Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance
Our Impact Why We Exist
OSCA is a non-profit charitable society run by a volunteer board of directors, with other dedicated volunteers and contract staff who plan and deliver over one hundred environmental events a year in our communities.
Our Story What We Do
OSCA's mission is to promote environmental awareness in the south Okanagan and Similkameen. Our activities include:
- The Meadowlark Nature Festival held annually over the long weekend in May
- ECOstudies environmental education programs for schools and home-learners
- Habitat Management seminars for agriculture, industry, and community groups
- Spotlight on Species events: raising awareness about species at risk in our region
Our Programs How We Do It
Sockeye Salmon education programs for school, home learners and the public programs take place in Oliver and Penticton along the Okanagan river channel. Funds were used to create outdoor display boards highlighting the success of the Okanagan River Restoration Initiative and the life-history of the sockeye species.
Now that we have resource material that can be set up anywhere and used every year, it would take very little to promote and run the program in the future. But it does require funds for promotion, mileage and interpreter fees so this is a popular annual event that could use some continuing support.
Habitat Management Seminars
OSCA has developed seminars on protecting one of the Okanagan’s most important natural assets which is the shorelines along our lakes and rivers. Programs have been offered for three different audiences: realtors, builders and home owners.
Two homeowner seminars on the same topic of protecting shorelines, included advice on landscaping, invasive aquatic species, and environmental regulations took place in October in Penticton and Oliver. More homeowner workshops are planned for other areas in the RDOS in 2016.
Spotlight on Species
Animals in Winter includes an in-school prep program as well as a field trip the following week. This is an example of a small amount of money allowing every class from K to Grade 7 to get outside in nature. It just requires coordination and volunteer effort in addition to OSCA’s work.
Vaseux Lake Migratory Bird Program pilot year program
The purpose of this program is to promote awareness of migratory birds among youth and to promote awareness of the good work of the Vaseux Lake Observatory bird banding program.
Bird populations are a key indicator of environmental health. The migratory bird population has declined by 12% since 1970. Start-up funding from Nature Canada ensured the success of this pilot program. It got students and their families outside, promoted awareness of Vaseux Lake Observatory work and got kids caring about the environment. The program included development of a Grade 4 program adapted to the BC curriculum. Ten class presentations were offered in addition to two family days. In future a sustainable cost-recovery program must be adopted to make it possible for more schools to participate every year.
Meadowlark Nature Festival
Meadowlark Nature Festival is the flagship event presented each year by the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance (OSCA), a registered non-profit, charitable organization. Celebrating its 19th year in 2016, Meadowlark Nature Festival’s mandate is to present entertaining, engaging and educational programs that showcase our natural environment.
Throughout its history, Meadowlark has offered some 1200 tours and each year sells over 1600 tickets to participants from across Canada, the Pacific Northwestern United States and even Asia and Europe. People of all ages, all ability levels, and all cultural, economic and social backgrounds come together to take part in one of North America’s preeminent festivals focusing on conservation, science, natural history and the environment. Always held on the long weekend in May, this year's festival runs from May 19-23. For more information visit www.meadowlarkfestival.ab.ca.
What You Can Do
Become a member...
With your support, together we can work towards protecting our environment for the future. OSCA Membership is available from only $10 a year and is open to everyone: to residents, visitors to the area, organizations and to scientists, educators and students. Membership enables you to keep abreast of conservation issues in the Okanagan Similkameen. Click here to Join Now!
Make a donation...
If you would like to help support OSCA and its many conservation and environmental education programs, please consider making a tax-deductible donation today! Your financial help funds important community initiatives.
Would you like to help and be part of this important organization?
Click here to donate.
Become a volunteer...
OSCA is always looking for dedicated and keen volunteers to assist with:
- Special Events (manning booths).
- Habitat Restoration Projects.
There are also opportunities to help with the annual Meadowlark Nature Festival including:
- Tour Safety Assistants (training provided).
- Office Administration Assistants.
- General Collection and Delivery Assistants.
- General all-round friendly helpers!
If you are interested in donating some of your time, please email OSCA.