Children are in the spotlight, but there will be plenty to see, do, taste and hear for people of all ages at the WildWings Nature &Art Festival from Oct. 5 to Nov. 4.
Each fall the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society, along with many community partners, hosts WildWings, a series of nature-themed events held around the Cowichan Valley to celebrate Cowichan nature and the return of the trumpeter swans to their overwintering grounds in the Cowichan Valley.
This year’s festival features 16 events that run the gamut from birding and nature interpretation to local cultural experiences, as well as a nature themed art show. Some of the other offerings include a traditional Cowichan Pi’kwun (salmon barbecue), hands-on biodiversity workshop, a Paint Nite fundraiser and a guided hike to the Koksilah Ancient Trees and much more.
The 2017 festival theme is “Nature and Children: Nurturing the Future.” In this theme will be Celebrate Somenos, an open house at the Somenos Marsh Open Air Classroom Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for children and families to interact with nature.
“Celebrate Somenos is our most important public education and family focused event of the festival as it is aimed at engaging and educating kids and their parents in the natural history of Somenos and its extended ecosystems,” say festival organizers. “Also at this event, expect to have your mind expanded by the Raptors with live birds, demonstrations on nature photography, learning about invasive species and their management, on-site nature and birding guides, and a build-your-own bird feeder station. There is also a ‘swamp stamp card’ for the young ones who can enter to win a prize if they visit three stations along the boardwalk.”
The festival launch and opening reception of the WildWings Art Exhibition, a Savour Cowichan Marquee Event, is on Thursday Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. at Just Jakes Restaurant. The ticket price includes gourmet bites, a sample of the Craig Street Brew Pub’s annual WildWings beer, live jazz with the John Wade trio, a small live auction and the first chance to purchase local nature-themed art, on display until Nov. 4.
The highlight of the evening will be the honouring of this year’s Artist of the Somenos, Stuart Pagaduan.
Partners of the festival include local businesses, NGOs, the arts community and many individuals. For full festival event and ticket details visit www.wildwingsfestival.com, find the festival on social media, or contact Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society program manager, Elizabeth Bailey, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-884-0749.