It’s been a busy time for the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, where plans for this season include year-round opening, new exhibits and a host of events on the calendar!
Located on Errington, just 10 minutes west of Parksville on Highway 4A, the centre is a treasure trove of wildlife experiences, education, wild bird watching and wildlife gardening, all on eight acres of immaculately manicured grounds.
Visitors can view and learn about non-releasable wildlife such as eagles, owls, turkey vultures, ravens, falcons, black bears and more.
“We invite the public to the centre to learn and thrill to view these amazing creatures, but also to support our programs,” says NIWRA’s Jodi Young. “As a rehabilitation centre, education centre and tourist attraction, without you we could not exist – the animals depend on us, but we depend on you.”
Rehabilitation of Vancouver Island wildlife is why they exist, but popular events are planned throughout the year:
- Family Day, a fun-filled wildlife-themed day on June 16, draws hundreds of families to the centre.
- During summer, glove-trained birds such as Oliver the owl and Emily the saker falcon are presented Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1:30 p.m.
- Planning is underway for Wild Woman Day on Sept. 15, a celebration of women nurtured by and nurturing nature that should not be missed.
- Also for your calendar is NIWRA’s annual Mushroom Festival on Oct. 14, it’s a fungi day!
- And finally, the centre celebrates the Christmas season with the Magical Nights of Light in December, a fantastic display of laser lights that are even better in the rain or snow.
The North Island Wildlife Recovery Association’s sole focus is on supporting the animals in their care and sharing with you, the public, how you can help. Part of that is having the centre become a Discovery Campus.
Incredible volunteers greet you from the Bear Den Gift Shop as you enter and can direct you to the Eco Room, with animal displays and NIWRA’s award-winning video to view. Venture through the Museum of Nature which leads to NIWRA’s treatment centre and eagle flight enclosure.
Knut’s enclosure, home to the non-releasable black bear Knut, is a must-visit, with bear talks throughout July and August. Continue on to the public viewing area of non-releasable animals, the Magical Field of Stones, the Wildlife Garden and the “new” Aboriginal Story Village (still under construction).
NIWRA is a must-see destination. Bring your family, friends and picnic lunch – you’ll be amazed!