Art and Mountains and Marshes…Oh My!

The moment we’ve been waiting for is almost here…

WildWings Nature & Arts Festival 2016 kicks off this Thursday evening, Oct. 6th, with the Festival Launch and Art Show Opening. From 6pm to 10pm the public is welcome to come celebrate the natural side of Cowichan as depicted by over 30 Vancouver Island artists. Just Jakes Restaurant in downtown Duncan will be hosting the opening event and the art show until the end of the festival, Nov. 18th. 

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Sneak peek of 2016 WildWings Art Show at Just Jakes

The evening will include mood-setting live jazz music, delicious Jakes appies, the newly released WildWings beer and other libations. It will also feature the unveiling of the newly dubbed ‘WildWings Loft’ which will house the permanent WildWings collection, a group of Trumpeter Swan themed paintings commissioned by Lance and Liz of Jakes annually for festival. Each year an Artist of the Somenos is selected to create a feature art piece which is used on the promotional materials for the festival. 


On Saturday, October 8th, we have a special opportunity to get to know a local landmark and popular hiking and mountain biking destination on a new level. The Mt. Tzouhalem Awareness Hike will be led by Ken Elliott, a Cowichan man and native plant nursery owner, who will guide participants up the slopes and along meandering trails. This is a unique chance to soak up some of his wisdom on the Cowichan People’s connection to this special place and learn more about its flora and fauna. Bring water, sensible shoes and a sense of adventure!

Register for Mt. Tzouhalem Awareness Hike here or by phone: 250-884-0749.  $10 adults, kids free. 


On Sunday, October 9th, there is another great opportunity to ward off the turkey coma and get outside with your family on Thanksgiving weekend. Celebrate Somenos Open House Day takes place from 10am – 2pm at the Somenos Boardwalk and Open Air Classroom and 2pm – 3pm at Hecate Park in Cowichan Bay. The presenter list is as follows: 

Kai Rietzel, Executive Director of the Cowichan Land Trust: Kai will help you explore the underwater world of the marsh through aquatic invertebrates AKA water bugs AKA salmon food. Learn about the critters who call wetlands and streams home and what they can tell us about the health of these ecosystems.

Todd Carnahan, Manager of the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre: This roving naturalist with varied interests will be on hand throughout the day to answer all your niggling nature questions. Do you know the difference between a native Hawthorne and a non-native invasive one? If not, ask Todd! 

Derrick Marven, Coordinator of the winter Swan and Goose Count: Birding on the Boardwalk with Derrick is a classic part of WildWings Festival. This local birding legend once compiled a list of over 200 wild birds that have been spotted in the marsh. Bring your binos. (10am-12pm only)

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A previous visitor to the marsh

The Raptors Centre: A popular and exciting event that allows a close up glimpse of aerial predators of the marsh ecosystems. Past years we’ve had visits from owls and hawks…Who will show up this year? 

Maria CurtisWeaver of Raven’s Joy Basketry: A Celebrate regular now, the talented Maria will lead a weaving activity with kids using natural material that may be found in the Somenos Marsh.

Paul Fletcher, President of the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society: Got any burning questions about the fascinating history of the Somenos Marsh Conservation Area? Ask the guy who’s been part of the SMW Society since its inception 27 years ago! 

Cowichan Valley Naturalists: Learn how to spot, identify, and count waterbirds on a measured section of Cowichan Bay shoreline. Take part in Bird Studies Canada Coastal Waterbird Survey. Soak in the knowledge of longtime birders and naturalists. This activity is at Hecate Park in Cowichan Bay between 2pm and 3pm only. 

 Kids can pick up their SWAMP STAMP CARD at the welcome table. If they get 3 stamps from different presenters they can enter to win a nifty Native Plant Prize Pack! 

Dress for the weather. Entry by donation.


For other WildWings Nature & Arts Festival event and registration info visit our Upcoming Events Page.