July 23, 2014
by KapteinK
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Purple Flower Season

Although still only July, the purple-hued flowers typical of late summer in Paradise Meadows are starting to bloom.

Fireweed

Fireweed


On the way up the hill, and near the trailhead, tall spikes of fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) are purplish-pink.

Epilobium sp.

Purple-leaved Willowherb


Another Epilobium recently noticed in the meadows is probably purple-leaved willowherb (Epilobium ciliatum).

Bee in Gentian

Bee in Gentian


We were amazed to see the first king gentian (Gentiana sceptrum) blooming in the meadows, at least a month earlier than normal. In heavy snow years, the blossoms never open before the frost hits – although bees still force their way inside the flower to pollinate it.

Leafy Aster

Leafy Aster


The late blooming leafy aster (Aster foliaceus) is already blooming alongside its very similar relative, the subalpine daisy ( Erigeron peregrinus).

Arctic Lupine

Arctic Lupine


Arctic lupine (Lupinus arcticus) has a long blooming season – quite a bit has been flowering for a couple of weeks.

Alpine Speedwell

Alpine Speedwell


The delicate alpine speedwell (Veronica wormskjoldii) was widespread in the meadows this year & some is still blooming.

Ladies' Tresses

Ladies’ Tresses


A new white flower similar to the bog-orchids has emerged – ladies’ tresses (Spiranthes romanzoffiana) , with its white flowers spiralling around the stem. There is a patch larger than I have seen before, right beside the boardwalk.

Fritillary on Asphodel

Fritillary on Asphodel


Butterflies are emerging as well – this fritillary nectaring on a sticky false asphodel (Tofieldia glutinosa).

July 21, 2014
by KapteinK
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Outings with CV Nature

A couple of upcoming outings in Strathcona Park are being done in partnership with CV Nature, whose members have long supported Strathcona Wilderness Institute.

Tomorrow, Tuesday July 22, expert CV Nature botanist Helen Robinson is guiding a plant walk around the meadows. Meet at 1 p.m. at the Strathcona Park Wilderness Centre at Paradise Meadows. Pre-registration is not required. As one of the SWI programs, this walk is by donation, $5-10. Donations support the operations of the Wilderness Centre & SWI.

Sitka Burnet

Sitka Burnet in the Meadows


On Saturday July 26, a new outing is on the schedule! CV Nature has planned a moderate hike from Wood Mountain heading into the southwest corner of the Forbidden Plateau area of Strathcona Park. Hikers from SWI are encouraged to join along. The flowers & birds of this area are quite different from Paradise Meadows.

Penstemon & Pussytoes on Wood Mountain

Penstemon & Pussytoes on Wood Mountain


Meet at 9 a.m. at the Old Church Theatre on Harmston Ave in downtown Courtenay. Carpooling to Wood Mountain will be arranged from the meeting spot. The hike up Wood Mountain will gain about 300-400 m of elevation, along a more moderate route than the usual hike straight up the old ski hill! Plan for a 2-4 hr outing – participants can retrace their steps for a shorter outing, or go up for longer. Bring water, snacks & a lunch if intending to do a longer hike.

For all activities: dress for the weather, wear proper footwear, bring lunch or snacks, plenty of water, bug spray and sun protection. No pets please on SWI guided nature walks & hikes unless noted otherwise. A minimum donation of $5 –10 is appreciated for SWI programs to help with the Institute’s ongoing activities. Participants may also want to support CV Nature by becoming a member of that organization.

July 20, 2014
by KapteinK
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Family Activities

Parks Day at the Wilderness Centre included some family activities that visitors can still have a look at & participate in!
The painting activities included a canvas that visitors could contribute to – the colourful flowery result is on display in the Centre.

Kids of all ages can still pick up a copy of the Scavenger Hunt questions for an educational walk around the Centennial Trail. Everyone who completes the page & hands it in at the Centre will get a stamp & something special.

Travel Bug

Travel Bug


Geocaching families may also want to check out the Travel Bug that was activated for Parks Day! More info here.