The Bloedel Conservatory Has a New Roof!!

Bird’s eye view of Vancouver from atop the Bloedel Conservatory.

Six months after the intricate and impressive scaffolding was installed by WestCan over the dome, all 1,490 plexiglass panels have been successfully replaced and the Bloedel Conservatory has a new roof!

This scaffolding was unique in many ways: it could not touch the dome at any point, and transparent, protective plastic sheets needed to be stretched up and over the top to keep workers, birds, plants and visitors dry while the plexi bubbles were being replaced. Watch a special time lapsed video here. Rope access technicians worked through the wee hours of the night whenever specialized interior netting needed to be installed or moved. This netting kept debris from falling into the dome and nearly 200 free flying birds from finding their way out.

Rope crews getting ready to hang netting inside the dome.

Thanks to the fantastic teams at Spectrum Skyworks and Pacific Ropes, not to mention a specialized Hazmat crew, this massive project was completed a full 2 months ahead of schedule! Special kudos also go out to the onsite Bloedel staff who managed to keep the Conservatory open, running smoothly and looking spectacular while this substantial project was underway.

Originally planned as a 3 phase project, we are so fortunate that the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, the Federal Government and Prentice Bloedel’s Daughter, Virginia Bloedel Wright, came together with $2.4 million dollars in funding to complete the entire roof project in one phase.

All 2,324 pieces of extruded aluminum tubing that make up the triodetic dome have been polished and the scaffolding has started to be dismantled. The Bloedel Conservatory has been restored to its former glory and brilliance!

And mark your calendars! The “We Did It! Bubble Bash”, a fantastic roof completion celebration party is scheduled for Thursday, September 25th. Stay tuned for more info! It’s an event not to be missed!

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Bloedel Conservatory at dusk surrounded by exterior scaffolding. Photo by Vicky Earle

 

Art Prints Inspired by Bloedel Finches

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Paula Grasdal is a Vancouver mixed media artist, printmaker, and graphic designer. She is also one of the new dedicated Roving Docents volunteering at the Bloedel Conservatory. The amazing birds at Bloedel – especially the exotic finches – became Paula’s source of inspiration. A number of prints in this series, along with artwork by co-exhibitor Rosalind Rorke, make up the “Recurrence” exhibit, now on display at the Dundarave Print Workshop on Granville Island until June 29.

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Paula began by taking a series of photographs of gouldian finches and various botanical specimens at the conservatory as source material for the imagery. She incorporated a circular motif to mirror the building’s shape. These prints incorporate abstract patterns, shadows and shifting perspectives to evoke the sense of a “fleeting glimpse of something seen and then remembered with a skewed perspective”. Inspired by repetition — cycles in nature and patterns in design — the flora and fauna is drawn from the artists’ experience and vision of the natural world. Her artwork has been featured in publications such as “Mixed Media Collage” by Quarry Press and is in private collections in the U.S. and Canada.

recurrence invite

Be sure to catch “Recurrence” at the Dundarave Print Workshop (in the Net Loft across from the market) at Granville Island. The Roving Docents, on hand every weekend at the Bloedel Conservatory, are also looking forward to your visit. They have amazing stories about the plants and birds that live there and can’t wait to share them with you. Come catch a glimpse of the exotic finches and get inspired!

 

Celebrate National Garden Day!

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Just in time for Father’s Day, Canada’s Inagural National Garden Day draws attention to public and private gardens across the country! Garden Days (June 13 – 15) celebrate the role of gardens in our communities and in our lives. The program’s objective is to draw attention to Canada’s garden culture, its history and innovations, and to underscore the important values of gardening and environmental stewardship. When the Bloedel Conservatory opened in December, 1969, Prentice Bloedel dedicated this green jewel “to a better appreciation and understanding of the world of plants”. It has been connecting people with the magic of the tropics ever since!

As a matter of fact, the Bloedel Conservatory has all of the aspects of a healing garden! Being active in a garden promotes both physical and mental well-being, but you don’t need to get your hands dirty to reap the benefits of time spent in a garden! “Passive recreation” is just as beneficial. Roger Ulrich, a professor and director of the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A & M University, has stated, the term “healing garden” refers to actual features that consistently help us recover from stress and have other positive influences on the body.

What are the 6 features of a healing garden you ask? Read on!

1. Flowers

V.Earle orange hibiscus

‘Stop and smell the flowers’. In a study at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Dr. Haviland-Jones has found that nature provides us with a simple way to improve emotional health – which is as simple as enjoying flowers! “The presence of flowers triggers happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction and affects social behaviour in a positive manner far beyond what was previously believed.” They found that flowers – any flowers – have an immediate impact on happiness and a long-term positive effect on moods. The Conservatory always has a selection of orchids and other gorgeous blooms on display.

2. Lush vegetation

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Ulrich has found that viewing vegetation as opposed to urban scenes, changes our brain waves from beta waves to a slower alpha wave that are associated with being “wakefully relaxed”. Being in “beta” is considered the norm for most people while in their everyday busy waking state. We emit beta waves when we are consciously alert, or when we feel agitated, stressed or afraid. Alpha waves, however, are associated with states of mental and physical relaxation. Our brains drop into “alpha” during the first levels of meditation. Creativity, inspiration and intuition are often heightened by being in an “alpha state” simply by spending time appreciating nature.

3. Spatial openness

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One of the first things you notice when you enter the Conservatory is the feeling of space. Its domed design is based on the geodesic principle that utilizes a structural space-frame to support the roof. This enables the large interior volume to be free of internal supporting columns. The added benefit of Bloedel is that it is an Indoor Nature Facility that can be enjoyed all year, rain or shine!

4. Calm or slowly moving water

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The sound of gently moving water has an inherent calming effect on our systems and we feel a natural affinity to it. It adds dimension and harmony to our surroundings. “The sound of running water, apparently, is a genetic memory that sends off resonances deep within our limbic brain stem which also controls such basic actions as our breathing and hunger” (James Kilkelly). The sound of moving water is very relaxing and it has been found to enhance concentration. Interestingly, running water in Feng Shui is felt to strengthen good fortune.

5. Large trees

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Have you ever felt refreshed after walking through a forest? This is called ‘forest bathing’ and physiological tests in Japan confirm positive therapeutic effects of this activity on stress hormones, brain wave activity, pulse and blood pressure. Studies in Tokyo have shown increased immune function after 2 hour walks in the forest. There is no shortage of large trees at Bloedel. In fact, a number of these were the first to be planted in the dome in 1969 and now reach over 60 feet in height. The Benjamin and India Figs, the Dragon trees, and Brazilian Jelly Palm are just a few of the stunning trees you will see and walk among.

6. Unthreatening wildlife

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With over 100 free-flying birds and the antics of exotic parrots and macaws (not to mention the new Japanese Koi lazily swimming in the pond), one of them will surely bring a smile to your face! Wildlife distracts us from stress and negative thoughts about issues in our lives. It is impossible to think of two things simultaneously! Even a short break from stress is beneficial. Find a quiet spot at the conservatory and sit for a few minutes. Notice what’s around you. Take a deep breath. You won’t wait long before you start to notice the free flying birds busy with their day: building a nest, looking for food, chasing each other around the vast space. The secretive and exotic Touraco may even make an appearance and capture your interest!

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Visiting the Bloedel Conservatory will give you a boost regardless of the weather outside.

Why not treat Dad to a Bloedel visit for Father’s Day and see why it received the 2014 Trip Advisor Award of Excellence? Bring a camera, go for a stroll, chat with the colourful birds, or simply come and relax on a bench. The whole family will feel re-energized! Happy Father’s Day and wishing all a very Happy Garden Day!

References

Smith, Jaffe–Gill, and Segal (2009), Understanding Stress: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Effects. http://helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm

Haviland-Jones, Jeanette (2005). Emotional Impact of Flowers Study. Rutgers: Flowers Improve Emotional Health http://www.aboutflowers.com/health-benefits-a-research/emotional-impact-of-flowers-study.html

University of Minnesota, Sustainable Urban Land Information Series (2006). Healing Gardens. http://www.sustland.umn.edu/design/healinggardens.html

Brain Waves http://www.doctorhugo.org/brainwaves/brainwaves.html

Kilkelly, James (2006), Water Works … the Benefits of Water Features. Irishgardeners.com http://www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/about729.html

Japan for Sustainability. (2010) Physiological Tests Confirm Therapeutic Effects of ‘Forest Bathing’. http://www.japanfs.org/en/pages/025839.html

Q and Morimoto, et al. (2007). Forest bathing enhances human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. Apr-Jun;20(2 Suppl 2):3-8. Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17903349

Crazy About Cockatoos!

Gidget, Citron-crested Cockatoo

Gidget, Citron-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata)

Looking for a great place to go on the Easter long weekend? Come in to the warm lush tropical atmosphere of the Bloedel Conservatory and get crazy about cockatoos!

You have likely already met Malibu, the Sulphur-crested cockatoo? She as been with the Conservatory for nearly a year and has settled in beautifully. If you stop and say “Hello!”, she will likely give you a loud ‘Hello’ right back and maybe show you some of her best dance moves!

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Malibu, Sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea)

And she is now in good company with other birds in the Cockatoo family: Gidget the Citron-crested cockatoo and Kramer, the Moluccan cockatoo. Gidget also arrived with her best buddy of 15 years: Rudy, the African Grey Parrot. The Bloedel Conservatory is very fortunate to have been chosen as the new forever home for all of these incredible birds.

Citron-cockatoos are smaller than Sulphur-crested cockatoos, have a more orange-coloured crest and soft yellow patches on their cheeks and under their wings. They are a quiet species compared with all the cockatoos and are not as good at imitating human speech as some members of the parrot family. Gidget is the sweetest little cockatoo and loves to give kisses, but you have to listen very carefully!

Kramer, the Moluccan cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis)

Kramer, the Moluccan cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis)

Kramer, the Moluccan cockatoo, on the other hand has a large vocabulary and is not shy about letting you know it! He says things like “Hello, Good Morning”, “Peek-a-boo”, “Kramer is a good bird”, (often followed by “Kramer is a bad bird”), “What is that?”,“I’m a bird”, “Let’s party”, “Surprise!”, “Bye-bye”, and “Good night”. Sometimes his language can even get as colourful as the plants at the Conservatory! Watch the video at ‘The Last Word: Dirty Bird Talking’ on the CTV Vancouver website (scroll to page 3 once you arrive). Moluccans are the largest of the cockatoo family and are extremely intelligent. Kramer also loves peppermint tea, baseball hats, and is a very good dancer sometimes swinging upside-down from his perch and putting on a show.

Rudy, the African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus erithacus)

Rudy, the African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus erithacus)

Rudy arrived at the Bloedel Conservatory with Gidget. Rudy is a 16 year old African Grey Parrot and also has quite a good vocabulary. She is also the master of whistles and weird, wonderful sounds. She will say “Hello!”, “Gidget”, loves to do her cat imitation, and if you sneeze, she will politely say “Bless you!”.

African Grey Parrots are loving, playful, and bring joy and laughter into the lives of all who have the pleasure of knowing one. They are known as the “Einstein’s” of the parrot world because of their incredible talking ability. African Greys are considered to be among the most intelligent of all birds, ranking alongside dolphins and chimpanzees for their ability to associate human words with meanings, shapes and colours.

All the birds at the Bloedel Conservatory have either been directly donated to the Conservatory from homes that can no longer keep them or have been adopted from the GreyHaven Exotic Bird Sanctuary. GreyHaven is a local non-profit organization that specializes in parrot rescue, rehabilitation and adoption. They actively promote avian welfare and awareness in the community through educational seminars and presentations.

Scaffolding for roof replacement project

Scaffolding for roof replacement project

A great way to round out your visit to Bloedel is with lunch or dinner at Season’s in the Park Restaurant. It’s open all Easter long weekend and offers one of the best views Vancouver has to offer. Go to their website: http://www.vancouverdine.com/seasons-park for more information, specials and to make reservations.

Now that the Conservatory roof replacement project is well underway, Bloedel is a perfect family friendly and affordable retreat rain or shine, is wheelchair accessible and is open everyday. With lush plants and over 200 exotic colourful (and entertaining) birds, it’s a perfect destination spot in the city. Hours, prices and more info can be found on the Vancouver Parks website. Come for a visit! The birds can’t wait to meet you!

 

Bloedel Conservatory Update: Big Things are Underway!

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Scaffolding in place for roof replacement project at the Bloedel Conservatory

The Bloedel Conservatory Roof Replacement Project is now underway!

This large and unique project will take place in a series Phases, with Phase I scheduled for completion this Spring. Currently, the scaffolding is up and the large cross beam has been lowered into place over the top of the dome. There are a total of 1,490 ‘bubbles’ that make up the dome in 32 different sizes: 12 panels will be replaced everyday, one at a time, for a total of 400 panels in this first phase. A clear covering will be placed over the scaffolding on the outside with a fine nylon netting placed inside to keep the visitors, birds and plants safe during the process. The Bloedel Conservatory will remain open 7 days a week during regular hours. Phase I includes replacing the fan and ventilation system, the centre dome panels and the roof section over the building entrance. See a diagram of the scaffolding plan and more project details here: bit.ly/1eZS3lD

Fundraiser to Support the Bloedel Conservatory

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014 | 7:30 p.m.  Tickets: VBGA Members $20 | Non-members $25

Join costume historian Ivan Sayers for “Fine Feathers Make Fine Birds”, for an entertaining evening on the use of feathers in twentieth-century fashion. Mr. Sayers will show examples and regale the audience with his vast and knowledgeable stories on the topic. This lecture will be held in the Great Hall at VanDusen Visitor Centre, VanDusen Botanical Garden, 5151 Oak Street. Parking is free. Purchase tickets by phone: 604-257-8190 or in person at the VanDusen Admission Desk during Garden hours.  

Rediscover Bloedel with Monthly Family Programs

Come in and rediscover Bloedel with our new Family Programs, for children ages 5–11 years of age.  Programs run during February and March. Learn something new while staying warm during these winter months in our little corner of tropical paradise! Groups will meet inside the Conservatory. An adult must accompany the child(ren) for the entire program. All programs are fun for the whole family. Mark your calendars!

Taste of the Tropics – Sunday, February 9

banana blossomDrop-in 10:30 am – 4:30 pm (FREE with Conservatory Admission)

Tropical rainforests are home to many plants that we use in our daily lives. Visit our ‘incredible edibles’ station and learn more about the orchid that vanilla flavouring comes from, the coffee tree, plantains and many more tasty tropical treats. Test your knowledge with our mouth-watering match up game and search the beautiful Bloedel Conservatory for these plants.

Flit Flutter and Fly: Get to Know the Birds of Bloedel – Monday, February 10

orange headed gouldianDrop-in 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (FREE with Conservatory Admission)

Explore Bloedel Conservatory with a watchful eye on the birds that flit, flutter and fly in this rainforest oasis. Visit the “bird brain” station to receive a series of clues to help you find some specific feathered friends while touring the site. You will receive a bird stamp as a reward for completing the challenge and get a chance to eat like a bird with a variety of bird beak props.

Life in a Bromeliad: Build a mini rainforest – Sunday, March 16

bromeliad_costa rica10:30 a.m. – noon OR 1:30-3 p.m. Registration required.

Take a tour of the Conservatory and uncover the interesting and amazing world of epiphytes and bromeliads. We will investigate the creatures that depend on these plants and use a microscope to peer into the mini ecosystem that thrives within a bromeliad. You’ll also be creating a take-home mini rainforest terrarium with an air plant!

To register: Call 604-718-5898  Tues – Fri, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. or email: familyprograms@vandusen.org.

Family Day Long Weekend

Along with the new programs, be sure to plan a visit for the Family Day long weekend, February 8 – 10 to meet our new Roving Docents! They have been training hard and will be on hand all weekend to share intriguing stories on the exotic plants and birds that live under the dome. They will happily point out species that are easy to miss and answer any questions you may have.

Walk in the Tropics

Growing Rainforest Plants at Home – February 23, 2014, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

bromeliadsDid you know that you can grow many of the plants found at the Bloedel Conservatory right in your own home if you give them the proper care and conditions?

Join instructor Egan Davis on a walk through the conservatory focusing on these plants and the techniques to grow them. He will also share stories about their native rainforest habitat, pollinators and more. VBGA member price $10 / Non-member price $15. Registration is a must: Call 604-718-5898 or visit: http://bit.ly/1apch3U to download a registration form.

There are big projects, programs and events underway at the Bloedel Conservatory throughout February and March!

Be sure to support our green jewel and take part in the fun of Rediscovering Bloedel!

A New Year for Our Tropical Green Jewel

Bloedel Conservatory and Plaza Clock. Photo Vicky Earle.

Bloedel Conservatory. Photo © Vicky Earle.

A New Year is around the corner and we have much to celebrate at the Bloedel Conservatory!

There have been exciting things underway at our green jewel atop Queen Elizabeth Park. Here is a quick recap of 2013 and a look forward to the New Year:

This past year began with the monumental signing of the agreement to merge the Bloedel Conservatory with the VanDusen Botanical Garden. This was a culmination of 4 years of hard work and cooperation between the Vancouver Park Board, the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association and the Friends of the Bloedel. With the Bloedel Conservatory officially under the wing of VanDusen Garden, 2013 became a year of organization and planning!

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Lush interior of the Bloedel Conservatory. Photo © Vicky Earle

With the VBGA staff officially on board, many new and exciting projects got underway. First, new docents will begin training in early January and will undergo an intensive eight week program to learn about the world of tropical plants and birds that live under the dome – plus their bigger connection to rainforests around the world. Once this program is complete, they will be roving the Conservatory every weekend throughout the year and sharing the incredible stories under the dome.

VanDusen website

The VanDusen Botanical Garden/Bloedel Conservatory launched a brand new, easy to navigate website: www.vandusengarden.org. It’s now easier than ever to register for programs at the dome and donate to specific projects to better the Bloedel Conservatory. Visit http://vandusengarden.org/node/311 to read more and find out how.

Yellow Butterfly Orchid (Psychopsis papilio Lindl. H.G.James)

Yellow Butterfly Orchid (Psychopsis papilio Lindl. H.G.James)

As always, one of the big highlights of 2013 were the Orchid Shows put on in partnership with the Vancouver Orchid Society. Each show was a smashing success with spectacular and exotic blossoms filling the subtropical section of the Conservatory. Knowledgeable VOS members led tours and answered questions about the dazzling displays. We eagerly look forward to more orchid shows during 2014!

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‘Circle of Light’ by James Fletcher, made of Portuguese Alabaster.

New for the Conservatory last year was the SSBC Sculpture Show “A Celebration of Nature”, which took place from February through March. The exhibit featured more than 45 pieces of work by fifteen Sculpture Society artists – all placed at key locations throughout the tropical atmosphere of the dome. A variety of materials such as bronze, copper, marble, granite, serpentine, exotic woods and terracotta were on display and sculptors of the society were on hand giving weekly demonstrations.

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Amazon Lily. Photo © Vicky Earle

The Walk in the Tropics series saw another successful year featuring talks on orchids, the birds of Bloedel, healing gardens, and the intriguing history of the Conservatory with little known stories of the dome. Don’t miss the new Walks scheduled for January and February: Rainforest Plants in your Kitchen taking place Sunday, January 19th at 11am. This walk will shed light on ethnobotany with a focus on rainforest foods we use in our daily lives. On Sunday February 23 at 11am, Egan Davis will discuss Growing Tropical Indoor Plants. Did you know that you can grow many of the plants seen in the Bloedel Conservatory at home? Egan will show you how. He will also discuss the plants’ native rainforest habitat, pollinators, and more. Register Here Online

Brilliantly coloured Orange-headed Gouldian finch enjoying breakfast at the feeding station.

Brilliantly coloured Orange-headed Gouldian finch enjoying breakfast at the feeding station.

2013 also saw the amazing and special gift of 100 new finches in August and Malibu, the sulphur crested cockatoo in May. They add a tremendous boost of colour and activity under dome and delight visitors of all ages. The Conservatory is a great home and they are all thriving!

And the gifts did not stop there! In March, the Federal Government invested $225,000 to complete phase 1 of the Bloedel Conservatory’s roof replacement project and is an important supplement to the City of Vancouver’s $1 million capital investment already in place for the new roof. Phase 1 of the project consists of replacing a percentage of the existing out of date roof panels and refurbishing the central ventilation fan at the top of the dome. The fan replacement was completed in September and the roof is scheduled to get underway in January! What an exciting and much anticipated way to ring in the New Year!

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Inner roof circle. Photo © Vicky Earle

Considering the city of Vancouver nearly lost this green jewel forever only 4 years ago, this year of 2014 will see the fruition of new programs, events and celebrations at the Bloedel Conservatory.

We thank you ALL for your continued support of the Bloedel Conservatory and wish you and your families a wonderful and prosperous New Year!

We also thank all of the organizations and individuals who partnered with the Conservatory and generously dedicated their time and resources to make 2013 a success!

Be sure to visit our green jewel at the top of Queen Elizabeth Park and immerse yourself in the magic of the dome during 2014!

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African Starling at the Bloedel Conservatory. Photo © Vicky Earle

A World of Feathers

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Ildiko Szabo, Assistant Curator of the Cowan Tetrapod Collection at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, is passionate about birds. We welcomed her to the Bloedel Conservatory as a special guest speaker for a Walk in the Tropics talk titled “A World of Feathers”.

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“Feathers are actually quite simple in structure: there is a centre strengthening shaft and on either side are the vanes or the feathery bits. When we look at the shape of the feather – one side versus the other – the ratio of width and narrowing, we can tell where on the bird it came from”. Primary, secondary and tertiary feathers were explained as well as growing and molting patterns in different types of birds.

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Casey, the Amazon parrot

Ms. Szabo continued the fascinating discussion with coloration. The colours in feathers are formed in two different ways – either from pigments or from light refraction caused by the structure of the feather. In some cases feather colors are the result of a combination of pigment and structural colors. For example, the greens of some parrots are created by yellow pigments overlaying a blue-reflecting characteristic of the feathers, as can be seen on Casey the Amazon parrot pictured above. Pigment in birds comes from three different groups: melanins, carotenoids, and porphyrines.

Melanins occur in both the skin and feathers of birds and can produce colors ranging from the darkest black to reddish browns and pale yellows. What’s really interesting is that feathers containing melanin are stronger and more resistant to wear and tear than feathers without it. White feathers – those without any pigmentation at all – are the weakest. Many otherwise all white birds have black feathers on their wings or black wingtips. The melanin that causes the tips to appear black also provides extra strength. For example, the Pied Imperial or Torres Straight Pigeons, are powerful and agile flyers crossing large bodies of water between coastal islands, so very strong feathers are needed.

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Pied Imperial Pigeon

Carotenoids are responsible for the bright yellows while porphyrins produce a range of colors, including pink, browns, reds, and greens. Porphyrins are found in some owls, pigeons and pheasants. They can also produce the brilliant greens and reds of touracos, like the one pictured below. Blue feathers, on the other hand, are almost always created by the structure of the feather rather than pigment. Tiny air pockets in the barbs of feathers can scatter incoming light, resulting in a specific, non-iridescent color.

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Guinea touraco

Special thanks again goes out to Ms. Szabo for an insightful and fascinating talk! The Beaty Biodiversity Museum is located at 2212 Main Mall, south of University Boulevard on the UBC Point Grey campus and is Vancouver’s natural history museum.

Don’t miss the last Walk of the year! Be sure to mark your calendars for Sunday, November 17th at 11am for the next inspiring Walk in the Tropics “Since the Beginning of Bloedel”. Join Park Board Commissioner John Coupar on a historical tour of the Bloedel Conservatory. As the son of Bloedel’s first Garden Director, Charles Coupar, John will share stories and little known facts about the people, the mission, architecture, construction and development of Bloedel since it was built in 1969. Registration is a must! Visit bit.ly/1fmweyD for more information.

Bloedel Conservatory under construction.

Bloedel Conservatory under construction in 1969.

100 New Birds Grace the Bloedel Conservatory!

Imagine all the colours of a rainbow wrapped around one tiny adorable little bird! Now multiply that times 60! It is truly a sight to behold!

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A variety of gorgeous new exotic birds including gouldian, saffron, lavender, cordon bleu and fire finches now grace the Bloedel Conservatory. All thanks to a tremendous donation by a private hobby breeder from Calgary. She selected our green jewel at the top of Queen Elizabeth park as the perfect recipient of these small bundles of wonder. After receiving thorough check ups from Night Owl Veterinary Clinic, over one hundred new birds now call the Conservatory home!

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The tropical and subtropical environment in the dome are ideal for these types of finches. Even though gouldian finches, native to Australia, make up about 60% of the donation, the Conservatory’s African finch collection has also gotten a big boost. Red-cheeked cordon bleu, gold breasted waxbills, grey and green singing finches and red fire finches are among the recent additions.

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Also new to Bloedel are two pairs of lineolated parrots, and a stunning Lady Amherst pheasant. There is so much to talk about on the next

Walk in the Tropics

taking place on

Wednesday, August 21st at 6:30pm!

Join Jenny Tamas, Adoptions Director from the Greyhaven Exotic Bird Sanctuary, who will introduce you to the all of the parrots, macaws, and of course the smaller birds that live at the Conservatory. She will share interesting facts about each species, as well as the care required, diet considerations and tips for keeping your own feathered companions healthy and happy.

Cost to attend the walk is $10 for VanDusen members and $15 for non-members, which includes admission to the Conservatory. Pre-registration is a must! Register online, by phone, in person or by fax. Visit the VanDusen Botanical Garden Adult Education Registration page for all registration information.

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So, what are you waiting for? Grab your camera and get up to the Bloedel Conservatory! Your whole family will be delighted by the exotic sights and sounds. It’s always a great day for a visit! The birds can’t wait to meet you!

Lady Amherst great

Friends of Bloedel Receive Award of Honour from City of Vancouver Heritage Commission

On May 27th, the founding Directors of the Friends of the Bloedel were recipients of the Award of Honour from the City of Vancouver Heritage Commission.

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From Left to Right: John Coupar, Sheryl Hamilton, Vicky Earle, Councillor Elizabeth Ball, Tom Hobbs

This top award demonstrates an outstanding contribution to heritage conservation in the City of Vancouver and recognizes the advocacy and successful efforts to save and revitalize landmark sites. Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Ball presented John Coupar, Vicky Earle, Sheryl Hamilton, Terri Clark and Tom Hobbs with the award on Monday evening. The Heritage Awards Ceremony takes place every two years with awards of Recognition, Merit, and Honour given to successful nominees.

Saving the Bloedel Conservatory would not have been possible without the unwavering support of the community and donors both large and small. Thank you to all who helped the Friends along the way and to those who continue to do so. Our success would not have been possible without you.

This recognition of the work done by the Friends is a step which we hope will help ensure the rebirth and long term success of this green jewel at the pinnacle of our city. This rebirth was achieved by a remarkable community based effort led by the Friends and supported by the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association, which we are now privileged to be a part of. As an integral part of the VanDusen Botanical Garden – the centre of sustainability and environmental excellence in our City – the Bloedel Conservatory’s comeback is well under way. Please continue to visit and enjoy all that both gardens have to offer!

Orchids and More in May!

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Looking for somewhere fun and relaxing to take Mom on Mother’s Day? May is all about orchids at the Bloedel Conservatory! There are exquisite orchids on display right now: gorgeous phalaenopsis (moth orchids) and cymbidiums (boat orchids), as well as the more unique lady slipper, spider and oncidiums (dancing lady orchids). Always a treat to see and sure to delight Mom! The Conservatory is now open until 8pm everyday throughout the summer – perfect after a stroll in Queen Elizabeth Park or dinner at Season’s Restaurant. And it gives you even more time to treat Mom on her special day!

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As you wander through the tropical atmosphere finding all of the orchid treasures, be sure to stop and say ‘Hello’ to Malibu, the new Sulphur-crested Cockatoo! She will likely give you a loud ‘Hello’ right back and maybe show you some of her best dance moves! Malibu is quite a character and a welcome addition to the Conservatory. She and over 100 free flying exotic birds are sure to bring smiles to the whole family!

Lady Slipper Orchid (Paphiopedlium).

Also in May, come in for the next Walk in the Tropics talk. If you love orchids, don’t miss: Orchids Throughout the World, taking place on Wednesday, May 22 at 6:30. With over 30,000 species, orchids are the largest plant family in the world! Join Margaret Pratt, President of the Vancouver Orchid Society, in a discussion about these fascinating plants and their unique adaptations for tropical climates. You may just find out why many people develop serious ‘orchid addictions’. Registration is a must! For more information click here.

orchid line.sm

And excitement for orchids does not stop there! The Rare and Exotic Orchid Show begins Friday, May 24th at 10am through Sunday, May 26th. This special event is a joint partnership with the Vancouver Orchid Society and is free with admission.  A must see for orchid aficionados! Members of the VOS grace the Conservatory with exquisite orchids from their own private collections and are on hand to answer all of your orchid questions. Don’t forget your camera! There will be a multitude of rare and unusual beauties for that picture perfect shot! May is all about orchids and more!

Save the dates and see you there!

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