WildWings Festival takes flight Thursday

The festival took a break last year, but is back in 2015 with everything from kids activities to an art exhibition.

With the return to Cowichan this fall of the once-endangered trumpeter swans comes the WildWings Festival, a celebration of nature, community and culture spearheaded by the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society.

The festival took a break last year, but is back in 2015 with everything from kids activities to an art exhibition.

“The festival encourages us to think about the connectivity in our community between natural ecosystems and also how our culture is connected and supported by the amazing natural areas we are surrounded with here in the Cowichan Valley,” said SMWS program coordinator Elizabeth Bailey.

Festivities include a launch party at the Brew Pub in Duncan on Oct. 1. There will be live music, trivia and the specially crafted WildWings I.P.A.

Then on Oct. 3 the community is invited to the Somenos Marsh boardwalk and open air classroom for Celebrate Somenos Family Fun Day. The event will feature kids’ activities and presentations on birds (including a visit from the Pacific Raptors), salmon, amphibians, and photography. Kids can collect a Swam Stamp card and if they take part in at least three presentations they can enter to win a pair of Bushnell binoculars and a bird book. There will also be a Somenos Garry oak ecosystem tour and birding in Cowichan Bay.

The Wildwings Art Exhibition, put on in partnership with the Cowichan Valley Arts Council, will be held at Just Jake’s Restaurant in Duncan and will feature local artists renditions of nature and wildlife.

The opening night cocktail mixer on Oct. 15 from 8-10 p.m. Will act as the after-party for the Duncan Business Improvement Area Society’s Under the Red Umbrella art walk.

On Oct. 18 longtime weaver Maria Curtis will host a basket weaving workshop where participants can learn the craft using local materials including invasive species harvested from the marsh.

And organizers have already got something special lined up for next year’s festival: hosting the Trumpeter Swan Society’s North American annual general meeting.

For more information about the festival contact somenosmarsh@gmail.com