Terry Isaac was announced as the feature artist for the 2013 Meadowlark Festival

Terry Isaac was announced as the feature artist for the 2013 Meadowlark Festival

Nature festival takes flight Thursday

The 16th annual Meadowlark Festival features 90-plus tours and events, and tickets are going fast

The Meadowlark Nature Festival takes flight Thursday.

For five days, nature-lovers will descend on the South Okanagan for tours, seminars, dinners and other events all wrapped around the theme of sustainability.

Opening night of the festival features a presentation from Michael Ableman, a proponent of regional food systems, followed by a panel discussion on methods to encourage sustainable land use methods.

Friday will see the opening of local artist Terry Isaac’s show at the Penticton Art Gallery. The festival’s celebration dinner goes Saturday night at the Kaleden community hall, where author Jennifer Cockrall-King, who writes about urban agriculture, will give a presentation.

In total, the festival will feature 90-plus tours and events. Some of the tours include a presentation on bats in Peachland, which will include a visit to a bat roost, and an event at the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre that will teach people about the region’s snakes species.

Some events have fees attached. Prices and the full schedule can be found online at www.meadowlarkfestival.ca

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is also hosting an event Thursday to coincide with the festival. It’s celebrating the conservation of 1,200 acres of native grassland near Osoyoos.

The Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area protects an important migratory corridor for species moving between the desert areas of the western U.S. and the dry grasslands of the B.C. Interior. The land was purchased last fall by NCC and its partners, and represents the first phase in a multi-stage project to conserve some of the best remaining tracts of the Okanagan’s vanishing native grasslands.

The celebration and property tour begins at 1 p.m. near Kilpoola Lake. For directions call 1-888-404-8428 or email bcoffice@natureconservancy.ca.