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Local birder, photographer earns provincial recognition

Gaelen Schnare, 13, of Nelson was awarded the 2020 Young Birder Award by the British Columbia Field Ornithologists. — Submitted photo

A 13-year-old Nelsonite was recently recognized for his interest in birds and photography.

Gaelen Schnare, who attends Wildflower Middle School in Nelson, was awarded the 2020 Young Birder Award by the British Columbia Field Ornithologists.

He has been an avid birder and photographer for several years.

Schnare is often seen walking the Nelson waterfront, tramping along the trails of the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, or exploring more distant locations like Ecuador, Ireland, the United States, the ocean waters off Vancouver Island, or Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan.

He will soon be attending the San Diego Bird Festival in California and hopes to scour southeastern Arizona to add to his “life list” of over 650 birds in the summer.

Schnare, who became interested in birding and photography at a young age, has been greatly enhanced through the effort and of numerous local mentors who have encouraged the development of bird spotting, identification skills and photographic aptitude.

In the summer of 2019, Schnare was chosen for an Artwalk showing at Torchlight Brewery and displayed both his canvas prints and greeting cards now on sale at the Nelson Chamber of Commerce as well as the Nelson Ecosociety’s Nature Center at Kokanee Park 12 Miles north of Nelson. It's at the Ecosociety’s Nature Center where Schare has also helped guide younger children.

Schnare contributes to local awareness of birds by making presentations to regional schools, service clubs and environmental groups throughout the Kootenay area. He also has served as a birding guide and speaker at Birdfest in Creston.