Monthly meetings of the Comox Valley Paddlers Club of kayakers and canoeists host guest speakers with a focus on marine knowledge, safety, skills or wildlife.
Kayakers and canoeists have a unique relationship with wildlife and in general enjoy an intimacy not able to be experienced with the noise of motorboats. Communing with nature is part of the pleasure of being a paddler of a human-powered craft.
On Dec. 4 the guest speaker will be Maj Birch from the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS). Their mission is to conserve and protect native wildlife and its natural habitat through education and rehabilitation.
Their motto is Helping Wildlife Recover. Maj Birch is the founder, senior wildlife rehabilitator, and manager of MARS. She established the wildlife centre in 1995 on three acres of property, gaining permits from Canadian Wildlife Service for migratory birds and permits for raptors and mammals from the BC Ministry of Environment. MARS became a designated wildlife facility in 1996.
Building the wildlife centre was ongoing as the needs for wildlife care grew and funding became available through corporate grants from TD Canada Trust, Shell Environmental Fund and BC Hydro. Maj increased her knowledge, through ongoing IWRC education, taking courses in advances skills such as Wound Management, Fluid Therapy, Necropsy and Diets and Feeding, and by attending conferences in Seattle, Chicago, St. Louis, and Portland.
MARS is presently trying to raise $100,000 in a voting challenge to help build a flight pen for bald eagles. You can participate and help by going onto their website to register. Votes are needed every day from Dec. 1-10. MARS is presently “Spreading their Wings” with hopes to acquire a larger property in the new year to move the wildlife centre and begin an building campaign.
Visit www.wingtips.org to learn more about MARS or come to the Comox Valley Paddlers Club meeting on Dec. 4, 7 p.m. at the Lion’s Den, 1729 Comox Ave., below the Pearl Ellis Art Gallery. New members join year round and you do not need a boat to start learning! For more information on the club go to www.comoxvalleypaddlers.com.
– Comox Valley Paddlers Club