Mike Yip has published a new book for beginning birders in 2020. (Mike Yip photo)

Arts & Entertainment column: A new book, an art prize, and an AGM

Here are a few of the things happening in Cowichan’s arts and culture scene.

For all those birders in the Cowichan Valley, the name Mike Yip is already likely a familiar one to you.

Yip is an author and photographer who was born in Duncan and graduated high school in Lake Cowichan, and now lives in Nanoose Bay, though he maintains his love of the Cowichan Valley.

Many know him for his self-published books of stunning photographs of Vancouver Island birds.

“I always stop at local birding spots like Art Mann Park and Somenos Marsh when I pass through Duncan,” he said in a recent email about a new book he has coming out. He also makes regular presentations to local naturalist and horticulturalist clubs in the area.

His newest book is also based on his passion for the Island’s feathered friends.

“Since there was no bird guide for Vancouver Island I decided to produce one and with the surge of interest in nature and bird watching because of COVID 19 the timing is perfect,” Yip said.

Beginner’s guide to common Vancouver Island Birds is aimed to please both nature lovers and beginning birders.

Yip has been photographing Vancouver Island birds since 2004, and says many people use his previous three books for bird guides even though they weren’t designed to be. In his new work, “based on 15 years of reports by island birders Mike was able to identify over 230 birds that were seen every year or almost every year, and fortuitously, he had photos of almost all the birds except for six that he was able to purchase from fellow birders.”

Like all his other books, Mike’s beginner’s guide to common Vancouver Island birds is full colour, hard cover, 8.5 x 11 inches, and 128 pages. His book is currently available at Volume 1 bookstore in Duncan but can also be purchased by mail order by contacting admin@vancouverislandbirds.com.


Cowichan Valley artists should start looking for their inspiration for their entries for the Salt Spring National Art Prize 2021/22.

“The Salt Spring National Art Prize was established in 2015 to recognize, showcase, and publicize the accomplishments of Canadian visual artists. As a biennial national art prize with over $30,000 in awards, we are committed to continuing our legacy and look toward mounting a live exhibition in September 2021,” an announcement said this week.

“Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada who are 18 years of age and older as of Jan. 1, 2020 are invited to submit their two-dimensional and three-dimensional work for consideration. The art prize will showcase approximately 50 finalists chosen by a national jury. An exhibition of the finalists’ work will take place in September and October 2021 at Mahon Hall on Salt Spring Island.

“Because of the present COVID situation and its uncertainty, details of the exhibition events will be announced at a later date.

Founding director Ronald T. Crawford states, “In this unprecedented time for visual artists across the country, we are excited and proud to move forward with SSNAP 2021/2022! Although the uncertainty of COVID protocols make scheduling the events difficult to finalize, we are committed to a live Finalist Exhibition showcasing some of the best in Canadian art!”

The intent of the Salt Spring National Art Prize is to encourage Canadian artists whose artistry demonstrates originality, quality, integrity and creativity, resulting in significant work with a real visual impact and depth of meaning, organizers said.

All artists’ submissions must be entered by the artist themselves and their identity will be anonymous to the jury until the exhibition opens. Submissions open Jan. 1, 2021.


The Cowichan Community Land Trust will be holding its annual general meeting for 2020 on Wednesday, Sept. 23 on Zoom.

The AGM will have a special nod to John Scull, by “creating a space to share tributes and stories in celebration of this amazing human who has touched us all.”

There will also be a guest speaker, Heather Pritchard, who will present “Seeing Cowichan Forests Beyond Trees”.

“Heather has been researching how the CCLT can help conserve privately owned forest land in our region. John Scull was instrumental in getting this project going. We are dedicating this initiative to John in loving recognition of his ongoing contribution to conservation,” the AGM notice said.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m., and people can register by email to receive the Zoom link at info@cowichanlandtrust.ca

Arts and Entertainment

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