Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of October 19th


Lots of fungus among us

The Whistler Naturalists would like to thank everyone who participated in the 15th annual Fungus Among Us Mushroom Festival.

As our 20 expert leaders assembled here from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, the buzz was that there were almost no mushrooms in the woods anywhere. Mushrooms rely on moisture and this had been one of the driest summers in memory. Expectations were low and we hoped for the best.

Friday's talks enticed the audience with photos and videos of beautiful mushrooms and how to pick them. It wasn't a surprise that all the images were from previous years, and it felt like it would be the closest we'd all get to the real thing.

Happily and unexpectedly, we were wrong.

A good crowd of local fungophiles met early on Saturday morning for walks throughout Whistler. Each of the groups came back with big smiles and lots of mushrooms. The scientists went to work identifying and labelling while the cooking show got started. We were again fortunate that Chef Bruce Worden joined us, and he outdid himself with dish after delicious fungal dish.

When the doors to the mushroom display opened at 2:30 p.m., the tables were remarkably full. Hundreds of people enjoyed viewing all the different types of mushrooms and learning more about them from the scientists.

After compiling preliminary results, it turns out there was a reason for the full tables — at least 164 different mushroom species were found! Of these, 18 have never before been documented in Whistler. Our new total for the Whistler list is close to 900 fungal species, almost entirely from Fungus Among Us and BioBlitz.

We couldn't run the festival without our 20 fabulous mushroom gurus who gave talks, led walks, and labelled and presided over the mushroom display. Special thanks to presenters James Holkko (Edible mushroom ID), Kevin Trim (How to pick mushrooms) and Daryl Thompson (Lichens).

Our popular gourmet wild mushroom tasting wouldn't have been possible without the great expertise and wonderful creativity of Chef Bruce Worden, Nesters Market and Milestones. Thanks also to the amazing group of volunteers who helped out and all the folks that came out to share their enthusiasm and wonder for all things fungal.

Finally, the Whistler Naturalists would also like to thank our key sponsors: The Community Foundation of Whistler, RMOW, and AWARE. Thanks also to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Arts Whistler, Pasta Lupino and Avalanche Pizza.

See you next year, as always, the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Bob Brett and Kristina Swerhun
On behalf of the Whistler Naturalists 

Swap success

Thank-you Whistler.

I would like to thank all the families and dedicated Whistler Mountain Ski Club Athletes that volunteered Thanksgiving weekend volunteering for the famous Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) Used Ski Swap.

Without the strong, dedicated and energetic volunteers the swap would not be possible. It is always a pleasure to see the hard work and fun combined with the many great interactions during the swap chaos. 

I also would like to acknowledge Telus for supporting the complimentary ski wax, Gibbons for their support and donation, Creekside Market, Domino's Pizza  and Whistler Wood Fire Pizza for the food, and the many staff at Whistler Blackcomb for their enthusiastic ongoing support.

Many have forgotten that the WMSC can be proud as we see the crowds in the village and visiting our tent knowing how it all started. 

The now-famous Swap was the vision and idea of the WMSC over 30 years ago. Our club members created the foundation of the now very successful Whistler Swap.

Many members will recall the early WMSC swaps at Myrtle Philip Community School. We outgrew the school and moved the swap to the conference centre, and finally Whistler Blackcomb asked the club to move to the base of Blackcomb, into the tent they now provide each year.

The swap is the major ski club fundraiser each year contributing significantly to supporting our athletes. As one volunteer so eloquently said to me a few years back, "We would have to wash a lot of cars and bake a lot of muffins to make that amount of revenue." 

Thank-you to Whistler Blackcomb and its new owners Vail Resorts, the many businesses and, of course, the large contingent of over 150 volunteers that make the swap a success each year. 

Dan Jepson
WMSC Swap Director

Famers supporting music

I want to thank the Whistler Farmers' Market (WFM) vendors and manager for supporting local musicians.

It seems that each year, the WFM provides even more opportunities for local musicians to make an income playing music. It's a great gig with the chance to connect with locals, visitors and other musicians.

The manager and vendors come across as very appreciative and help to make these gigs really fulfilling for the musicians (we even get tips of produce).

There seems to be a focus on hiring the local talent and for that, thank you very much.

Susan Holden

Celebrating books and authors

This week brings to a close the 16th annual Whistler Writers Festival. The effort to put on such an event is enormous. But I've come to learn that anything is possible with vision, dedication, hard work and the support of so many people of like minds.

A bit of insanity doesn't hurt either. 

Every year, I am reminded that no one succeeds alone.

I would like to acknowledge Rebecca Wood Barrett who, as festival manager and my sounding board, puts up with me day in and day out and has never wavered despite our incredible workload.

Mieke Prummel led a team of volunteer captains including: Marion and Al Ashby; Karen McLeod; Anya Smith; and Sara Leach. The captains were assisted by some of the most incredible volunteers any event organizer could ask for including: Rosemary Cook; Yulia Aleynikova; Libby McKeever; Cathy Jewett; Deborah Wade; Barb Lee; Dawn Titus; Caroline Hicks Lamont; Tamar Glouberman; Tracy Landsley; Therese Carriere; Noa Vazquez Rodrigues; Suzanne Malone; Peggy Riley; Katherine Fawcett; Sheila Sherkat; Brenda Montani; Katie Findlay; Myrna Iaconetti-Bush; Louise Frances Frost; Sue Oakey Baker; and teacher Amanda Walker and her students, Chana Rogers and Eric Duncan. 

Pat Mackenzie was our go-to person for the Authors in the Schools program. I am very proud of this program. It would not have gotten off the ground without Pat's help and the support of the teachers and principals in the corridor over the past five years.

Schools from Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, and Mount Currie are given class sets of our featured authors' books. The students read the books and the authors give presentations to inspire students to write and tell their own stories.

In 2017, 16 schools in our district participated in this program with some 2,000 students taking part. I am grateful for the funding support of The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, The Province of British Columbia, the Rotary Club of Whistler Millennium, the Community Foundation of Whistler and our own Whistler Writing Society. 

I'd like to thank: Mary MacDonald for keeping our social media buzzing; Libby McKeever for making sure all the libraries in the province had our brochures and posters, helping with festival school and library programming and driving authors; Brigitte Mah for helping us with signage; Claire Piech for managing our communications efforts; and Ruth Barrow from Whistler Creative for handling our website and making our festival program and all our collateral sing!

Thanks to all of you who read our authors' books and wrote such wonderful reviews for our local paper.

Thanks also to the actors and musicians who took the written word and added different perspectives to make our reading events extraordinarily special.

The Whistler Writing Society is a non-profit charitable organization. Our budget is completely allocated to covering the costs of the annual Whistler Writers Festival, the Writer in Residence Program, and other literary events throughout the year, including the Authors in the Schools program.

We could not do what we do without the generous support and vision of a number of sponsors including: The Resort Municipality of Whistler and the Province of British Columbia; The Writers Union of Canada; The Canada Council for the Arts; The BC Arts Council; the American Friends of Whistler; Access Copyright; The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation; The Community Foundation of Whistler; Marquis Printing; Vivalogue; Stonebridge of Whistler; Vision Pacific; Penguin Random House Canada; Burnt Stew; Pasta Lupino; the Whistler Public Library; Arts Whistler; Tourism Whistler; the Fairmont Chateau Whistler; Armchair Books; the Audain Art Museum; Night Owl Brewing; Printorium Bookworks; BDO; the Grocery Store; Rogers Group Financial; Rotary Club of Whistler Millennium; Purebread; Whistler Wired; Whistler Roasting Company; Scandinave Spa; Slope Side Supply Limited; The Book Ladies (Jane Reid, Richmond, Maureen Chaddock); Goodwin Studios; and Whistler Creative. Thank you.

Last but not least, I'd like to thank: Mountain FM (media sponsor of Comedy Quickies); Pique Newsmagazine; The Question; The Vancouver Sun; The Province; The Ottawa Citizen; The Georgia Straight; and Quill and Quire for their wonderful coverage leading up to our festival. Thanks guys. I appreciate the support. 

And now we begin planning for 2018. We have 365 glorious days. It seems like a luxury to have so much time ahead of us, but the festival will be back in no time. Mark your calendars, Oct. 11 to 14, 2018. 

Thanks again for all the support. I appreciate it.

Stella Harvey
Festival Director

Thousands raised from sale of books

The book sale held on Saturday, Oct. 7 was an overwhelming success.

A huge thank you to the Marketplace IGA for hosting us on its property and to Nesters Market and TD Canada Trust Whistler for being our collection depots.

Over $4,200 was made and will be split between the Howe Sound Women's Centre and the Whistler Writers Festival. 

Thank you to Paul at the Re-Use-It Centre and all the volunteers who helped sort, transport and sell, including: Ophra Buckman; Marianna Orr; Susan Annand; Jane Clifford; Simone Crichton; Jessie Pendygrasse; Betty Vogler; Kris Shoup; Nicki Valentine; Stella Harvey; Leslee Wake; Rick Reid; John Richmond; Bill Janyk; Yukia Aleynikova; Anya Smith; Stephanie Murray; Bill Murray; Livvy Murray and Oliver.

Thank you also to all the people who donated books and all of you who so generously donated to buy them!  

Happy reading and remember to donate your books again for the next book sale.

Maureen Richmond, Jane Reid, Maureen Chaddock
The Book Sale Ladies

Whistler celebrates girls

Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us last Friday, Oct. 13, for International Day of the Girl, which recognizes the unique challenges girls face at home and around the globe.

Together, we raised $5,000 for the Howe Sound Women's Centre and our international partner, One Horizon.

We heard from three incredible speakers, Anita Naidu, Vivian Tsang, and Tru Wilson on the topic of "Girls Speak Up!" They blew us away with their strength, wisdom, and determination to make positive change.

It was a sold-out event with 234 people attending, which wouldn't have been possible without Community Futures Howe Sound, Tourism Whistler, and Mountain FM.

Another huge thank you to all the local businesses who donated to the incredible silent auction, and to the Summit Lodge and Green Moustache for making our Vancouver speakers feel so welcomed.

Thank you also to our wonderful MC, Tara O'Doherty from Headwound Productions, Kim Maitland from The Craft for her design work, and Maja Ronneberger, Kevani Macdonald, and Danielle Kristmanson for their patience, energy, and unwavering commitment.

Please look out for next year's event details, everyone is welcome as we all need to come together to push for positive change — see you next October! Feedback and ideas are welcome at deeraffo@gmail.com.

Dee Raffo

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