Spring 2021 eNEWSLETTER       

Dear Friends:
The hillsides glow with gold and clouds of white, as balsam root and Saskatoon blossoms show their glory. Looking down, many tiny spring flowers are gracing the landscape and spring, that wondrous season, has truly sprung. White crown sparrows are here to nibble away at anything green, lettuce and spinach being favourites. Overhead, sand hill cranes, flock after flock, have migrated from as far south as Mexico, to as far north as Siberia. May they, and the many species traveling their annual migration to breeding grounds have a successful summer and thrill us again during their fall trip south.

Amid this joy is sadness; On March 26th long time Board member and our past treasurer, Vaughn Denis, passed away unexpectedly. This was a shock to his family, Board members and staff. Vaughn was a dedicated, cheery treasurer and contributed to the Society's activities with good humour. During the uncertain Covid times of spring 2020, he assured us that with care we could survive financially and he was correct. To Ev, Vaughn's dear wife, and to their family, our sincere condolences. May spring bring some joys amid your sadness.

Up at the Osoyoos Desert Centre, our Manager Leor has undertaken many new tasks including replacing the posts at the gate, and Jayme has exciting and truly good news about the boardwalk. But that is her story and she will tell it.

Being a member on this Board and acting as the Society's President is a privilege. We are a working Board. Along with managing the Society's affairs (Our Managing Director, Jayme Friedt makes this an easy task) we get our hands dirty helping with many projects. We all contribute our special skills. Long time Board members, Peter Beckett and Roger Horton are the Board's building committee and have donated their valuable skills assisting with numerous building projects. Trevor Reeves who became a Board member last December has joined this committee. Thank you all for your dedication. 

Volunteers go far beyond the Board. Without your contribution we could not function. You are a valued part of the 'team' and I always appreciate the opportunity to meet you.

In closing, during this summer of restrictions may a visit to the Osoyoos Desert Centre be a part of your plans. This is an outdoor activity where social distancing is easily accomplished. A face covering is mandatory while in the buildings or in close proximity to other visitors. All Covid 19 protocols are in place. Read our WorkSafe BC COVID protocol here

On behalf of the Osoyoos Desert Society Board and staff, may you all find innovative ways to love, share and embrace the magic of spring, 

Lee McFadyen
President, Osoyoos Desert Society

We've changed our spots!
We're thrilled to unveil our new logo and website. For our logo we wanted to reflect our 
unique desert landscape, capturing the essence of the light, shadows and texture you see in our environment. We also wanted to showcase the signature feature of the Osoyoos Desert Centre - our boardwalk! We hope you see all those elements in our new logo! Many thanks to Board member Joanne Muirhead and graphic designer Michael of Seaside Designs for their vision and guidance! 

Our new website reflects our new look but also incorporates improved menus and site navigation. The new layout makes it easy to find information about Desert Centre operations as well as the activities we undertake to uphold our mandate to conserve and education people about the rare and special antelope-brush habitat of the South Okanagan. Take a look at our new look here
Walk this Way!
We are so delighted to have received a provincial grant to replace our 22-year-old wooden boardwalk! The boardwalk was the initial capital investment of the Osoyoos Desert Centre 
back when it opened in 1998 and has become the Centre's signature attraction. After 22-years, it is definitely coming to the end of its life! Funding has been provided under the destination development stream of the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP) announced last fall to help bolster the recovery of BC's tourism industry and provide economic stimulus to BC communities impacted by COVID-19.
Construction on the project will begin after the Centre closes at the end of the 2021 season in October and be completed by spring of 2022. See you at the Centre!!

You Make all the Difference!
As we ramp up to another glorious season at the Osoyoos Desert Centre and get ready to open the gates once again, our volunteer building and grounds crews have been hard at work. Thanks to our gardening team who has been weeding and getting our Native Plant Demonstration Garden in tip top shape over the past few weeks. Also thanks to our building crew Peter Beckett, Roger Horton and Trevor Reeves for installing rain protection overtop our doorways. To capture the rainwater run-off what better a solution than some fantastic Okanagan Similkameen wine barrels! Thank you to Forbidden Fruit Winery and Pacific Haven Landscape Supplies for providing us with the wine barrels and thank you to Peter Beckett our Vice-President for installing them. They look so fantastic and will be so useful! In the meantime, our front desk volunteer crew was able to meet last week and are all set to welcome visitors to the Osoyoos Desert Centre for the 2021 season!

Of course we are always looking for new volunteers to join in the fun! Throughout the season volunteers continue to help with gardening, admissions, promotions and the occasional maintenance job. If gardening is something you are passionate about, if you love welcoming and interacting with new guests, or if swinging a hammer brings a smile to your face, be sure to get in touch. Volunteer forms can be found on our website here

If you know someone new to the area please let them know about us. Our long-time volunteer and Board member Roger Horton remembers back when he first moved to Osoyoos in 2001. His realtor handed him a brochure about the Desert Centre and told him he should look into volunteering as a way to get involved in his new community and meet some new friends. He took that advice and is still involved some 20 years later!! If you know of anyone that might be interested in lending a hand, please be sure to let them know about us!!
Sentinels standing tall once again!
We've been hard at work replacing the "sentinels" that flank the entrance gate to the Osoyoos Desert Centre. After some 15 years it was time for the old posts to come out and new ones to take up the charge! Many thanks to our community partners who helped make it possible with their in-kind contributions! Clayton Hillman at T.L. Timber in Cawston kindly donated the posts as he did for the original construction. Likewise, Osoyoos Home Building Centre which also helped out installing the original posts, once again donated their crane truck and operator. Big thanks to Chris Norlen and Kyle McBurney of Home Building Centre. In addition, gravel was donated by Manuel Vieira from Osoyoos Aggregates and James Friedt of Renowerks Construction provided some construction materials, tools and hands-on installation assistance. Thanks again to our invaluable building crew volunteers Roger Horton and Trevor Reeves.
New Merch Has Arrived
If you want to be the cool cat on your block this summer, head on out to the Desert Centre! We've got some great new swag at our Gift Shop including some brand spanking new t-shirt designs created by C4Wise. We've also got new baseball hats with our new logo, all sorts of great animal stuffies of creatures that live in our neck of the woods, hand-made desert gnomes, writing cards with photography by local photographer Jack Rogers, all sorts of new games and puzzles, birds of the Okanagan place mats, an assortment of informative books on birds and plants that thrive in our region, water bottles, tote bags, key chains, pins and the list goes on and on! Osoyoos Desert Centre merch makes great gifts for yourself or your friends and family of all ages!! Stop on by for a look soon!
New faces at ODC
We are pleased to welcome two new board members who joined us in January.
Laurie Watt came on board as Treasurer. His accounting career includes 25 years in various Vancouver-area industries, one year as the first director of finance for the Tahltan Central Government in Dease Lake, BC and 24 years as a production accountant in Vancouver's film industry. Laurie loves the outdoors and is a passionate advocate for Indigenous rights and title and the protection of wild salmon. He resides near Oliver, BC with his partner, Marianne, enjoying gardening, cycling and exploring the beautiful South Okanagan region. Thank you for taking on this essential role on our board Laurie!

Trevor Reeves joined our board as a director and has jumped in with both feet, working hard on our building committee as we get set for our 2021 opening. Trevor has a lifelong interest in nature, habitat preservation and reducing human induced environmental damage. He has been active in Ducks Unlimited and the Nature Conservancy of Canada as well as  Peace Energy, a renewable energy cooperative in Northeast BC. Now retired to the Okanagan after 34 years practicing as a Veterinarian in northern BC, becoming a Board Member of the Osoyoos Desert Society was a continuation of his passion for our natural world. Welcome Trevor!

Andres Mancera Barreto is joining us this summer as part of a co-op student work program funded by Eco Canada. Andres is taking on one of our Interpretive Tour Guides positions at the Desert Centre. When not enjoying the great outdoors, Andres is studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UBCO working towards a Bachelor of Science degree. He has previous experience as a volunteer at the Calgary Zoo where he worked to provide information to visitors on the animals and habitats at the zoo. We look forward to working with you this summer Andres! 

Please be sure to give a warm Osoyoos Desert Centre welcome if you see them on site!
For more information visit our website www.desert.org or follow us on social media. 

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