Meadowlark opens today

The 21st annual Meadowlark Nature Festival opens today in the South Okanagan, with the first day of more than 70 tours and talks across the region.

The ever-popular event attracts “Meadowlarkers” from across Western Canada, giving people a chance to experience the spectacular beauty of the South Okanagan guided by local experts on foot, bike or paddle.

Festival coordinator Jayme Friedt says some small tweaks have been made to a handful of the tours to avoid flooding and high rivers. Just one tour, of Sage and Sparrow Conservation area, has been cancelled.

“The tours are going ahead, and they will be just as wonderful and exciting,” she said. “It’s a really great opportunity for people to get out and explore what’s beyond their backyard, and to do it with people that really know a lot about the area.”

While about 25 of the tours have sold out, tickets remain for the others.

New this year, Pecha Kucha Penticton is holding a special Meadowlark edition tonight at Cannery Brewing, where many of the festival’s guides will be delivering bite-sized versions of their tours.

Internationally renowned conservationist Harvey Locke is this year’s keynote speaker, Friday 7 p.m. at the Cleland Theatre in Penticton.

Locke has led the charge to link together parks and protected areas along what he called the spinal column of North America — the Rocky Mountains.

His “Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative” has led to wildlife overpasses over highways and the connection of habitats across the Canada-U.S. border.

The festival’s full schedule can be found here.

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