Raising a glass to nature: Brant Wildlife Festival celebrates biodiversity and conservation

Two Brant gees walk along the shoreline of a beach.

The Brant Wildlife Festival takes place when Brant geese are preparing for their migration. Angie Ooms Photo

March 20, 2024 - 9:30am

Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region coordinating this year’s festival, which runs April 5 to 8.

Celebrate nature and learn about protecting critical wildlife habitat during the Brant Wildlife Festival.

While educating people of all ages about conservation and celebrating the biodiversity of the region are pillars of the festival, participants will also connect with nature through a series of fun activities. 

This year the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region (MABR), affiliated with Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute, is running the festival. The Nature Trust of BC transferred the festival to MABR last year. The Brant Wildlife Festival runs over four days this year, from April 5 to 8, with various activities in Parksville, Qualicum Beach and the surrounding area. 

“It’s Friday through Monday and we’re hoping that by condensing it to a packed weekend it will be more accessible for those travelling from outside the area to come and participate,” said Mandy Hobkirk, MABR coordinator and Primary Lead Coordinator of the festival.

Highlights of the festival include:

The Brant Wildlife Festival Lift-Off event is on April 5, from 6 to 8 pm, at the Bayside Oceanfront Resort. Tickets are $50 and are available on the Brant Wildlife Festival website. There will be appetizers, live music, presentations and door prizes.

“It’s a great way to raise a glass to nature,” said Hobkirk. 

On April 6, from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm, MABR is hosting a BioBlitz at VIU’s Milner Gardens & Woodland. The event is free and aimed at beginners who want to learn how to identify plant, animal and insect species. People must register to participate.

“It’s focusing on educating folks on how to identify things that are in their backyards. We’ll have experts that are leading small groups throughout Milner Gardens,” said Hobkirk. “They’ll have help identifying things so it’s hands-on and about people learning what’s around them.”

A new addition this year is the Brant Wildlife Festival Passport. The passport was created to help foster community engagement and support for local businesses across the region. People can pick up a passport from participating businesses. Participants can get a sticker when they purchase something at one of the businesses. Once people have six stickers can turn in their passport to enter a grand prize draw. 

The Brant Wildlife Festival Nature Photography Contest is also new this year. There are two categories that photographers can enter nature and landscape, and wildlife. 

“We’ve been told time and time again that we have a lot of talented nature photographers in the Parksville-Qualicum Beach area. This is a chance for them to submit some of their great work. There will be a poll so people can select their favourites and then we’ll announce the winners,” said Hobkirk.

Learn more about the Brant Wildlife Festival.


Media Contact:

Rachel Stern, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.618.0373l E: Rachel.Stern@viu.ca | X: @VIUNews

The VIU community acknowledges and thanks the Snuneymuxw, Quw’utsun, Tla’amin, Snaw-naw-as and Qualicum First Nation on whose traditional lands we teach, learn, research, live and share knowledge.

About the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region

The Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region (MABR) is governed by a roundtable, which consists of representatives from VIU’s Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute (MABRRI), First Nations, municipalities and other organizations. MABRRI focuses on conducting research and community engagement initiatives primarily within the biosphere region but also works on projects across Vancouver Island.

Tags: MABRRI | Announcements

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