The Whistler Naturalists wrapped up one season and began another last Thursday, Nov. 17, at their annual general meeting.
Overall the Naturalists are in good shape. They are coming into this season with just over $12,000 in the bank, some of which has already been committed to projects for this year.
In terms of participation, 12 people have signed up to be on the board of directors this year. The club also has a treasurer and secretary, but nobody has assumed the position of president. That will be decided when the Naturalists meet next in the next few weeks.
Kristina Swerhun, now past-president, stepped down in order to take a two-year course at the University of Victoria, where she will study the effects of climate change in the Coast Mountains.
Her message to the board is to get involved, and that many hands might light work.
"You dont have to be an expert on nature, you just have to love it and share that enthusiasm," she said.
"I would encourage more people to get involved, because there will not be as much work, and we can do more stuff. If everybody helps out, its not that hard to organize these events."
As for achievements, the Naturalists have had another busy year. Regular activities included publishing weekly Naturespeak columns in Pique, nature walks through the spring and summer, monthly bird walks, the Christmas Bird Count and June Breeding Bird Survey, and ongoing support for the glacier monitoring, and the Whitebark Pine Conservation Project.
Special events included three Speaker Series Presentations, the annual Nature Photo Exhibition, and the third annual Mushroom Weekend featuring talks by experts, a guided mushroom walk and a cooking demonstration by Whistler chef Ophra Buckman.
For the coming season, the Naturalists are also looking for residents to help out by submitting Naturespeak columns, volunteering for special events, and guiding nature walks.
Swerhun has already booked four speakers for the winter speaker series, not including the presentation on eclipses by Whistler astronomers John Nemy and Carol Legate on the night of the AGM. The topics include winter weather in the Coast Mountains, the grizzly bear recovery program for southwest B.C., mountain goats and high alpine astronomy, with expert speakers from around the province.
The Naturalists will also produce the fourth annual Professional and Amateur Naturalist Photo Show, which filled the Millennium Place theatre last winter.
If you wish to be more involved in the Naturalists board, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be notified of the first meeting.