Festival Events

The WildWings Nature & Arts Festival 2019 events are now in the planning stages

please watch this page for monthly updates

This year’s events are diverse and interesting. Event experiences include Cultural, Nature, Art, and Celebration learnings and activities. They include the return of some of our popular events like Paint Night, the Pi’kwun Salmon BBQ with Jared, and looking for indigenous plant medicines. There are new events as well; Fish Tales partnering with a local distillery and the BIG DAY for Birders. Some events are still in the planning stage, others have not yet been confirmed, but look good, while others are full speed ahead. Every event has a WildWings Event Partner, please support their business or endeavours and be sure to thank them for supporting WildWings. Scroll down to view the different experiences: 

Confirmed Events

Sunday October 6, 10am - 2pm


Open Air Classroom Self-Guided Tours and Speaker Corners

Location: Somenos Open Air Classroom
Tickets: By donation
WildWings Partner: TBA

Join us at the Somenos Open Air Classroom (OAC), off the Trans Canada Highway just north of Beverly Street. The OAC will be open for tours and there will be nature specialists at each rest area providing information about birds, fish, photography, Raptors (with a few on hand), wild weaving with native plants, a kid’s table for nature activities, as well as a kid’s passport to complete with a great prize to be won.

Please note that parking will be very limited as we keep space open for accessible needs. You can easily park near York Road and walk the dike to the OAC and enjoy the S’amuna’/Somenos Conservation Area (SSCA) along the way. For more parking and a better walk, park down at the dog park at the Lakes and Beverly Street roundabout.

Wednesday October 9th, 2019 6pm – 10pm


Opening Reception

Location: Just Jakes Restaurant in Downtown Duncan
Tickets: Free event

WildWings Partner: Just Jakes Restaurant

Join us at Just Jakes Restaurant for the annual WWNAF launch party, an evening of original art with a first option to buy, tasting the annual WildWings ale, sampling the gourmet wild bites, and surrounded by great Jazz music with John Wade and friends. The launch party is the official kick off for 3-weeks of events, activities, hands-on experiences and outdoor learning adventures at Somenos Marsh and around the Cowichan Valley as well as the opening reception for the WildWings Art Exhibition; a collection of nature art for sale by south Vancouver Island artists.


Saturday October 12, 10am - 12pm


A Cultural Journey with Harold Joe

Location: Ye’yumnuts Historical Village site near Somenos Garry Oak Protected Area
Tickets: Suggested donation – $10 per individual or family
WildWings Partner: TBA

This is the second year for this popular event with Cowichan Tribes member Harold Joe. Harold will walk you through the history of S’amuna’ village while sharing with you the often misunderstood ways of the Cowichan people and their dead. Harold is a well-known and respected documentary film producer, actor, archaeological advisor, and grave digger.

Parking is available at Trillium Way or Seine Road, both of which are accessed via Lakes Road, first or second left up Lakes after the roundabout. Then walk into the Ye’yumnuts site. Please be respectful by keeping to the trails. 

Saturday October 12th, 7pm


Bats and Night Owls

Location: Somenos Garry Oaks
Tickets: Suggested donation $10 per individual or family
WildWings Partner: TBA

Have you heard an owl hoot while bats fly under the moonlight? Join conservation biologist Todd Carnahan under giant oaks in the Somenos Garry Oaks Protected Area at 7pm on Saturday, October 12 for this free family event. The site is also known as Ye’yumnuts, a sacred ancestral place to the Cowichan people. We’ll compare all the local owl species and learn some amazing facts about these nocturnal predators. Once you learn a few calls, you will test your skill in your hooter contest for illustrious prizes and glory. Next we will go looking for bats and their winged foods, discuss the finer points of attractive bat boxes, and hear their recorded calls adjusted for our ears. Bring the whole family together for a real hoot! But leave the dog at home for safety. 

Parking is available at Trillium Way or Seine Road, both of which are accessed via Lakes Road, first or second left up Lakes after the roundabout. Then walk into the Somenos Garry Oaks and Ye’yumnuts site. Please be respectful by keeping to the trails. 

Monday October 14, 6:30pm


Where Alcohol Meets Amazing Art

Location: Best Western Cowichan Valley Inn
Tickets: $40, max 40 participants
WildWings Partner: Best Western Cowichan Valley Inn

The perfect opportunity to unleash the inner artist within yourself and you friends all while having fun together. Everyone has an inner artist and this event will help you unleash it! Join our host, the Best Western Cowichan Valley Inn, for a very special fund raising evening. This is our 4th annual Paint Nite and all our previous Paint Nites have sold out (with great artistic results) so get your tickets early!

Tuesday October 15th, 5:30pm


Green Leaners Monthly Convention

Location: Craig Street Brew Pub, 3rd Floor
Tickets: Free event
WildWings Partner: Cowichan Green Drinks

Monthly gathering of green-learning folk with a scheduled speaker. Food and drinks abound. Come and mix with like-minded people or come to learn about all the environmental and conservation goings-on in the Valley.

Thursday October 17th, time TBA


Leaving a Legacy for the Cowichan Valley

Location: TBA
Tickets: Free event
WildWings Partner: Pacific Salmon Foundation

The protection and conservation of terrestrial, marine, and fresh water ecosystems in the Cowichan Valley should be a priority for us all. Attend a 1.5 hour estate planning program hosted by the Pacific Salmon Foundation and learn how a bequest in your will can ensure the sustainability of local fish, wildlife, and habitat for future generations. This presentation will be very useful for people considering bequests or for conservation groups seeking to expand and improve their estate planning objectives. 

Thursday October 17th, time TBA


The History and Use of Medicinal Plants in Quw'utsun' Culture

Location: TBA
Tickets: $30
WildWings Partner: David Polster Environmental Services

Come join us at this second in a lifetime event where Dr. Nancy J. Turner will give an important talk about the Cowichan Valley’s Ethnobotany. This event showcases important knowledge on plants in this region and their historical use by Quw’ustsun’ and surrounding tribes. This is Part 2 of last year’s presentation that sold out long before the event.

Saturday October 19th, 10am - 12pm


Seeking and Using Traditional Healing Plants

Location: Bright Angel Park
Tickets: $15 per person
WildWings Partner: TBA

One of our most popular events, now its 5th year. Join indigenous plant expert, Della Rice for a walkabout and discovery of everyday plants, and some rare ones too, and learn how they are used now and before the arrival of modern medicine. 

Meet at the lower level of parking lot near the washrooms.

Saturday October 19th, 7pm


Legal Issues & Political Controversies Surrounding Cultural Artifacts

Location: Duncan Showroom
Tickets: $15 per person
WildWings Partner: LT Roofing

Dust n’ Bones examines legal issues and political controversies surrounding the preservation and re-dedication of First Nations artifacts, burial sites, and remains through the point of view of Cowichan Archaeological Consultant, Harold Joe. There will be an opportunity to discuss, with Harold Joe, the issues raised in the documentary after the movie ends. 

Sunday October 20th, 9:30am - 4:00pm


Maria Curtis's Last Natural Materials Basket Weaving Workshop

Location: Cowichan Green Community boardroom
Tickets: $90 per person with maximum 8 participants
WildWings Partner: Cowichan Green Community

Maria is offering her last day long basket-making workshop before she retires. Using cat tail leaves for both spokes and weavers, we will begin making a double square base. Then using twining techniques, and your choice of natural materials, we will twine around the perimeter of the woven square to form a round shaped basket. Additions of iris leaves, and other naturals will make the basket unique. All materials and tools supplied are limited.

Meeting room is on the south side of the large colourful building called “the Station.” You may park in the lot between the building.

Sunday, October 20th, 10am - 2pm


Exploring Somenos Lake by Boat

Location: Drinkwater Road boat launch
Tickets: By donation
WildWings Partner: TBA

A floating armada of nature explorers in kayaks, canoes, and the ‘HMS Somenos,’ our electric powered slowboat, along with experts providing information about the lake, its nature, and the issues that are affecting its health.

Thursday October 24, evening


Cowichan Watershed Board Speaker Series with Dr. Dave Preikshot

Location: Vancouver Island University Lecture Theatre
Tickets: By donation
WildWings Partner: Cowichan Watershed Board & Vancouver Island University

Everything you ever wanted to know about Wild Fish but were afraid to ask. Dave Preikshot, the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society’s resident fish expert, is passionate about fish. He will entertain you non-stop with fish tales all the while pushing the underlying message that fish are in trouble and it is not going to get any better without radical and expensive interventions. Learn about his plan to Bring Back the Salmon to the Somenos system, which was once home to one of the greatest returns on Vancouver Island.

Saturday October 26th, 9am


A Secret and Very Special Place that Few Have Seen

Location: Meet at Cowichan Community Centre
Tickets: $10 per person or family
WildWings Partner: Just Jakes Restaurant

Join Warrick Whitehead on a hike to the Koksilah Ancient Trees to experience this incredible old growth forest with tall Douglas Firs that are up to 800 years old. This is the 4th year that we have held this very popular event. This is a dog-free, all day event. And be prepared for adverse weather conditions. To best enjoy the adventure-plan for an all day outing, bring a bagged lunch and lots of water, and dress for the weather with appropriate footwear. 

Meet at the Cowichan Community Centre main entrace, 9am to share cars where possible. 

Saturday October 26, doors open 6:30pm


Celebrating Being Green and the Festival Success

Location: TBA
Tickets: TBA
WildWings Partner: TBA

The first annual It Ain’t Easy Being Green Gala or simply the Green Gala. The (actually our 7th or 8th gala), where we wrap up WildWings 2019, and host the first ever Cowichan Green Awards. Join us for food, music, fun, an art and outdoor activity silent auction, and listen to our keynote speaker, Patrick Morrow, adventure photographer, author, and the first person in the world to climb the seven summits of the seven continents. Coincidentally, Pat was a speaker here 30 years ago when the Cowichan Valley Naturalist’s hosted him just before they launched the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society. 

Monday, October 28th, time TBA


The Remarkable Tale of Bringing Bluebirds Back to Cowichan

Location: TBA
Tickets: TBA
WildWings Partner: TBA

Partnering with the Nature Centre and the Bring Back the Bluebirds project, WildWings brings you up to date with this exciting project featuring the successful reintroduction of the Mountain Bluebirds to the Cowichan Valley. 

Tuesday October 29th, 2019 7pm – 9pm


People's Choice Photo Awards and Reception

Location: The Old Firehouse Wine Bar
Tickets: Free event
WildWings Partner: Old Firehouse Wine Bar

The first annual Nature of Cowichan photography competition for serious amateur and pro photographers to show us their best nature work and vie for the People’s Choice Award. Hosted by Old Firehouse Wine Bar, this promises to be a very popular event. First-place People’s Choice will be $200 in local gift certificates. Second will be $100 in local gift certificates. For entry information please click here.

Planned Events



with Jared Qwustenuxun Williams - How to Cook the Cowichan Way

Location: Kilpahis Beach, Cowichan Bat

Tickets: TBA

WildWings Event Partner: Cowichan Tribes

Learn about cooking a salmon the traditional way and then eating it afterwards… One of our more popular events.


with Stuart Pagaduan - How to Understand the Artform

Location: TBA

Tickets: TBA

WildWings Event Partner: TBA

A discussion about local first nations art and how nature inspires the artform.


An SD79 Coast Salish Learning Series Pro D Event

Location: TBA

Tickets: Free

WildWings Event Partner: School District 79

Stream to Sea Workshop for Educators — Part of School District 79’s Coast Salish Learning Series. Presentations by community groups and individuals who provide education programs, resources and events related to the watery world. Anyone interested in local nature education and stewardship education are invited to join us. 



and How to Get Rid of them Safely and Humanely

Location: TBA
Tickets: TBA

WildWings Event Partner: School District 79


with Dave Preikshot

Location: Stillhead Distillery
Tickets: TBA

WildWings Event Partner: TBA

Everything you ever wanted to know about fish and more while enjoying some Cowichan smooth spirits.


recreating the movie

Linked in with the monthly Coastal Walk bird count, the Big Day is intended to be a Birders Big Day out. It could involve a competition but will definitely involve a Cowichan Bay beer and burgers afterwards.

(or how to batte invasive aquatic plants)

Location: TBA
Tickets: TBA

WildWings Event Partner:  TBA

A hands-on get-dirty event where volunteers learn about invasive species management and planting to improve shorelines and water quality.

Close Menu