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The Barn Owl Pub - first meeting!

Friends of Woodhaven Nature Conservancy

February 12, 2020

The first meeting of the Friends of Woodhaven Nature Conservancy Society was a smashing success!

We met upstairs at the Barn Owl pub on Lakeshore, it's on the site of that new mini-stripmall where the Surtees Barn is and across from Dunenzies. Our logo is a drawing of a couple of baby western screech owls by artist Susan Neilson (vice president) so the local pub with the owl name seemed a perfect fit. Nancy Holmes (secretary-treasurer) greeted people at the top of the stairs with membership forms and starter information about the society and Leah Shurian (president) opened the evening with a land acknowledgement to the Syilx People.

Leah welcomed everyone and introduced Susan, Nancy and myself, Lori Mairs (past Caretaker) as the founding members of the Society. She called attention to the suggestion box and welcomed people to contribute to it. She talked about the central themes of the society as being around conservation, education and community engagement. Then she introduced the speaker for the evening, Bev Kalmakoff, from the Kelowna Tree Protectors. Some highlights of the talk include;

* the group is concerned about the preservation and health of important trees in Kelowna.

* They want the city of Kelowna to have a by-law that will preserve and protect these trees

* in 1992 the city of Kelowna did an inventory of about 100 trees mostly in the downtown area.

* In December 2019 the Tree Protectors did a study and found 20% of those trees were gone. The plan is to re-visit these trees later in 2020

* City of Kelowna parks service have no jurisdiction over decisions made about trees

that need to be protected in public places

* there are important trees that the group noted as being in need of protection but are on private property and are much more difficult to access

* the group offers activities, education and proactive ways to remedy the concerns about important trees and the tree canopy.

They have 2 events coming up;

> Tree Photo Scavenger Hunt, Monday Feb 17th 11 am – 3 PM, Kelowna Community Theatre Lobby—hot chocolate and hot cider and tree hunting!

> Bringing the Past into the Future, Ken Salvail- construction and tree health!

Wednesday Feb 19th 6:30 – 8 PM Benvoulin Heritage Church

Kelowna Tree Protectors can be reached via

Leah shared some of the ideas we'd had about activities we could do as a society; make some kind of art, get involved in creating signage that would remind people (who may have missed the signs at the entrance(s)) about no dogs no and bikes. She talked about the size of Woodhaven and how it has expanded and grown much larger in the last few years which was an ideal segue to introducing Murray Kopp with RDCO parks to give some information about the 2013 land acquisition. He talked about how the Conservancy is divided into three distinct areas; the original Woodhaven with the nature trails, the 50 acres that is the Canyon Ranch property (still occupied by original owners for another year), and the eight acres that is the Eco Culture Centre where UBCO creative and critical studies do academic and community programming along with housing grad students from September until May. Murray invited people to have a look at the copy of the Woodhaven management plan he brought with him and welcomed people to also look on line: Also in attendance from RDCO was Isabella Hodson, with Community Relations and Visitor Services. She handed out pamphlets with park information and activities.

That's pretty much the nuts and bolts of our first meeting; introductions, an interesting guest speaker and information. So why would I call it a smashing success? Because all sorts of wonderful community enriching came together over the evening. Twenty-seven people were in attendance and 21 new members signed up. With our four founding members that's a total of twenty-five members for a brand new society and that's got to be a good thing! There was camaraderie in the room, people reconnecting after not seeing each other for a long time, the Okanagan Naturalists, once again, showing up for the trees and parks and nature and all the things that make our planet breathe and thrive. Those Okanagan Naturalists are stellar! People visited, networked, gathered information, re-capped and had a beer. The room was full of questions and answers and sometimes no answers and it made for even more interesting questions. There was a suggestion box available and it got filled up with great ideas, things to consider and more questions to ponder. The executive will go through suggestions from the box and have a go at pulling out an event schedule for the next few months to get us on our way.

Thank you so much to our speaker Bev Kalmakoff from the Kelowna Tree Protectors, it was an interesting presentation. And thank you to Murray and Isabella from the regional district parks for all the information they shared.

Friends of Woodhaven Nature Conservancy can be reached via our website:

Stay tuned for upcoming announcements and the schedule for the next community meeting. If you have anything at all to add to our suggestion box please don't hesitate to drop us note via the website or the FB page.

27 people attended

21 New members (includes families)

+ 4 founding members


Total 25 members

We are a non-profit society, founded by a group of neighbours of the Woodhaven Nature Conservancy. The purpose of the Society is to protect and improve the overall well-being of Woodhaven Nature Conservancy for the benefit of the public and future generations. The aim is to do this by promoting education about the park and by hosting or facilitating free public events regarding conservation of the park’s ecosystem, the history, and culture of Woodhaven, and becoming involved in projects that support the plant and animal life found within the park.

We acknowledge that Woodhaven is located on unceded territory of the Okanagan Nation. Our intention is to honour this fact and to ensure our activities are based on respect for the land and its history.

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