Nocturnal Animal Tour of Burnaby Lake

Last week the 24th Brownies and 56th Guides teamed up for an outing to Burnaby Lake where they learned all about nocturnal creatures with the help of staff from Metro Vancouver Parks. More info about their programming is available here.

It was a really fun night! Unfortunately, between the rain and the dark it wasn’t easy to get good photos, but luckily one of the Brownie leaders was happy to tell us all about it (and to share the couple of photos she did try to take). Here’s what she’s said:

Since the Guides group is so big, we had two interpreters, and it cost about $5/girl for a two-hour expedition. Since it was pretty well dark by 6:30, we did the Nocturnal Creatures program. My group started out with a “Hedbanz” style game where the girls had to guess which animal they had been assigned by asking yes or no questions.


We talked about the heightened senses that nocturnal animals use. For the next activity, three bottles, each containing a different scent (lemon, coconut or mint) representing a different beaver family, were set out around the small area we were in.  The girls were each handed a bottle with one of three scents in it. They then had to use their sense of smell to identify which family they belonged to. Then we started on our hike. Along the way, we hoped to see a flying squirrel come out of a box high up on a tree, but none came out when our interpreter knocked. We were shown an owl skull, and a demonstration on how much noise a single goose feather makes when flapped through the air (a surprising amount) versus an entire owl wing (amazingly, none!). We looked (in vain) for salamanders. The girls learned about bats’ super hearing with wire hangers, string and a spoon.


There was an activity on our (in)ability to see colour in the dark where the girls were handed different coloured crayons and papers and they had to write down which colour they thought each item was, and see if they were right when they turned on their flashlights.

Lastly, the girls played a sensory game where plastic toys (frog, fish, egg, etc) were hidden in a container they had to reach into blindly to find and discern. Despite the cold and the rain, it seemed like everyone had a good time!

Sounds like fun! The Metro Vancouver Parks people always do such a great job with their field trip programs. It’s a great way for our girls to learn about the natural world in a hands-on and interactive way. It’s always so cool to be reminded about the awesome nature that we have right here in our backyards.

Circus Sleepover

Girls from several Brownies units in Burnaby Mountain District gathered last weekend for the first sleepover of the year! Used as a way to kick off the Guiding year, this sleepover at West Coast Area’s own Richmond Guide House, was a big hit with all of the girls.


They started the event by exploring the city of Richmond! The group went on a tour of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery where they learned a lot about the local history of people and industry in that area. They also took a Once Upon a Time walking tour, seeing sites in the community of Steveston which have become famous as Storybrooke in the popular television show.


Back at the Guide house, the girls embraced their circus theme for the rest of the night. At this circus, tents were used for sleeping, not performing — despite it raining in the night, the girls slept in tents in the secure backyard. What a great way to start girls with camp skills! Girls (and even some of the leaders) learned a thing or two about setting up tents. And by not dedicating sleeping space inside, the group had lots of space for awesome circus themed activities.


The girls worked through stations including drama games, songs, and dance. The event earned girls the Arts to Go: Circus challenge for exploring all these different areas. Their craft was cool little acrobat dolls that had a marble inside which made the figures tumble down a slope on the right kind of surface.


They ate some carnival type snacks (sliders, ribs, corn on the cob, mac ‘n cheese) before making a “dessert craft” of circus trains made out of graham crackers, animal crackers, and smarties wheels held together with frosting. The girls got a chance to try making balloon animals, and even had a talent show, before ending the evening with an indoor “campfire” with glow sticks.

Over all it was a fun and memorable way to get the Guiding year going. It was a great preview of some of the fun activities these Brownies will experience in their regular units.

Interested in joining the fun? It’s not too late. Even though all the units have started meeting for the year, we do take registrations all year ’round and most Burnaby Mountain units still have space available to welcome new girls. Registration is available online at