Festival Highlights

Each of our tours and events offers something special. Here are just a few highlights to give you a sample of the diversity of programs offered this year. For a complete list please visit Festival at a Glance

Keynote Speaker Opening Gala
Chris Turner: The Geography of Hope
Friday May 15, 5:30 pm
Penticton Trade and Convention Centre
We are thrilled to present acclaimed author, speaker and strategist Chris Turner, one of Canada’s most engaging voices on sustainability. Chris is noted for his boundless optimism about the future and is refreshingly pragmatic about the path that leads us there. Rather than lending his voice to the chorus of climate change doom and gloom, Chris has travelled the world in search of hope for a sustainable future. His findings, first chronicled in his best-selling books The Geography of Hope and The Leap, provide a global survey of the best ways to achieve sustainable living right now.. His energetic, eye-opening presentation is empowering and inspiring!

Bethany Handfield
Featured Artist
This year we are pleased to have worked with award-winning artist and educator Bethany Handfield who created our 2015 artwork, Meadowlarking, which has been incorporated into all our promotional material. The painting will be featured at the opening night of a special exhibition of Bethany’s encaustic and mixed media work at the Penticton Art Gallery on Thursday May 14 from 7 to 9 pm.

KVR Cycling Tours
In addition to the highly popular KVR Birding Cycling fundraiser tour that Dick Cannings has done for the Festival for many years, this year we also present local history buff and KVR expert Craig Henderson who is leading the KVR Century Bike Ride. Commemorating the 2015 KVR Centennial the ride takes place on Saturday and Sunday, going from Chute Lake high above Penticton to the KVR west of Summerland and returning to Penticton over the landmark Trout Creek bridge – one of the highest railway bridges of its type.

Saddles and Sage Horseback Tours
After a hiatus last year, the Saddles and Sage Horseback Tours have returned. The ride takes participants through a spectacular sage plateau on the Osoyoos Indian Band land located above Oliver. Traditional stories are told and a noontime meal of indigenous foods is served.

Mother Ambrosia Tree Tour
Local guide Lee McFadyen will lead a tour of Similkameen Valley organic farms including a visit to the “mother” Ambrosia apple tree!

Vaseux Lake Canoeing
We are pleased to be working again with Selah Outdoor Explorations presenting a canoe tour to the fascinating and secret places of Vaseux Lake. This area has well earned the reputation of being one of the most biologically diverse regions in Canada – a unique natural setting beneath magnificent McIntyre Bluff.

Kelowna Tours
We are thrilled to be spreading our own wings and venturing further afield this year with tours in the Kelowna area including a Geotour with author and geologist Dr. Murray Roed and a Scenic Canyon hike with botanist Dr. George Scotter and members of the Central Okanagan Naturalist’s Club.

Saturday Night at the Movies – BC Species at Risk
Award-winning environmental writer, photographer and documentary filmmaker Isabelle Groc joins us for a screening of eight short films that tell the story of the barn owl, the barn swallow, the Oregon spotted frog, the American badger, the Propertius duskywing butterfly, the phantom orchid, the rattlesnake, and Birds of the Okanagan, featuring Penticton’s own Dick Cannings. Q&A will follow.

Photography Workshops
Meadowlark Nature Festival is pleased to have enlisted the help of award-winning photographer Caillum Smith as this year’s Official Photographer! Caillum is also conducting a Nature Photography Workshop and a Night Photography Workshop and will join local outdoor enthusiast Sue Mavety on a hike to Allendale Ridge which offers arguably the most famous view of the Okanagan valley.

Visual Arts Workshops
Celebrated landscape artist, natural history illustrator and outdoor enthusiast Dianne Bersea presents a tour that will guide participants to mindfully experience the Okanagan’s natural wonders. Landscape painter Loraine Stephanson will conduct a plein air painting session at the breathtaking Naramata bench property of Maple Leaf Spirits. All skill-levels are welcome.

Writing Tour
Nature poet and UBC Okanagan professor Nancy Holmes along with self-described “gentleman scientist” and writer Don Gayton lead a group through an open air discussion of nature writing on the Trout Creek Ecological Reserve.