South Okanagan Naturalists' Club celebrating 60 years

For the love of nature

The South Okanagan Naturalists' Club is celebrating a milestone 60th birthday with a dinner and retrospective evening at the Penticton Golf and Country Club.

On Sept. 30, hear about six decades of conservation, education, and nature appreciation dating back to the March day in 1962 when the club was founded by 70 like-minded people from around the region.

"They set a direction that endures to this day: focus on the wise use and conservation of natural resources, encourage the exploration of nature and knowledge sharing, especially with young people, and record your observations in nature to share with others," says current club president Alex Bodden.

The first president was Stephen Cannings, a beloved naturalist and devoted educator, whose children — including biologist and current South Okanagan-West Kootenay Member of Parliament Richard Cannings — followed in his footsteps.

“The enjoyment of field trips with avid naturalists was one of the reasons the club was formed,” Bodden says.

“Outings are the hallmark of SONC and something we do on an almost weekly basis to see how the birds and natural environment are changing with the seasons and environmental conditions.”

Outreach has included children’s education programs, helping plant native vegetation along a rehabilitated section of Ellis Creek near Fairview Rd., financially supporting area land purchases for habitat conservation and awarding academic scholarships for environmental studies.

Club members are also enthusiastic citizen scientists, contributing regular lists of bird sightings to e-bird.org, Cornell University’s online atlas of global bird observations.

The 60th anniversary celebration will feature a nature trivia contest, stories, photos, memories and more than a few birding tales.

The club will also unveil its new logo. Tickets are available on the South Okanagan Naturalists’ Club website here, and the event is open to the public.

“The club always welcomes new members,” Bodden said. “Join us for one of our nature strolls to see if you enjoy exploring the natural environment with like-minded nature lovers or attend one of our club meetings and hear from an interesting guest speaker.”

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