Brant Wildlife Festival 2013 – Recap (long photoessay)

Brant and Gulls

This was the first year that Deep Bay Marine Field Station has participated in the Brant Wildlife Festival, so we weren’t sure what to expect. But, boy were we surprised!  Since March 16th we’ve had a lot going on: two Wildlife Boat Tours aboard the RV Chetlo, “Society of Crows” lecture by Dr. Robert Butler, “Sumptuous Seafood” Cooking Class with Chef Debbie Shore of the Vancouver Island Culinary Institute at VIU, a premier film presentation “Blue Notes” by award winning local underwater photographer, Peter Mieras, local artist displays and demonstrations sponsored by the Salish Sea Market in Bowser, all of which lead up to our Community Open House this past weekend.

What an amazing day Saturday the 30th was! More than 1270 people stopped by to say hello for our Open House. The community support, encouragement and wonderful comments we received for the amazing food served by Hollie Wood Oysters and the Culinary Institute, Chef Jason Lloyd and students; the great community displays; and the fun kids’ activities was overwhelming. AND we raised over $3000 for Deep Bay Public Education programs!

On behalf of all of us at the Field Station, we wanted to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped us make March a fun success for us including:

  • The Nature Trust of BC for including us, doing great promotions and Deb Kennedy and Robin Rivers being so great to work with .
  • The organizing committee of the Brant Festival
  • Dr. Rob Butler for being such an enthusiastic guide on our boat tours and givingsuch a fun talk on Crow Societies
  • Sharon and Lauri from Salish Sea Market for filling the Station with crow and raven art for Rob’s talk
  • Peter and Kathy Mieras for their great and beautiful film premier of Blue Notes
  • RMOT , Fisheries & Aquaculture and Art Faculty students (and staff) and community volunteers that gave up evenings and a beautiful Saturday to help us out
  • VIU Communications Department  for promoting us and and especially Marilyn Assaf for jumping into the fray at the Open House.
  • Greg and Hollie of HollieWood Oysters for donating an oyster bar
  • Grieg Seafoods for donating salmon for our open house
  • VIU Chef Jason Loyd and Students for making and serving fish tacos all day.
  • Michael Recalma (Kwalikum First Nation), Bowser Fall Fair, Nile Creek Enhancement Society, River Never Sleeps Festival, Salish Sea Market and Cindy Mawle for manning community booths, art and the like!

Again THANK YOU to all our guests for your amazing support!!!……… Pictures follow

March 15th

The day before our wildlife tours – Deep Bay was looking pretty sparse for birds so we took a spin  in the RV Atrevida with Tom Reid and Jasper Lament from the Nature Trust to see where all the big flocks had disappeared to.

Jasper and Tim (NatureTrust of BC)

Jasper and Tim

Wathcing the flocks

We found the flocks, 10’s of 1000’s of migrating waterfowl including large groups of Brant up at the north end of Denman Island.   Realizing that this was out of range of the our 2 hour tours with the Chetlo – we changed the plan and decided to move the Chetlo to Union Bay early the next morning and hope that our guests would understand.

March 16th

After some redirecting of guests boat tours went off well despite the adverse weather of an early spring day.

Wildlife Bird Tours - 2013 Brant Festival
Dr. Butler (khaki jacket) and guests, note big thermoses (coffee and hot chocolate) on deck!
Group 1 headed out
Morning tour.
James Lunney and Jasper Lament
Dr. James Lunney, local MP for Nanaimo came along for our morning tour, here with Jasper, CEO of the Nature Trust.
Wildlife Bird Tours - 2013 Brant Festival
It was a pretty impressive site at the Tree Islets
RV Chetlo dropping group off - Tree Island
On the afternoon tour the tide had dropped enough that we were able to put our guests ashore.
Wildlife Bird Tours - 2013 Brant Festival
On the beach
Wind drifts of Herring Eggs
This is why the flocks – whole wind drifts of herring eggs.

Herrign Eggs
Herring eggs close up
Rob Butler and guests Birding Tour
Dr. Butler

Dropping Group 2 off - Landing Craft beach assault mode...

The weather sure could have been better and with the low tide we had to drop everyone off on the Union Bay breakwater, amphibious assault style…. Everyone was still enthusiastic after the day. I still had to take the Chetlo home and was really regretting not installing a cabin heater when we built her.

Rob BUtler giving Society of Crows talk

That evening Rob did double duty and gave a great talk about the “culture of thievery of crows”

CRow and Raven Art for Society of Crows talk

The Salish Sea Market had filled the building with crow and raven art in honour of Rob’s talk.

March sunset from the deck

Community guests were treated to a great spring sunset.

Chefs Shore and Leduc - Society of Crows evening

The kitchen had been busy Chef Shore from the Culinary Institute had run a seafood cooking class that afternoon and Sarah had been making snacks for the lecture.

March 20th

Blue Notes Presenation at the Field Station 13.03.20
Peter Mieras at podium and on screen introducing his new film Blue Notes. Peters commitment to marine conservation is so evident in his great videography. We really enjoyed the evening.

Movie Popcorn
and we borrowed the popcorn maker from the Student Union – can’t have a premier without popcorn!


RMOT Student Gillian and Chef in residence Sarah overseeing a pretty cool concession with Chili Dogs and treats

March 30th – Open House

2013 Open House

We were hoping for as many as 500 for our community open house. When 300 arrived in the first hour we realized that perhaps we were going to be victims of our own success and frankly we were overwhelmed for a while. We apologize for the traffic jam on the road in and appreciated everyone’s patience while we got traffic moving again!

2013 Open House

Lucy the Brant showed up to welcome visitors!

2013 Open House

Local artist Cindy Mawle, came down and painted in the outdoor classroom – she was great about all the crowds and did some great work.

2013 Open House

Chef Jason Loyd came up with students and made awesome salmon tacos. We’d really like to thank Grieg Seafoods for donating some beautiful salmon for the event.

2013 Open House

2013 Open House

The building was full all day! Our official count was 1270 that came in through the front door, but we know that lots came in around the side.

2013 Open House

Outside, 2nd year art student Kristie Bush face painted for 6 hours straight!

Fish and Aqua Fish Print team - Open House

FIsh and Aquaculture Technician Dan Fox came up with a posse of students who manned a booth and did fish prints outside. We also had booths from the Kwalikum First Nation, Nile Creek Enhancement Society, VIU Resource Faculties, River Never Sleeps Festival and Bowser Fall Fair.

2013 Open House

Teresa (DBMFS) and Sharon Waugh (Salish Sea Market) manned the counter all day and kept their great humour.

2013 Open House

Everyone admired the tanks all day.

Whew – we made it!

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