Photo of the Week

Submitted by Mike Tumchewics

Sunset over the inversion
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Community leaders express new year’s outlook

Originally posted by Times-Chronicle – January 25, 2023

(Webmaster note: The Times-Chronicle printed a two-part series on community leaders. Two locals were highlighted, and both are also part of Anarchist Mountain Fire Department.)

It’s the new year and our civic leaders are looking ahead with many objectives and goals in mind to make our communities a better place to live. 

Claudia Punter, Curator, The Art Gallery Osoyoos

We have all dealt with the effects of the pandemic and continue to deal with the flu but I think everyone is at a point where they want to go out and enjoy life.

The Art Gallery Osoyoos is our community gallery. My challenge is to make people aware that throughout every year there are artisan markets and other shows that anyone can participate in. I think often amateur or emerging artists, be it painters, potters, writers, photographers, fabric artists, (the list goes on) think of themselves as hobbyists and are too shy to share their creativity and participate in events.

A goal I have, as curator of the gallery, is to welcome you whatever your age, from two to 102 years of age, whatever your level of artistry. I love that people share ideas and projects, ask questions, make suggestions, visit our several excellent galleries, exhibitions in wineries, restaurants, and other venues, and get inspired and involved.

Be part of and share in our community. There is no one who is not good enough. And continuing to learn is so good for us all. We can help each other, work together, and have fun together. A vision for the coming year is that more artists in different mediums are willing to give short workshops, in small groups, not only for other artists but for all people in our area. Expressing your creativity should be a joy, and should be shared.


Urs Grob, Fire Chief, Anarchist Mountain Fire Department

Anarchist Mountain Fire Department is located in a high to extreme risk area for wildfire.  Knowing this, our community has been proactive in education for FireSmart.  We have a dedicated program that has been running for 11 years now, and it made all the difference during the Nk’Mip wildfire in 2021.  No structures were lost, which is a huge achievement in such a high-risk area.

In the past year, we have seen the formation of the Anarchist Mountain Fire Rescue Society which is a non-profit organization that has charitable status.  This was formed outside of the fire department so that we can have focused programs that receive financial support for training, equipment and fire prevention initiatives that are not funded within our tax base.

The annual Silent Auction is a big financial support for AMFRS and as a charitable organization, we are looking towards other funding avenues to further increase our wildfire protection and resilience in areas that go beyond private homes and properties.

In 2023, my desire is to see increased awareness and practices of FireSmart of our residents that are new to Anarchist Mountain, as well as neighbouring communities to help keep our land, properties, and most importantly, people safe.  Everyone, no matter where they live – in town or up on a mountain –  needs to be FireSmart.

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Things to do

Dine Around – Osoyoos

The Dine Around BC event has over 100 restaurants across BC participating in the program, you can enjoy a
three course meal ranging from $15 – $65 per person, excluding tax and wine pairings.

Check out the special menus available in town here.

Winter activities and more

New to the area, or looking for something new to do?

Destination Osoyoos has a calendar events full of interesting things. Check it out!

Art

To view a Virtual Gallery of the show, go to https://osoyoospersists.ca

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The wild side

When you co-exist with wildlife in your neighbourhood, it is important to know what is going on in their community as well as understanding natural behaviours.

Coyotes

Although these neighbours from the canid species often get a bad reputation, they do play an important role.

Incredibly beneficial to the natural ecosystem, coyotes are a keystone species and help to keep
rodent populations under control. They are often referred to as “nature’s clean-up crew.”

Coyotes are devoted parents and diligent protectors of their offspring. Coyotes mate for life
and have significant family bonds. While coyotes normally avoid us, intentional or
unintentional feeding may change a coyote’s proximity tolerance to people, resulting in them
approaching people or yards.

Similar to keeping bear behaviour positive around humans, the same goes for coyotes. Aversion conditioning is a critical part of restoring a coyote’s natural aversion to humans, according to Coyote Watch Canada. You can read more about what this means here.

Now is the time that coyotes are in mating season. The Stanley Park Ecology Society indicates that this period may result in higher sighting reports and hearing vocalizations as adult coyotes secure their territory by frequently moving throughout their habitat. Vocalizing is a method of communication, a pair of coyotes can sound like many coyotes – a phenomenon called the “beau geste” effect.

It is very important to remember how to prevent and avoid negative interactions.

Did you know that 92% of conflict situations between wildlife and domestic dogs occur when dogs are off-leash?

It is not uncommon for a coyote to ‘escort’ or ‘shadow’ a dog walker out of an area when pups or a den are nearby. Conflict often occurs near coyote den sites or in established coyote territory; however, many dog walkers are unaware of these dens and territories. You may frequent these spaces daily, without even realizing it! Never run from any canid (wild or domestic). Leave the area slowly, keeping your dog close to you.

Bears

Most of BC is considered “bear country” with bears living in coastal temperate rainforests as well as the dry interior.

Bear cubs are just being born now and will remain in their dens until about April. They are born blind, deaf, hairless and completely dependent on mama bear. The litter usually consists of two to three cubs.

When mom and her cubs start to come out of their dens in April, it is especially important to help them NOT learn bad eating habits.

Similar to coyotes, human-caused behaviours from leaving out attractants often leads to negative interactions and can shorten their lives. Not only are these human-related food sources poor in nutrition for bears, but it leads to habituation or dependence on things like garbage, bird feeders (seed and nectar) and pet food that has been left out.

Wildlife as a whole will congregate wherever there are food sources, including the ones we leave out for the taking.

Other negative interactions that can occur is when dogs are off leash. Mama bear can get very protective of her cubs, as would be expected from any mother.

You can learn more about bears and their behaviour at WildSafe BC.

Prevention is key

It comes down to a common thread if we want to continue enjoying living with our wild neighbours. Human are the biggest source for natural behaviours in wildlife to have a negative impact on people as well as animals.

It is truly a gift to live amongst such beauty in nature. Living on the Mountain, we are blessed with Mother Nature’s wonders everyday. Let’s nuture nature so that we may all continue to love and enjoy everything around this place we call home.


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Birding – the new craze

Since the pandemic, birdwatching (or “birding”) has grown in popularity across the continent.

Most residents that are new to Anarchist Mountain, soon begin to notice the variety bird species that surround them. It becomes a new hobby to learn which bird species you often see in your yard or on a walk.

If you want to dive into the topic further, check out The BC Bird Trail website. Here, you can learn about all sorts of destinations across the province that are great for birdwatching.

Osoyoos is also highlighted as a special destination, from down in the valley to up on Anarchist Mountain.

There is also a great app that you can download to your phone.

Whether you are an aspiring new birder, an avid outdoor enthusiast, or a curious tourist exploring British Columbia, The BC Bird Trail Mobile Experience provides:

  • An easy-to-use mobile guide to track your birding progress as you make stops throughout BC’s birding hotspots
  • A leaderboard to track your progress against other birders using the app
  • Motivation to explore further – collect points to unlock levels and earn badges as you visit new regions and discover self-guided itineraries throughout all participating regions on The BC Bird Trail
  • Advanced birdwatching trip-planning based on recommendations by project partners at Birds Canada, Indigenous Tourism BC and Destination BC – plus countless local attractions, restaurants, independent businesses, and more all curated by local experts.
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Out of the fog comes beauty

It isn’t uncommon for locals not to be too excited when the fog rolls in.

However, from that fog brings in moisture and beauty in another way – in the form of rime, or ice crystals.

This past week, there were plenty beautful examples of soft rime.

Soft rime is a white ice that deposits when the water droplets in light freezing fog or mist freeze to the outer surfaces of objects, with calm or light wind. The fog freezes usually to the windward side of tree branches, wires, or any other solid objects. They are delicate crystals that can easily shake off.

So, the next time we aren’t thrilled with the fog, think of all the beauty that is there if you look for it.

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Photos of the Week

By Sandra Newfield and Wendy Shah

Waiting for Spring – by Sandra Newfield
Blue skies arrive! By Wendy Shah
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Things to do

ART SHOW

Plus…join the Friday Reception

When: January 20th from 4-5 pm

Where: Wayside Books at 8317 Main Street, Osoyoos

Lots of great books available, too! 


ART CLASSES FOR BEGINNERS

Gather some friends and head into town at the Okanagan Art Gallery

When: February 5th and/ or 6th from 10am – 3pm

Where: 8302 Main Street, Osoyoos.

This is the perfect time to learn painting in watercolours.

Two classes held – attend one, or both!

$75 per class; includes materials and lesson.

Spaces are limited, so contact Nancy to pay and reserve your spot!

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More items now accepted for recycling

Most packaging and paper can be collected curbside or can be taken to depots for recycling. A few items are only accepted at depots.

Did you know that new items were added to the recycling list, beginning January 1, 2023?

To get more info on what you can recycle, search for material using Recycle BC’s Waste Wizard or download the app.

Let’s all make a difference!

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Regional program reduces wildlife conflict

By Lyonel Doherty, reprinted from the Times-Chronicle

A high level of black bear conflicts last year is prompting regional district staff to continue focusing on residential garbage audits.

WildsafeBC community coordinator Shelley Fiorito told the Times Chronicle that bear confrontations come down to a perfect combination of weather conditions and poor attractant management.

She said a lot of early moisture in 2022 sparked a lot of forage in the spring, bringing the bears down to the valley bottom where it’s easy for them to sniff out attractants.

“Berries were in abundance this year too which kept many bears from denning until a bit later than usual.”

Fiorito said there were issues with a variety of sources, such as garbage, fruit trees, beehives, outdoor freezers, and small livestock.

It is important to note that many of our communities have been built around wildlife corridors (creeks and ravines), she said.

“The abundance of wildlife is one of the many reasons the Okanagan is so spectacular.”

In her recent presentation to regional board directors, Fiorito offered highlights of 2022.

She said WildsafeBC was formerly known as the Bear Aware program that focuses on human/wildlife conflict reduction. The program offers youth education, garbage audits, bear spray training and bear smart certification.

Youth are taught how to identify signs of wildlife, how to avoid conflict, and what to do if they see wildlife. In total, more than 200 children were engaged in 2022.

One community awareness event was hosted in the Anarchist Mountain neighbourhood.

Fiorito said garbage audits (seven occurred last year) are a great way to remind residents about managing attractants to avoid conflicts.

She pointed out that everyone is responsible for helping to maintain safety in the community. For example, residents are urged not to put out their garbage too early prior to pick-up. The bylaw prohibits no earlier than 5 a.m. 

“We had great success with the audits; there were very few non-compliant properties,” Fiorito said.

She explained that garbage cans that are placed out too early (the night before pick-up) are problematic. She noted that a lot of residents are unaware of the bylaw regulating this.

Fiorito said WildlifeBC is an educational program that does not have the capacity to issue fines for non-compliance. Staff do put stickers on offending garbage containers and send a letter to the homeowner with a copy of the bylaw. 

If the non-compliance continues, it may escalate to involve the local conservation office, she noted.

Fiorito said unsecured household garbage is the number one culprit. She also pointed to bird feeders that are a strong attractant for bears. WildsafeBC recommends not having them out over the summer months.

Even pet food and livestock feed can attract bears, she pointed out. “Their noses are unbelievably sensitive.”

Fiorito said bear spray training is available for community groups, organizations, and regional staff who learn how to safely use the defensive method. A total of 85 people took part in the training in 2022.

Bear smart certification is an extensive process for communities to develop a plan to reduce bear conflicts. Fiorito said that Naramata is one of only 10 communities in BC to achieve this certification.

She expressed her hope for people to work together to minimize the number of bears that are shot and killed each year. She also cited conflicts with bobcats, moose, and even badgers.

One of the priorities in 2023 is to find a source for bear-resistant garbage cans, she pointed out.

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