They've been at it for 40 years. That's a long time for any group to keep meeting, but for one that gets together in the sometimes iffy Lower Mainland weather, it's downright amazing.
What holds the Alouette Field Naturalists together?
"It's a curiosity about nature, about local flora and fauna. And mushrooms," said Duanne Vandenberg, a 38-year member of the group.
The group offers something for everyone with planned field trips every Sunday, camping in May, and a trip to the Manning Park annual bird count in June.
"It's been going on for 30 years," Vandenberg said of the Manning bird count. "We've been going almost every year. So you see, we do get about."
Members of the club can be any age - they simply need an interest in nature.
"I do mushrooms and wildflowers, we have some other general all-rounders like me in the group," she noted. "One lady had [an interest in] spiders."
Ten members of the club gathered near Pitt Lake on Sunday, despite the cold, wet weather.
"We had a really good view, almost close enough to touch a downy woodpecker," noted Vandenberg. "Then, on the way back we came upon what I would call the piece de resistance, a saw-whet owl, under a year old."
Even an experienced lover of nature like Vandenberg didn't much care for the wet weather.
"[Sighting the owl] made the whole horrible, nasty, wet walk worthwhile," she said.
When it comes to her own outdoor passions, Vandenberg relayed a story about a type of mushroom she had spotted near her home. She spent several hours poring through books trying to determine the exact species.
"It took me seven books. It's the fascination of going through it, it's like a detective story," she noted.
The group caters to a variety of outdoor flora and fauna based interests and normally has about 25 or 30 members. Couples can join for $32 a year, while singles are $22.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the Alouette Field Naturalists can contact Duanne Vandenberg at 604-4638743 or visit the group's web page at www.bcnature.ca/pages/local_clubs/alouette_field_naturalists.html.
. See related story about the naturalists' annual bird count on page A14.