The BCWF wetlands program has been keeping busy on the road and working with some amazing people over the past two weeks. On July 13th the first Wild Kidz Camp this year kicked off at the Lake Windermere Rod and Gun Club. The campers jumped in feet first, and after a few introductions the kids hopped onto the bus and went to Doug Goodwin’s horse archery track to get a demonstration on horseback archery from some of the top competitors of a growing sport in Canada (Zoltan, Alvin, and Robert). Sierra, an onsite staff member, also showed the children how to properly saddle a horse and how to safely work near them. The afternoon was spent learning about hiking and outdoor safety with Rick Hoar, of the Lake Windermere Rod and Gun Club and retired Conservation Officer. He taught children how to stay safe in the woods. The kidz spent the remainder of the day playing games with BCWF camp leaders that demonstrated predator and prey dynamics.
Tuesday was our busiest day! With a full day rotation of archery, air rifles, birdhouse building, and shot guns the kids had a blast. Archery, run by Bob Walker, gave all five kids in each rotation a chance to be shooting the whole time aiming to pop balloons and hit the bullseye. Air Rifles, run by Dan McLaughlin, had our sharp shooters hitting even the smallest balloons. Lunch was a hotdog BBQ generously offered by the Lake Windermere Rod and Gun Club. Neil Fletcher ran the birdhouse building and painting, with the supplies kindly prepared by Lake Windermere Rod and Gun Club. The shot gun station, led by Vic and Darlene Thomas as well as Doug Degrazio, allowed two kids at a time to shoot at clay pigeons with 20 caliber shotguns. Wednesday started with a trip to Kootenay National Park where Sharon Morgan of Parks Canada gave a presentation on the large mammals in the park. With skulls, horns, antlers and furs it was a visually captivating presentation. After a hike through the Redstreak Restoration Trail the campers loaded the bus back up and were off to Columbia River Paddle. Penny Powers rented her canoes out to our group at a discounted rate and the campers spent half the afternoon paddling around the wetlands and the other half fishing on a nearby boat launch.
With some sore arms, the campers were back on Thursday for more fun. After a few games, Greg Kruger, a Conservation Officer in Invermere, discussed his job and demonstrated the different traps he uses to capture problem animals. The kids enjoyed the live bear trap, and one camper even got to be trapped around the foot. Each camper got the experience of shooting a dud tranquilizer dart from Greg’s tranquilizer gun as well! Next, Dave Dixon from the Radium Fire Department came to talk to the campers about fire safety and wild fires in the area. Both Radium Fire and Wildfire BC donated goodies to the kids. After the presentations the wild kidz loaded up and were off to Radium Hot Springs for an afternoon to splash in the cool and hot pools. The last day of the camp came too quickly with a rotation of activities: BCWF leaders Jason Jobin led a skulls-and-furs activity, Katie Allen led a compass game, and Neil Fletcher led a forest walk and activity. After lunch the kids split up again and did some nature painting with Neil and plant presses and GPS activities with Katie and Jason. Finishing the day with a scavenger hunt and shirt signing made for a fun end to an awesome camp! We would like to sincerely thank all of our presenters and supporters: Lake Windermere Rod and Gun Club, Rick Hoar, Doug Goodwin, Alvin Nelson, Robert Borsos, Sierra Horn, Zoltan Csontos, Columbia Valley Rockies – bus, Bob Walker, Dan McLaughlin, Vic and Darlene Thomas, Doug Degrazio, Sharon Morgan, Penny Powers, Columbia River Paddle, Greg Kruger, Dave Dixon-Radium Fire Department, Wildfire BC, Kootenay National Park, Wholesale Sports and Radium Hot Springs.
Thanks to our Financial Supporters: The Government of British Columbia, BC Conservation Foundation, The Government of Canada, and Barnet Rifle Club,