The 3024 Brant Festival, a celebration of nature, March 1-28, is being held in Parksville, British Columbia.
The festival celebrates the annual return of the Brant Geese to feast on spawning herring in the Parksville area.
The brant is a sub species of the Canada goose, very similar in appearance but smaller in size. The Brant are abundant on ocean shores from the high arctic to the Baja Peninsula, the area known as Oceanside (Parksville and Qualicum Beach) provides a haven for rest and feeding for these migratory birds as they wing their way southward. The Brant can also be found on the Atlantic Coast.
A range of activities from Brant spotting telescopes set up for the public on the Parksville Community Beach, Herring Spawning boat tours, photo workshops, wildlife art show, children's programs, tours to Brant Hot Spots, celebration dinners, concerts and an eagle release from the North Island Wildlife Recovery Center are some of the highlights of the annual festival.
The festival was begun in 1989 by Neil Dawes, co-author of Birds of British Columbia, who was inspired by a nature festival in Panama and the first festival was held in 1990.
Over two decades the festival has grown in stature and is supported by every level of government in Canada: the Canadian Wildlife Service; British Columbia Ministry of Environment; The Town of Qualicum Beach; City of Parksville; the Regional District of Nanaimo; and by business associations and the Nature Trust of BC, Ducks Unlimited Canada as well as local stewardship groups such as the Arrowsmith Naturalists and the Nanoose Naturalists.
Although not yet as well know as the Swallows of Capistrano, the Brant do return every year to the Oceanside area.