While the distinctive black-and-white Brant geese are the “poster birds” of the annual Brant Wildlife Festival, this celebration of local species and spaces reaches so much farther.
Marking 31 years in 2021, the festival coincides with the arrival of its namesake birds, landing on local shores to rest and feed during their spring migration. It aims to raise awareness of our natural landscapes and the species that rely on them.
“When we know and love nature we’re more likely to live in harmony with it and protect what we can,” says Ceri Peacey, the festival’s Community Facilitator.
Founded by the Mid Island Wildlife Watch Society, the Nature Trust of British Columbia took the helm in 2006 and today, the non-profit land conservation organization continues to work with local community groups and volunteers to present the festival.
In this year unlike any other, the festival will continue to evolve. Instead of large public events, organizers will share new ways to enjoy this celebration of nature in our own backyards, and the opportunity to learn a few things along the way.
“This year’s festival is designed to continue to give people an opportunity to explore nature,” Peacey says. “Even though we can’t have regular in-person events as usual – self-directed events are equally valuable.”
With a theme of “exploring local spaces,” here’s a look at some of this year’s events:
- Filming natural places – A series of video interviews exploring locals’ connections to nature that will be posted online and through social media.
- Painted Brant release – Watch for a “release” of painted Brant in Marchinto local businesses. Take a selfie with the birds and be entered to win a prize.
- Discover the Bird Trail – Follow a map to bird-watching destinations that will allow you to experience nature in a physically distanced way.
- The Biosphere-Wide Blitz – From April 16 to 18, the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region invites participants to use the iNaturalist app to record as many species as possible throughout the region, from Nanoose Bay to Qualicum Bay.
- Watch this year’s eagle release – The North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre will present a video release of a rehabilitated bald eagle, along with interviews of NIWRA volunteers who work with the eagles.
The impact of a community celebration like the Brant Wildlife Festival is significant, wrote Canadian artist and naturalist Robert Bateman:
“With all forces presently acting to destroy nature in our modern world, it is inspiring to see the success of the Brant Wildlife Festival in bringing many elements of the community together to protect nature. The raising of consciousness is a very important element but the Festival goes beyond this and brings hope for the future.”