Not to be confused with naturists, Whistler’s newly-formed naturalist society kicks off their first annual general meeting Friday, Nov. 12 with a slide presentation by Nancy Ricker, an accomplished birder who has captured Whistler’s natural beauty on film. Ricker’s presentation — A Glimpse of Nature: Whistler and its Beauty — gets underway at 7 p.m. in the lounge at the Myrtle Philip community centre. Her show will be followed by the AGM, designed to elect a board of directors, drum up community enthusiasm and plan for the upcoming year’s events which will include slide presentations, field trips and workshops covering topics such as birds, mushrooms, wildflowers, bears, mountains and streams. The goal of the group, says Bob Brett, one of the founding members, is fun. "We plan to experience nature in Whistler first-hand at outdoor events and through the lens of others." Anyone interested in spending time with people who share an interest in nature is invited to join the society, says Brett. While local environment and natural history will be a focus, the group goal is not to compete with the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment. Brett says members will share interests with AWARE but the Naturalists society will not be an advocacy group. The Naturalists society mandate is to increase local knowledge and appreciation of flora, fauna, geology and geomorphology, glaciology and limnology in the Whistler area. The society will also support studies on specific areas of scientific interest such as local biology and ecology. Members will interact with naturalists in other communities especially in Squamish and Pemberton and with other groups affiliated to the Federation of B.C. Naturalists. The goal is to increase awareness of local natural history, especially among young people, and help guide conservation efforts. The society’s founding board includes Brett, Max Gotz, Marlene Siemens, Mitch Sulkers, Michael Thompson and Dave Williamson. Admission to the Friday slide show and AGM is $5 or $10 for a one-year membership which includes discounts on future events.

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