Parents struggling with how to pry their teens out of the digital world take note: This year’s array of summer programs at the Kokanee Creek Park Visitors Centre features a new series of scientific explorations designed for 11 to 16 year olds.

“Kokanee Nature Investigators is a summer long program featuring five areas of study,” says the Centre’s naturalist Dr. Joanne Siderius. “We already have great programs for the younger kids, but this year we are reaching out to the older youth to give them a taste of what it’s like to do field work and observation.”

Siderius and three other instructiors will offer three-hour afternoon classes every week that cover five outdoor scientific investigations. They include nature journaling, animal behaviour and census, Kokanee Creek inhabitants and water quality, aboriginal botonay and aboriginal tracking.

The programs are free thanks to grants from the CBT and the Nelson and District Credit Union. Sign up is preferable, says Siderius, but no one will be turned away.

“Come to one or come to all,” says Siderius. “It’s a great way to tap into your inner scientist.

“We’ve designed the program so youth can take the city bus to and from Nelson to the park.”

That’s not all that will be happening at the park, Siderius says.

Continuing this year will be the ever popular Jerry the Moose outdoor programs for younger kids, Natures Notebooks and Drawing from Nature for children, family evening presentations as well as storytelling on Saturday nights and science in the park on Tuesday nights.

New this year will be aboriginal programs on Thursday nights.

Now in its fourh year of operation under the West Kootenay EcoSociety, the Centre hosted 17,000 visitors last year. 

One of the highlights of the summer season is the annual RedFish Festival, celebrating the return of the spawning kokanee to the Kokanee Creek spawning channel. This year’s festival will be held Sunday, August 24, with hourly tours of the channel, music, food and kids crafts.

“Education is the best path to conservation,” Siderius says. “And we make it fun as well as important.”

The centre opens daily, 9 am to 9 pm on  June 28 and Nature Investigators begins July 7.

“This is all possible due to  financial support  from the Columbia Basin Trust, BC Parks, Friends of West Kootenay Parks, the Meti Association, Nelson and District Credit union and a special nod to 12 Mile Storage and Oso Negro coffee,” says Siderius.

“We continue to have incredible support from businesses, organizations and government,” she adds. “We couldn’t to it without them and our great volunteers.”

For  the summer schedule go to ecosociety.ca

Conact: Joanne Siderius 250-825-9585

Mel Reasoner 250-825-9411