Research & Publications

Displays at Scout Island Nature Centre, including taxidermy birds, a beaver, bats, bear cub and live displays for newts, salamanders, ocean creatures, spiders, insects and frogs.

Field Naturalist Guides & Publications

Field Naturalist members have prepared several guides, checklists, and other sources of information on plants, animals and other features of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Region of British Columbia. Printed copies are available at Scout Island Nature Centre for a small fee to cover printing costs. Digital copies of some of them can be downloaded here.
In addition, Scout Island Nature Centre maintains a natural history library and many informative displays.

Here are some examples of publications available at the Nature Centre.

Book cover for "Stepping into Nature: A Guide to the Williams Lake River Valley". A person walks down a gravel path in the river valley flanked by broad leaf trees turning yellow at the start of fall and a sandy cliff ahead.
Stepping into Nature: A Guide to the Williams Lake River Valley. By Ordell Steen and Anna Roberts.
Book cover for "Trees and Shrubs of the Williams Lake Valley". A sketch of hills, trees, bushes, shrubs and grasses in dark green against a beige background.
Trees and Shrubs of the Williams Lake Valley by Anna Roberts and Gina Roberts
Book cover for "The Scout Island Store: From First People's Home to Nature Centre". It includes a black and white aerial photo of Scout Island and a coloured photo of the causeway leading to Scout Island with yellowing trees in the fall.
The Scout Island Story: From First People’s Home to Nature Centre. By Ordell Steen.

Scout Island Nature Centre

Scout Island Nature Centre is a good source of information about natural history of the Cariboo-Chilcotin. It was established in 1973 as a conservation and nature education area by the Nature Trust of BC. With a total area of about 11 ha, it includes natural upland and wetland ecosystems and culturally modified areas. It is a very popular walking and wildlife viewing area for the public and an important nature education facility for school children. It is operated by the Williams lake Field Naturalists and City of Williams Lake under lease agreement with the Nature Trust of BC.

Birds eye view of Scout Island shows the main peninsula extending into the lake with a bridge connecting to the small island and another unconnected island.
A boardwalk straddles the marsh allowing people to walk the trails further into the marsh for better viewing of wildlife, especially birds at Scout Island.
Children are engaged in a lesson at Scout Island Nature Centre.

Have a question about Cariboo-Chilcotin nature? Ask a naturalist

If you have a general interest question about natural ecosystems or plants and animals in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region, consider asking a Williams Lake Field Naturalist. Email the question to us, and we will try to answer it or forward it to a more knowledgeable person. All answers of general interest will be posted on our blog. Some of the blog posts will be repeated here, but be sure to check our blog for others. Please ask only questions that are of general interest to the naturalist community.

Fish swimming with the salmon

From Harry Jennings: “I easily recognize the sockeye salmon under the bridge, but what are the other grey plentiful fish appearing to be heading upstream as well?”Many people were excited to see the sockeye…

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Are long-billed curlews really shorebirds?

Long-billed curlews are North America’s largest shorebirds but they are often found away from shorelines. In our region, we usually associate them with dry open grasslands but this is only the breeding part of…

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Field Naturalist presentations and workshops

The WL Field Naturalists sponsor many presentations by expert naturalists, biologists, ecologists, and others. A list of recent presentations available on YouTube can be downloaded here. Here is one of these presentations. It includes excellent photographs and descriptions of the birds of Eagle Lake, in the Chilcotin, by Field Naturalist member Jim Sims.

The Muskrat Express Newsletter

The Muskrat Express is the newsletter of the W.L. Field Naturalists, published up to six times per year. You can find lots of information about the club and Scout Island Nature Centre as well as several articles about wildlife and other natural history topics. If you would like to submit an article to the Muskrat or have a question about receiving the newsletter, send an email to the editor.

Now is a great time to join the Williams Lake Field Naturalists! Check out our upcoming activities and get in touch. We would love to hear from you.