Preserve throws open gates for In Bloom

On Saturday, May 3 the Nature Conservancy of Canada is inviting all nature lovers, native plant gardeners and curious ecologists of all ages to come out and experience the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve at the height of the spring wildflower bloom at the 8th annual In Bloom Wildflower Festival.

The family-friendly event offers guests the chance to walk around the normally closed-to-the-public preserve and to discover the preserve’s many natural and cultural wonders from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. New this year is a Nature Photography Workshop is being offered in advance of the festival.

Starting at 8 a.m., the workshop will take advantage of the morning light and will feature tips and techniques for taking great nature photos. Participation is by donation. Call or email to register: 1-888-404-8428 or After the workshop, visitors are able to wander among displays, storytellers and hands-on discovery stations that will bring to life the world of the iconic Garry oak ecosystems.

Whether you are interested in birds and bees, splashy wildflowers, scientific research, native plants or wetland bugs, In Bloom will have something for everyone.

Children’s programming includes hayrides, face-painting and nature crafts. The Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve is located at 1241 Maple Bay Rd., Duncan.

Please park on Maple Bay Road, then walk to the end of Aitken Road to enter the preserve.

There is no entry fee, but donations will be gratefully accepted.