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VARC’s Open House is a structured morning field trip to VARC’s Colony Farm Banding Station. Participants are introduced to the research techniques required for monitoring migratory birds and the population ecology and ecosystem dynamics of wild bird populations. During the program, visitors will learn about:

  • Bird migration
  • Various habitats and communities they depend on during both spring and fall migration
  • Breeding season
  • Conservation actions required to protect these habitats.

(Please arrive on time as this is a structured program and visitors arriving after 7:40 will be asked to book for the next scheduled Open House)

(Please note: All visitors must be registered.)

Location: VARC’s Colony Farm Banding Station

Site Visit

The site visit starts with a short talk when visitors arrive to tell them who we are, what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Visitors will get the opportunity to hold and release a bird, learn about habitat conservation, and information on how they can make a difference. There are also bird related craft activities for the children. 


The Open House is more suitable for parents with children over the age of 6. We cannot provide any supervision, that must be the responsibility of the accompanying parents. 


Scheduled Open Houses are on Saturdays but are always subject to the weather. We suggest visitors check the weather network for Coquitlam the evening before to make sure POP is NOT above 60%. We always try to schedule a rain back up day for the Sunday but again this is subject to POP being less than 60%.


We have a very visitor friendly set up with a banding pagoda, picnic tables, coat and backpack racks and a wilderness ecofriendly washroom at the station.

What to Bring 

  • Warm clothing – Colony Farm is a low lying area and can be cold even in the summer months and especially early in the morning 
  • Rubber boots or waterproof shoes – The banding station is in the old field habitat and the grass can be quite wet especially in the early morning 
  • Binoculars and cameras 
  • Water and snacks

Getting to the Banding Station

A map is inserted below with directions to the banding station at Colony Farm Regional Park. Be careful when using GPS. It is important you are using the ‘Colony Farm Regional Park Entrance’ as the marker or it will take you to the wrong entrance.

Please note that we are closest to the Shaughnessy Street entrance to the park, NOT the community gardens on Colony Farm Road which is a 15/20 minute walk across the park. 

ALL ROUTES Once on Shaughnessy Street, about half a mile along on the left hand side (through one set of lights) is a pullout overlooking Colony Farm Regional Park (blue star on map). Park here. There is also a small additional parking lot on the opposite side of the road. 

Walk through the metal gate and down along trail and in to the park – You will pass a pond on the right – 200 yards after the pond is a metal gate on the right-hand side and a ‘Wildlife Habitat Area – Research Personnel Only’ sign – walk through the gate (PLEASE CLOSE AND LATCH IT BEHIND YOU) and follow the trail around to the banding station. 

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