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Tag Archives: nature

Vancouver Island Mushrooms

I went for an autumn hike up the mountain behind my house on Vancouver Island yesterday and came across tons of different kinds of mushrooms and fungi. I posted the following photos of Vancouver Island Mushrooms to Instagram and they’ve been getting a lot of attention (yay!) I’ve even had one person request prints of a couple of the images, so I thought I would share them here as well.

Do you know which mushrooms are which?

I have no idea what kind of mushrooms these are or whether they are edible or not, but they are beautiful and they have me imagining a little gnome community hiding out in the woods behind my house and that makes me smile. If you know what they are, I’d love for you to share your insight in the comments below?

Have a look and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for more great daily Vancouver Island and travel photos!

I found lots of autumn shroomies on my hike with @Roxidoo today. #mushrooms #shrooms #autumn #fall #forest A photo posted by Mariska Richters (@mariskar) on

More autumn mushrooms. #mushroom #fungi #autumn #explorebc #cowichan #fall #forest

A photo posted by Mariska Richters (@mariskar) on

More fungi! #mushrooms #fungi #vancouverisland #cowichan #autumn #forest #woods #fall #shrooms

A photo posted by Mariska Richters (@mariskar) on

[Tweet “Check out these #mushroom pics! Do you know what they are? Are they edible? #fungi #food”]

Wildlife: Vancouver Island Garter Snake

I ran into this Vancouver Island garter snake yesterday while watering the garden and managed to get quite close to take this video. He was actually quite curious and came to check out my iPhone while I took the video before slithering away.

About Garter Snakes

Most garter snakes have a pattern of yellow stripes on a brown or green background and their average length is about 55 cm, with a maximum length of about 137 cm. 

Garter snakes are very thin snakes. Most have longitudinal stripes in many different colours. They come in a wide range of colours including: green, blue, yellow, gold, red, orange, brown, and black. In summer, they are most active in the morning and late afternoon; in cooler seasons or climates, they restrict their activity to the warm afternoons.

The saliva of a garter snake may be toxic to amphibians and other small animals. For humans, a bite is not dangerous, though it may cause slight itching, burning, and/or swelling. Most garter snakes also secrete a foul-smelling fluid from postanal glands when handled or harmed. [source: Wikipedia]

This isn’t the first time I’ve run into a garter snake in my garden though, I saw another one (or maybe even the same one?) in the same spot just a few weeks ago and snapped this photo:

Vancouver Island Garter Snake

Have you ever been up close and personal with a snake? Please share your story in the comments below.


Community: Cumberland Community Forest Society

Last week I drove up to Cumberland, BC for the first time and I heard about the remarkable initiative of the Cumberland Community Forest Society.

The Cumberland Community Forest Society is a group of residents from the Cumberland community dedicated to preserving the forest around Cumberland from Comox Lake to Trent River. The forest in this area has many heritage landmarks and is rich with plants and wildlife and is well worth protecting.

Cumberland Community Forest Society Map

Orange: Proposed forest purchases. Light Green: Existing community forest. Dark Green: Coal Creek Heritage Park.

How to Contribute to the Cumberland Community Forest Society

The Society has supporters from all over the world, from international tourists to local mountain bikers who have enjoyed their time on the local trails to local Community Partners and major corporate Guardians like Mountain Equipment Co-op. For a full list of supporters, click here.

There are several options on ways to contribute from one-time donations to monthly contributions as low at $10 per month. I invite you to consider making a donation to help preserve this gorgeous piece of British Columbia and Vancouver Island.

  • Monthly contributions to the Cumberland Community Forest Society can be made by cheque or credit card.
  • One time donations are also accepted by cheque or credit card.
  • Become a Business Partner to the program by contacting the Society directly to discuss how your organization can help them achieve their goals. The Society offers a range of exciting recognition activities for Community Partners (up to $10,000), Legacy Donors ($10,000+) and Guardians ($50,000)

Having grown up on Vancouver Island, our natural forests are close to my heart. I commend the Vancouver Island community of Cumberland for taking the initiative to protect our beautiful forests. I look forward to exploring more of the area in the summer months and can’t wait to share that experience here.

Please consider making a donation to save the forest and the next time you’re on Vancouver Island, I encourage you to visit the beautiful Cumberland area so you can see for yourself that it’s worth preserving.

For more information and to make your donation to preserve the forest, please visit the Cumberland Community Forest Society website, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

Have you visited the Cumberland forests? Please share your experience in the comments.


The Western Trillium

The Western Trillium is a protected flower in B.C. It takes up to 15 years to flower and if picked, the growth can be stunted for years. They can be found all over Vancouver Island. It is illegal to pick or dig them up in the wild due to the protection act.

I found this one during my dog walk today on a little country road in the Cowichan Valley.

Nairn Falls

I’ve been to Whistler more times than I can count, but this weekend my aunt was visiting from the Netherlands, and I spent the weekend being a tourist in the Whistler area. So, after meeting up with my family on Friday afternoon, we headed out to the Nairn Falls provincial campground, near Pemberton.

It had been a while since I had camped, so this was a treat, especially since I had never been to Nairn Falls before. My aunt and I (and Roxie too, of course) took a walk to the falls and I was once again amazed by the beauty of nature and this amazing place we live in. Wow!

The last few times that I’ve been out for walks and hikes in the forest, I have been reminded of the beauty that surrounds me. It’s so easy to get distracted and forget while living in the city. I have been inspired to get out of the city more and get back to more hikes, walks, and trail runs in the woods. More nature. More camping. More fresh air. We are so lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and summer is the perfect time to get out and appreciated more of it!

Other local favorites: the trails and swim holes at Lynn Valley, Pacific Spirit Park, the beaches at Spanish Banks, the Grouse Grind, the Chief in Squamish, Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville.

I’d love to hear about some of your favorite places to hike, walk, camp, and reconnect with the beauty of nature. (local or otherwise) Please feel free to share them in the comments, and if I haven’t seen them yet, I may add them to my list!

Elephant Nature Park

Elephant Nature Park 89 by mariskar
Elephant Nature Park 89, a photo by mariskar on Flickr.

My visit to the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand was one of the most amazing experiences ever! This is a photo of my favourite pachyderm at the park, Medo.

A Tiny Taste of my May Long Weekend…

Fresh prawnsPacific Spirit ParkPacific Spirit ParkPacific Spirit ParkPacific Spirit ParkPacific Spirit Park
Pacific Spirit ParkRoxie at Pacific Spirit ParkRoxie at Pacific Spirit ParkPacific Spirit ParkRoxie at Pacific Spirit ParkRoxie at Pacific Spirit Park
Pacific Spirit ParkRoxie at Pacific Spirit ParkPacific Spirit ParkFresh prawnsShrimp on the BarbyShrimp on the Barby
Shrimp on the barbyMango Avocado Salad!Tasty BBQ dinnerTasty BBQ dinnerExhausted Roxie

May Long 2011, a set on Flickr.

Photo of the Day: Fall Shroomies

One of my favourite things to photograph in the fall: mushrooms!

For more fall and mushroom shots, please visit the Set on Flickr.

Fall Shroomies