TNCC and TRU Students Spot Species at Tranquille
TNCC’s Conservation and Engagement Coordinator, Vanessa Isnardy, joined the TNCC team this month. Also a current member of the Kamloops Naturalist Club (KNC), Vanessa was pleased to join Jesse and Pam from KNC on an outing at Tranquille Creek with Thompson River University international students from Japan. Jesse led the group pointing out some of the natural history of the area while Vanessa provided an introduction an iNaturalist. The students were keen and were actively engaged in taking photos of various plants such as cacti, snowberry and cattails, in order to identify them. We also pointed out poison ivy, which was growing quite profusely along the trail, and suggested they record photos so that they would avoid this plant today and into the future.
Tranquille Creek area is a wonderful oasis for many animals that inhabit the Lac du Bois Grasslands. As Jesse explained, trees thrive here because of all the moisture, and this in turn provides great nesting and foraging habitat for birds and other animals. The beaver pond is also ideal habitat for many wetland plants, waterfowl and amphibians. Indeed, Tranquille is a biodiversity hotspot with over 220 species observed by iNaturalist users.
Halfway to Pine Park, the trail was quite flooded but the students were up for it! With some assistance from Pam, everyone navigated this section safely, but still ended up getting wet feet.
Once at Pine Park, Jesse provided some history of the gold mining in the area and performed a mock demonstration of what gold panning would have entailed. As this section of the creek falls within Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area, and Tranquille is a salmon-bearing stream, this disruptive activity is no longer encouraged.
On our way back we spotted some very old bear scat and Jesse potentially saved a garter snake from being stepped on by Vanessa. The snake had been casually soaking up the heat from the warm rocks in the middle of the trail. Despite having to navigate the flooded trail again, the warm autumn sun brought out the smiles and made up for the soggy feet. Thanks to all for a wonderful and immersive afternoon!