See what washes up on the tide in Cowichan Bay this weekend

How much junk and trash accumulates along the shore in a year? What are the different kinds of clams in the mud at the beach? What fish and other creatures live in the eelgrass just off shore? The answers to these and other questions, along with lunch, music, and art can be found at Low Tide Day in Cowichan Bay on Saturday, May 17.

Low Tide Day is a free family event that combines science education, food, music, and environmental stewardship.

The day begins at 9:30 a.m. with the beach cleanup check-in at Kil-pah-las Beach just east of Cowichan Bay Village. At 11:30 a.m. the teams return to the beach for lunch and live music, then at 12:30 p.m. the science activities begin.

Volunteer biologists from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will use a seine net to collect creatures from the near offshore environment, then other volunteer biologists will lead Dr. Bill Austin’s "critter count", a quadrant survey of the animals in the mud. The day will end with activities at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre at the other end of the village.

A new feature this year will be a kayak team to collect plastic bags and other small flotsam and jetsam in the shallow waters of the estuary, led by guide Jenny Ferris. Participants must be at least 14 years old and need to register in advance. For information email info@cowichanestuary.ca In 1999 Cowichan Bay became the first Canadian community to join and the event has been held every May since then, sponsored by the Cowichan Land Trust, the Cowichan Valley Naturalists, the Cowichan Bay Improvement Association, and Cowichan Tribes, with support from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Pacific Biological Station and many local groups and businesses.

For more information, visit www.cowichanestuary.ca or call John at 250-746-6141 or Jeff at 250-252-1400.

Bring your bones to Naturalists next meeting for identification Skeleton in your closet? The Cowichan Valley Naturalists have a different type of program planned for May 20 at 7:30 p.m. Becky Wigen of the Anthropology Department at the University of Victoria is bringing a collection of bird and mammal skulls and will speak on teeth, bills, and diet.

Wigen is an archaeologist with a specialty in Northwest Coast zooarchaeology (identifying animal remains from archaeological sites) and has worked on many local sites for the last 30 years.

You are invited to bring any bone that you may have collected, for identification.

The meeting takes place at the Freshwater Fisheries Eco-Centre at 1080 Wharncliffe Rd., Duncan.

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