By Contributor Allison Baltzersen
We moved to Vancouver, BC this summer and are still in tourist mode. When I’ve asked random locals what the must-see spot is around the area, they always mention Grouse Mountain. We haven’t made it up there yet, but now we have a most excellent reason to find out what all the fuss is about: the 10-day Artists for Conservation Festival is running September 26 – October 5, 2014 on the top of Grouse Mountain and we want to check it out. My husband and I are going to make a fun day of it by taking the girls on the Skyride gondola up to the chalet to meet nature artists, appreciate their artwork and learn about local wildlife in what looks to be a super fun and event-filled festival.
Artists for Conservation (AFC) is the world’s leading group of artists supporting the environment. Founded in 1997, the non-profit organization comprises a membership of 500 of the world’s most gifted nature artists from 27 countries, across five continents. AFC drives its mission through education, research and artist development, showcasing all of it in its annual festival.
This year’s festival theme is bears and bear conservation. Our family loves learning about nature in unique ways, so this festival is exactly up our alley. I checked out the festival’s event schedule to pick which day we want to visit and was surprised by how many different events and programs will be offered throughout the ten days. Since we’re taking our young daughters, we will head up there on the Saturday of Family Weekend (October 4 & 5, 9am-6pm) which has special youth art workshops for hands-on learning, cultural performances and music, live art demonstrations, film screenings and an international art exhibit.
Also special to the Family Weekend is a nature art walk which I’m stoked about because I might get to see real grizzly bears! The website reads, “Meet some of Grouse Mountain’s wildlife ambassadors including resident grizzly bears and barn owl, and other birds of prey from Delta’s OWL Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. You might also catch a sight of a Black-tailed Deer or even Blue Grouse – namesake of the mountain.”
Because the description says “art walk” and there is a picture of a girl sketching on the web page, I’m planning to take along a few sketch pads and pencils for us to use just in case we spot a bear and feel like drawing a picture of it.
The festival is complementary with a Grouse Mountain admission pass. Prices for the admission passes can be found here and they include the 1-mile Skyride gondola ride up and down from the parking area at the base of the mountain to the chalet. A reviewer on Trip Advisor says she took her two strollers on the Skyride, so I’m planning to take ours for when our youngest gets tired of walking.
For more information about this really cool and valuable event, visit http://festival.artistsforconservation.org/ and be sure to check out this promo video: http://youtu.be/oWU2iy5SU3k. I hope to see you at the festival on October 4th. I’ll be the mom holding a sketch pad and gawking at the bears.
Allison Baltzersen is a mother of two baby girls and blogs about her bumblings through green parenting over at Funny Shade of Green