The goal is to have 100 people make one simple, but significant, water-saving step this week by setting up their summer watering systems properly with a wrench and fresh hose washers to prevent leaks. Calculations show that could save 1 million litres over the course of the year.

If you miss the Thursday night event but still want to get in on the challenge, watch for the team at the Community Farm Store on March 16, Speaker’s Night on March 22, and Dinter Nursery on March 24, or contact As a bonus incentive Drillwell Enterprises will donate $2 to an African Water non-profit for each of the first 100 hoses fixed.

Learn how to preserve your own food — free

Are you interested in a feeling of pride and self-satisfaction in preserving food from when it was available and serving it out-of-season? Then join the Cowichan Green Community in the preservation workshop series, Family Preserving Our Knowledge, starting Saturday, March 24.

This is a series of 12 preservation classes, specifically geared for young families, on how to preserve fruit and vegetables and meat throughout the year.

Funded by Our Cowichan Communities’ Health Networks, the workshops’ main focus is to feature a variety of preservation techniques from pickling, dehydration, and freezing, to hot-water bath and pressure canning, teaching young families how to properly preserve and store food.

“I feel blessed to have had a background where, food raising, harvesting and canning were a natural part of life,” says Jan MacKirdy of the CGC Food Recovery Team. “To ‘put by’ is a country way of saying to save something you don’t have to use now, against the time when you’ll need it.”

“Preserving is three-fold; it is a way of saving food that otherwise may go to waste; it is a way to keep fall and summer bounty for winter; and a way of creating instant dinners in an old-fashioned way,” says food recoverist Marcia Forst.

These free workshops will be hosted at CGC, located at 360 Duncan St. in Duncan and will be facilitated by Debra Cebula.

These workshops are free. Pre-registration for these workshops is required as spaces are limited. You can register for one of the classes at the Garden Pantry Store. Please contact Debra at 250-748-8506 or for more information and to register.

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