8th annual WildWings Nature and Arts Festival

The 8th annual WildWings Nature and Arts Festival – October 6th to November 18th 2016

Late fall in the Cowichan Valley is a very special time because it marks the return of the Trumpeter Swans and other migratory waterfowl to their overwintering habitat in Somenos Marsh, the Cowichan Estuary and nearby natural areas. This time of year also signals the return of the annual WildWings Nature and Arts Festival.

This year’s festival is an extra special one for WildWings as The (North American) Trumpeter Swan Society (TTSS) is coming to the Cowichan Valley for its Annual General Meeting and Swan Conference. This year’s Swan Conference theme is Swans and Agriculture, Working Together. This event will bring 75 -100 visitors to our amazing valley and will coincide with the closing week of WildWings. Swan experts from all over the world will be presenting their research papers for the visitors and the local public.

While the WildWings Festival does highlight the Trumpeter Swans’ annual return to Somenos and the Cowichan Valley, it also celebrates nature, the arts and culture through public presentations and activities.

Confirmed festival activities include:

  • October 6, WildWings Nature & Arts Festival Launch and Art Show opening at Just Jakes restaurant
  • October 9, Celebrate Somenos Family Fun Day at the Open Air Classroom
  • November 16-18, Trumpeter Swan Conference
  • November 18, WildWings Festival and Swan Conference closing gala fundraiser event at the Quw’utsun’ Conference Centre. The keynote speaker will be Robert Bateman

Public presentations being planned include:

  • Birding at local wineries
  • Artisans who work with Nature tour
  • Basket weaving workshop using invasive species
  • Koksilah Big Trees hike
  • Picnic on Mt Tzouhalen with a local plant and history guide
  • Kids Little Big Birding Day contest and potluck
  • Salish Sea Whales and wildlife ocean tour with Ocean Ecoventures
  • Hands on experience at Pacific Raptors
  • Birdcall presentation by John Neville, a renowned bird song and call recording artist
  • An presentation the Western Bluebird project
  • Backyard bird feeder workshop with Derrick Marven
  • Birds, bees & butterfly friendly gardening with Ted Leischner
  • Medicine plant walk at Bright Angel Park
  • Cowichan nation cultural talk and salmon bbq with Jarod Williams
  • Cowichan Tribes, a lesson in history with Tim Kulchyski, grandson of Simon Charlie
  • And more…..

Stay tuned for more details. Booking starts September 21, 2016


WildWings began in 2009 as the Return of the Swans Festival, changed to the Cowichan Swans Festival in 2011 and finally morphed into WildWings in 2012.

The Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society (SMWS) coordinates the informal WildWings partnership with volunteer help from the Cowichan Valley Arts Council, Cowichan Valley Naturalists, Cowichan Docents and the Cowichan Land Trust.

This year’s festival is funded by SMWS’s fundraising efforts over the past year. The Swan Conference is being funded by North Cowichan, CVRD and the BC Nature Foundation. Special thanks to Lance & Liz Steward who, through their business, Just Jakes, provide space for the festival launch and funds for the Artist of the Somenos artwork purchase.

For more information about the festival please contact the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society Program Coordinator, Elizabeth Bailey, at somenosmarsh@gmail.com or 250-884-0749.