Mushroom Art Cards Release – May 15

The Metchosin Foundation and the Metchosin ArtPod have collaborated again to produce the latest in our series of nature-inspired art cards, this one featuring common local mushrooms! The 2022 Mushroom Art Card set features the artwork of local artists and field guide descriptions by our local authors of the new book Mushrooms of British Columbia — Kem Luther and Andy MacKinnon!

The Mushroom Art Card set will be released at a deck “unveiling” and artist appreciation event to be held at Bilston Creek Farm on Sunday, May 15th, 12:00 – 2:30pm.

Please visit the Metchosin Biodiversity page for more information about the cards, how to order yours, and details on attending the event at Bilston Creek Farm, where the cards will also be available for sale. Card sales proceeds will go to support the Metchosin Foundation and the Metchosin ArtPod. Big thanks to Bilston Creek Farm for generously hosting another arty nature card event, and for firing up their outdoor woodfired pizza oven for the season on the very same day! Online pizza pre-orders can be made here.

Metchosin Foundation Fundraiser at Bilston Creek Farm

The first guests arrive - previewing auction items

The Foundation Board thanks Andrew & Melanie Penn, Calum Oliver and the rest of the outstanding Bilston Creek Farm team, for their generosity in hosting an amazing evening fund-raiser on December 16.  

 

The unequalled ambiance of Bilston Creek Farm was the perfect setting for a covid-safe year-end event.  With outdoor lighting complemented by a cool, clear sky and nearly full moon, oysters and champagne and lots of other tempting treats were served up by Bramble, inside the Bilston Barn.  Outside seating set up around fire pits and propane heaters welcomed small groups of guests, while inside the barn, diners had a great view of the big screen (courtesy of Legacy Drive-in) and an opportunity to get their bids in on dozens of great silent auction offerings.

A sample from the silent auction table
The bidding heats up

Our sincere thanks to each of the many donors of the silent auction offerings, and to the Bilston team for procuring such a compelling selection of goods & services, to tempt generous bids.  Thanks also to Brian Domney, for his very fine job as auctioneer.  Our sincere gratitude, as well, to all of the folks who attended, making the evening such a success.  

 

Thank you to everyone involved in this fund-raiser to support healthy lands and waters – the foundation for a healthy Metchosin community!  We look forward to directing the proceeds toward local environmental stewardship and educational initiatives. 

 

The Metchosin Foundation Board

Keeping warm outside
Many thanks to Bilston Creek Farm!

Conserve the Dark

We are very fortunate in Metchosin to have relatively dark night skies. People from around the CRD come here to take advantage of this increasingly rare situation (especially so close to an urban area). The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s star parties, hosted on the Metchosin Municipal grounds, have been very popular over the years as a way members of the public can have a chance to peek through a telescope at distant celestial objects.

One notable recent celestial event that many Metchosinites witnessed was The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in December 2020, which was followed by the addition of Mercury to make it a triple conjunction on January 7. In March we will see the moon make conjunctions with Jupiter (March 9th), then Saturn (March 10), and finally Mars (March 19). On April 21-22 we will have the Lyrid meteor shower, an annual event that has been witnessed by humans for at least 2,700 years, produced when the Earth passes through the tail of the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher.

Clear, dark skies are essential to good star gazing – a source of wonder and enjoyment for many. Darkness in general is essential to human health, as well as that for wildlife and ecosystems.

For humans, researchers have shown that darkness helps our creativity and mood. Too much artificial light at night, specifically during our “circadian trough” between midnight to 6am, over the long term is harmful to us, and is even considered a probable carcinogen. It can lead to higher incidences of diabetes, cardiovascular problems, depression, substance abuse, obesity, breast cancer and prostate cancer (melatonin production in the body is believed to help ward off these cancers, which is disrupted by artificial light at night).

As for nature, the impacts of light pollution were recently surveyed in a meta-analysis (a study that compiles the state-of-the-art in scientific knowledge on a subject) by the University of Exeter, which showed that activity patterns, breeding cycles, vulnerability to predators, and hormone levels are being affected across a broad range of species. The effects were found everywhere – among microbes, invertebrates, animals and plants. This manifests as reduced pollination by insects, insect deaths on lamps, and trees budding earlier in spring, to name just a few known ways that artificial light disrupts nature.

The ever-growing urban footprint of the CRD is rapidly reducing where dark night skies can be enjoyed in the region. This is not only a shame for people who are deprived of this fascinating experience, but it is a threat to our local flora and fauna. Light pollution is a growing problem, but fortunately one that we have easy solutions for. Limiting urban sprawl is one, for which Metchosin has done a great job thus far. Another is to limit the amount of light that is able to shine in directions it’s not needed. This means shades over lanterns intended for lighting roads, parking lots, and sidewalks, reducing light and energy wasted shining skyward. Some municipalities have bylaws requiring this. Limiting outdoor lighting in residential settings is also important, particularly for the localised effect it has on rural and urban wildlife. Turning off non-essential lights (or using motion sensors if security is your concern) goes a long way to doing your part to reduce the harmful effects of light pollution to both your neighbours and nature.

Like our parks, trails, forests and beaches, Metchosin’s dark night skies are a special part of our community’s natural capital. They allow us to step beyond our nighttime doorways and appreciate celestial phenomena that are timeless – and increasingly difficult to experience elsewhere.

To learn more about this subject, the TEDx talk Why We Need Darkness by Paul Bogard is very informative, and this brochure published by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada has practical tips on reducing light pollution.

April 5 – 12 is International Dark Sky Week. Take some moments to enjoy our precious dark skies in these fine clear spring nights.

Gretchen Markle’s Nature Journal Published

The Metchosin Foundation is very pleased to announce the publishing of a beautiful locally-inspired nature journal, written and illustrated in full colour by Metchosin resident Gretchen Markle!

“In the spring of 2020, following the COVID recommendation to ‘stay close to home’, I limited my daily walks to Witty’s Lagoon Park. I went at sunrise for the sake of the birds and the light – and the social distancing. To my delight, I found that, by visiting on a regular basis, I was able to observe even subtle shifts in the flora and fauna. The developments were both intriguing and beautiful, and so I felt a need to keep a journal”

The Metchosin Foundation works to protect and sustain important natural habitats and environmental values. We are grateful to Gretchen Markle for allowing us to publish her beautiful journal.  Our hope is that visitors to Witty’s Lagoon Park and to Metchosin will become familiar with some of the plants and animals with whom we share these wild spaces.  Once you discover their presence we hope you will grow to appreciate and care for them as Gretchen so clearly does.

Copies of A Journey. A Journal. can be purchased for $25 by sending an Interac E-transfer to contact@metchosinfoundation.ca  Please remember to include a note with your payment indicating that it is for the purchase of Gretchen Markle’s journal.  Send an email to Joan Rosenberg at joandan@telus.net to arrange for safe pick up of your copy, or if you prefer to pay by cash or cheque, or have other questions.