The first Provincial organization, The Natural History Society of British Columbia, was formed in 1890, to encourage “a more organized approach to the study of the natural features of the province”. This group dissolved around the time of World War I and the idea of a Province-wide group was not taken up again for forty years.
In 1957 the government had just created a Department of Recreation and Conservation and this encouraged the three natural history clubs, Vernon (North Okanagan Naturalists Club), Victoria and Vancouver, to discuss the formation of a federation. It was not until 1963, however, that a group of eminent naturalists formed The British Columbia Nature Council. Founding members included Dr. Armstrong, Dr G.C. Carl, Dr V.C. Brink, Mr Jack Neild, Dr R. Stace-Smith, Mr Eric Garman, Mrs Gladys Soulsby and Mrs H. Lamoureux. Dr T.M.C. Taylor became the first President on May 11 1963. The B.C. Nature Council was composed of seven natural history clubs and had 1555 members.
On June 3, 1969, under the chairmanship of Dr. Stace-Smith, the Council incorporated under the Societies’ Act, changing its name in the process to the Federation of British Columbia Naturalists (“Council” is reserved for government bodies.) The founding member clubs were: Central Okanagan, Comox-Strathcona, Cowichan Valley, North Okanagan, Prince George, South Okanagan, Thetis Park Nature Sanctuary, Vancouver Natural History Society and Victoria Natural History Societies.
The Federation of British Columbia Naturalists remains our legal name, but in 2006 we adopted the operating name, BC Nature, as more easily understood by the public and a clearer brand. BC Nature has always been active in the fields of conservation, education, and outdoor recreation. Since 1964 camps have been held regularly and have always proved popular. The B.C. Nest Record Scheme has been in operation since 1966 and for twenty years was co-ordinated by Vi Gibbard, a founding member of the South Okanagan Naturalists. Members throughout the Province take part in the Christmas Bird Count. The B.C. Naturalist magazine (now BCnature), published since 1964, keeps members up to date on the organization’s activities, and BCN workshops, videos, books and posters have educated hundreds of members and non-members through the years.