Plein Air Painters at Roberts Bay – September 27, 2017


Dana Craft starts to lay down paint



Gathering at the Mermaid Creek estuary





Painting by Bill Watt


Painting by Keith LeVang

The Plein air Painters is a group of local artists that gathers once a week, weather permitting, to spend a morning painting out of doors on the Saanich Peninsula. The artists are a welcoming and sociable bunch including both beginning painters and accomplished professionals. The painting sessions end around lunch time with an impromptu exhibition of the morning’s work and some social chat over coffee and cookies. Everyone tries hard to set something down that reflects his or her response to the landscape or seascape around them. The medium happens to be paint on canvas or paper, it could be poetry, it could be music. There are technical challenges and sometimes frustrations, but also there are opportunities for contemplation and the sharing of responses to the small part of the world in which the artists are immersed. Although most of us are neither painters nor painters nor musicians, we are artists when we respond directly to the world around us and share our feelings through thoughtful conversation or in a letter to a friend. Some might say that bearing witness to the world, to life, is one of our highest callings.

The Plein Air Painters often come to Roberts Bay, part of the 1931 Migratory Bird Sanctuary, and they favour the south corner of the bay at the mouth of Mermaid Creek. At my request, in anticipation of the upcoming 2017 All Buffleheads Celebration, they agreed to meet at this beautiful site on September 27, on what turned out to be a splendid autumn day. A slide-show of the photographs I took on that day was shown at the All Buffleheads Reception at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea on the evening of October 13. Here are a few pictures taken on that beautiful day and is a link to a video version of the slide show.  plein air painters slide show

Farrell Boyce

News Release: Naturehood Plaque at Government House


nature canada logofosh logo

Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia unveils NatureHood site plaque
to nurture a new generation of nature lovers

VICTORIA, B.C.  December 18, 2017 — The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, unveiled a plaque today to officially designate the grounds of Government House a Nature Canada NatureHood site. Earlier this year, Her Honour designated the grounds of Government House a NatureHood site to commemorate Canada’s sesquicentennial.

“Nature Canada is honoured to have its NatureHood site plaque unveiled today by the Honourable Judith Guichon,” says Bob Peart, National Chair of Nature Canada’s Board of Directors and volunteer with the Friends of Shoal Harbour (FOSH). “These historic grounds on the traditional territory of the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations are the ceremonial home of all British Columbians. It is an ideal place to inspire urban BC residents to connect with nature right where they live and to appreciate this remarkable and unique part of Canada’s heritage.” he adds.

“Nature Canada’s NatureHood program is all about inspiring urban Canadians, especially youth, to explore nearby nature and help to foster a new generation of nature lovers,” says Jill Sturdy, Manager of Nature Canada’s national NatureHood program. “As a Nature Canada Woman for Nature, Her Honour’s leadership in encouraging children to explore nature will continue to be felt for many years to come.” adds Sturdy.

The Government House gardens are open to the public year-round. The NatureHood plaque is located at the trailhead of the Woodlands trail, featuring native plants of British Colombia, including unique Garry oak habitat. Government House is located within the capital region NatureHood, adjacent to Victoria Harbour and Esquimalt Lagoon and Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuaries.

The Government House Grounds:
The Government House grounds contain more than 14 hectares (36 acres) of maintained gardens and Garry oak meadows. The grounds are divided into numerous different zones according to plant life and/or garden style including: the British Columbia native plant garden which contains species unique to the province; a Cottage Garden which is arranged in an informal style with a mixture of ornamental and edible plants; gardens to supply cut flowers, herbs, and an orchard with apple, plum, and quince trees; a rock garden tended by the Heather Society of Victoria; iris, lily, rhododendron; rose gardens (including a formal Victorian rose garden based on the plan of that at Warwick Castle in England); and, water features such as the fountain pond and the duck pond. There is also a unique 8.9 hectares (22 acres) Garry Oak ecosystem. The gardens are open to the public year-round and are enjoyed by many visitors.

For media comment please contact:

Bob Peart, Chair, Nature Canada Board of Directors
250-655-0295 |

Jill Sturdy, NatureHood Program Manager
613-276-7226 |

About Nature Canada and NatureHood: Over the past 75 years, Nature Canada, a nature conservation charity, has helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, Nature Canada represents a network of over 50,000 supporters and more than 350 nature organizations across the country and with affiliates in every province. One of its signatory initiatives is the NatureHood program that inspires urban residents to connect with Nearby Nature – nature right where they live. Working closely with grassroots naturalist groups, NatureHood promotes nature through celebratory events, educational and stewardship activities and wildlife observation. NatureHood aims to inspire a new generation of nature lovers. For more information visit

About Friends of Shoal Harbour (FOSH): The Friends of Shoal Harbour Sanctuary Society (FOSH), a non-profit society works to build public support for the continued protection of the Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary, which encompasses several of the bays and inlets just north of Sidney, and to promote public awareness and appreciation through celebratory events. The sanctuary is part of the Sidney Channel Important Bird Area. FOSH is a local NatureHood partner. Visit

Post Event Update


Bob Peart, Co-Chair of Friends of Shoal Harbour, and the Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, pose for an admiring crowd