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Upcoming Outings.

The Rocky Mountain Naturalists host regular outings where you can get to know the local area and discover some of the wonderful flora and fauna found in the region.
Check our latest newsletter for additional events.

10 Feb 2007 Snowshoeing the buttes Ruth - Meet at end of McClure Rd. 10:00 AM
21 Feb 2007 Wasa birding Kathy - meet at Black Bear Dinner at 9:30 AM
10 Mar 2007 Owling Tony and Peter - Meet at Husky/Staples Parking lot at 7:00PM
18 Mar 2007 Slaterville walking tour Greg - Salvation Army Parking lot at 10:00 AM

Field Trip Guidelines for Naturalist Clubs

Naturalist Club Field Trips are planned to be enjoyable experiences. Trips strengthen ties within the Club and provide opportunities to interest, educate, learn from each other, and to have fun! However, it is essential that even the most casual trip be well organized and that certain basic procedures are carried out.

"To Know Nature and to Keep it Worth Knowing"
Considering our role in the FBCN motto, above, the following principles should be observed:
1. As much as possible, participate as an educator, organizer, promoter or leader of field trips, especially those geared to young people, children or members of the public who may be unfamiliar with and, possibly, unappreciative of the natural world
2. While on field trips, "tread lightly". Refrain from taking samples, picking flowers, disturbing animals, birds or other creatures and by staying on roads or trails
3. Respect all signage and private property and be aware of local laws and regulations

The Basics
Ideally, any Natualist Club that engages in field trips, and most do, will have a Field Trips Committee or coordinator. This person, or group, keeps a basic list of gear and procedures common to all trips. Most long-time members who regularly participate in field trips need no reminders as to what to bring and wear. However, new members and non-member guests may need to be advised of the requirements for a safe and pleasant trip. A rating system with definitions as to what constitutes easy, moderate and strenuous trips should be published.

Preparation (leaders):
1. Prior to the trip, if possible, do a scouting trip
2. In consideration of the rating to be given to the trip, determine time, distance and elevation. Look for possible hazards such as safety risks, insects, wild animals, stream crossings, hunting season, nettle patches and so on
3. Everyone should be advised to bring a personal First Aid kit, but the leader should carry a First Aid handbook and any additional items the nature of the trip may require
4. Paperwork may include sign-up sheet for participants, application for a permit, reservations and fee collections, trespass releases, etc
5. Keep up to date with weather, fire hazards, closures, road conditions, changing regulations, etc. and make and keep a list of persons/agencies to contact to keep information current

Do a Write-up (Program Calendar):
1. Publish in your Club newsletter, a brief description of the season's trips, noting locale, approximate duration and rating
2. It is suggested that only the leader's phone number be given in the write-up, not the meeting place and time. In this way, participants must call the leader, who can then pre-screen by discussing level of fitness appropriate to the trip, and can advise about footwear and other items needed
3. Only when satisfied that the participant can comfortably manage the trip should the leader provide the meeting place and time

1. This is the sole responsibility of the participants
2. Drivers should be advised that they are responsible for the vehicle behind them, and to make due allowances for possible confusion at turnoffs, etc

At the Meeting Place:
1. Leaders should arrive early to be on hand to direct participants to the parking area
2. When everyone is assembled, welcome guests, make introductions, have the waiver form signed and returned
3. Give a brief outline of the trip and note any possible hazards that may be encountered. Ask for questions

During the Field Trip:
1. The leader should set a pace that the slowest member finds comfortable
2. In a large group, on difficult terrain or on a lengthy trip, it may be advisable to appoint a "sweep". This person is always to be the last one on the trail and is responsible for ensuring that nobody is behind them
3. From time to time count heads and ask how everyone is doing
4. All participants must remain with the group at all times unless the leader permits otherwise

After the Trip:
1. Make sure all are accounted for, and make sure all vehicles are in running order
2. Prepare a trip report, or appoint another participant to prepare it. Make sure that the report is submitted to the newsletter editor before the deadline

Emergency Planning
This section should be read, then used as and when appropriate in preparing for trips. It is impossible to predict when an accident may occur, or its severity. To borrow from the Girl Guides' and Scouts' motto, "Be Prepared!" Also, be aware that most accidents happen on the return trip.

Survival Situations:
1. The leader must carry a First Aid handbook and kit
2. The leader or someone in the group should have the following skills and equipment to be able to:
" use map and compass or GPS
" build an emergency shelter
" recognize and avoid natural hazards
" be aware of the psychological aspects of survival, often the most important
3. Most survival situations are the result of the following (brace yourself!):
" poor planning and preparation
" inadequate equipment or loss of equipment

In planning a multi-day trip, a large group trip, a strenuous one or one in an unknown area, group pre-trip discussion is invaluable. Determine if the group can deal with the emergency or if outside help is needed. The leader should recognize the possibility that one or more members may be more capable of dealing with the emergency than s/he is, and should ask such individuals to exercise their skills. If a decision is made to send for help, one member should stay with the victim and two go for help. All serious injuries or emergencies of any nature must be reported as soon as possible to the FBCN.

Immediate First Aid at the Site:
1. Secure the site. Prevent further injury to the victim and others. The safety of the rescuers must have highest priority
2. Evaluate, as best you can, the victim's condition and decide whether or not s/he can be cared for by the group, or whether outside help must be summoned
3. If the decision is made to get outside help and there is a cell phone available within service range, call 911. Be prepared to give a clear account of location, condition of victim, number in group, etc.
4. Begin the ABCD's of Survival First Aid. (Here's where, if untrained, you need that handbook!)
5. Make the victim as comfortable as possible, provide shelter

Lost Persons:
1. This situation should never arise, but occasionally does. If, after an immediate group search, the missing person has not been found, contact the RCMP. Use the above procedures when sending out for help, but continue a more thorough group search while waiting for help
2. In general, search and rescue is not carried out after dark, to ensure the safety of the searchers and to maximize the use of sight
3. A lost person should know that, with nightfall, necessary actions must be taken in order to ensure survival, ie: stay in one place and build some sort of shelter

West Kootenay Naturalists 2005 | All Rights Reserved