Award winning Canadian Naturalists and Photographers, Dr. Sonya Richmond and research partner, Sean Morton, are currently on a 28,000 kilometre research trek along the Trans Canada Trail. The duo is hiking west from Cape Spear, Newfoundland to Victoria, BC, before they will turn north and head to Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories. Richmond and Morton will make a stop in the Nicola Valley on their way, presenting their findings and experiences on the trail for two nights at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) lecture theatre.
Dubbed the “Hike4Birds,” Richmond and Morton’s research trek is self described effort to learn about Canada’s landscapes, wildlife, and people. The duo’s trek has been recognized as a Royal Canadian Geographical Society Expedition, and the two were recognized as Adventure Seekers through Eh Canada Travel, a tourism website and program. Eh Canada Travel currently works in partnership with local tourism group Tourism Nicola Valley (TNV), and the two are teaming up with multiple local organizations to host two informative talks by Dr. Richmond and Morton.
“Dr. Sonya and Sean Morton are actually one of our influencers for all of Canada,” said Greg Girard, “co-bro founder” of Eh Canada Travel, who works with TNV as a consultant.
“They’ve been writing articles all the way from St. John’s to B.C., making their way through British Columbia along the Trans Canada Trail, documenting for scientific studies on birding and that type of thing. They are now in our vicinity, and I’ve been in touch with them for a couple years now telling them we’d like to host them when they get close, and treat our region to some very high profile speakers.”
Girard added that Richmond and Morton have traveled through thousands of small communities in Canada, documenting the stories of the country’s diverse flora, fauna, and cultures. TNV and Eh Canada have partnered with the local chapter of NatureKidsBC and the Nicola Naturalist Society to host two talks by the research veterans at NVIT’s lecture theatre. The first talk, on October 20 at 7pm, is geared towards adults and older children. A second talk aimed at younger children, in cooperation with NatureKidsBC, will be held the following day at 4PM. Richmond and Morton will discuss nature photography, birding, and conservation, among many other topics.
Both events are free of charge, but donations are welcomed at admission. The talks will be hosted at the NVIT lecture theatre, located at 4155 Belshaw Street. Girard says the lectures will not only be informative, but bring value to local tourism in Merritt.
“I’m just glad to have them in town. Traditionally, they speak at high end universities and in bigger cities, but we’ve been lucky with Tourism Nicola Valley encouraging us to bring them into our community and present in a world class facility like the NVIT theatre,” added Girard.
“When you have people that are educated and have done research all throughout Canada with all different geographies and landscapes, they can learn to appreciate the backcountry opportunities in small towns. They’ve also been watching the growth and the efforts of the community to promote the lakes and the backcountry activities, and grow into a four season destination. They understand that small town tourism plays a substantial role in the province of British Columbia.”