District Victoria Trip

Last month Burnaby Mountain District took a day trip to visit our province’s capital for a day of culture, fun, and friendship. Organizing this trip was quite the undertaking as more than 70 girls participated. Girls left Burnaby on a school bus early in the morning and arrived back there late in the evening. In between they participated in their choice of a variety of experiences — all on a day that turned out to be very, very rainy!

Girls had signed up for their experiences ahead of time. Choices included the Royal BC Museum, Miniature World, a tour of the BC Legislature, and more.

Girls who went to the museum got to enjoy amazing artifacts from the Mayan civilization at the featured exhibition called Maya: The Great Jaguar rises. Some of the items were about 3000 years old! They also had time to check out some of the living world exhibits to learn more about the geography and creatures in beautiful British Columbia.

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The legislature tour was very informative, telling girls all about the history of how BC’s government was formed and how it functions today. They also got to enjoy the amazing architecture of a very beautiful building. The engaging tour was inspirational for the girls.

The incredibly detailed dioramas at Miniature World were a highlight of the trip for both some of the youngest and also some of the oldest girls on the trip. There’s something about the tiny figurines recreating periods of history and fantasy that really capture the imagination. They’re really cool!

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Some girls also spent time at majestic Beacon Hill park, including playing with some incredibly friendly petting zoo goats. What a group of silly kids! (See what I did there?)

Victoriabugs At the Victoria Bug Zoo, girls got to learn about, view, and even handle some amazing bugs. It’s a wild world out there.

The rain put a bit of a damper on things, making the planned scavenger hunt a bit of a bust. Pathfinders also had their bike tour cancelled due to the weather — but the girls still had a blast doing some shopping and stopping for tea at Murchies. It turned out to be a bit of a lesson for some girls about being prepared… for much of the day it wasn’t lightly drizzling, it was pouring.

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Everyone gathered at the end of the day for a huge group meal at the Old Spaghetti Factory. The staff there did an incredible job feeding our huge group and getting us out in a timely manner so we could get back on the buses and to the ferry terminal in time to get home on schedule.

What a day! Thank you to all the businesses, tour guides, tourist attractions, and friendly strangers who helped out our group all day. Thank you to the planning committee who worked hard to make this trip happen, and thank you to the girls who participated in cookie sales and other fundraising to make this trip (especially its transportation costs) manageable.

Sleepover at the Aquarium

Burnaby Mountain recently organized a district-level event for all girls in Guides, Pathfinders, and Rangers to spend the night at the Vancouver Aquarium. The sleepover was full of fun and hands-on learning about nature, the environment, and important lessons about conservation.

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The overnight event packed in 12 hours of interesting educational programming with a little bit of sleep mixed in. It sure was a unique experience to get the place to themselves, to get to explore scientific labs behind the scenes, and sleep with aquatic friends.

The program included a hands-on Invertebrae Lab, 3 Eco-System guided tours (Northwest Pacific, Arctic, and Tropical), and some free time after breakfast to explore the Marine Mammal Deck And the Amazon Free Flight Gallery.

It was a very late night, so girls were exhausted when they finally laid down their heads for some sleep. Earlier in the year, Sparks and Brownies had the aquarium come to them at an event better suited to younger girls’ bedtimes.

The Aquarium sleepover was an amazing night full of amazing wildlife. Girls will hang on to these memories for a lifetime. We’d like the thank the amazing staff at the Vancouver Aquarium plus the planning committee of Guiders who worked hard to make this happen.

Great Salmon Send-Off

This past weekend Burnaby Mountain District had a wonderful presence at the annual local community event, the Great Salmon Send-Off. Organized every year by the Stoney Creek Environmental Committee (this was the 28th annual event!), community and environmental organizations gather at Stoney Creek School for a rain-or-shine day of family friendly outdoor fun.

Luckily, this year the sun did shine — it was a beautiful day for the event! A few of our volunteer leaders and Rangers were there with a station at the event. They were selling cookies, running activities for kids, and giving out information about registration which is on now for the 2018-2019 Guiding year.

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The district was also represented by some younger girls, as the 27th Brownies visited the community event as a unit, visiting all the different stations. The highlight, of course, was getting the opportunity to help release young salmon into the steam.

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It was a great day for learning about the environment and what we can do to help keep it safe and healthy for all the creature, including the fish, who need it as their home. Thanks for helping to do your part girls, and thank you to everyone who visited our table that day as well. We look forward to coming back next year.

Cleaning Up with Teamwork

This week girls from the 22nd Burnaby Mountain Guides and the 54th Burnaby Mountain Brownies worked together to collect litter, cleaning up the environment around Silver Creek and Forest Grove elementary school where the Guides meet.

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A registered service project with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, this group of 17 girls managed to collect about 4 pounds of garbage — not bad since most of what they found was lightweight objects like food wrappers and cigarette butts. Together they walked about 4km, leaving the area much cleaner than they found it.

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The project started a few weeks ago when as part of their program work, the Guides invited the second year Brownies to one of their meetings so they could see what it was like to be a Guide. One of the things the Guides were doing that day was planning their upcoming community clean up project. The Brownies helped the older girls plan, brainstorming what supplies they would need, what routes they would take, and how to organize the day. It was a great example of girls taking the lead.

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On the day of the clean up, the Brownies once again joined the Guides to see the project through. The girls started with a fun ice breaker game of Unicorn Tag to energize them and get them working together. Then they set out on the clean up.

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We are very fortunate in Burnaby Mountain District to meet in an area of such great natural beauty. The forests and creeks around our meeting places feature lovely and important greenery as well as salmon-bearing streams and habitats for wildlife like birds, bugs, and even bears. Thank you, girls and their leaders, for helping keep our community clean!

Guides Build Bird Habitats

This year, as part of a Canada 150 initiative, Lee Valley stores across the country are inviting community groups to help make bird and bee houses. Loss of habitat for our birds and bees is a growing concern across Canada. Birds help keep the insect population in check, while bees are important pollinators for our plants. To help combat the habitat loss, Lee Valley Store is partnering with the community to build bird houses and bee houses.

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This week, the 56th Burnaby Mountain Guides had a great time contributing to this important ecological project!

The bird houses the group made will be going to the Surrey Parks department to provide homes for tree swallows. These very special homes feature a hole exactly the right size for tree swallows, but not for other species. To learn more about tree swallows, click here.

During the activity girls learned proper technique in using a hammer, screw driver, hand drill, plane, hand saw and a square; they also did the measurements to mark the spot to drill the hole, mark the corner cuts and mark the wood pieces to line up the walls evenly. New skills for everyone!

This was also a great chance for parents to lend a helping hand. Lots of moms and dads participated in this activity. It is so great to get to work on something together.

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A huge thank you to the people at Lee Valley who made this possible. Not only did the girls have fun and learn new skills, but it’s great to know that these bird habitats are going to be put to excellent use helping wildlife in our community. A few other Burnaby Mountain Units are taking advantage of this opportunity as well. Such a great project!

Community Tree Planting Event

Yesterday, a small group of dedicated and hard working girls from three different units in our district got together to plant native plant species in Stoney Creek Park. The event was organized by the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks unit, who had won a tree planting grant from Girl Guides of Canada & TD Bank’s Friends of the Environment. Helpers also came out from the 56th Guides and the 14th Pathfinders. This event was part of Girl Guides of Canada Operation Earth Action National Service Project. The event was also made possible with the support and expertise of the Stoney Creek Environmental Committee.

A truck load of plants

Overall the hard working girls and adult volunteers planted about 50 plants native to the area.In addition to the almost $500 worth of plants you see in the truck bed, there were donations from the Stoney Creek Environmental Centre’s Nature Garden. Our plants included

  • Snowberry
  • Wintergreen
  • Salal
  • Kinnik Kinnik
  • Oregon Grape
  • Salmonberry
  • Sword Ferns

Great teamwork, all day!

One interesting highlight was that there were salmon spawning in the stream as the group worked — it definitely helped remind all of us why we were there. Stoney Creek is an urban stream that successfully hosts salmon every year. The natural environment in that area is precious and also at risk. That’s why it is important for people to help protect and replenish the area’s environment.

Watching the salmon

It was a cool rainy day, and everyone got mucky. Girls worked in pairs with either a Guide or a Pathfinder paired with a Spark, and the older girls showed incredible leadership skills as they worked with their buddies to accomplish this task.

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After the planting everyone got to relax in the Environmental Centre with hot chocolate, cookies, and rice krispie squares. The ladies from the Environmental Centre told us about some of their other local projects and everyone got to take home some goodies, including a neat key chain showing different salmon species.

A HUGE thank you goes out to everyone who came out for this event. It was a lot of work, but it was for a great cause. A special thank you to Gail and Christine from the Environmental Committee — we couldn’t have done it without them.