Wild Cortes, Natural History Centre & EcoLab

Take a walk on the wild side of Cortes Island at the Wild Cortes Natural History Centre and EcoLab 

New exhibition, opened May 29, 2022 – Climate Crisis: The Cascade Effect 

Wild Cortes Natural History Centre & EcoLab is located at:
1255 Seaford Road

Donations are gratefully appreciated.

Accessibility Information: The entrance is down the stone steps on the left to the Linnaea’s front door with a wheelchair accessible entrance down the library ramp. 

Volunteer Opportunities: Do the environment, wildlife and ecology catch your interest?  Wild Cortes is looking for two volunteers to help host our exhibit through winter months. Training happily provided. If you are willing to host the exhibit for four hours every two weeks on either Friday or Saturday, please contact Laurel Bohart, curator and taxidermist, at 250-935-0165, or Donna Collins, museum president, at 250-935-6671, or the museum office: send an email or call 250-935-6340. 

The Big Three: Cougars, Wolves, and Bears

In the fall of 2020 Cortes Islanders reported that bears were damaging property and stealing chickens.  Laurel Bohart, our natural history curator, saw these events as the perfect catalyst for creating a new Wild Cortes exhibit in the Linnaea Education Centre.  The exhibit features Cortes Island’s top three predators – cougars, wolves and bears – along with information on how humans can co-exist with these majestic animals while keeping them wild.

Wild Cortes is a member of the Cortes Wild! partnership. The Big Three exhibit was co-produced by two members of this partnership, Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI) and Sabina Leader Mense, one of three local scientists, who are part of the Cortes Wild! group.

The Big Three exhibit was launched on Earth Day, April 22, 2021.  Visit us to learn about historical and recent accounts of local human/animal encounters, watch an award-winning mini-documentary by Maxwel Hohn, view images taken on local trail-cams, learn about the  wildlife corridor FOCI is developing, and discover what Wild Cortes and its partners have waiting for you to experience.

Featured Exhibits

In addition to The Big Three, The Cortes Water Cycle: Bluffs, Forests, Wetlands and the Marine Environment, and Raven’s Relations: Songbirds on Cortes Island, our exhibits include “Down Under” Subtidal Biodiversity, BioBlitz, Bats of Cortes Island, Hague Lake, Ecosystem Mapping and Return of the Humpbacks.

Wild Cortes’ animal and bird exhibits are one of only two natural history exhibits in Vancouver Island and the surrounding islands.  The other is in the Royal BC Museum in Victoria.  Guests are “blown away” by our exhibits and find their time in the venue “a captivating experience.”

Researchers are welcome to work with the study skins created by our very own curator/taxidermist Laurel Bohart.

Wild Cortes also features fascinating taxidermy exhibits and costumes and masks for playing dress-up, a puzzle of Cortes watersheds, and so much more! Due to COVID-19 restrictions we are currently unable to use the costumes and masks for playing dress-up.

Discovery Boxes

Due to COVID-19 restrictions we are currently unable to use the stereoscopes.

Pull the cover off one of our exciting new discovery boxes at Wild Cortes! The EcoLab has a fabulous new WILD stereoscope for you to discover the world of the microcosm within each discovery box.

The FEATHER discovery box is filled with specimens to reveal the… wonder of feathers to you! Pull apart a great blue heron feather vane and then “zip” it back together again with your fingers. You’ve just witnessed the first zipper! Pop the feather vane under the stereoscope to view the structure of feather barbs and barbules. The barbules contain microhooks that hold the barbs together to create the smooth feather surface.

The SAND discovery box is filled with specimens of sand from around the world. Pop them under the stereoscope and you will be propelled into a magical maze of olivine and garnet minerals! Run a magnet up against a sample of Manson’s Landing sand and line up the magnetite minerals!

Thank you Cortes Literacy Now for funding the Discovery Boxes.  

Our Partners

Wild Cortes is managed by the Cortes Wild! partnership: Linnaea Farm Society, Cortes Island Museum & Archives Society, Friends of Cortes Island Society (FOCI), Discovery Islands Ecosystem Mapping Project (DIEM), Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society (FTCCIS), Cortes Island biologist Sabina Leader Mense, geologist/naturalist Christian Gronau, and teacher/naturalist Rex Weiler and students.

Linnaea Farm

Cortes Island Museum & Archives Society

Discovery Island Ecosystem Mapping

Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island

Study Skin Preparation – Laurel Bohart working on the next mounted specimen or study skin

EcoLab at Wild Cortes

Discovery Boxes

Web Design by Ester Strijbos