By Christian Wiedmann, Nature House Host
Throughout Stanley Park during the summer months, a host of SPES volunteers are available to answer wildlife questions, give directions, watch for brush fires (we reported two this summer) and point out Park bylaws.
A usual morning in the Nature House on Lost Lagoon starts at 10:00 a.m. when we open the doors to invite Park visitors to discuss the sights and sounds of Stanley Park. The taxidermy beaver and owls greet our guests and represent the Park’s wild side. Though it’s uncommon to spot most of these creatures during the daytime hours, the thrill from one good wildlife sighting lasts until the next one.
On one lucky day, a wildlife trifecta surprised us with sightings of raccoons, a Barred Owl, and a river otter within a few hours of each other. Visitors with impressive cameras come to share their stories and sightings with us as well.
During the day, our volunteer team takes on different tasks. We often work with curious people who would like to learn more about local ecology and how to protect it. People from all over the world come to the Nature House during the summer months to experience one of the world’s greatest city parks. We may also meet visitors out on the trails as helpful EcoRangers. Do you need to find the best trail to Beaver Lake or could we tell you about the Park’s oldest trees? Our EcoRangers set up a station at Beaver Lake to educate people about wetlands and all the animals living there. This is where visitors can get up close with some of the tiniest creatures of the Park as EcoRangers lead guests through a pond dip that reveals tiny aquatic insects hiding beneath the surface of the water.
Closing for the day, as we pack up the signs and binoculars, we share stories of the day’s conversations and look forward to the visitors that will come tomorrow. We hope you will come visit us in the Nature House as we shift to our regular season hours: Saturdays and Sundays only from 10:00am-4:00pm!